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Epstein Thrashes Rubenfeld on Natural Law; Panel on Redistribution of Wealth

I would swear that I saw, for the first time ever, outright anger in Prof. Epstein’s face the first time I watched this clip. Never mind, you can hear it in his voice as he gives Yale Law School’s Prof. Jed Rubenfeld a concise and pithy jolly what-for for a**-hattery.

This is the final 5:48 of a panel discussion described as below. The whole thing is quite interesting. Steve Forbes also seems to have some understanding of what’s what. Andy Stern of the infamous SEIU brings along his flag and his violin. And the odious Prof Rubenfeld is…well, odious. Although his question in Part 11 is one we all get asked a lot, and I’m glad to have Prof. E.’s response.

Best part first. The series begins with Part 1, below Part 11 here. I think you can just click through the segments from there.

–J.

Uploaded on Nov 17, 2009

The Federalist Society presented this panel discussion on Redistribution of Wealth at the 2009 National Lawyers Convention on Thursday, November 12, 2009. Panelists included Prof. Richard A. Epstein of New York University Law School; Mr. Steve Forbes, Chairman and CEO of Forbes Inc. and Editor of Forbes Magazine; Prof. Jed Rubenfeld of Yale Law School; Mr. Andrew L. Stern, President of the Service Employees International Union; and Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit as the moderator. Part 11 of 11

The whole thing is very much worth seeing, highly recommended, and be sure you have your kidney basin at the ready for Prof. Rubenfeld’s first appearance:

D. Greenfield / Sultan Knish: The Green Socialists of Mars

A most interesting, longish piece in which Daniel Greenfield discusses the place of Climate-Alarmism, and of turn-of-the-20th-century SF, in what one might call “The Project for Social Change” (cue the Usual Suspects). Follow the Kitties to Zanzibar: Read the whole thing.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Green Socialists of Mars

Posted by Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog — 14 Comments

We live in a strange world in which the weather is a subject of furious political debate. People have been arguing about the weather ever since the first rainstorm caught the first man without the umbrella that he did not yet know how to make, but they didn’t hold political debates over it.

For the last fifty years, the anti-weather side has been insisting that the world is headed toward a Frostean apocalypse of ice or fire. …. The end of weather was here.

[ ... ]

The original error of climate researchers was their assumption that planets were more fragile than they truly are and could be undone by a nuclear exchange or even by a few coal plants. Carl Sagan, who had done much to popularize unscientific paranoia about nuclear winter and global warming, warned that the Gulf War’s oil fires would lead to a miniature nuclear winter.

They did not.

The mingling of philosophical paranoia over a godless universe and political pacifism disguised as science shaped not only Sagan’s musings, but the entire ideology of weather apocalypses which derived from the conviction that ungoverned man was bound to destroy his environment.

[ ... ]

Socialist science fiction had become a booming field in the late 19th century. Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward had envisioned time travel to a Socialist American utopia in the year 2000. It was a bad book, but a popular bestseller because it used the frame of pseudoscience to depict Socialism as both a practical model and inevitable. …

Novels such as “Politics and Life in Mars”, “Unveiling a Parallel”, “To Mars via the Moon”, “A Prophetic Romance” and “Red Star” envisioned culturally superior Martians demonstrating their advanced Socialist societies with income equality, planetary labor unions and pacifism to the human race.

In the Russian “Red Star,” the Lowellian canals are a Communist triumph over inhospitable nature anticipating the USSR and Communist China’s disastrous dam projects. The German writer of “Two Planets” envisioned the advanced Martians invading Earth to impose their superior Socialist society on human beings.

The Martians, like Global Warming, were a tool of radical social change.

[ ... SNIP]

David Horowitz and Carl Bernstein

David Horowitz was a red-diaper baby who gave all he had to the New Left as it developed in the late ’50′s and the ’60′s. It took him a long, very painful time, during which he forwent politics in favor of writing non-political biographies, to see that the Left’s avowed goals could not be met by any method, and finally, in 1984 (IIRC), he pulled the lever for Ronald Reagan.

Since then he has gone back to being a highly energetic political activist, but this time trying to educate people as to the importance of individualism and conservatism, and as to the danger of “radical Islam.” This includes the founding of FrontPageMag.com, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and the site Discoverthenetworks.com, where articles detail the links among a wide variety of leftist institutions and persons;  as well as much writing and the giving of many speeches on leftism and on Islamicism.

Here are a couple of excerpts from the fascinating subject article, published at FrontPageMag.

. . .

Carl Bernstein’s Communist Problem and Mine

July 31, 2012 By David Horowitz

….  I thought it might be useful to those first being introduced to what I like to call the “neo-communist left” to read a piece I wrote a few years ago about Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein and his Communist father…. It is particularly the disloyalty and fundamental dishonesty of these people, these Communist progressives which I think should most interest readers in the context of the political and economic crises we are facing today. – David Horowitz.

. . .

Al Bernstein, the father of Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein, had been a member of the Communist Party and a secret agent in the same way that Ann and my parents were secret agents. Like them, Al Bernstein is one of those progressives who left the Party but could never leave its political faith. When Carl Bernstein approached his father about a book he intended to write on “the witch-hunts leading up to the McCarthy era,” Al Bernstein stonewalled him, refusing to be interviewed, even though it was his own son. He did not approve his son’s proposed quest for the truth about his Communist past. He did not want his son to discover the truth about his experience in the Communist Party or about the Party’s role in American life.

 

[.  .  .]

The New Shadow

JRR Tolkien started writing a sequel to the Lord of the Rings.

I did begin a story placed about 100 years after the Downfall [of Sauron], but it proved both sinister and depressing. Since we are dealing with Men it is inevitable that we should be concerned with the most regrettable feature of their nature: their quick satiety with good. So that the people of Gondor in times of peace, justice and prosperity, would become discontented and restless – while the dynasts descended from Aragorn would become just kings and governors – like Denethor or worse. I found that even so early there was an outcrop of revolutionary plots, about a centre of secret Satanistic religion; while Gondorian boys were playing at being Orcs and going round doing damage. I could have written a ‘thriller’ about the plot and its discovery and overthrow – but it would be just that. Not worth doing.

I think that says as much about our World as Middle Earth. No moment of triumph ever lasts. It’s a second law of thermodynamics for societies.

Roger Donway and Robert Bradley on Gabriel Kolko and Libertarianism

Roger Donway is at The Independent Institute, along with, among others, economist Robert Higgs and the unspeakable Anthony Gregory. On the other hand, Stephen Halbrook, the eminent Second-Amendment advocate, used to be there and maybe still is.

The two gentlemen do move in Objectivist circles, however. Here’s the first part of a short Atlas Society article introducing their paper.

In a new article, “Reconsidering Gabriel Kolko: A Half-Century Perspective,” Robert Bradley and Roger Donway explain why libertarians should not embrace the views of historian Gabriel Kolko.

. . .

September 16, 2013 — In 1963, Gabriel Kolko revolutionized the then-prevalent understanding of American business history with his book The Triumph of Conservatism. In it, he disputed the Progressive historians’ narrative of the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era, specifically, their assertions that the economic legislation passed between 1887 (the Interstate Commerce Act) and 1914 … had been enacted to restrain the power of the large new corporations…. Kolko argued instead that the legislation had actually been passed at the behest of the large new corporations, in order to protect them from a gale of competition that they could not otherwise withstand. ….

Kolko’s interpretation was eagerly embraced by many libertarians, following Murray Rothbard’s endorsement of it in 1965. Kolko, Rothbard said, had pulled down the two pillars of Progressivist history: that big business was the friend of free enterprise and that the Gilded Age was an era of laissez-faire capitalism. ….

If wishes were Porsches…

…our political effete, according to the recent (and ongoing) ano-cerebral effusions emanating from the LibLabCon party political conferences, remain incompetently pedestrian and intellectually gastropodal.

Trying to out-stupid everyone else by applying a thick coat of Pledge (sic) to turds and desperately making outrageous and unworkable promises that we know from bitter experience will perish faster than a duck on a lava lake if they get into office, is just scamelling embarrassing. Come the next general election, if there is a reason to vote for any these morons hidden deep within their rabid electioneering rhetorical bollocks I haven’t found it yet.

Politics in it’s old hat.

This started as a reply to Sam’s comment here.

Sam, you have a point. The older I get the more I realise that politically we are regressing to a bastardized-Victoriana that never really existed. How else would the largest ever proposed engineering project in British history be a railway that George and Robert Stephenson could envisage – literally – it’s George’s gauge metal rails of course. It’s also 50 billion quid jizzed up the wall

It was cutting edge when George and son were building the Rocket but that was nigh on 200 years from an MP idling on the track and getting mown-down by the Rocket to the first paying passenger getting on the “new” HS2. What happened to the Fairey Rotodyne? Political pignorance and bastarding fuckwittery is what happened. There were concerns over noise (Fairey had got it down to the sound of a tube train). The fact the US military wanted loads of ‘em was irrelevant. The fact there was significant commercial interest in a high-speed city to city VTOL aircraft matter nothing if it scared the horses. Literally. The Bellendius Maximus who first championed HS2 was (and is) Lord Adonis. Yes, it does sound like he should be a porn-star. Lord Andrew [which means "manly" BTW] Adonis looks like this…

What mental image do you have of a Lord Adonis? A sort of demi-god who traded blows with Hektor of Troy? Or that piss-poor wankenshaft? He wrote a scholarly history of the poll-tax.

Short version. I did more against that. I simply didn’t pay. Not because I objected nor because I knew it was wrong as such but because I knew I could get the feck away with it and those quids in my pocket were worth more to me than being in the pockets of the cuntcil. At the time, there was, as ever a C19th (perceived as) idea that the community charge was either right or wrong. I just didn’t want to pay. Yes, I was shellfish. I was the full lobster.

So I didn’t pay and they never got me. So, what’s my point? Well, possibly it is Ike’s about “guided missiles but unguided men”. No politricks this last fifty years has moved much beyond WWI. Anywhere.

Look at the lavish expense of HS2 and compare with the dismal spending on Skylon? The first is a C19th solution to a C21st problem and the second is an SSTO aerospace plane that would result in Bristol Filton being re-monikered “Bristol International Spaceport”. Now if that isn’t cooler than making the trip from London to Birmingham 15 minutes shorter I despair. I have been to Birmingham. It’s OK but space!

It is the chronic lack of imagination that gets me about politricks.

And put it this way… 50 billion quid in you or my pocket is much more likely to get us to Mars than any ammount in the poche of the taxman. And that will only get you to Brum.

Which is like OK and all but seriously nothing to write home about.

Birmingham – it’s OK I guess.

Civil Society Fantasy

Australia is hosting the G20 meeting next year, and the whole thing is being turned into a circus by Julia Gillard. Of course.

The only up side to this whole thing is that Julia, whether by election or replacement, has no chance of presiding over this carnival of rent seekers.

Anyway, Gary Johns reports that as part of this whole waste of taxpayers money the organisers are putting on a C20 Summit, a committee of twenty of the great and good to prepare Civil Society recommendations to put before the G20 meeting.

Yeah, sure. Not quite what one would call representative. The whole lot, with one or two exceptions, span the whole political gamut from the far left to the really far left. No representatives from mainstream charities or grassroots civil organisations, and no representatives from any organisation in the centre ground, or of liberal or free market persuasion. At a guess, between two thirds to three quarters of civil society is excluded from this Civil Society Summit.

This is just the normal pack of oikophobes, working against your interests. These people really do despise you, you know.

Andrew Bolt’s take on the whole affair.

The fix is in.

F**K You Obama…

…and the wilfully blind donkey you boomeranged back in on.

That goes double for our Westminster village idiots who for years have been turning sinister somersaults [see what I did there?], while waving the flag of anti-terrorism, to grab a piece of this fascist action.

Oh, a final word for our unelected EU puppet-masters just in case you’re listening – f**k you too!

Cop Scotch

Engineering the behaviour of our children continues apace.  Traditional playground games like Cops and Robbers are to be considered an unwanted anachronism because they might “promote violence”.

A primary school has come under fire after banning its pupils from playing cops and robbers or any playground game which involves ‘imaginary weapons’

Trans:  Don’t let kids use their imaginations, it might lead to independent thought.

School chiefs at Worcesters Primary School in Enfield, north London, outlawed the games over a fear that they will upset other children.

Trans:  An imaginary bullet might hit someone of a sensitive disposition causing them to loose control of their bladder/anal sphincter/both.

But parents at the 470-pupil school have reacted with outrage, saying that playing cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians was ‘part of growing up’.

Trans:  But since the staff at this school have clearly not grown up then it comes as no surprise they aren’t going to allow the kids to grow up either.

Father Mark Ayers said his seven-year-old son came home last week after being told off for playing with a pretend gun.

Memo to School Health and Safety Co-ordinator from Headmistress: please draft letter to all parents of male pupils stating that the wearing of mittens in the playground during break times will become compulsory from next week.  Anyone seen pointing a finger at another pupil in suspiciously violent way will be excluded immediately.

Mr Ayers also spoke out after his son had a fun-size pack of Maltesers confiscated by teachers after it was spotted in his lunch box.

Trans:  Maltesers resemble musket balls.  Musket balls are fired from guns.  The confection is clearly harmful to impressionable youngsters.

My Ayers said: ‘I put the Maltesers in as a weekly treat, but the school confiscated them for some reason.

Trans:  The offending items were shared out amongst the staff to be eaten disposed of sustainably.

‘The school should be concentrating on other things rather than banning children playing games and taking their chocolate away.’

Trans:  The teachers are too busy snooping and playing nanny to teach.

Another parent, who asked not to be named, said: ‘My son was told that he was not allowed to play with imaginary guns or weapons in the playground by his teacher.

Trans:  But we are expected to send him to school to acquire an imaginary education.

‘He’s nine years old and plays cops and robbers at home with his brothers, so he finds it quite strange to be told it’s not allowed to do the same at playtime with his friends.’

Trans:  Headmistress to Head of Social Services:  When I identify who said this perhaps a visit to these errant parents will be undertaken.  Abusing their children by encouraging them to play violent games surely warrants family court proceedings.

Headteacher Karen Jaeggi defended the policy this week, saying: ‘We actively discourage children from playing violent games or games involving imaginary weapons in the playground by explaining to them what it represents.

Trans:  Young boys enjoying themselves engaging in heterosexual, mock adult role playing is clearly not in tune with our infantilised, post gender society and must be stamped out.

‘Some children can be easily frightened by violent play which is often influenced by computer games and we feel that such games can have a harmful effect on young minds.’

Trans:  Although no one has actually complained as yet.  It’s only a matter of time though.

Speaking about the ban on chocolate snacks, the headteacher added: ‘At Worcesters we promote healthy eating habits since we recognise the problems of childhood obesity in the borough and want to do our best for the children attending this school.’

Trans:  But we don’t recognise the fact that by not permitting children to exercise themselves by racing around the playground playing games they enjoy, they aren’t going to burn the calories that might otherwise make them fat.

You couldn’t make it up…

The Department of Shoddy Journalism

The circulation figure for the lefty rag, New Statesman, fell over the edge of a cliff some time ago and is still plummeting.  Hardly surprising, if this is the standard of journalism.

Martha Gill writes an online column she calls Irrational Animals.  Her latest outpouring is entitled, Why “family men” make terrible bosses.  It’s possible Ms Gill has a reason for the scare quotes.  It’s also possible that it is nothing more than an annoying and pointless affectation.

There is a photo of iDave, his wife and youngest child with a caption reading, Do we like David Cameron more because he has children? Obviously the link here is that Cameron is a family man who also happens to be Tory Prime Minister.  Ed Miliband is also a parent but obviously he’s not the type of parent Ms Gill wants to smear write about.

If you’re trying to become the leader of a political party or a chief executive, it might be a good idea to have some kids – especially if you’re a man. For some reason, we like having family men at the top: perhaps because we think they’re more relatable; perhaps because we think they’re kinder or more empathetic.

Who is this “we” she’s talking about?  Is it the apocryphal “we” shonky journos use to prove yet another interminable non-point?  The crude and ramshackle device that masquerades as consensus but is nothing more than wishful thinking tarted up like a dog’s dinner?   Yes it is!

Political leaders, in particular, often introduce policy measures that affect children with a brief mention of their own kids (just to show parents that they’re on the same page) – or simply mention them apropos of nothing.

Gosh, political leaders with a family behave just like ordinary parents do.  Who knew?

“My children have onesies and I often say I’m very jealous,” Cameron announced last week, just to make sure, one last time, that we all know he’s a dad.

Yes, God forefend that Cameron should talk fondly about his brood.  It’s unnatural!  It shouldn’t be allowed!  Send for the Daddy Police!

The implication is that because a leader has children, he’ll care more about children in general. Anecdotally, at least, this seems not to be true. Before having children, people tend to have a benign (if not particularly invested) attitude towards other people’s kids. Have children of your own and these other kids become tiny competitors: less good at gym than your child but somehow in the gym team; inexplicably cast as Mary in the nativity play; undeservedly in a higher maths class; irritatingly better at the clarinet.

The implication is that Ms Gill could quite possibly be completely barking if she believes even half that guff.  Cameron is a crap leader because he is incompetent, not because he is a doting dad.  That goes double for Miliband and Clegg.

Although your image becomes fuzzier and warmer, your behaviour seems to go in the opposite direction. I have seen the genuinely empathetic suddenly start filling up their friends’ Facebook newsfeeds with 12 daily pictures of their newborns (all, surely, the same picture). I have seen the genuinely interesting and funny suddenly unable to talk about anything but nappy rash.

But has she seen or heard iDave do it when he’s Prime Ministering or whatever it is he thinks that entails?  If the answer is no then what point is being made here?  Anyone?  Oh, wait.  I forgot.  This is a lefty rag so what I’m reading is anti-Tory spin, not informed opinion.

The problem is that having children completely shifts your priorities. It makes you more grasping (on their behalf) – which makes the warm and fuzzy image rather odd.

Call me blind but I don’t recall seeing any shift, significant or otherwise, in iDave’s political viewpoint when his daughter was born.  Not even from the sad death of his son. If Ms Gill requires an example of how a politician shifts priorities for an offspring then she should look a little closer to home, to Diane Abbott.  A more appropriate example to illustrate this lefty wibble I can’t think of.

A recent study by the Aalborg University economics professor Michael Dahl showed that the first thing male CEOs do when they have their first child is to give themselves a raise at the expense of everyone else in the company. The research was carried out on a large group of Danish chief executives and found that when they had a child, their pay went up by an average of 4.9 per cent. The rest of the company were paid about 0.2 per cent less.

Michael who?

So what’s he said that has got Ms Gill’s thong in a twist about political leaders and parenthood?

Motivated by a growing literature in the social sciences suggesting that the transition to fatherhood has a profound effect on men’s values, we study how the wages of employees change after a male chief executive officer (CEO) has children, using comprehensive panel data on the employees, CEOs, and families of CEOs in all but the smallest Danish firms between 1996 and 2006. We find that (a) a male CEO generally pays his employees less generously after fathering a child, (b) the birth of a daughter has a less negative influence on wages than does the birth of a son and has a positive influence if the daughter is the CEO’s first, and (c) the wages of female employees are less adversely affected than are those of male employees and positively affected by the CEO’s first child of either gender. We also find that male CEOs pay themselves more after fathering a child, especially after fathering a son. These results are consistent with a desire by the CEO to husband more resources for his family after fathering a child and the psychological priming of the CEO’s generosity after the birth of his first daughter and specifically toward women after the birth of his first child of either gender.

Errr…That’ll be sweet FA then.  Dahl is writing about the behaviour of newly parented leaders of Danish industry and business.  I don’t see anything about politicians there at all.  So, WTF is Ms Gill banging on about?

If it’s a boy and a firstborn, male employees suffer particularly –wages going down by about 0.5 per cent. Interestingly, though, the effect is muted when the baby is a girl. Fathers of girls take a smaller pay rise (3 per cent) and give their female employees a tiny average raise.

Spontaneous physog/palm interface.

According to the researchers, the odd gender differences here are probably a mixture of straightforward competitiveness (with the men) and a raised awareness of the pay gap (which, though small, still exists in Denmark) that could now affect their daughters. They speculated that the results would be more exaggerated in the US but privacy laws made it too hard to get the right information.

Talk about losing the plot…

It’s an interesting study as it broaches the idea that caring about your children doesn’t necessarily translate into caring about anyone else. It might be time to give the childless a chance at promotion.

I don’t think so, Ms Gill.  Who the Scammel wants another Edward Heath in Number Ten?

It is clear that Professor Dahl’s latest book bears absolutely no relevance to British politicians who are fathers.  However, that hasn’t prevented Ms Gill from weilding it like a piece of Fabian two-by-four.  I know that progressives believe that the State is both mother and father but attacking Cameron for being a parent is both snide and pathetic.

Clearly Ms Gill is an expert an irrational animals.  She puts lipstick on one every morning.

Lard of the Glen.

Apparently a consignment of lard has washed-up in Scotland.

Storms over the east coast have resulted in several unusual relics from World War II washing up on an Angus beach.

Staff at St Cyrus nature reserve said four large, barrel-shaped pieces of lard have appeared on the shore.

The fat is believed to have escaped from the wreck of a merchant vessel that was bombed in WW II.

Scottish Natural Heritage said the lard was still a brilliant white and smelled “good enough to have a fry up with.

Only in Scotland could they elect celebrate…

A washed-up tub of lard.

A washed-up tub of lard.

Angus McHardy [who might just be Scottish], a local resident and retired fisherman, said he remembers similar events in the in early 1940s.

“I’d never seen anything like it,” he said. “There was quite a lot washed up at St Cyrus and beyond, not quite to Montrose.”

“Some barrels were complete and others were just lumps. People collected it. My grandma boiled it up to get the sand out. It was great because we couldn’t get fat during the war.”

He added: “After a storm in the late 60s or early 70s, the lard came up on-shore again. The seagulls thought it was a bonanza.”

Scotland has found a seemingly inexhaustible supply of saturated fats. The First Minister must be delighted. The Hell with North Sea oil when Scotland can lay claim to fat deposits that would put Überwald to shame.

Does this mean the Scottish people will re-elect…

Alex Salmond

Alex Salmond

…despite the best nannying efforts of Ms Sturgeon (why are these Scottish pols so fishy?) to nanny and coerce the population into “health”?

And I speak as someone who has had a lunch of deep-fried cheese washed down with an excellent beer in the Czech Republic.

Roman law, modern law and “Feudal” law – a hint as to what that wild madman Paul Marks is on about.

I am no legal expert (“we have noticed Paul”), but I do want to give an hint about what I am on about when I mention the words “Feudal law” or Roman law or modern law – it if be wrong….. well see later for my “get out of jail” card on that.

Before I say anything more I had better state that one can have serfdom without feudalism (for example the Emperor Diocletian established de facto serfdom by declaring that peasants could not leave the land – and many other legal systems had done this before him) and one can have feudalism without serfdom (places like Sark, feudal to only a couple of years ago, were not known for serfdom).

“Feudalism” is (if it is anything – other than just a word) a system where people swear loyality (they make an active choice) it is a MILITARY thing at base, and “feudal” law is about (fundementally) such blood contracts (after all one is swearing to defend someone to the death – one’s own death, and the other side of this contract, the obligations of one’s lord, has to be fundemental also) are based on tradition and custom – made into formal law. That is why (by the way) “Feudal” law can be different in different places – different old customs and traditions.

“Feudal” law can not, logically, be anything else (than old customs and traditions presented as formal law). as if this law can be changed by “the Prince” (either a Roman Emperor or a modern “legislature”) then they can not be part of a contract – as they are, effectively, “above the law” (because the can change it whenever they feel like doing so).

One swears to defend one’s lord to the death and he (or she – for a fedual overlord can be female) swears to unhold the law (as, for example, Henry the First of England did in his formal charter of 1100 – in order to get the people to rally to him against his older brothers) – if the “the law” is simply whatever they say it is (as with a Roman Emperor or a modern Parliament or other legislature) then this is not Feudalism – any more than the “my honour is loyality” of the SS was the warrior code of Northman (indeed, as Tolkien noted, to pretend that there is no difference between honour and loyality – and to hold that loyality is unconditional, i.e. that one will do dishonorable things if ordered to do so, is a direct and deliberate MOCKERY of the traditional honour code). One swears to to defend one’s lord to the death (one’s own death) in return not for “protection” (that is a Roman view of law – or a modern one – after all if one is promising to shed one’s life’s blood for someone else personal protection is not the main thing in play), but for JUSTICE for the upholding of tradition and custom. Seen as a manifestation in this world of divine and universal justice (different in details from place to place – but not in fundemenal PRINCIPLE and, for the same reason, not changing fundemenally over time). This is why the oath is a sacred thing – based on the creator of the universe and the natural law itself.

“All theory Paul – what does this mean in PRACTICE?”

Very well.

First for Roman law (i.e. late Roman law – the law of the Empire). For this I will turn to “Justinian’s Institutes” (Cornell University Press 1987). By the way this is only a tiny part of Roman law of the time – there were many volumes of the writings of previous law officers and the legislation of Emperors (actually the truth of the so called “Code of Justinian” is that most of it is not from Justinian and it is not a code, the “Twelve Tables” back in 450 B.C. may or may not have been a code, but the endless rules and regulations that Romans lived under more than a thousand years later certainly were not a code).

In this work it is stated (Book Two, section one “The Classification of Things”) that neither the seashore or rivers can be privately owned.

So no private beaches under Roman law – and no protected fishing (or protection of water supply from rivers) either.

Anyone may fish where they like – and no private person or association (what Romans would call a “collegia” – spelling alert) may restrict water supply by stating that it is private (they can do that with a well – but not with a river).

In the modern age such thing as Spanish law (that holds that no river is private) and even supposedly Common Law New Zealand (where the last Labour party government nationalized the sea shore) follow the idea that neither rivers or the sea shore (the beaches) can be private property.

It is very different under Feudal law – the notion of “private property” may not be formally stated (that depends on the exact type of “Feudal” law we are talking about – for example it was stated under the law of Norway) the King (as lord of lords) may (or may not) formally “own” everthing – but he certainly can not BEHAVE as if he does (more on that later).

And rivers and beaches can be de facto owned under Feudal law.

For example under Scots law (inherited from their local version of feudal law) right up to 1845, if you wanted to sell something you gave a public display of what it was – remember most people could not read.

And if you wanted to sell private fishing rights (something that can not exist under Roman law) you, as well making a speech before witnesses (plus anyone who wanted to turn up to the river to watch the former owner of the fishing rights sell them to someone else) you handed over a fish.

For land it was some earth (on the site you were selling – again before witnesses), for the hunting rights of birds it was a bird (again….) and so on.

Also under Roman law the owner of a transport service (say someone who makes their living with a couch or carts) or the owner of an inn (or other establishment of business) could not turn away a customer – could not “discriminate” against them (to use modern language) as the owner of a transport service was a “common carrier” and the owner of an inn provided “public accomidations”.

Feudal law does not even know what “common carriers” and “public accomidations” are.

If you owned a cart (or some such) you could transport people or goods. And if you owned a building you could put people up (in return for payment).

But you did not have to do so – if you did not want to.

Owning a cart did not make you part of a special caste that served the state (indeed the term “state” does not really fit into feudal thinking – it is a Roman term or a modern term).

Ditto if you owned a building and put people (if you had a mind to) in return for money, that did not mean you were a special sort of animal called a “public accomidations” person serving the needs of the state (whatever “the state” is supposed to be).

But all the above misses the point anyway……..

As the point is – if Justinian (or some other Emperor) had decided (on a whim) to change the above “legal principles” they could (they were above the law – and could make the law whatever their WILL wished it to be).

If a feudal overlord said one day “I have decided to change the law – after all the law is whatever I say it is”. People would have thought they had gone mad – they might even have called a priest to fight against the demon or devil that had taken over the mind of their lord.

Of course one would fight to the death to save the life of one’s lord – but the lord had no rightful power to “change the law”. After all that would mean a power to overthrow custom and tradition – the manifestation in the land (the spirit of the land) of the law of God, the natural law of the universe. This might manifest itself differently in different lands (depending on the customs and traditions of that land and people), but the fundemental principles of the law were divine and universal.

Of course Roman legal thinkers (like Greek Stoics and Aristotelians before them) also accepted the existance of natural law – but they held that state law trumped it.

“Feudal” thinking (when understood the concept of “the state” at all – which it did not really) held the exact opposite.

The King might give orders in battle and war (and so on) – but if his orders went against the law, they were void (at least to a man of honour). That is why “the spirit of Nurenberg” (“I was only obeying orders”) might be fine from a Roman point of view – but does not make any sense from a “feudal” one.

The lord may call upon you to fight to the death – indeed he should not have to call (you should do that without him asking). But he may not order you to rob or murder someone else – to commit an injustice.

Of course terrible injustices (mass murder, rape and so on) might still occur. But if someone said “what I did was lawful because the Prince (or council or….) told me to it” then they simply showed (even to a person with no learning at all) that they simply did not understand what the words “right” and “law” meant – and were, at best, insane.

Canon Law (church law – and it is impossible to understand “feudal” law without understanding the influence of religion upon it – whether Christian or PAGAN) held the same view – see Brian Tierney’s “The Idea of Natual Rights” (Emery University 1997).

Like Roman Law, Canon Law held that there was positive law (the commands of the Prince – of council in a Republic like Venice) and natural law.

But (like “feudal” thinking) it turned the Roman law thinking on its head.

Far from “positive” law trumping natural law – natural law trumped the “will of the ruler”.

Hence more than a thousand years of Church-State disputes (or disputes between Canon Lawyers and Roman Lawyers – in spite of them, in many ways, shareing the same tradition) they looked at things in reverse ways.

“That was just because the Church wanted to declare what natural law was – as a power grab”

Partly YES – but the Church always made a distinction between Christian practices (the rules of the Church) and the universal laws of God – that applied to nonChristians as much as to Christians (indeed even to nonChristians AGAINST Christians).

Of course some Popes and so on were corrupt scumbags guilty of every crime known to man – but some were not, and even the worst of them held that there were things they should not do (even if they did them) the idea that their WILL was law, would have been denounced as the vomit of the Devil (even by the worst Popes.

Canon lawyers (like “Feudal” ones) would have regarded the pretensions of modern Parliaments (and “human rights” courts) to change fundemental law as they see fit – as, at best, insanity and (more likely) as clear evidence that these “legislatures” and “judges” were agents of the Evil One.

And one must not think that such people were stupid or filled with silly fancies. Many of the Popes and theologians of the past were profound legal thinkers and philosophers – not every Pope spent their time chasing girls and murdering rivals (and even the oness that did often did good work also).

Still back to “Feudal” law – and a single example to come to the end of this post……

I draw from “A Summery view of the feudal law, with the differences of the Scots law from it; together with a dictionary of the select terms of the Scots and English law, by way of appendix” (John Dundas 1710).

As a general rule of thumb – the older an account of “feudal” law the better. As old accounts are more concerned with just laying the thing out – not (like Maitland and his, Blackstone influenced [no wonder the Founding Fathers of the United States despised Blackstone - with his doctrine that whatever Parliament declared was law], crew “explaining” what law “must” be i.e. whatever the state, Parliament, says it is).

Difference number 80.

“By the Feudal law no Man is forced to part with or sell his Few [fief of land] or any part of it.

By our law [i.e. law made by Parliament and so on] a vassel may be forced to give some part of it for High-ways and if his Neighbour be building a Park, or Inclosure, he may be forced to sell an adjacent corner of his Grounds to him, to perfect it”.

This is much like the so called “Edict of Quierzy” (877) which repeated the “old right” that not even a King of France could take the land of one person and give it to another (or himself).

To a Roman lawyer this makes no sense.

To a modern lawyer (such as that scumbag Maitland – and I am right to call him a “scumbag” after all he claims that no Act of Parliament “has ever been passed” that was irational or evil, so there is no need for any judge or jury to oppose an Act of Parliament as being against natural justice, a concept he scorns anyway – I could name a hundred Acts of Parliament passed before Maitland wrote that Devil-vomit lie, that were utterly evil and against basic natural justice) it makes no sense also.

As Maitland says, mocking the upholders of the “speculative dogma” of natural justice “We can  (its upholders seem to say) concieve that a statute might be so irational,  so wicked, that we would not want to enforce it; but as a matter of fact, we have never known such a statute made.”

Pages 107-108  “A Sketch of English Legal History” G.P. Putnam and Sons, New York and London (1915) chapter five (written by Maitland rather than his coarthor Francis Montague) on “Statute and Common Law”.

Oh you dog Maitland,  you pig  – may you be burning, even as I type these words,  for your lies. What of the Statute of Labourers that tried to reduce all peasants (including those who had always been free – such as the people of Kent) to serfs? Much in the manner of the Emperor Diocletian. Or the Stature of Artificers under the first Elizabeth that tried to turn all people (bar the rich) into de facto slaves – forbidden to practice any other trade than that of their father, and forbidden to leave the parish of their birth?  What of the “Black Act” (passed as late as the 1700s) that punished some two hundred crimes (some quite minor) with death?

What of so many other Acts of Parliament – both so irational and so wicked that no one (other than a monster) would uphold them?

However,  I hope the idea of law as trying (in the circumstances of  time and place) to give effect to the principles of jusice (NOT the WILL of the ruler or rulers – in the mannor of the late Roman Empire or of Thomas Hobbes and his “Legal Positivists” with their Hell vomit doctrine that whatever the “legistlature” declares is law)  makes a some sense to libertarians.

As for my errors – no doubt many and terrible……

I offer the words of John Dundas.

“If this Treatise should happen to be less correct, the Reader would be pleased to give himself the trouble to mend the Errors, and excuse what is amiss, this Book being given to be printed by a certain person when the Author was our of Town, and knew nothing of the publishing of it, not having designed so soon to send it abroad into the world.”

Why I despise the Daily Mail.

Hypocrisy is the short answer.

The longer answer is their cutsey-named “Femail” sidebar on their website. It by and large consists of stuff like this. Note the second image where Ms Moss’s nipple is clearly visible. And this from the valiant crusader (that’s all over the front page of the print edition) against online pornography. This is the online version. See also this

I don’t know how they got these pictures – they look rather too HQ to be paparazzi but I dunno. I mean it could be a publicity stunt for Moss (who I note from the TV doesn’t seem to be advertising any perfume this Christmas) or it could be the long-lense lads. But… I dunno. The Mail are hypocritical scum either way. Personally I think pornography (however hard or soft) which is done with willing (and paid) participants is morally vastly superior to paparazzi stuff. But that is by the by. Both articles are available in seconds from the Mail website. How can they square that circle? Or do they want the Mail reclassified as an opt-in soft-porn rag? Because this is very far from the first time “Femail” has published “compromising” pictures of ‘slebs.

Or… pictures of say, Rihanna’s (very nice) bottom in her skimpies in the “Femail” column whilst editorialising elsewhere on the corrosive effects on teenage girl’s self-esteem of pictures of “perfect” female bodies or claiming this is resulting in ever younger boys sexually assaulting girls. And all this whilst claiming implicitly (explicitly) to be the moral keel of the nation.

In a sense it would be fitting and sweet if they were cast into the outer darkness of “Asian Babes” or “Monster Jugs” – hoist indeed upon their own petard. But I object to this censorship anyway and in deep principle. Somebody has to decide what is unsuitable for kids and I think that ought to be us adults. This is not a matter for government. It really shouldn’t be. It also implies mission-creep for there is already talk of websites involving deliberate self-harm. And what after that? It’s just government control of the internet.

Our playground. Not there’s. They only hate it because they don’t understand it. And they are small people, pathetic people. People who do not believe that individuals can ever do the right thing without coercion, if not outright violence.

Support Mitt Romney – says Paul Marks.

Yes I know this means that Governor Romney is doomed. My support tends to have that effect…

I also know that I have been attacking Mitt Romney for years.

However, the endorsements of Comrade Barack Obama by Mayor Health Fascist Bloomberg, and the vile Economist magazine, are just too much.

If they are on one side – I just have to be on the other side, saying a “plague on both their houses” will not do.

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