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The Greek Tragedy – of “This Is What Democracy Looks Like”.

Savage mobs celebrating the wild “Social Justice” victory of the “will of the people” over the greedy Jewish “banksters” (whether it is in National Socialist Germany, or the Argentina of President Peron, or modern Greece) are not the only face of democracy – it can have a non “Occupy” face (a democracy that REJECTS the politics of “help the poor” by bankruptcy – the politics of the Black Flag, “Golden Dawn” as well as the Red Flag socialists of Greece), the face of a conservative Swiss Canton or a conservative New Hampshire township is also a face of democracy – a face that REJECTS the Black Flag and the Red Flag of “Occupy” types.

However, too often, democracy is about politicians (such as President Peron or Mr Hitler) promising the people easy solutions – “you can have everything you want – if you support ME”, no need to pay for anything, “the rich” and “big business” will pay.

This has been the destruction of democracy since the time of Pericles (the real destroyer of Ancient Athens) – all too often voters have opted for the easy path, the path of “Social Justice” of government “help the poor” and blame everything on “the rich” – particularly if “the rich” are “aliens”.

The “libertarian left” can play no games this time. They can not blame “war” (Greece has not been at war for more than 60 years), and they can not blame “high interest rates” – indeed artificially LOW interest rates have kept this farce going for many years longer than a hard money (not “gold standard” – but real gold-as-money) free market world would have tolerated.

The government spending and public services promised by Greek governments for many years are impossible – the out of control Welfare State ends up eating itself (eating the people – even as they cheer).

But it is no different in Puerto Rico, or Chicago, or California or…….

I often disagree with the late “Sage of Baltimore”, he was often wrong – but he was also often right.

And he was telling the truth when he said……

“Democracy is the system by which people get to ask for what they want, and they deserve to get it – GOOD AND HARD”.

The Greek people have voted for the wild spending (that has led to their 340 billion Euro debt) to continue – they have voted for their own destruction, and the minority must (sadly) suffer along with the majority And if they think they have suffered already – they have a terrible shock coming.

But Americans also opted for the easy path – in 1936 and 1964 they rejected any retreat from the path to destruction.

Ronald Reagan promised cuts in “waste and corruption” – utterly missing the point.

As long as democracy means “free stuff for the voters” (it need NOT mean that – if people are more like John Adams than Pericles, thrift, hard work and self denial, rather than lovely speeches and wild promises) then not just Greece is doomed.

We are all doomed.

Happy July 4th.

And I mean Happy – in spite of all that follows, as such things as the Declaration of Independence (or parts of it) and, especially, the Bill of Rights deserve to be honoured. The world stands of falls by the fate of the American Bill of Rights – that really is the truth.

The first American Independence Day that sticks in my memory was that of 1976 – the 200 anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

Millions of people were being murdered by the Communists in Indo China (Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam), but at least “the war was over” as far as the United States was concerned (for the Boat People and so on it was rather different). No conscription any more – and no wild inflation either (unlike Britain), sit back in 1976 and watch all those television shows set in California – which, in those days, was part of the United States (rather than Mexico and the rest of the Third World), although California was already in decline – Governor Moonbeam was busy unionising government work. By way Governor Moonbeam is back as Governor again. Now he is as bald as I am, but he clings to the ideas of his youth – as I suppose (in a very different way) I do also.

Richard Nixon was out of the Whitehouse (although he had done nothing that the media had not winked at when Johnson, Kennedy and Roosevelt did it) and the bumbling, but decent, Gerald Ford was President. America was at peace – overseas, and (to some extent) with itself (although violent crime in the cities, such as New York, was out of control – an evil fruit of 1960s “liberalism”).

And segregation was finally over in the South – the final holdouts, big spending Democrat populists Lester Maddox in Georgia and Governor Wallace in Alabama having gone or given way. Not that the Democratic party had given up racial groups politics – it had just gone over to promising stuff to black people because they were black, rather than to white people because they were white. As that charming man President Johnson said about his welfare schemes and “civil rights” laws – “now the niggers will vote for us for a hundred years”.

The idea of not appealing to people on the basis of rich-versus-poor or black-versus-white being alien to the Democrats. The central observation of Classical Liberalism, that the long term interests of “rich” and “poor” (or of people in different racial groups) are THE SAME, escaping the modern Democrats. Although President Grover Cleveland seems to have understood – although he neglected to impress his Southern colleagues with this point. Hard though it may be believe now – but in the 19th century the New York State Democratic Party (not the Democratic Party as a whole) was the more free market of the two major parties.

Although there was a major reduction in the size of government under President Grant, Grant did not campaign on that basis – his was more of a “vote for me – I am General Grant” campaign (rather like Ike in 1952 and 1956), indeed the first Republican to campaign and win on the basis of reducing the size and scope of government was Warren Harding in 1920 (and he did it – Harding is perhaps the most unfairly attacked President in American history, in reality he was a sincere anti big government man and a sincere defender of black people against lynching and other persecution).

In 1876 (not 1976) the Republicans were the party of tariffs (although not the “Liberal Republicans” , “liberal” meaning almost the reverse of what it does now, who were free traders). This was the time of President Grant and the “Gilded Age”.

An age that is rightly denounced for its corruption – but the good side of the hundredth anniversary of American independence is often forgotten.

Taxation was low (no income tax or corporation tax) and so was government spending – sorry “libertarian left” but “Corporate Welfare” is a lot less expensive that welfare-for-all (which does NOT make “Corporate Welfare” right). The Welfare State (created in two stages – 1930s [some of the 1930s stuff was actually repealed in the late 1940s - the glorious "Do Nothing Congress" elected in 1946] and 1960s and then left to grow and grow) was not in existence.

Also blacks were not subject to the full force of “Jim Crow” law in 1876 – but soon the United States army was to be withdrawn from the South and the KKK and the “Redshirts” (and other Democrat armed terror groups) were to take back power in the South. Take back by power by threats and by murder – both of black people and of white people who opposed the terror groups.

Not only was (not “was not”) the Civil War about slavery – especially its expansion (the Charles Beard, Woodrow Wilson, Murray Rothbard “economic class conflict” historical theory is wrong). But the war did not really end in 1865 – the Southern “Bourbon” Democrats (who looked down on the KKK and the Redshirts – but did little to stop their activities) may have had some regard for private property rights (of white people) but leftist Democrats such as Governor Bilbo of Miss combined vicious racism (and anti Semitism) with a hatred of “big business” and a fanatically faith in government (in his own wise hands of course) to do good for “the poor”, “the little guy”, “the workers” (the ancient lie that goes back all the way to Pericles).

Almost needless to say the real causes of Southern poverty – the corrupt and arbitrary nature of power (government and armed private groups) that discouraged private investment and capital accumulation (the “capital” of the old South had been largely human) were not taught – then or now. Any more than many Southern Democrats being IN FAVOUR of “gun control” is taught – I hope the reader can work out which people these Democrats wanted not to be allowed to own firearms.

Even as late as the 1960s the father of Condi Rice had to drive off a Klan attack on his home with a rifle – and the local Church was bombed by the Klan (and some childhood friends of Condi were killed) – the modern South of such people as Senator Tim Scott was, as yet, far in the future even in 1976.

In the future – or in the past, as there had been black United States Senators and Governors before (in the brief period that came to an end in 1876). But the time was not right – and, to be blunt, people were often not really either. Although white politicians were often just as wild spending as black ones – in the post Civil War chaos.

Eastern Tennessee has remained constant since the 1860s – Republican (and the right sort of Republican), rejecting both racial politics and class (“rich versus poor” politics).

And the Bill of Rights? If you need me to tell you why they are important (to the world – not just the United State), you will have to wait for another time (this means – work it out for yourself, they are the essence of limited government, of universal principles not dependent on time or place).

I am tired. It is not 1976 – I am old. For individual people grow old – and die. Only principles live on.

You don’t get me

I’m part of the union.

New video doing the rounds of the right wing blogs right now here in Oz. It was up, then down, then up again. I guess some students, environmentalists and, maybe, possibly, even a few lawyers weren’t happy with its contents.

Come on, I know it’s a union, but you gotta have at least some sympathy for them…

 

H/T Tim Blair

Magna Carta and King John, Nasby and King Charles, and now – the modern world.

Counting Cats and John Galt (and Julie) have already given their thoughts about Magna Carta (the “Great Charter” of 1215) and I will read their thoughts and comment in due course – but first some thoughts of my own…..

I was at the 470 anniversary (yes I know, Captain Pedants, – people used the Julian calendar at the time, so the “real” anniversary is in a few days time) of the Battle Of Nasby over the weekend (at Nasby in Northamptonshire) and was struck by how the principles of Magna Carta (some 800 years ago now – in a few days time Captain Pedants) influenced the thinking of BOTH sides.

That the Parliamentary side rejected an unlimited, absolute, monarchy is well known (the cause of John Hampden, of no paying of “Ship Money” and so on) – but so did the Royalist side. They to believed they were fighting for the law and basic liberties – as did King Charles himself, see his speech at his execution. When Charles said he supported the liberty of people in their lives and goods (that this was liberty was – that liberty was not being part of the government) there is no reason to suppose that, facing certain death and God’s judgement, he was not sincere at that moment (whatever he may have thought before). Or that the men who died in the Royalist army at Nasby were any less sincere in their belief in limited government than the men who died fighting in the Parliamentary army.

Both sides at the Battle of Nasby (and the rest of the Civil War) believed they were fighting for the principles of Magna Carta and it is important to understand why.

Magna Carta was nothing to do with Parliament (which did not exist at the time), still less with democracy (the “divine right of the 51%”). Magna Carta was about the idea of limited government – the idea no one (including the King) could ignore the law, a rejection of the Roman law idea that law is the will of the ruler (or rulers) and may be changed according to the will (the whims) of the ruler or rulers.

Magna Carta was a “feudal” revolt in the name of the basic principles, the private property right principles, of the Common Law – against the idea of the unlimited power of the ruler (or rulers) that Roman Law (the law of the Roman Empire, not the Republic) stood for – ideas that were being reintroduced into Europe in the Middle Ages. The idea of the government being above the law and being able to change any law – this was what those who supported Magna Carta (and both sides in the English Civil War of the 1640s also) opposed.

This was, for example, the idea of the Edict of Quierzy in 877 (not as something new – but as an “old right”) that not even a King of France could take the land of one family and give it to another. Nothing to with Parliamentary government – but, rather, a rejection of Oriental Despotism (for example the Islamic world) where there were no private property rights limits on a the power of the rulers – just as there had been none on the powers of Roman Emperors.

Both sides at Nasby in 1645 (not just one side) held this principle of limited monarchy (limited government) – King John in 1215 is a very different case. King Charles is not King John.

The case of King Charles was not that he could do anything he felt like (certainly not – Charles was no rapist or robber like King John), his case was that Parliament (or rather certain individuals allegedly manipulating Parliament) were the true threat to the basic liberties (the property rights) of the people – such Parliamentarians as John Hampden honestly and sincerely believed that it was the King who was the threat to these property right basic liberties.

But what of RELIGION?

Many of the Parliamentarians (although not the chaplain of Parliament himself, the philosopher Ralph Cudworth – by the way those who seek to discredit Cudworth by pointing out that he believed in witches, simply show their own intellectual dishonesty) were ardent Calvinists – who believed that they were the “Elect” (predestined by God to go to heaven – and that their actions were not freely chosen, but were predetermined by God) – not so much formally “above the law” but the living embodiment of it (to confuse things some Royalists were Calvinists also, the idea that being on the Royalist side automatically meant a formal rejection of Predestination is a myth).

Some, again not all, of the Parliamentarians believed that the laws needed to be radically changed – or rather “restored” to be in line with the Bible. After all the Common Law had always been massively influenced by Christian law (Church Canon Law) and, although they would have been horrified to cite “Papist” sources, Parliamentarians believed (like the Catholic Scholastics) that “natural law is God’s law” (although the Scholastics added “and if God did not exist natural law would be exactly the same” they were natural law thinkers) – and some of them believed that Common Law had drifted away from God’s Law and needed to be restored to it.

This did, in the case of some (not all) Parliamentarians, indeed include the perversity of confusing crimes (i.e. aggressions) against the bodies and goods of others with sins – such things as adultery or dancing or the theatre (or even celebrating Christmas). Thus they fell short of the understanding of both some Common Law thinkers – and of some Catholic (and non Roman Catholic) Scholastics also.

The Royalists seized on this – how could men be fighting for liberty if they wanted to make every sin a criminal offence? Punish people for dancing, or seeing a play, or eating mince pies at Christmas?

And how could they be fighting to defend the weak against the aggression of the government (the King) if they attacked women for the “crime” of being Irish Catholics (as was the case after Nasby – doubly wrong as the women cut up were actually mostly Welsh)?

Thus the side of the King defended the claim that they (not their enemies) were fighting for basic liberty. And they pointed to the lack of due process and basic principles in the “legal system” of the Parliamentarians.

Even before the war Thomas Wentworth (betrayed by the King – in a desperate effort to keep the peace with Parliament) said at his mock “trial” (before his inevitable execution)………

“If a man can be put on trial for his thoughts, English law is dead”.

Thomas Wentworth demanded to know what specific crime he had allegedly committed (not that he allegedly had thoughts Parliament did not like) – as you-do-not-like-me-and-want-me-dead is not a “crime” that the Common Law recognises.

But it must be remembered that the Parliamentarians did NOT claim the right to make fundamental new laws – on the contrary they claimed to be defending the traditional law (based on the non aggression principle of justice – to each his own).

The Parliamentarians claimed to be the true supporters of the “Common Laws of England” – the defenders of the unchanging nature of basic law as it had been declared by Chief Justice Sir Edward Coke (see my post on “Dr Bonham’s case”) and was to be declared in the future by Chief Justice Sir John Holt (he of the period of 1688 and all that).

If Parliament in the 1640s had declared itself in favour of the Blackstone heresy of the 1700s (that Parliament can do anything it feels like doing) much of the Parliamentary army at Nasby (including its commander Sir Thomas Fairfax) would have declared for the King – and hanged, say, Colonel Oliver Cromwell from the nearest tree.

The Americans of 1776 were as religious as the Parliamentarians of the 1640s – but they also shared their belief (or at least the belief of the better Parliamentarians such as Sir John Hampden and Sir Thomas Fairfax, of Nasby, and his wife – the Lady Fairfax who called out “no – not even half of England” when the “trial” of King Charles claimed to be acting for England) in LIMITED GOVERNMENT – that Parliament could not just make up any “law” it liked. The Americans were no followers of Sir William Blackstone and his heresy that Parliament can do anything it feels like doing.

The authors of the Constitution and Bill of Rights were not followers of the determinist, moral relativist (if his denial of basic moral responsibility can even be described as “relativism”), and political absolutist (Legal Positivist) Thomas Hobbes (the enemy of the Whig tradition). They had far more in common with Ralph Cudworth and the Scots “Common Sense” philosopher Thomas Reid – we hold these truths to be self evident. And with the philosophers Noah Porter and James McCosh in the 19th century. And with the Oxford Realists Professor Harold Prichard and Sir William David Ross (Major Ross) of the 20th century – firm enemies of the forces of evil (Hobbes and so on).

The vile and false doctrine, that Parliament can do anything it feels like, is that of the Victorian Maitland (and others) – not of the men on either side at Nasby in 1645, or the folk of Magna Carta in 1215.

As both Chief Justice Sir Edward Coke and Chief Justice Sir John Holt maintained – the fundamental Common law (the rights and liberties of persons) is not the creation of the whims of Parliament or of the King, and it can not be voided by the whims or either.

Sadly this is not the dominant modern view – the modern view is that government can plunder at will, changing the “law” as it feels like. Indeed modern “human rights” documents often call upon the government to plunder MORE, in the name of “Social Justice” (the opposite of the Common Law idea of justice as the non aggression principle of to each their own, private property rights) and “Positive Rights” – again the opposite of what the Common Law tradition (for example the American Bill of Rights) understands “rights” to be – i.e. limitations on government, not benefits and services from government.

Thomas Hobbes may have tried to appeal to the King (and then to Parliament) offering a “philosophy” of slavery and despotism as “peace” – but BOTH sides at the Battle of Nasby would have been horrified to be associated with Hobbesian doctrines.

The position of Hobbes is really the position of King John (that caused the revolt of Magna Carta against him) – that the ruler (or rulers) can do anything they feel like doing, and that there is no moral duty (no moral responsibility – based upon our agency, our free will) to come to the defence of others threatened with plundering by the state.

Modern governments are, too often, really the practices of King John (and Thomas Hobbes) – made into institutional form.

Charlie Kennedy

I didn’t have anything much against Charlie Kennedy. He was a politician who thought he could run my life better than I can, as they more or less all do. But unlike a lot of ‘em, he never really had the means to do very much. Sure he never had a real, adult job as such. He was content to enrich himself at the taxpayer’s expense in Westminster, plus whatever appearance money he could pick up for TV.

The two standout achievements that have been cited recently are opposition to the Iraq war and leading the Lib Dems to a recent electoral high water mark. Neither of these amount to very much in my view. When you are the third party, former home of the somewhat clueless protest vote, you almost have to oppose what party one and two support. Is it much of a stretch to believe the Lib Dems did a cynical electoral calculation rather than sober strategic analysis?

As to the resounding electoral triumph of 2005 you may think people were pissed off with Blair but couldn’t quite vote for Michael Howard and so found themselves, by default with Charlie’s army. What did the Lib Dems stand for? I don’t know. And this is the crux of their problem. Being a chameleon is handy when you are hiding, but useless when people want to know what you actually look like.

Then there is the alcoholism. I don’t much care how much he drank or how drunk he was. It’s not my affair. I can’t for the life of me, understand why having a son didn’t jolt him out of some ghastly habits as it did for me. If alcohol was related to his death (as is being hinted at), then I am less forgiving. Leaving an ex-wife is one thing, leaving a 10 year old boy fatherless is another.

And I know that culturally, we don’t deal with death very well. Perhaps it’s a reminder that one day, we will all be in the box. But I found the over-blown eulogies to this harmless drunk rather preposterous. He was variously the greatest politician of our times (?) best Lib Dem of the generation (you mean better than Clegg, Huhne, Oaten, Lamb or Hancock?), a great statesman (despite never holding any office of state).

Can we not just say “A somewhat amusing, essentially harmless drunk died a predictably early death. He never had a job or achieved very much and leaves a young son”

Is this not the truth?

Stand By Me…

Ben E King died yesterday.

He wrote and sung probably the best love song ever.

I know this because it was played at my marriage. I chose it.

I stood next to Elizabeth quite a few years ago but Ben E King was my wingman.

I don’t seem able to embed it but do listen.

A day to remember the evil of Marxism and the evil of others also.

Today, “May Day”, is a day to remember evil. The evil of Marxist socialism – and the murder of more than one hundred million people by the Marxists over the last hundred years.

To read such works as “The Black Book of Communism”, or the works of such historians as Robert Conquest or Frank Dikotter is to be reminded of the evil of Marxism. And such individual Marxists as Lenin, Stalin and Mao – along with the legion (legion of Devils) of others.

But today is also a day to remember those who failed the moral test of resisting the Marxists – indeed actively parroted their propaganda.

Sadly some “libertarians” were among such people. The late Murray Rothbard, and his followers, must not be forgotten on this day.

Just over 40 years ago (April 30th 1975) the late Murray Rothbard celebrated, actually celebrated, the conquest of the Republic of Vietnam by the Marxists – because (supposedly) for six hours there was no government. In short Rothbard celebrated what was to happen to the Boat People of Vietnam, and to the Cambodians in “Year Zero” (Pol Pot’s Marxist victory over the “puppets of American Imperialism”), and the mass slaughter in Laos. In fact Rothbard had parroted enemy propaganda over the Vietnam war for years.

Nor is this an isolated case. The Rothbardians opposed the whole Cold War – the Berlin Airlift, the Korean War, all of it.

They parroted the lies of the enemies of the West (about American “Imperialism” and so on), and would have let the Marxists conquer the world – in the vain hope that non resistance in the wider world would have meant that the United States was left alone.

As Winston Churchill put it “an appeaser is someone who feeds everyone else to the beast – hoping it will eat him last”.

Without the CONTAINMENT of Marxism the slow forces of economic law (of the fact that socialism just does not work – at least not in the long term) would not have had time to undermine the Soviet Union and so on – but the Rothbardians opposed containment, they would have allowed the forces of Marxism to conquer Europe and the world, without American “intervention” to oppose them (including no CIA operations in the France and Italy after World War II).

Nor is the attitude of the Rothbardians confined to the Marxist socialists.

The Rothbardians openly oppose the support the United States gave to this country, the United Kingdom, during World War II – they would have allowed the National Socialists (Hitler and his Nazis) to conquer this land. The hatred of the late Murray Rothbard for the United Kingdom bordered upon the insane – hence his support for the IRA and so on.

To someone like the Rothbardian Ralph Rico (spelling alert – I am too annoyed to bother checking the spelling) Winston Churchill was not a hero – he was a “man of blood” whom the United States should not have supported against the National Socialists (the real “men of blood” – blud and boden).

To Murray Rothbard such “historians” (really dishonest propagandists) such as Gabriel Kolko and Harry Elmer Barnes were hero figures.

And, no, Rothbard did not confine his support of such beasts to their lies concerning the Cold War or their disguised Marxist account of the American government – which claims that the American government has in the 20th century has always been controlled by “the rich capitalists” or “the big business corporations” (with early 1900s Progressives “really” being the puppets of big business and so on).

Rothbard even supported Harry Elmer Barnes (see his obituary of this vile man) – the holocaust denier. Who first made his name denying German responsibility for the First World War (ignoring such facts as that the German Declaration of War upon France in 1914 was a tissue of lies – and that the German war aim was to dominate Europe and the world), but then went on to deny that the National Socialist (Nazi) government had any policy to exterminate the Jews.

To do as the late Murray Rothbard did, to get into bed with both the apologists for the Nazis and the apologists for the Marxists, is evil – and this evil must also be remembered on this day.

What is a libertarian?

Philosophically a libertarian is someone who believes in “free will” (agency – moral responsibility) the ability, with effort, to do other than we do. Politically a libertarian is someone who believes that an individual (or a corporation – such as a church, club, foundation, trading company….) being “rich” does NOT give people the right to loot. A libertarian is a FOE of the looting of “the capitalists” or “big business” – as well as a foe of the looting of anyone else. Nor do libertarians say “your ancestors stole this land centuries ago, so I have the right to take it now” – that would be the “argument” of a pig, not a libertarian.

Politically libertarians vary from hopelessly (pathetically) moderate people like me – who spend most of our time saying “I would not start from here” and worrying desperately about the old, the sick and the poor and what would happen to them if the present Welfare State collapsed rather than was reformed in the direction of self reliance and mutual aid. To, at the other extreme from me, strong confident people who would press a magic button and create anarcho capitalism this instant.

However, for all of us (from the most pathetically moderate libertarians, such as me, to the strong and proud anarcho capitalists at the other extreme from me) the two basic principles remain the same.

We believe that, with effort, human beings can do other than we do (that we are agents – that we have “free will”, that our freedom exists and is a moral freedom) and that no matter how “rich” (in land or other wealth) an individual or body corporate (trading company, church, whatever) is, their wealth should NOT be looted – and that would-be looters should be opposed.

Quote of the Week.

Mwah, mwah, mwah, ‘darling, haven’t seen you since the Cuba Libre fundraiser at Antonia Fraser’s; shall we sing the Internationale before or after the rosemary and shaved-truffle foccacia nibbles?’

Quentin Letts

Yes, the starting gun on the General Election has started… Yawn… and iDave is no different to the above assholes.

1 + 2 is 75 in Lucy land

It may seem like I am singling out Labour women; not so. I don’t listen to much politics these days, but I happened to see Lucy Powell being killed by Brillo on the internet.
He starts asking her about the deficit and she starts mouthing the line to take, tax rises for the rich, spending cuts and an increased tax base because zero hour contracts will be abolished. In Lucy-world this accounts for £75B.

Brillo asked deeper questions “What tax rises?” “We will reverse tory tax cuts for millionaires by increasing the top rate for people on over £150,000” (Apparently if you gross £150K and net about a hundred, you are automatically a millionaire – in some way). How much will that raise Brillo wondered, Lucy didn’t have the figures. Brillo unhelpfully did. Between zero and £2B. What else he wondered. “Well we’ve identified spending cuts; we’ll freeze ministerial salaries and stuff. Another billion, tops.

Brillo was unimpressed, Lucy looked flustered. “We will increase the tax base by abolishing zero hour contracts” It did not seem to occur to Lucy that this could actually kill some jobs and if you take more from the employer, he’ll pay less tax. Brillo said this would affect about 300,000 people and the IFS reckoned the accounted for £2-3B. “What about the other £72B is you want to tackle the deficit?” he wondered.

She got stroppy (sic). I invite you to watch the video if you can stand it on Guido.
With the fastest growing economy in Europe, it’s a curiously modest ambition to want to borrow a bit less. So even if these Neverland figures added up (and they don’t by a country mile), the best they aspire to do, is to put your kids in still more debt, a bit slower? Desperate, clueless stuff.

God alive

Guido featured this one. It’s quite amazing. I don’t expect much from thoughtless modern politicos, but this maybe a new low. No it’s not child rape, or expenses fiddling, or perverting the course of justice, or starting pointless wars, or taking bribes, or lying (so far as I can tell), this one seems to actually believe this.

I refer of course to that paragon of intellectual rigor, Rachel Reeves. You may recall Labour’s work and pension spokesman couldn’t actually say what the pension level was and she seemed unclear on how it was actually made up. In any other walk of life, not having the most basic command of your brief gets you fired. Not so modern politics.

But today she seemed to surpass even that low point. Rachel it seems, wants to abolish the so-called bedroom tax. What this actually means is that if you live in a house where the government (i.e. the rest of us) pay your rent and you under occupy it, you have a choice. Move to a smaller house appropriate to your needs (and keep getting it free) or pay the extra costs for the extra space. For some reason which escapes me, Labour seems to regard this as the moral equivalent of jailing Nelson Mandela.

Anyway, Rachel wants to abolish this and “with the money saved” spend £175M on Scottish poverty (You will recall how the Scots are diabolically underpaid by the Barnett formula and this is in no way a bribe to the possible SNP voters). Only there’s a tiny problem.

By not asking people to pay extra for houses that are too big for them, government revenue drops. (you see how that works, government gets less money, so it has…less money, not more).

I’m almost embarrassed for the woman. This is presumably Labour policy. Is there any kind of audit going on at all? Do the shadow cabinet just say stuff and it is sacrosanct and unchallengeable? Do doubters of the final victory face a Utah firing squad? No. It’s simply group think and a refusal to think counter-revolutionary thoughts. And she is allegedly some kid of economist.

She could very soon end up around the cabinet table in number 10. Incitatus would do less damage.

Not even the day after tomorrow redux

I suspect that Emma Hall may well end up back home with her parents after university as I doubt there will be any other “safe space” for her.”

JG, no. I suspect you are wrong. This may be the case for those poor saps who are suckered into following this sort of thing, but the leaders, the instigators behind it all, are hard as nails control freaks.

Ms Hall will end up joining some Soros or Rockefeller funded hard left hate group, something with a name like Mothers for a Kinder and Gentler Society, or Fluffy Bunnies for a Clean Environment, and spend most of the rest of her career trying to destroy those with whom she disagrees, before finally being given a State Department appointment to the UN Human Rights Council, providing aid and comfort to whichever genocidal totalitarian theocratic movement is currently squealing loudest about being offended.

If Mr John Stuart Mill was really the heart of Victorian British liberalism – no wonder it collapsed.

An “Old Whig” in politics and student of the Austrian School in economics like me, would not be expected to like the economics of Mr J.S. Mill – his Labour Theory of Value (from his father James Mill and family friend David Ricardo), and his arrogant statement that the “theory of value is settled” (“Principles of Political Economy”) refusing to even mention that dissent existed – even British dissenters such as Richard Whately and Samuel Bailey are ignored (shoved down the Memory Hole), or his Ricardian view of land and rent – refuted some years after the death of Mr Mill, by Frank Fetter (who put the absurd idea of the “Land Question”, which led to Henry George and co, to bed).

However, it is not as a economist that Mr Mill is remembered (which is just as well – when one thinks of his ideas on worker coops or musings that the problems of “production” had been worked out, but not the problems of “distribution”).

Nor is it even as a general philosopher that he is remembered – so the fact that his attacks on Hamilton and so on are pushed by academics, but philosophical attacks upon Mr Mill himself (such as the defence of “self evident truths” by the head of what is now Princeton, James McCosh – 1811 to 1894) have been shoved down the Memory Hole, does not matter too much (other than to grumpy people like me). As for utilitarianism – well even J.S. Mill had problems with the idea that good and evil are just pleasure and pain (as his father James Mill and family friend Jeremy Bentham, the man who wanted 13 Departments of State to control virtually every aspect of human life, maintained) – as if one decided whether, for example, rape is good or evil by trying to measure the pain of the rape victim against the pleasure of the rapist or rapists (to confuse good and evil, right and wrong, with pleasure and pain is a crass “category mistake”).

Did J.S. Mill even believe in agency (free will) – the capacity for real moral choice? Or did he deny it – as David Hume seems to deny it (Hume may be just testing people), and Thomas Hobbes certainly did deny the existence of the human person. To Hobbes humans are just flesh robots and their “freedom” has no more moral content that the “freedom” of water after a dam has been blown up – there is no real moral choice (no agency) in Hobbes. Yet far from rejecting Thomas Hobbes with disgust and contempt as the Old Whigs had, the “Westminster Review” “Radicals” (James Mill and co) held up Hobbes, the arch defender of tyranny, as some sort of guide to be followed. How can one have political libertarianism, if one has rejected philosophical libertarianism – the very existence of human persons, agency (moral choice – real choice) itself? Of course one can NOT – but…….

It is as a political philosopher that Mr Mill is mainly remembered, not as an economist or general philosopher, – mostly for one short book “On Liberty”.

Stop obsessing over the supposed errors of John Stuart Mill in economics and in general philosophy, Paul Marks – behold the wonder that is “On Liberty”.

But is it really wonderful? Consider the following……

“Again trade is a social act. Whoever undertakes to sell any description of goods to the public does what affects the interest of other persons, and of society in general; and thus his conduct, in principle, comes within the jurisdiction of society”.

No it does not – and stop calling the state “society”, you son-of-a-bitch (and as your father was James Mill this vulgar language is close enough). It is bad enough that you also seem to think, like some admirer of Frederick the Great and other Prussians, that the term “the state” is a positive (something good) and not a negative one.

“the restraints in question in question [price controls or whatever] affect only that part of conduct which society [you are doing it again Mr Mill - I told you not to misuse language that way] is competent to restrain”.

Certainly Mr Mill admits in the same pages of “On Liberty” (pages 164-5 of the Penguin edition in front of me) that government interventions, such as price controls, do not achieve their objectives – but there is no problem, in PRINCIPLE, with using the threat of violence (the state) to get producers and traders to do what you want them to do, and to stop them doing peaceful things that you do not want them to do – “As the principle of individual liberty is not involved in the doctrine of free trade” (oh just jump in the nearest lake and drown yourself).

Even outright bans on things, such as booze, are only “infringements on the liberty of…… the buyer” NOT on “the producer or seller” – if one is Mr John Stuart Mill who does not appear to believe that “the producer or seller” has any rights at all. Because selling something is “other regarding”, but buying something is “self regarding” (and other drivel).

We even get old lines about how sellers will adulterate goods – as if losing REPUTATION is no harm in business, as if Adam Smith (and so on) had never written a word and it is in the interests of butchers (and so on) to poison their customers. Real “who protects the consumer?” rubbish – a question rightly mocked (along with “who protects the worker?”) in Milton Friedman’s “Free to Choose” (such questions are no better coming from a “great man” such as Mr Mill than they are coming from envy driven rabble rouser).

As for “public sanitation” and so on – only the state can provide anything (we are back to the world of Principles of Political Economy – where “everyone agrees” with what Mr Mill wants them to, because he shoves down the Memory Hole anyone who does not agree that local government should do X, Y, Z).

At least in this “On Liberty” we do not get Mr Mill’s wonderful idea that people who do not have the income to bring up a family should not be allowed to marry (as if forbidding people marrying will stop them breeding), but …….

But it is CRAP – the “harm principle”, as if anything that “affects the interests of other persons” is O.K. for state intervention (as long as the statists rig the economic argument in their favour) – crime is not about “harm” it is about aggression – violation.

If I charge lower prices or provide better quality goods (or both) than someone else , and he goes bankrupt and kills himself I have certainly “harmed” him (or her) – but that is NOT a crime.

The Common Law idea of crime is based on the nonaggression principle, not on a “harm” principle.

Otherwise we are into such absurdities as Anti Trust “law”.

In his “classic” judgement against ALCOA (the standard “boo-hiss” big business operation – this time in the aluminum trade) American Supreme Court Justice Learned Hand said the following……

It was not inevitable that it [ALCOA] should always anticipate increases in demand for ingot and be prepared to supply them. Nothing compelled it to keep doubling and redoubling its capacity before others entered the field. It insists that it never excluded competitors: but we can think of no more effective exclusion than progressively to embrace each new opportunity as it opened, and to face every newcomer with new capacity already geared into a great organisation, having the advantage of experience, trade connections and the elite of personal.

Now this evil (and “evil” is the correct word) judgement has been rightly attacked by many people – from Thomas Woods and Dominick Armentano in our own day, to the late Murray Rothbard (yes his political history is often terrible – but his economics and grasp of natural justice were sound), to Milton Friedman – and, most strongly of all, by the late Ayn Rand. It takes virtues (hard work and innovation) and pretends they are crimes – it shows a vision of “law” that is utterly devoid of any conception of natural justice (of the basic principles of jurisprudence in Common Law), any of the Founders of the United States (or the Old Whig tradition they came from) would have a taken a horsewhip to “Justice” Learned Hand. Edmund Burke would denounced not just the ignorance but also the sheer vileness (moral evil) of the man.

It also shows (as do so many other cases) that government regulation is NOT “for the benefit of big business” – as the “libertarian left” claim.

But how could Mr John Stuart Mill attack the judgement? All he could say is that “Justice Learned Hand” got his economics wrong. Businessmen have no rights according to Mr Mill – ordering them about with threats of violence does not violate natural justice (which he does not seem to believe even exists) – Dr Bonham’s case (of which I have written on this site before) of Chief Justice Sir Edward Coke would mean nothing to Mr Mill, and nor would the judgements of that classic Old Whig Chief Justice Sir John Holt.

To Mr J.S. Mill (as to Blackstone – but without the natural law writings of Blackstone) Parliament (or the American government – or any government) can do anything it likes in these sordid commercial matters, only the freedom of thinkers like Mr Mill matters – the freedom of “producers and traders” does not matter. Thus we see the rebirth of Plato’s children – the snob “intellectual” (the modern “liberal”) who despises the freedom of anyone who is not like them. Who denies that such things are “really” about liberty at all.

Short version?

The late Ayn Rand was more right than wrong about Mr Mill and his “On Liberty”. And the lady was not complementary……

Who remembers the hundreds of thousands of Christian civilians murdered by the “Young Turks”?

When asked if the German National Socialist movement would get away with killing the Jews, Mr Hitler is supposed to have replied – “who remembers the Armenians”.

In the First World War the Turkish regime (originally nicknamed the “Young Turks” when they came to power, by a coup, in 1908) slaughtered vast numbers of Christians civilians – men, woman and children. Christians generally (not “just” Armenians) were thought to be disloyal to the regime – and they were also presented as evil businessmen and greedy farmers, “exploiting” their Muslim neighbours. Muslims generally, not just ethnic Turks, were encouraged to rise up and “punish” their “exploiters”.

To a far more limited extent same was done to those Jews who had tried to settle in their historic home. As with so many other times over the centuries (check the history, over centuries, of virtually any town in the Holy Land – it is always the same “Jewish community set up at X date, attacked on Y date”) with Jews trying to make a home in the Holy Land, the communities were attacked. However, for the first time since the period of the Ancient Romans, Jews fought back – hence the “Jewish Legion” that fought with the British Army in the First World War.

But it must not be thought the Young Turks were a reactionary regime – on the contrary they prided themselves in being “Modernist” and “Progressive”, this is what attracted them to the alliance with Imperial Germany – which was also considered “Modern” and “Progressive”, especially in its “advanced” statism.

Yes the Young Turks had elections (in the spaces between their 1908 coup and the First World War – a period in which there were at least three wars), but had the Parliament tried to veto their policies (for example had they said that the expansion of state education was too expensive – or would lead to political indoctrination), the difference between real and pretend “Constitutional rule” would have become obvious.

To those who get their history from Rothbardians (who, in turn get their history from socialists and other “Progressives” – check who the late Dr Rothbard cited in his “historical” writings) all the above is “reactionary British propaganda” about the First World War – as is the idea that Imperial Germany had no intention of letting countries (Belgium – or anywhere else) go free after the war. That the academic and political elite of Imperial Germany (closer in Germany than any other country) were determined to bring both Europe and the world (including the United States) under German domination, is also dismissed – although the writings of the German elite are hardly a secret.

Fair enough my dears. Pretend that the killing of hundreds of thousands of Christian civilians in the First World War is just “reactionary British propaganda” (“the British blockade against Germany is the real killing of civilians” – yes stopping ships is much worse than shooting and stabbing people, raping and murdering women, and killing children or selling them into slavery), and that the German Declaration of War upon France (which has the French bombing Bavaria and so on) was not a pack of lies (which it was – as the President of France said in his reply, the German Declaration of War was much more than a Declaration of War upon France, it was a Declaration of War against the “universal principles of reason and justice” themselves – as the German academic elite, historicist-relativist, denied such universal principles even existed), and that the Germans intended to allow countries to go free at the end of the war (which they did not), and that they had no designs upon the world – even though they did.

As with their view of so much else – from Ulster to the Middle East, from the American Civil War, to the Soviet invasion of Finland, to the Korean War, I have grown used to the folly and absurdity of those of our libertarian brothers and sisters who get their history from the late Dr Rothbard – and the legion of socialist and other “Progressive” historians he relied upon.

Lost her Marbles…

Shirley MacLaine has gone utterly tonto. It is entirely possible this is not a new thing. I know nothing about her and care even less. But let’s go…

She seems to think the victims of the Holocaust were being punished for sins from a previous life and that Stephen Hawking gave himself ALS to become “pure brain” unchained from the mere physical. (yeah, unchained from the physical for a physicist.

Normally I would regard these claims as the usual Hollyweird drivel but I shall fisk them. Why? I don’t know. I just feel like it and oddly enough it might make a couple of points. The first is logical (sort of), the second is empirical. Well, you can’t say fairer than that can you?

So let us assume past lives are real. What does that mean? Well, almost everything I’ve heard about reincarnation from Hindu Scriptures, Dr Who and of course shysters implies very strongly a level of continuity of some sort. Without that it is meaningless to the point of being beyond false (as the great physicist Wolfgang Pauli would put it, “Ganz Falsch!” or “Not even false”*. Well that is the first point. In order to believe that you have to believe in evil as intrinsic and in a bizarre sense inheritable. In a way it is like blaming me (born 1973) for slavery in the American colonies. The second point (almost too obvious to state) is that “I” was a Roman centurion at St Albans in the C2nd who worshipped Mithras. What “I” is that? I’m streaming Bruce Springsteen in a house in Cheshire in 2015 trying to type this tripe and find a suitable pro-qualification in computer security.

*I love that from Pauli. I love it.

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