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BBC Values

The more the world knows me

Thrice cursed huh? That’s me out of the running for head of the residents committee then.

Shameless Human Scum Counting Cats Condemned

PYONGYANG (KCNA) — Against the backdrop of angry shouts rocking the country, a special military tribunal of the DPRK Ministry of State Security was held against Counting Cats, traitor for all ages.

Absolute is the trust of the army and people of the DPRK in its ability to vanquish Cats, the enemy of the party, revolution and people and heinous betrayer of the nation.

(more…)

Gracchus knew the reality of it

Reaction to the departure of David Milliband in the media was mixed.  The Guardian/BBC axis treated it like the death of Nelson Mandela, whereas Peter Oborne in the Telegraph described him as a greedy failure.  I suspect the wider populace collectively shrugged, if they noticed at all.  I fancy one or two front benchers in the Labour party maybe secretly very pleased.  Oddly enough, my mind went back to a scene from the 1960 version of Spartacus.

It was the part where Glabarus, the beaten commander of the garrison of Rome is explaining to the Senate how he managed to lose six cohorts fighting slaves.

Gracchus: This is no time for a man of honour to withdraw from public affairs!

Senators: Shame, shame! – Sit down.

Gracchus: This sort of heroic public behaviour is nothing new!  I’ve seen it before– we all have– and I know the meaning of it!

Senator: Crassus acted on a point of honour! – Patrician honour!

Gracchus: No matter how noble this looks from the outside…I don’t like the colour of it.

Senator: Crassus is the only man in Rome…who hasn’t yielded to republican corruption, and never will!

Gracchus: I’ll take some republican corruption along with some republican freedom…but I won’t take is the dictatorship of Crassus and no freedom at all!

That’s what he’s out for and that’s why he’ll be back.

Now I am not suggesting Milliband would like a Roman style military dictatorship of course, neither am I suggesting he is a man of honour like Crassus.  What I mean is, he’ll be back, and I’m not suggesting that would be a good thing either.

Incidentally, when reading the script, I came across this gem.  I think it rather neatly explains socialist politicians these days.

Crassus: For Gracchus, hatred of the patrician class is a profession…and not such a bad one, either.  How else can one become master of the mob and first senator of Rome?

Greedy capitalist corporation really nonprofit state entity.

All the msm in the United States (including Fox News) are treating the “Long Island Power and Light Company” as a greedy capitalist corporation which is letting people sit in the cold and dark while it counts its profits.

There is a problem with this picture. The “Long Island Power and Light Comany” DOES NOT EXIST (it has not done for years).

The thing in charge is “LIPA” the Long Island Power AUTHORITY – a non profit, government owned entity.

If America was going socialist by the considered choice of the people that would be one thing. But the people do not even know – they think they are been persecuted by evil capitalist corporations, because the media (including even Fox News now) implies that this is the case.

And Britain?

No better  – here the 100% government owned Network Rail is called “private” and there is endless discussion of the massive “cut” in government spending that has not happened.

The terrible year of 1986.

A post on an often overlooked year – 1986. A year in which events occured that had (and are having) terrible consequences.

A British person when hearing of the date “1986″  will think (if they think of anything) of the “Single European Act” – formally it came into effect in 1987, but the agreement was made in 1986. Mrs Thatcher was told that the agreement with the European Economic Community (as some still called it at the time) would lead to free trade, an open market, and was, therefore a good thing for a free market person to agree to.

Of course Mrs Thatcher’s information came from officials – note to all politcians, the moment you start to rely on official information (and interpretations) you are lost. For you are no longer really in power – the officials are.

This is not hidesight – I remember as a university undergraduate knowing what the Single European Act was really about, and my friends all knew as well. We all knew that it meant that the EEC (EC – now EU) would be able to impose any regulation it liked in vast areas of life (the British veto having gone  – in these areas) and under vague words like “health” the Euros would be able to crush liberty in this land. The later works of such people Christopher Booker and Richard North just confirmed what we expected to happen. Lord Denning (and many others) had predicted the crushing of Common Law principles by Euro edicts (of course happily extended by British officials – overjoyed to have all restraints on their power destroyed by the Single European Act) at the time.

It was not an open market – it was a “single market” (a very different thing). In an open market customers decide what they want to buy – in a single market officials decide what customers should buy.

However, other terrible things happened in the year 1986.

The other great evil to hit Britain in 1986 was the “Big Bang” in the City of the London – the financial centre.

“But that was deregulation Paul” – it was deregulation, if by “deregulation” you mean government intervention ripping up the rules of private clubs and subtituting its own rules – a government definition of a “free market” defined not by what people had actually evolved over time (by voluntary interaction), but by following the “perfect competition” model from neoclassical economics text books.

There is some evidence that even the people who originally thought up the perfect competition conception only thought of it as theorectical tool (not as a picture of how the world was – or should be), and certainly the Austrian School of economics disputes the concept from start to finish – but the government went ahead anyway. It knew what a market “should” be – and if the people who actually built the markets thought differently, they must be wrong.

Remember although the London stock exchange was created in 1801, there was no law preventing anyone setting up a rival stock market (not before 1986 anyway). And also no law preventing people buying and selling shares “off exchange”. So the City of London (with all its guild like “restrictive practices”) was actually a voluntary institution. In fact a series of private clubs – covering the selling stocks and shares, insurance, commodities (and so on).

What had “deregulation” actually brought? The end of the great partnerships that created the City (the investment banks) – the partners sold up and ran away (not exactly a vote of confidence in the new order – from people some of whom had been in the City for generations). And the self employed stock brokers (who bought shares for the public) and stock jobbers (who sold shares for companies) were replaced by enterprises that did both (no conflict of interest there) and whose employees tended to have no lasting relationship with clients (they see them as cash cows – no more). And, of course, thousands of pages of government regulations (Financial Services Acts – and agencies to enforce them) with endless box ticking.

Somehow this not really seem like “deregulation” to me – in fact I think it will be the death of the City of London. But only time will tell.

Turning to the United States….

An American will say “1986 is that the year the Republicans lost control of the United States Senate?” – yes it was, but I am not concerned with party politics here. I am concerned with policy.

In 1986 an amnesty Act was passed by the Congress (including the Republican Senate) and signed into law by President Reagan. It was not descibed as an amnesty Act of course – the people who voted for it (and Reagan when he signed it) thought they were “controlling immigration” from this point onwards – and (to start from a clean slate) people who had been in the country a long time (and were nice and good – and had puppy dogs with big eyes) would no longer fear being dragged from their homes by evil jack booted thugs from the government. After all this was how officials (and the media – following academia) explained everything to the politicians, just as they had during the 1965 immigration law debate – which first messed up American immigration law.

“But what is wrong with this Paul – free migration, sounds very libertarian”. So it might be – had the Supreme Court (5-4 some years before 1986) not ruled that government (local, State and Federal) had to give “free” (i.e. paid for by taxpayers) education and other benefits to illegal immigrants – otherwise it was “discriminating” against them.

And the few nice illegals (the ones with the puppy dogs with big eyes – the people who love America dearly and do not wave the Mexican flag and pray for the destruction of the United States, not even slightly) who got amnesty? There turned out to be three million of them and (of course) many more millions of illegals followed them into the United States, believeing that they would eventually also get amnesty. As Comrade Barack is doing by Executive Order right now, after all the illegals vote for him even though they are not citizens, thanks to the “Motor Voter” (a driving license is enough to vote) Act he supported as a Senator.

“We should try to win their support Paul” – a person (regardless of ethnic background) who loves the United States can enter legally right now (join the military – serve your term, and you have citizenship). Yes the American immigration system is a mess (and has been since at least 1965 – the Teddy Kennedy Act), but 1986 made it worse – and made it farcical.  Someone who believes the United States unjustly took land from Mexico in 1848 (ignoring the fact that the Mexican government, a military dictatorship,  also wanted war – and had its own expansionist plans) are not likely to vote for people who do not hate the United States. Odd that they are so eager to vote for Barack Obama – of course not odd at all. But have “free migration” as long as there are no government benefits (“free” education for the children and so on) – except, oh dear, there is that Supreme Court judgement  (see above) of some 30 years ago.

Lastly there is the another major Act of Congress from 1986 – one that may help to destroy civilisation, and not just in the United States.

Again neither the people in Congress or President Reagan understood what they were supporting (the officials, media, and academia – advised them again). They thought they were supporting an Act that prevented evil hospitals throwing women on to the street in the middle of giving birth (seriously – that is how the Act was presented to them, after all it is so wonderful for the reputation of a hospital to throw a women who is the middle of giving birth on to the street, they were doing it all the time……).

What did the Act really do?

It made “emergency” treatment (without proof of payment) compulsory at all private hospitals with an ER (formally a hospital was not covered by the Act if it in no way had anything to do with government schemes – in the age of Medicare try and avoid any involvement with government schemes…..).

Wonderful – free treatment for the poor (indeed for anyone – one might try and chase them up afterwards, but about half of them never pay so what is the point….). Accept someone has to pay to pay for all this “free” treatment – so the bill (as with all government mandates) got passed on to the people who were paying their bills. The people who had carried on with private insurance in spite of the previous government interventions – such as Medicare and Medicaid (which has the same effect on health cover costs as government backing for student loans had on college tuition fees – they sent costs into the upper atmosphere) and the endless regulations (insurance mandates and so on) that have so increased costs. No surprise – insurance bills (that now carry all the “free” treatment) have exploded since 1986.

American government (State and Federal) interventions have been pushing up the cost of healthcare since doctor licensing spread from State to State like a plague (that this is about “protecting the sick” was exposed as a lie by Milton Friedman – more than half a century ago, it really has the same purpose as lawyer licensing, to increase producer incomes by keeping people out of the market) and the FDA (this agency was made even worse in 1962 – turning the development of new medical drugs incredibly expensive and delaying their introduction for years, thus costing tens of thousands of human lives). However, it was the Act of 1986 that really sent American health cover into a death spiral – that pushed the costs of insurance (for the old mutual aid “fraternal” system had long been undermined) beyond the reach of ordinary people.

Most people still oppose “Obamacare” (which will complete the destruction of independent health care in the United States – replaceing it with crony capitalist “private providers” who will depend upon the government – till the government decides to get rid of the crony capitalists, as it already has with the providers of government backed student loans), but the majority of people that are opposed was not a big enough majority to stop it (let alone repeal it). After all  everyone agrees that “something must be done” and the “something” is always even more collectivism – “free” health care for all “children” up to the age of 26 (SCHIP on steroids – but paid for by the insurance companies, i.e. by their customers) no “denial” (i.e. honest priceing) of medical cover for “pre exiting conditions” and on and on – the honest insurance companies (oh yes there are some) will be bankrupted over time, and only the cronies (those in bed with the government – hoping to become “private providers” for government funded health cover) will remain. Already more and more employers are dropping health insurance for their employees – as they have worked out that the fines will be cheaper than paying the inflated (inflated by Obamacare regulations) costs of medical insurance.

Does anyone really believe that Mitt “Romneycare” Romney is going to be willing or able to repeal all this?

So American health care will fall – and more than this will fall. For this entitlement program is added to all the existing entitlements – the ones that are already bankrupting the United States.

So the United States will go into de facto bankruptcy. And it will not fall alone – most other major Western nations stand on the knife edge of economic collapse already. The fall of the United States will drag us over the cliff with it.

So, overall, 1986 was not a good year. It may even lead to the “Progressive” dream (of Richard Ely, mentor of  “Teddy” Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, more than a century ago) of the desruction of “selfish capitalism”. For the history of the last century (including 1986) has not been an accident – and nor has it been some hole-in-the-wall “conspiracy”.  On the contrary it has been out in the open  – for those who bothered to look.

The Progressives were open in their aims – and even in their means. They openly said in their books (the century old books that, for example, Glenn Beck tried to bring to public attention) that they would use schools, universities and the newspapers to fundementally transform society – by manipulating opinion (both public and political elite opinion). Truth does not matter to the Progressives (it has never mattered to them) only their cause matters – and they will use any lie and distortion to further their cause – the cause of the destruction of existing society, of “selfish capitalism”. The Fabians in Britain had much the same aims – and used much the same methods. Including the desire to dominate education – not just at university level, but at school level (via text books and “teacher training” – step forward Comrade Bill Ayers and “social justice” education).

The books are more subtle today – such books as “Looking Backward”, “Philip Dru: Administrator” and “New Deal” (oh yes there was such a book) were a lot more blatent in their love of tyranny and hatred of freedom (sorry hated of selfish capitalism) than “Freakonomics”,  “Nudge” and “Thinking – Fast and Slow”, but they have the same message. The message is as follows …. most people are vermin (“Homer Simpson” types) they are bound to be maniputed by someone (most likely by greedy capitalists) so why should not the noble we (the enlightened elite) manipulate them – for their own good. “Thinking Fast and Slow” is the most fundemental of the lot – it openly denies that people (apart from, nudge and wink, the noble author and his noble readers) are human beings, they do not really think (they do not really have free will) so someone must control them – for their own good……. Yes it is “So You Think That You Think” the fictional collectivist book (aimed at making people accept that they are vermin – fit only to be controlled by an enlightened elite) that Ayn Rand makes up in her novel “Atlas Shrugged” back in the 1950s (the collectivists never really change – and their “science” is actually as old as Plato).

“But Paul – how do you know the authors of Freakonmics and Nudge share the idealogy of the author of Thinking – Fast and Slow?” Errr  – the praise they give the latter work (on its front and back cover – and when interviewed) is a little hint. I did tell you that this was not a hole-in-the-wall conspiracy – it is quite open, if you look. What more do you want – for the evil elite to have glowing red eyes and tenticles? Sorry, but they look like ordinary folk – and have gentle voices full of charming wit (whereas their enemies, people like me, sound like old storm crows).

The Progressives may not share the doctrines of the Marxists (although modern Frankfurt School “cultural” Marxists do not seem to make a big thing of the actual doctrines of Karl Marx either) – but they share their aim (the destruction of selfish capitalism). Ditto the alliance with the Black Flag people (the so called “anarchists” who happily cooperate with the Red Flag Marxists in such things as the international “Occupy” movement and the unions the collectivists control, for you see the Black Flag “anarchists” do not really oppose collectivism, they just want to rename the state “the people” and then get on with the looting and killing) – the Progressives may (privately) sneer and their uncouth allies – but leading Progressives (such as Mr George Soros and the other rich people who fund such things as the “Tides Foundation”) still fund them. And Progressive teachers and college Profs understand that both the Red Flag Marxists and the Black Flag “anarchists” are allies – allies against “selfish capitalism”, the old world they must destroy in order to build their perfect world.

Of course I am a reactionary – I do not believe that the interventions (the ever higher government spending and ever greater regulations) make the world a better place. And many of the Progressives do not believe that either – they believe (along with the Marxists who follow the “Cloward and Piven” doctrine and others) that the ever greater statism will destroy the present world – and, thus, (in their minds) leave things open for the building of the perfect world.

The “Fabian Window” (perhaps the most blatent example of evil turned into a work of art – and the Fabians were natural allies of the Progressives) makes this clear – wolves in sheep’s clothing, trickery and lies (openly praised), the world held over a fire and beaten with hammers (in order to create a better world – regardless of the human cost). George Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells openly talked of the tens of millions of human beings they wished to kill (not because they hated them “I do not hate anyone” said Shaw), but simply because they were in the way – in the way of creating the perfect world (the Heaven on Earth). And these evil people remain “liberal” heros to this day – ever seen a television show or a Hollywood film where they are shown as “bad guys”?. And, of course, they went on to support the Soviet Union – with Mr and Mrs Webb pretending that tens of millions of people were not being murdered (remember lying is O.K. if it is for the Progressive cause). Mrs Webb had some doubts, over the mass killings in Poland when the Soviets invaded in 1939 – you know when they were the allies of Adolf Hitler, but Mr Webb simply told her that “in a century no one will even remember this”. All was justified to build the “New Civilisation”.

And the American Progressives were the same. With Hollywood personalities busy doing such things as justifying the Soviet invasion of Finland – “I have been there and it seemed a little Fascist Republic to me” said Lillian Hellman (wife of  Dashiell Hammett [1929 "Red Harvest" evil capitalist America "Poisonville"] – together they made the prototype “celeb” Progressive power couple, both in Hollywood and in literary circles). One could always tell when Hellman was lying – her lips moved, not only was Finland not Fascist but Hellman had not been there.

One could go on and on – and people may already be bored (although in 1986  – and 2012 the Progressive celebs are just as powerful in cultural circles). And there is the standard defence (made by “anti McCarthyites”, even though Joe was actually interested in Communist agents of influence in the government not in the culture,  since the 1940s) “they are not Marxists”.  And they may not be – they may not have read a page of “Das Kapital” . The “Progressives” just share the objectives of the Marxists – the extermination of the existing society of  “selfish capitalism” (and anyone who defends it – rich or poor “henchman of the capitalists”), and the building of the wonderful new perfect world.

However, I am such a reactionary that I not only believe that that their interventionism (their ever higher government spending and ever more regulations) makes the world worse (not better) than it otherwise would be -  I also believe that their wonderful new perfect world (the one they dream of creating on the ashes of the existing world) would be Hell on Earth.

Damn you for offering us food choice

A visit from SAoT’s matriarch meant that she and Mrs SAoT were watching the Beeboid last night.  After the usual ‘the Olympics is great’ type show tediously explaining the finer points of swimming and something about volcanoes, there was this utterly vile North Korean type thing called “the men who made us fat” or something.

 

There had apparently been two previous episodes of this junk, but since I don’t watch the Beeb I had happily missed them, but this was the sort of background noise that eats into your soul.

 

First, if you want to see who made you fat (assuming you are fat) don’t search conspiracy websites, don’t look to the government or Pravda or the medical community to explain it to you, and certainly don’t listen to a word that some paid advocacy group come up with.  No, just look in the mirror.

 

If someone cannot take personal responsibility for what they choose to ingest, instead blaming some third party against whom they are helpless, then they are more or less doomed.  Needless to say, said advocacy groups are all too keen to relieve them of the tiresome responsibilities of thinking, exercising self-discipline and restraint.  

 

So, to “the men who made us fat” So far as I saw it (I lasted about 25 minutes) UK obesity is all the fault of evil corporations and the men who work in them.  Please note, no women work for food companies in senior roles apparently and cannot therefore be evil.  It’s all men’s fault. 

 

The central thrusts seemed to be stuff which is marketed as healthy may not be.  This woman who was in some kind of regulatory role in the past had taken it upon herself to explain to hapless proles that ‘Sunny Delight’ may not have been that healthy.  Anyone not able to read the label with a list of the contents?  Then there was the staggering revelation that if a Donut is organic it doesn’t mean it’s healthy (sic).    

 

Almost quivering with excitement the program makers had seized upon a report by JP Morgan (boo hiss) to the food industry that government regulation may damage them and that if they were able to take action to prevent that it would be a good thing.  But guess what? Those evil swine in Cadburys did not shift from chocolate to lentil bars ~ oh no.  They continued to sell chocolate and offered some sport equipment if you collected wrappers.  Then they interviewed another woman in a regulatory capacity of some sort (therefore good and the source of all things holy and virtuous) who explained that you need to buy really rather a lot of chocolate to get the free equipment.

 

Well obviously.  The equipment is an additional cost to the company but the Beeb decided to suggest that ‘a person’ would need to eat about forty quids worth of chocolate to get a netball.  No-one thought to say that if a class of kids ate say one chocolate bar a week and simply kept the wrappers then handed them in to the teacher instead of littering, they would have plenty of additional sports stuff double quick.  They gave the regulatory type, an almost uninterrupted bit to camera with patsy type questions for about five minutes before printing two lines of Cadburys reply which was on screen for a few seconds. 

 

Well at this point I could stand no more, but if I may, the food industry, advertising, evil men (etc ad nauseum) do not make me or you fat.  We do by eating and drinking too much.  This is a free choice and it’s far better to have it than be a slim and healthy eastern European shivering in a queue for government bread or a starving North Korean slave.  I am given to understand thhose unfortunates are about five inches shorter on average than their South Korean neighbours due to malnutrition.  Now that is truly evil, not some guy freely selling chocolate bars.     

 

Ayn Rand said “The man who lets a leader prescribe his course is a wreck being towed to the scrap heap” Sounds about right to me. 

Impartial BBC Quote of the Day

The Tea Party… I mean, chimps or what?

BBC Scotland presenter Janice Forsyth guest Susan Morrison, during a debate about political humour. The subject in question was which politicians are funny. The TP was mentioned twice, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, and George W. Bush once.

If other targets emerged – some, I don’t know, Scottish ones, maybe – I apologise (although not for highlighting the crack from the unbiased public employee); I switched off after about three minutes. Maybe other Kitty Kounters have better blood pressure.

Edit: total, indignance-induced, incompetence. My apologies to Ms. Forsyth are without reservation.

Was “The Cruel Sea” really socialist propaganda?

This is a genuine question – in that I do not know the answer (and would like to know). I only know “The Cruel Sea” from the film (about the Royal Navy against the German “U Boats” in the North Atlantic during World War II) so I do not know what the book (or whatever) was like.

I ask because the BBC radio production (which I heard an episode of on Sunday) of “The Cruel Sea” was full of socialist propaganda – and some of it was very odd.

For example, I can understand (just about) someone who has just seen an oil tanker ship blown up by a German submarine, rage against people who waste fuel by “speeding to their golf club”. It would not be my first thought whilst watching men die – but people are different, perhaps someone else would blame people who speed to golf clubs (rather than the Germans).

However, a lot of the rest of the production was harder to accept. For example the Captain of the new Royal Navy ship lines up the crew and tells them that they have been unemployed for years because of the greed and selfishness of other people. Whatever the faults of 1930s Britain – it was not exactly famous for “greed” and “selfishness”, it was a rather austere place. Then he tells the crew that now everyone (on the ship) will work together for the common good and….. (a speech that might have come out of the mouth of a Nazi SS commander rather than a Royal Navy Captain – who would have been more likely to say “carry on men” and not wasted any more time).

And later sailors talk of how the rich are going to be made to pay for a “proper health service” after the war. Are the words “health service” in the originial story? “If they spend all this money in war, they can spend it peace” (says a sailor), yes just carry on the capital consumption you are doing in war to finance the Welfare State in peace time – I am sure that will work out fine.

Also another sailor talks of how his father’s farm was runied after “the bankers went bust in 1931″.

Britain went off the gold standard in 1931 (if people insist on calling the credit bubble antics of Governor M. Norman of the Bank of England and Ben Strong of the New York Federal Reserve a “gold standard”), but did “the bankers” go bust in this year?

I rather thought that British (private) bankers in the 1930s were rather careful and traditional people (in three piece suites and bowler hats). But perhaps they really were reckless high rollers, who “went bust in 1931″. Perhaps whilst “speeding to their golf clubs” and, thus, causing peope to either burn or drown in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic.

It is all clear to me now.

Almost needless to say, no one seems to show any sign of religious faith. Everyone is an athiest in a foxhole, and no one calls out to God (or recites a prayer to steady nerves),  silly me for thinking some people might.

Perhaps the next BBC  Radio Four “dramatisation” will be on the Battle of Midway.

Lots of stuff about U.S. Navy sailors talking about the glories of socialism – and blaming evil Republicans when Amercan ships are sunk.

“Conservative” philosophy.

“Reason is, and ought to be, the slave of the passions”.

David Hume.

“Reason is the slave of the passions” might be interpreted as a cry of despair – a position that human beings could not control themselves, and are the slaves of urges (either instinctive from our biological evolution, or from environmental experiences – the pointless “nature v nurture” debate,  pointless because there is no room for real human choices, for humans to actually be “beings”, either way). Just because something is a cry of despair does not mean it is not true – human agency (free will) might be an “illusion” (although who is having the illusion if there are no agents, no beings, no “reasoning I”, no MINDS to have the illusion?).

But reason OUGHT to be the slave of the passions?

So if, for example, a man has a passion to rape and murder women (before there is a comeback – I fully accept that David Hume was personally the mildest of men), not only will he be unable to resist this passion, but that he OUGHT not to resist it? That the thing he OUGHT to do is to use his reason (reason defined as no more than a problem solving ability – no different from a computer) to work out the best way to rape and murder women without getting caught.

Why OUGHT?

“Because it is inevitable Paul – because reason is the slave of the passions…..”.

But is that not an “ought from an is” – of which David Hume is not supposed to approve?

Whatever this Humeian doctrine is, it is not “conservative”, it does not represent either the mainstream of Judiao-Christian tradition or the tradition of the mainstream classical world (including the athiest parts of that tradition that are athiest – such as the philosphy of Epicurus).

Yet David Hume is often called a “conservative” inspite of the intense radicalism of the above. This would have astonished even friends of his – such as Edmund Burke (an example of how two people can be friends without either one accepting the other’s philosophy).

The conservative position in philosophy was (then as now) represented by Artistotelianism (please not “Aristotelianism” does not mean “everything Aristotle said”) – although also by the “Scottish” or “Common Sense” School.

What was that?

Well it was the following positions…

That the material universe is real – that it exists independently of our mind’s perception of it.

That the mind also exists, that is not an “illusion” (who is having the illusion if the mind does not exist?).

And that right and wrong, good and evil (I am not going to go into the technical differences between “the right” and “the good” here) exist – they are not just whatever we want them to be. NOT just “boo and cheer words” as the “Logical Positivists” (great admirers of David Hume) were later to put it.

Sound familar at all?

It should – because these three things are also the foundations of Aristelianism (in all its forms – from Thomistic Christian to Randian athiest). It could be argued that the “Scottish School” simply stripped these concepts of Scholastic language (and thus with associations with the Roman Catholic Church).

However, strict Calivinists were quick to claim that the Common Sense school “sat man in judgment of God” so that if (for example) God ordered people to rape, rob and murder this was NOT automatically right just because God ordered it (like mainstream Islam, strict Calvinism DEFINES good and evil by what God orders and forbids – there is no room for reason in fundemental judgement).

Be that as it may, the Common Sense “Scottish Philosophy” School (basically Artistotelianism presented in a Protestant form) contiuned in the United States till very late 19th century (with such people as Noah Porter of Yale and especially James McCosh of Princeton) then the “Pragmatists” (more on them later) and others took over.

Under different names the essential position of both Artistotelianism and the Common Sense school continued. For example, in England with the “Oxford Realists” – Cook Wilson, Harold Prichard (a favourate of mine) and Sir William David Ross (it is no accident that Ross was also a leading scholar of Aristotle – and there were many other students of Aristotelianism at Oxford in the period).

Such people had no great need of the Scottish School – after all they could look back to the Aristotelian tradition of Oxford itself (thanks to the Church of England never falling fully into the hand of strict Calivinists). Or, if they wished, the independent (but fundementally akin) philosophy of Ralph Cudworth of Cambridge (the great foe of Thomas Hobbes).

Cudworth being the chaplin of Parliament during the Civil War. A man who rather confuses historians (a problem they get round by ignoring him) by being chaplin to the side that often claimed to be “The Elect” (a term meaning the saved, the people who have been chosen by God to go to heaven – the term has a strong Calvinist-Augustinian implication that they were chosen before they were born, indeed at the begining of time) whilst also being the strongest FOE of the doctrine of predestination (the doctrine that people are chosen to go to be saved before they were born – and it is naught to do with that they CHOOSE to do) in the 17th century English speaking world. Of course some people of a Presbyterian (Church of Scotland – not Cumberland Presbyterian) background deny that predestination, even so called “double predestination”, implies determinism (the denial of human agency – i.e. that humans are “beings”), indeed James McCosh denied it (to do otherwise would have meant he had to break with the Presbyterian Church). But I have no intention of examining such a position – for the brutal reason that I hold it is not worth examining.

Anyway…. Certainly even in the 18th century English thinkers such as Josiah Tucker (Dean of Gloucester) did not need to run up to Scotland to find out what to think about theology, philosophy, or even economics (for true economics must be based upon the concept of the reasoning, the choosing, “I” – this Tucker understood just as Ludwig Von Mises understood it). They were perfectly capable of working these things out from first principles that are common to human mind – regardless of nationality, “race”, “class” or “historical period”. Kant (greatly influnenced by Hume of course) may have been wrong about many things – but he was not wrong about the universal nature of the human mind (as Ernst Cassirer showed in the 20th century – even a modern German philosopher does not have to submit to irationalism and absurdity, not if he CHOOSES not do so).

Of course there are pressures upon human beings. Biological pressures (for example it is difficult to think clearly if one is in terrible pain – or if one is born with brain damage) and environmental pressures.

For example, it would be difficult for a German philsopher (in certain periods) to come to nonabsurd conculsions – when their education carefully excluded nonabsurd writers (neither the various schools of Aritstotelianism or the “Scottish” Philosophy of Common Sense were much taught in Protestant Germany) – difficult but NOT impossible, as the already mentioned example of Ernst Cassirer shows. Cassirer was given the same education in Kantian philosophy as Shopenhauer or Nietzsche, but did not come to the same conclusions. Of course Nietzsche may be a tragedy – as, it is CLAIMED, we will never know how much the physical damage to his brain impared his thinking, much the same excuse is given to explain the rantings of Martin Luther in old age, his physical illness, it is claimed, may have disordered his mind.

EFFORTLESS agency is not given to human beings. We must make an effort (sometimes a very great effort) to overcome both our bilogical passions and environmental conditioning (even if it is not formal brainwashing – which in the case of much modern “education” it actually is). And sometimes, the effort is simply too great, but that does not mean it always is – that humans are always just flesh robots (not beings) with no choice in what they do and, therefore, no moral responsbility for what they do. The human mind (the reasoning “I”) does exist (contrary to Shopenhauer – our very self awareness PROVES it exists) – and we can free ourselves (to some extent) so that we can think and work out alternatives – and choose between them.

Now the “Pragmatists”.

William James was not the first of this school (that was Charles Pierce) nor was he the longest lived of its major figures (that was John Dewey – warning on him, he lived long and changed his opinions a lot), but William James was in his time the most influential Pragmatist.

And William James is often cited as a “conservative” philosopher – after all he “saved religion”, he was the most cited modern thinker in American pulpits (other than both Catholic and “fundementalist” Protestant pulpits -by the way the first “Fundementalists” did NOT reject biological evolution, it was only later when natural science became fused, in culture,  with false theology and philosophy, that many “fundementalists” made the tragic error of rejecting BOTH false philosphy/theology AND rejecting natural science).

But errrr…. .how did William James “save religion”?

When one cuts away all the double talk and evasion he “saved” relgion by denying the existance of objective truth.

If there is no such thing as objective true and false, then religion can not be objectively wrong (because nothing is), or (a slightly different dodge) there may be objectively right and wrong things in some matters (such as natural science), but not in matters of opinion (this is the position of the Logical Positivists – see above for them, or see CEM Joad “A Critique of Logical Positivism”, 1950, for why the doctrines of A.J. Ayer and co do not make sense – even in terms of natural science). This sort of thinking leads such modern philosphers such as John Gray (not a logical positivist, in case you are getting confused at the back there – or are you too busy looking out the window…) to mock the very idea that religion is about “truth claims” – how silly says this BBC “A Point of View” thinker – as William James showed……

Wiliam James neither believed in objective truth or objective right – as he put it “the right is just the expendient in our way of thinking”. So if people WANTED to believe in religion – that was fine.

Better, a thousand times better, honest athiesm than this sort of dishonest (and utterly vile) “defence” of religion.

The honest athiest tries to refute religion. But the William Jamesite (or the Logical Positivist for that matter) does not even take its claims seriously (no more than Shopenhauer did – or his “enemies” the Hegelians did).

How “simple minded” to treat a religion as making truth (objective truth) claims. As “intellectuals” we do not bother with such sillyness…. If religion is “true” it is “true” in a different sense……

A pox on all of this.

Anyway this way of thinking is treat religion (and athiest philosophical truth claims also) as “myths” – things to live by, but which have no objective truth.

This is to be seen in Sorel (directly influenced by William James) who invented “myths” in order to justify violence – as his belief (which is as valid, according to this way of thinking, as any other belief) was that violence was the only way that people could live worthwhile lives – so myths had to be invented to justify violence.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Mussolini loved the work of Sorel (as well as aspects of Nietzsche – and of Karl Marx when the bearded one responded to vast amounts of logical argument and empirical evidence against his theories, by attacking the very CONCEPTS of BOTH logical reasoning and empirical evidence).

What mattered was to give people a reason to live – and to expand and take POWER. It did not matter if the reason was true or not – because nothing was really true.

But it is not “just” the above.

Those useless “Christian theologians” (in America as much as Germany) who so disgusted Dietrich Bonhoeffer (leading him to use savage language against “the Church” – langague which is gleefully used by the very “modernists” who were, in fact, the target of it).

These people did not care that the National Socialists told lies about the Jews, because they (the “theologians”) no longer believed in objective truth anyway (and where there is no truth – there can be no lies). Besides the “religion” of the “theologians” (and the great bulk of people who followed them) had become (following Hegel and others) just philosophy – and false and empty philosophy at that. They no longer believed they were making objective truth claims – claims that were nothing to do with “race” or “class” or “historical period”.

Who is going to be prepared to die for the truth – if they do not believe there is any such thing as (real) “truth” anyway?

Risking one’s life was for suckers – people who believed the various “myths” created for them. Most of the ministers of religion in Germany would not even risk their incomes (for their pay came from the state) let alone their lives – and nothing in the “philosophy” or the “theology” they were taught told them they were doing anything wrong.

Of course there were the “saving remnant” who managed to free their minds from what they had been taught, and worked out (from first principles) what was right and what was wrong – how they must stand with the truth. But a small minority of good people (no matter how brave – even smashing into the heart of the enemy like Paladins of old) are unlikely to defeat a great majority of the wicked, or the INDIFFERENT. That is why education is important – not because it invents truth and right (it does neither), but because good education can help people (at least some people) stand with what is true and right, and false education can corrupt people (no apology for the use of the word “corrupt”).

This is not to say that the wicked are not responsible for their actions. Even some of the most wicked had moments when they understood what they doing (for example when a helpess child appealed for mercy just before they murdered the child), but they hardened their hearts with the aid of what they had been taught (false philosphy and relativist “myths”) and continued.

“This is all old news Paul”.

Is it?

The favourate philosopher of the Oslo mass murderer (I will not use his name – because he wished for his name to be famous) was William James, and for good reason.

If there is no objective truth than his claim that he was fighting a war (not killing the unarmed and helpless) can not be a false (because nothing is objectively true or false).

Also what he did can not be wrong (because there is no objective right and wrong) – so if it floats his boat, it is both “true” and “right” in the terms that William James and the Pragmatists (and so many others).

And, if David Hume is correct, then not only could the Oslo mass murderer not have done other than he did (because “reason is the slave of the passions” and he had a passion to kill people), but he OUGHT not to have done as he did – because reason OUGHT to be the slave of the passions.

If one has a passion to kill people the only role for reason (as with a computer rather than a human BEING) is to work out the best way to kill as many people as possible. And this is exactly what the Oslo mass murderer did.

Thus, from the point of view of modern philosophy (that revolt against Aristotelianism – against Common Sense) the Oslo murderer is on solid ground. No real point against him can be made.

However, if this revolt against old the traditions of human (of human agency) thought is what passes for “conservatism” then I want nothing to do with “conservatism”.

Just as if William James style religion is religion – then BUGGER RELIGION, better it perish from the Earth than be “defended” in such a vile way.

Human affairs are subject to certain laws – laws that do not deny human freedom (agency), but in fact include it.

Humans can not do anything they want to – we are constrained by the laws of the objective physical universe (if you deny this – try jumping to Mars, right now, just with the use of your physical body not with the aid of tools).

However, neither are humans just flesh robots whose every action is determined by genetics and/or environment. We do NOT have effortless agency (we are not Gods – we are subject to both biological and environmental pressures), but we do (to some extent) have agency (if we make the effort – sometimes a very great effort, and even with a very great effort we may still fail) – we are agents (beings), with some capacity to reason (truly reason) and to CHOOSE. Thus such words as “right and wrong” and “moral responsbility for your actions” are NOT empty and meaningless. Nor just a matter of “race”, “class” or “historical stage”.

Lastly…..

My friend Antony Flew (sadly no longer with us) is often talked of in terms of religion – his opposition to it most of his life, and his move towards it in his last years.

However, this misses the point. The Antony Flew when he was an athiest was the same man as when he accepted God.

Antony Flew understood that the physical world was real – independent of our perceptions of it.

Antony Flew understood that our minds are real also – that the reasoning “I” actually exists (that agency is not an “illusion” – for, if the mind does not exist, who is having the “illusion”).

And Antony Flew understood that there really are such things as right and wrong, good and evil (again I am not going to get in a techical account of the differences between the right and the good – so if you demand such a technical account, please jump into the nearest lake).

Antony Flew is an example of how LITTLE difference religion makes in these three (fundementally connected) matters.

Religion, in the sense of Christianity, is a series of truth claims (notebly about the existance of God and who Jesus was – “but John G. says….” you know what you can do with that tosspot) it does NOT determine our response to the above.

Industry Against An Evil Tax. BBC readers not sure…

I have mentioned the iniquity of APD (air passenger duty) before

This is excellent news and long overdue.

But the BBC comments are a cracker…

No one forces you to fly, so stop moaning and pay up, stay in the Uk or travel by road, rail or ferry.

I’ve choosen to stay in the UK for holidays for the last 2 years and forgo the ‘being treated like cattle’ on the plane or like a ‘terrorist’ at the airport and I’ve enjoyed every minute of every holiday, whether it be to Derbyshire, Manchester or Scotland.

- Anthony Rat

Sounds a barrel of laughs! Maybe it’s just me living in the vicinity of Manchester (and within very easy access of the Derbyshire peaks) but it doesn’t exactly seem a holiday as such. And quite frankly my last two foreign jaunts were to Turkey and Poland so please, please explain to me how they could have been easily accessible by road or rail (not to mention that Polish railways are dreadful and haunted by the spirit of Uncle Joe). I might be reading too much into that comment but it does seem to suggest that Mr Rat seems to think air travel is in principle worse in some sense than surface travel. Now far be it from me to point out the bleeding obvious but the airline game runs on very tight margins and every plane I’ve been on in recent years has been pretty (or entirely) full so in terms of the dreaded CO2 and all I very much doubt my wife and I could have driven (plus a ferry or the tunnel) to Istanbul more efficiently. Anyway seeing as I live in the North West of England where it rains all the time I can’t see a trip to Scotland being much of a morale boost!

keep the taxes! really cheap air fare is environmentally irresponsible anyway!

family of six? why not try a nice two week holiday to Orkney (i know a gorgeous self catered house up there which sleeps 9 for significantly less than £400 a week!)

or if the Scottish Isles don’t appeal there are always the classic options of Brighton, Blackpool and Wales. Plus, this way you support the UK economy!

- MayaGold

Two weeks in the Orkneys. There is the cube-root of bugger-all up there. My uncle once lived there in a futile attempt to evade justice. Oddly enough his nemesis in the shape of DS Donnelly of the Liverpool Serious Fraud Office arrived there by plane because surface is a pain. I mention this because APD is particularly severe for UK internal flights (essentially they tax you for each landing and take-off in the UK). So APD really doesn’t help the UK economy. Now you might be thinking internal flights in this country are silly and this is often the case apart from when they aren’t. If my co-conspirator RAB decided on “a nice two week holiday to Orkney” he’d undoubtedly fly because it’s a hell of a drive from Bristol where he lives. Or what about a Londoner who fancies a break in Belfast? But knowing RAB he’s much more likely to go to Sri Lanka or Cyprus because he’s a very bad man. As to the suggestion of Blackpool… Have you seen Blackpool recently? It’s like Dante’s Inferno. It is a dreadful place full of pissed Scousers having fights. Or you can see various variety acts at the end of the pier who you thought were dead. Like The Krankies.

So the airlines are against the tax – bearing in mind we do not levy VAT on air travel where should the government get their money out of this industry.

As ever the airlines think it is a god given right for people to fly no it is a luxury and as such we should remove APD and levy 20% VAT on the flights.

- quicksesh

That is a vile comment. It starts by assuming there is a God given right for government to get money out of flying. It goes on to suggest nearly 108 years after Kill Devil Hills that flying is a luxury! Not on WizzAir from Liverpool to Katowice it isn’t! If civilization has taught us anything (and quicksesh was clearly not at this lesson) it is that ordinary people can now live in ways that great sultans or emperors or generalized potentates of yore could not even dream of. That is the point. It’s a sort of diffuse version of the Nietzschean will to power. quicksesh’s vision (if I may call it so) is pathetic. Anyway of course the airlines are against this! They’d be failing their share-holders if they weren’t. I mean when was the last time you saw a turkey carrying home a Christmas tree?

It is fortunate that Orv and Will are dead because that comment would have killed them. They saw a brighter future as did so many others whose memory we betray by this new cult miserableness.

Feck off Frack Off.

Bugger it!  The alarmist bullshit being flung around by the greenies and the braindead media over the estimated 200 trillion cubic feet of gas locked inside the Bowland Shale deposit has dragged me out of blogging oblivion. I have been paying attention to the” shale gas drilling causes earthquakes” story.  You see, I live a handful of miles distance from Cuadrilla’s “ground zero” test rig near Singleton, Lancashire, so I have a dog in this fight.

I’ll begin with a recent Grauniad story. It seems that some of Singleton’s residents have seen a film called Gasland, a twisted, fact-lite piece of brazen propaganda that does for shale gas what An Inconvenient Truth is doing for Carbon Dioxide.

While villagers are sympathetic to the aims of finding new sources of energy for the UK, and hopeful it might create jobs, many have seen the US film Gasland, which shows allegedly contaminated tap water and the devastation wreaked on swaths of farmland across the US as a result of untrammelled shale gas exploration.

Ooooh!  Untrammelled devastation!  Bye-bye Singleton and the annual Maize Maze.  I knew you well (sic).

There is nothing “alleged” about methane in tap water.  It is recognised that,  in certain areas of the US, methane from natural seepage has been present in tap water for decades, long before fracking occured.  While there is plenty of speculation that fracking may cause contamination of drinking water the proof remains elusive and anecdotal (rumour and alarmism).  The outright alarmist lie is the statement I have highlighted.  Try Googling for it.  All you’ll find is fears that farting cows are causing global warming and a lot of ifs, buts and shale gas handwringing alarmism from greenie blogs.  What you won’t find is actual devastation from untrammelled shale gas exploration.  Phelim Not Evil, Just Wrong McAleer thoroughly debunks the Gasland claims.  Shame the Grauniad numpties didn’t do a little investigative journalism of their own.  They prefer to frighten science-ignorant Singleton pensioners out of their rocking chairs instead.

Yes, there were two minor seismic events near Blackpool this year.  A 2.3 pointer on 1st April and a 1.4 pointer on May 27th.  I didn’t feel a thing.  My ornaments didn’t rattle and my roof didn’t cave in.  So the minuscule tremors were caused by Cuadrilla drilling thousands of feet below the Lancashire earth.  So what.  But then, it seems that the Frack Off protestors trying to prevent Cuadrilla boring holes, equate earthquakes  no one can feel and that are only detectable using instruments with the real devastation caused by movement in the Japanese subduction zone earlier this year.  It’s the same stupid greenie groupthink that Clegg is using to prevent the building of new nuclear power stations in Britain even though we don’t have seismically induced tsunamis.

Of course, Al Jabeeba gets its ha’porth in.

It is “highly probable” that shale gas test drilling triggered earth tremors in Lancashire, a study has found.

Gotta love those scare quotes.  To be honest, I’d put money on that high probablility being an absolute.  You see, I don’t think it’s possible to drill thousands of feet down and not cause small, seismic tremors.  However, I’m not about to put my house on the market and flee Lancashire while waving my arms in the air and screaming blue murder.

But the report, commissioned by energy firm Cuadrilla, also said the quakes were due to an “unusual combination of geology at the well site”.

It was the wrong kind of geology wot dun it.  So Says the Cuardrilla commissioned report which absolutely has to be biased.  What a feeble excuse, eh Beeboids?

It said conditions which caused the minor earthquakes were “unlikely to occur again”.

I doubt that.  But the quakes are so tiny they are not a major cause for concern.  The Beeboids and Frack Off on the other hand…

Protesters opposed to fracking, a gas extraction method, said the report “did not inspire confidence”.

Of course it didn’t.  Shale gas doesn’t feature in the greenie dystopian nightmare utopian dream of blackouts boundless renwable energy from wind turbines and solar panels that don’t produce much energy at all actually.  Also, a shale gas boom will kick the feed-in tariff into the long grass and revive our struggling economy.  Hopefully, all those subsidy parasites greenie industries will go to the wall when an enlightened government plugs the udders of the sustainable energy cash cow and distributes last fags and blindfolds.  Well a girl can dream, can’t she?

A study by The British Geological Survey placed the epicentre for each quake about 500m away from the Preese Hall-1 well, at Weeton, near Blackpool.

Yeah, unfortunately the British Geological Survey scientists don’t believe that drilling for shale gas at Preese Hall poses a threat of devastating earthquakes.

But that’s not good enough for Frack Off.  Oh, no.  The zealots need to invent an even bigger scare and here it is:

Protesters have called for an end to fracking. There have been concerns that potentially carcinogenic chemicals could escape during the process and find their way into drinking water sources.

The tigers might escape from Blackpool zoo and chow down on kids anti-fracking protesters.  Does this mean we have to have them put down as a precaution?

“The contamination of irrigation water means that everyone’s food supplies could potentially be affected,” the Frack Off spokesman added.

It’s going to affect everyone?  Fracking takes place 2 kilometres down.  Please explain how the hell fracking fluid is going to contaminate surface water and affect everyone.  Can one catastrophic blow out from the Preese Hall well end the food chain as we know it?  Are we talking swathes of Grauniadistic “untrammelled devastation” here?  Do I seriously need to worry about buying Cape grapes, Heinz beans and Spanish broccoli?  Or is the Frack Off spokesman pulling alarmist soundbites out of his arse?

Friends of the Earth’s senior climate campaigner Tony Bosworth said: “This report shows fracking for shale gas caused earth tremors in Lancashire – experience in the US shows it could also pollute air and water supplies.

Polluting air as well as water?  So not only will fracking fluids poison our water it’s going to be raining the bloody stuff too?  Can this shale gas monster possibly get any worse?  Well Tony Bosworth thinks so.

“Extracting shale gas would suck vital funding away from clean and safe energy alternatives that could create thousands more UK jobs.

Mass unemployment and no more wind turbines.  Oh noes!

“An early seismic detection system won’t be enough to make local people feel safe – there should be no more fracking in Britain until the health and environmental impacts are fully understood.”

Protecting people from cheap energy minor earthquakes that don’t affect them in the slightest.  How thoughtful.

Of course, Greenpeace has to stick its oar in too.

Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace, added: “Anyone who believes shale gas is the solution to our energy needs is being hopelessly naive.

Annoyingly realistic you mean. Or maybe the US shale gas boom is an illusion…

“There are significant unknowns about the local and global impacts of fracking, illustrated by the conclusion by seismologists that recent fracking in the North West was responsible for a minor earthquake.”

Two earthquakes actually.  And I couldn’t give two hoots about the global impact of quakes that won’t even create ripples in my Earl Gray.  However, I do give two hoots about access to an affordable and secure supply of constant light and heat as the climate cools.

He said fracking was a “distraction from the real challenges” and that “real energy solutions” would be found in using renewable sources.

Real energy solutions using renewable sources that produce zero energy when the weather goes moody, as it frequently does.  Ahah hah hah hah hah hah hah.  Please, do fuck off Doug Parr and take your humourless and people harming stand up comedy act with you.

Of course, we can’t go without a final word from WWF.

Nick Molho, head of energy policy at World Wildlife Fund UK, reiterated a call for a moratorium on fracking in the UK.

“These findings are worrying, and are likely to add to the very real concerns that people have about fracking and shale gas,” he said.

Real concerns?  Or concerns manipulated by the alarmist tripe the likes of the Grauniad and the eco-loon NGOs are so desperately trying to spread through the local population (to very limited success).  I’m surprised that they haven’t advised us to think of the chiiiiiiiildren.  Maybe they’re saving that one for the final volley.

Let us hope that more level heads will weigh the independent geological reports against the alarmist bias on the Cuadrilla Preece Hall rig and give the green light to drill, baby, drill.

On a final note, last week we held a County Council by-election after our local councillor sadly died.  The greens (who achieved a humiliating last place) were running a rather bizarre, bipolar campaign.  They were against Cuadrilla and shale gas on the grounds that methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.  On the same ticket they were campaigning for the creation of a local rubbish tip…

BBC “A Point of View” – as long as the point of view is from the left.

The collectivist Alan De Bonehead, was “balanced” by the leftist “Karl Marx was correct” (about almost everything) John Gray (see my previous post on that scumbag), and now John Gray is to be “balanced” by the leftist Will Self.

Three leftists in a row – giving their “point of view”, which is (of course) also the point of view of all BBC news and current affairs programmes, and almost all of their fictional and entertainment output also.

So the BBC clearly use the commitment to balance, in their Charter, to wipe their backsides on.

And Mr Cameron is finally going to get rid of the BBC tax (the “license fee”) and defund the left?

Not a chance.

“It is because he is government with the Lib Dems – they will not let him get rid of the BBC”.

If anyone believes that is the reason…. well I have a nice bridge to sell you.

Why I despised “Tinker, Taylor, Soldier, Spy” as a child – and still do.

When the recent film started to be discussed and conversation went back to BBC television series, I found myself left out. Unlike everyone else (it seems) I hated the story – not the acting (which was first rate) the story. As I child I thought it made no sense and was highly suspicious of whoever wrote it.

However, in the recent discussions I found I could not clearly remember WHY I hated the story and disliked the author at the time. I could explain why I (as a fat, bald adult) dislike John “The Constant Gardener” Le Carre now – but not then.

So I went back and looked at the book itself (when in doubt – examine the text). And I have been reminded of the reasons I despised story and author.

There is no real reason given for Bill Hayden’s treason (no apologies for the “spoiler” – the work is not a “who-done-it”). Some (most) intelligence officiers betrayed Britain and other Western powers because of Marxist (or “Progressive” – as some of the American traitors denied being formal Marxists) ideology, some (actually very few) betrayed freedom for reasons of money or blackmail….

But with Bill?

No motive at all. Along with some waffle about “American vulgarity” (hang on – Bill H. was supposed to be antiAmerican by the early 1940s, when the “low” end of American culture was Glenn Miller and the Big Band sound, and nothing much was happening culturally in Britain) we are just given some internal thinking by the “George Smiley” character about how “Bill himself had been betrayed” as he had been brought up with the idea of Britain as a world power and this dream of power had been snatched from him by the decline of Britain – no more chance to “divide and conquer”.

“Divide and conquer” is the false theory that the British Empire (especially in India) was based upon promoting wars between groups of locals (who supposedly had been living in peace before the evil Brits arrived) and then taking over.

But “George Smiley” does not treat it as a false theory, he does not even treat it as a theory – to him it is a automatic (assumed as a starting assumption) truth. He takes the anti British line as automatically true – and this is the “hero” of the book, not the open traitor Bill H.

“But plenty of libertarians are anti Imperialists”.

Quite so (just as one can name many good, in methods and outcomes, British imperialists – one can also name many BAD ones). But my point is not “pro Empire”, it is that the hero takes a rabid bit of anti British propaganda as an obvious truth (something he just assumes in passing), as he does all the guff about general “exploitation” and so on.

Why should such a man want to be a British intelligence officer? Unless he is one of “Karla’s” agents himself, his life just makes no sense.

Forget the idea that Britain was (on balance) in fact a force for good (not evil) in the world. Let us say that someone believed that the anti British (past) case was TRUE – but wanted to defend Britain now, as a way of helping to defend the West generally.

There is not a sign of that in “George Smiley” either – not a sign that he has any positive opinions about free enterprise or anything like it. Again no reason for such a man to be an intelligence officer in the Cold War (the struggle between the West and international Marxism) – unless he was a Marxist intelligence officer (i.e. working for the other side).

So there is no reason for the treason of “Bill” and no reason for the loyality of “George”. Both are characters who make no sense at all. And, thus, the story makes no sense and the author is (at best) senseless.

Does “George” admire and respect the British past? Clearly not (as he, without even critically examining them, accepts all charges against Britain).

Does “George” respect and support post Imperial Britain as part of a general defence of Western Civil Society?

Certainly not – he clearly despises such “capitalist” ideas.

Does “Bill” have an ideological loyality to Marxism (or some other Progressive ideology) as most real traitors do?

No – he must be the only person in history  (even the history of  fiction) who wants to become a Soviet citizen without being explicitly Marxist. On the side of the “oppressed”  against the “oppressors” and all the other Progressive, Social Justice,  lies.

Is he being bribed or blackmailed?

No.

The United States is hardly (in the age of Obama) a free enterprise country now – but one could make the case that in the late 1940s and 1950s the United States was basically a free enterprise (pro freedom) nation.

So is this what “Bill” hates? As a real traitor would.

No – he has some vague (unargued) cultural problem with a “vulgar” United States, at a time (1940s and 1950s) when most Americans wore a tailored suit (dressed far better than most British people did) and when a far higher percentage of Americans went to “high” culture events than British people did.  And when most Americans were “better read” than most British people were.

I repeat it just makes no sense, the whole story is just drivil.

So it came as no shock to me when the author of this story turned out to share many of the ideological assumptions of the enemies (both external and internal)  of the West.

John Gray, Karl Marx and the BBC.

Those who hoped that  BBC Radio Four had invited a balancing speaker to follow the collectivist Alan De Bonehead, on its “A Point of View” show, were doomed to be disappointed. However, knowledge would help people come to a better judgement. For example, that the BBC idea of “balance” is to invite one collectivist to deliver a series of little unchallenged speeches,  after having another do the same thing for weeks. Also some knowledge of John Gray himself would have prevented disappointment (by preventing false hope).

The John Gray of his pro liberty period is long gone. Although some people (Paul puffs up his chest at this point and points at himself) did point out even back in 1984 (when Gray’s “Hayek on Freedom” came out) that concentrating on Hayek’s philosophy (rather than his economics or work in the history of ideas) was odd (from a libertarian point of view) as Hayek’s philosophy was greatly influenced by determinism (the denial that humans are BEINGS – i.e. self aware agents, capable of making real choices) and that, taken to its logical conclusion, Hayek’s philosophy was radically inconsistent with his pro freedom economics and politics. John Gray seemed to see the problem himself – but this thought did not turn in the direction that might have been hoped for.

John Gray long ago resolved the contradiction – by rejecting pro freedom ideas in political economy as well as in philosophy. And becomming someone who would support “New Labour” (before he fell out even with that – by the way when someone says they are “beyond left and right” it normally means they are a leftist, a libertarian may well say “I am not on the right” but they are unlikely to say I am “beyond” left and right – just as only a rather evil person is likely to say they are “beyond” good and evil) and be praised by such delightful people as George Soros and George Walden (the Obama supporting ex Conservative M.P. who, for example, argues that private schools tend to be good and state schools tend to be bad – and therefore private schools should be banned).

However, it should be noted that John Gray has not refuted any of the principles of political economy, for as (for example) Ludwig Von Mises explained these principles are based in the logic of human action so that efforts to refute them are self defeating (such as trying to disprove one’s own existance).

As he can not refute political economy, John Gray (who hates its pro freedom implications) is forced to ignore it – for example in his recent “A Point of View” broadcast for the BBC, praseing Karl Marx and blaming “capitalism” for just about everything.

As well as being a “great philospher” (no comment) Karl Marx was also specifically a “great economist”.

In reality Karl Marx was no such thing – he contributed nothing of value to economics, just taking the errors of David Ricardo (his weak areas – but not his strengths) and taking them further (i.e. further into error). Refutations of such things as the Labour Theory of Value (and there were many – long before the so called “Marginalist Revolution” of the early 1870s) were never refuted by Karl because he could not refute them. It is not a matter of Karl Marx not refuting Carl Menger’s “Principles of Economics” (1871 – Marx was getting on a bit by that time and not in the best of health, so a failure to write a refutation would be understanable). Marx never even attempted refutations of such attacks on the Labour Theory of Value as that by Richard Whately (his Oxford Introductory Lectures on Political Economy were published as early as 1832 – and in them it show that the LVT is based on simple mistakes in logical reasoning) or Richard Bailey (also when Karl was young) or Ferrara in Italy (ditto) Gossen and Rau in Germany (Rau was actually the standard text in German when Karl was young), and so on.

As goes the LTV so goes it all – Marxian “economics” is a series of errors, most of it which were not even original to himself and which were refuted when Karl was still young – and yet he attempted no counter refutation (because he simply was not able to defend his economic ideas).

However,  in Gray world, Karl Marx was a genius – who (for example) proved that crises in “capitalism” was “natural”.

Of course, boon-busts are not “natural” at all – they are produced by the expansion of the money supply (a credit money “boom” pushed by government Central Banking creates the terrible “bust”). Indeed, as someone who has studied Hayek, John Gray knows this perfectly well. It is important to remember that John Gray is not making an innocent error – he is LYING.

“But Paul, Dr Gray may simply disagree with Hayek – there may be an honest difference of opinion, nothing to do with telling lies”.

In which case Dr Gray would present his reasons for holding that Hayek (and so many others) were wrong in thinking that boom-busts are not “natural” (some special fault of “capitalism”), but Gray does not do this. Just like his hero Karl Marx, he CAN NOT do this – he can not refute political economy, so he has to ignore it (or admit that his whole attack upon “capitalism” is nonsense). There is not even a sense that Dr Gray is presenting “a point of view” – the entire speech was presented as objective fact from which no one could dissent.

Anyway, according to Gray, the genius Karl predicted the “modern world” where all manner of things (from financial insecurity to social and cultural breakdown) are caused by the vile “capitalism”. Karl Marx was “wrong” about Communism Dr Gray admits (in half a line – we are not even told in what sense Karl Marx was “wrong” about Communism), but otherwise was correct about everything.

“Capitalism” destroys the society on which it depends, destroying middle class values such as thrift by such things as “zero interest rates” (yes, of course, in a free market money lenders would natually rush about lending people money for no interest – this is nothing to do with government Central Banking, not even slightly) and leaving everything good shattered and destoyed by the “inhumane” force that is “capitalism”. The world is dominated by evil money manipulators who undermine everything else……. of course Gray does not attempt to refute the case that the size of the “financial industry” (in relation to the rest of the economy) is due to a series of government interventions (rather than “capitalism”), because that would involve him trying to refute political economy which (like Karl) he is unable to do.

The only good thing of which some shred remains is “what is left of the Welfare State”.

The implication of these words is plain – that the Welfare State (in Britain and other nations) has been savegely slashed by evil pro “capitalism” people.

In reality the Welfare State (in Britain and everywhere else) has grown for many decades and has never been bigger – government now spends vast sums (both in money terms – as a proportion of the economy) on its education, health, old age, income support (and so on) schemes. Civil Society has been effectivly crowded out by the spending, taxes, and regulations of an out of control state (but no – we must not let the truth raise its ugly head, it is “capitalism”, not the state that is the cause of X, Y, Z, bad things).

Again it is not ignorance at work. John Gray knows perfectly well that the Welfare State has been growing (for many decades) not shrinking, “what is left” of the Welfare State is just a vast stinking LIE, by Dr Gray.

However, why should lying bother him? After all he rejects objective truth as part of the “enlightenment” he despises. One might as well try and explaining to him that what he calls “capitalism” or “market forces” is just part of civil society – human beings making choices, voluntarily interacting. That is all this “capitalism” is – and far from undermining “the society it depends on” it is at the heart of it.

Where human beings are free to choose this is their opportunity (and their burden – for freedom is a burden, the burden of choice). As such historians as M.M. Postan and Alan Macfarlane long ago pointed out, the world of the free peasant (say in Kent) in the Middle Ages was no less “capitalist” (in the sense of “market forces” – i.e. human choices) than our own. There to human reason (and human effort) were pitched against pityless (pityless – because mindless, not having a reasoning “I”) nature. The nature of plague, and storm, and drought. People might (and did) pray to God – but He did not alter nature to humour them (in Christian theology there is no contradiction in this – God creates the universe, it has certain laws, God is not a slot machine who one prays to in order to get made-to-order changes in physical reality, God MAY answer a prayer, but if He does it will be in His own way – so if you just pray for food, rather than work for it, you are likely to go hungry).

To survive (let alone to prosper) human beings (yes – beings) had to choose to use every ounce of their reason and every ounce of their physical effort.  Some people chose to give in – and they died. Some people chose to do the best they could, but things were just too hard for them  – and they died also (for nature, as stated above, is mindless and, therefore, pityless). But some people in civil interaction survived (yes sometimes luck, as well as their own efforts and their efforts in civil interaction with others, played big role) – they developed their farms and their workshops and they developed all aspects of society (“social” as well as “economic”) and passed on their work for future generations to build upon.

This is not money madness (although, no doubt, some people have always been obsessed by greed), or a reductionist way of seeing the world, obsessed with making nature “yield what it has never yielded before”. On the contrary,  people were complex – even the poorest farmer, artisan or trader normally have other concerns (his, or her, family, religion, a love of song and story, or whatever it may be). Humans, even the poorest and most “uneducated”, are beings – they are complex reasoning agents, filled with many things both good and evil (and with the capacity to choose between them). But, yes, economic life is part of life – and economic activity depends on human choices and human effort,  just as much as any other human activity does.

This is what a thinker such as Edmund Burke or M. J. Oakeshott understands by “society”, ordinary human beings in their daily lives choosing to do the best they can. To work, to have a family, to make their best efforts (in very difficult circumstances – for the human condition has a very dark side) to reject lying and cheating and stealing. To enage in civil (non violent) interaction – whether building up a business enterprise, or helping one’s children learn to read (and some even very poor people could read), or taking part in a church service (or in working men’s, or other, club or society). And thus, slowly, painfully (and with many setbacks) making the world a better (but never perfect) place over time.

Human “beings”, making “choices”, “voluntarily” interacting as part of the very definition of “civil” (i.e. voluntary) society. John Gray would reject all of this, he would point that these very concepts run counter to the basis of fashionable philosophy in academia.

And in (by implication) admitting the hatred of the academic (and other) elite for the very philosophical concept of human freedom – John Gray would finally be telling the truth.

The hive mind…..from Standard Charted Bank and the BBC to George Stiglitz and the Financial Times newspaper.

It is sometimes said to me that I think the influence of academia (i.e. collectivist academics) via the media (and directly), is greater than it actually is. Perhaps I do – however events tend to feed my “paranoia” (if that is what it is).

This morning (Thursday) I listened to BBC Radio Four’s “Today Programme” (“your version of whipping yourself Paul” – well our political and cultural leaders listen to this show, so should we not sometimes check what is said on it?).

A “economist” (modern definition – someone who studies economics at university) from Standard Chartered bank was on.

The Bank of England had done a good job (said this “economist”) by keeping interest rates low (i.e. by trying to prop up the demented credit bubble – but that is not how he put it) and the government had done its part by “reducing the deficit” (I was not aware that all the higher taxes, 50% top rate income tax… 20% national sales tax…., and the TALK of spending cuts had vastly reduced the defict). But now was the time to do more – the government should “invest in infrastucture” (he meant spend more money, thus contradicting his point about reducing the deficit, as long as the money was spent on corrupt and/or absurd government building projects).

The government was to finance its building projects by “borrowing at low interest rates to finance this investment”. Govermment spending is, of course, not “investment” – but it was the line about “borrowing at low interest rates to finance [government] investment” that caught my attention.

Comrade Stickinsect (sorry I mean “Nobel Prize winning” “economist” George Stiglitz) and his article in the “Financial Times”  only yesterday. His stuff was just the same!

The Financial Times is an “interesting” publication (in the same sense of “interesting” as the old Chinese curse). Targeted at business executives and political policy makers it combines business news with collectivist politics – one expects it to be read (or rather written) by a James Bond film baddy “businesman” stroking his white cat in the hollowed out volcano base, while talking (via the wonders of modern technology) with his totalitarian allies about the final destruction of the West.

In reality, of couse, the “F.T.” is read (and written) by ordinary corporate executives and government officials (as well as by “journalists” of the same type) – but in their dreams they are….

Given this background, Stickinsect’s article was what one would expect.

Keynesian economists had always said the economy was an unsustainable bubble (liar – traditionally Keynesians have denied that credit money expansion causes a boom/bust, according to Keynesianism the problem is “animal sprits”  not credit money expansion), the article begins.

And the article ends by saying the West has not learned from the Great Depression of the 1930s or from the experience of Japan over the last two decades.

In this Stickinsect is actually telling the truth – but he quickly turns truth into a lie, by saying that the lesson that should have been learned is that “stimulus” in America (i.e. the government spending orgy – under both Bush and Obama) was too little and has not gone on long enough (after all endless “stimulus” worked so well in Japan, and under Hoover and Roosevelt in the United States, oh yes it started under Herbert “The Forgotten Progressive” Hoover).

More “fiscal and monetary stimulus” is (of course) exactly what the Standard Chartered Bank corporate “economist” was pushing this morning, and (most likely) what the “Economist” magazine will be pushing tomorrow (Friday).

And in the middle of Stickinsect’s article?

Higher taxes for “the rich” of course (the 50% income tax rate in Britain has been a total mess – so the United States should do something similar), and companies should be threatened (although Stickinsect does no use the word “threatened”) with higher taxes unless they “invest” more – i.e. spend money on stuff the government wants them to spend money on (private ownership remaining in theory – but government direction in pactice, in much the same way as German “War Socialism” or “National Socialism”), if they obey the commands of government they should be rewarded with lower taxes (crony capitalism at its most obvious – everything political, with companes turned into the partners-of-governments like the disgusting General Electric organization).

And, of course, the banks should be made to “start lending again” (what was that about Keynesians being against credit bubbles?).

And….. governments should borrow at low interest rates (i.e. the ones created by Central Bank credit/money expansion – i.e. bubbles) in order to “invest” – i.e. spend even more money on demented projects (“high speed rail” anyone? Methinks this was on their minds – or those little ratholes that pass for minds in these people).

The point of all the above is not really to show that George Stiglitz is a lying sack of shit, who contradicts himself with every other line he writes (that would hardly be news). But it is to show how mainstream he is – how the big banks and media organizations (and so on – including the political elite) are not uninfluenced by collectivist academics, on the contrary they act as (toned down) echo chambers for them.

Social Justice and the BBC

Presently BBC people (both in London and in Manchester) live in fear of the practical manifestation of “Social Justice” – i.e. that all income and wealth are a “social product” belonging to the collective (“the people” as a whole) to be “distributed” for the good of the “least favoured” (the poorest).

The rioters and looters are, of course, just putting this doctrine into practice – but the BBC people have suddenly remembered that they are rather wealthy, and so are scared (although even the very poorest are attacked and robbed by the looters – because they define “the people” as “me and my fellow looters”).

However, only last Saturday on the BBC Radio Four show “From Our Own Corespondent” (a “factual” show – not one the BBC’s communist comedian productions) the BBC journalists were busy pushing the “Social Justice” line.

For example, there was a report on Colombia in which the BBC reporter denounced the Colombian government for not giving people in a certain area health care. “Health care is a right!” the lady declared – not saying “it is a right in the Colombian Constitution” (according to that depressingly stupid document almost everything is a “right”), but “it is a right” in some abstract way – as if Robinson Crusoe on his island is having his rights violated because no one appears to give him health care.

And, of course, most of the population of Scotland were having their rights violated before 1845 – because, in most of Scotland before that date, there was no complusory income support (let alone free health care at taxpayer expense). Indeed almost all of humanity (which even in the Roman Empire was actually mostly made up of farmers to whom nothing was given by the state) have had their rights violated – only in recent decades in a few nations have “rights” finally been undersood. Everyone else in human history was wrong – indeed a criminal who violated peoples rights.

The lady did mention, in passing, that the local Communist terrorists (the FARC) blow up hospitals and kill any doctor the government of Colombia sends into the area – but this was a minor detail (not worth considering). It was the government who were the criminals really (slaves of corporations no doubt) violating the rights of the people.

And there was a report from Spain – this time praising the “indiginant ones” i.e. the people who (apart from visits to the local welfare offices of course) spend their time occupying town and city squares in Spain and demanding that the government (the Socialist Party government – although this went unmentioned in the report) do more to help them.

The “Nobel Prize” (Alfred did you actually set up any such prize for economics?) wining economist Stickinsect (who has endless “debates” with his fellow moron Paul Krugman – also a “Nobel Prize” winner) was quoted in support of the “indignant ones”, “this is not how a market economy is supposed to work” he said – denouncing the mass unemployment of the young.

Of course the idea that Spain (with its 1978 “Christmas tree of rights” Constitution putting unions above the law, and giving “rights” to income support, education, health care……) is not a “market economy” did not enter his head – or that of the BBC reporter.

No, it was all the fault of “the banks”. How many bank bailouts have there been in Spain and how does this compare with the amount of money spent on the Welfare State? And what do pro union laws (and minimum wage laws, and job security laws, and……) do to the labour market?

And, if you really do not like banks, perhaps we should go back to Roman law on “deposites” and loans (as some Spanish economist have suggested) of course this would mean much less credit rather than more credit, but…..

SHUT UP – no one is allowed to ask any questions, the “indignant ones” will get angry with you if you do.

The radio show went on and on – report after report.

And this was one show out of thousands – on radio and television.

And I am supposed to care if wealthy BBC people get robbed by the very forces of  “Social Justice” they spend every day pushing?

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