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Pearls of Wisdom

Obama’s lack of thought for the day

The man who depicted himself as a transcendent figure on history’s stage, who described his foreign policy vision at the Temple of Hercules has been out-thought, out-generaled and completely outclassed by men with far fewer resources, but a great deal more ability than himself.

We now know what the early stages of a post American world looks like.

Wars and land grabs in Europe, the collapse of the Middle East and a militarisation of both Egypt and Saudi Arabia, alliances between Saudi Arabia, Egypt and , um, Israel – that is a good outcome, at least.

Chinese dominance over SE Asia, confrontation between China and Japan, Chinese control over the core sea trade routes as it enfolds the South China Sea into its arms.

Is Russia arming Argentina as a means of directing British attention away from Eastern Europe? If Britain is drawn into an Eastern European conflict is there an agreement that Argentina will act? Or at least rattle some sabres?

All Australia’s, and Europe’s, trade with Japan goes through waters claimed by half a dozen separate countries, one of them China, and that China is now starting to militarise.

We are disarmed, we are broke, and the big boy on the block has picked up his ball and gone home.

We are still, nonetheless, the ugliest and toughest hombres left out there, if only we start remembering that truth.

We can protect ourselves, and our interests, but only if we can be bothered.

I suspect that when it comes to national interest and foreign policy the next generation of European leaders will look more like their 19thC forbears than their 21stC fathers. If they don’t, we got problems.

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Quote of the Day, 2014/11/8

A liberal paradise would be a place where everybody has guaranteed employment, free comprehensive healthcare, free education, free food, free housing, free clothing, free utilities, and only law enforcement has guns.”

And believe it or not, such a place does, indeed, exist……………….

It’s called prison.”

– –Sheriff Joe Arpaio*
Maricopa County, Arizona

*[attrib., unverified; private e-mail]

“How much there is that we prefer not to notice.”

The title is from the diaries of the Soviet poet Alexander Tvardovsky, as quoted (and translated) by Helen Szamuely. It’s from a passage describing an incident in the winter of 1955 when he saw young girls attempting to dig ditches in frozen ground.

The girls earn 10-15 roubles a day and their food is terrible. Today I joked a little as I went past: “Why not wait till spring? It will be easier to dig.” A pleasant young girl replied with sad determination: “We have to do it.”

How much there is that we prefer not to notice.

That was just how life was in the USSR. Now, this is not the Soviet Union. It’s not even close. But still, we go along with things for the sake of an easy life. We accept things we’d rather not until they become the “new normal”. There is much, even for us, that we prefer not to notice. “Asian” men abusing young girls in Rotherham, for example.

Once someone did notice, that shocked us all. But sometimes you have to step back a little, and look at what you’ve come to accept in a different light before you realise there’s something to notice in the first place.

I can’t recall exactly who it was – it may have been Helen’s “boss”, Richard North, or his associate Christopher Booker – who when writing about the European Union, asked a Norwegian politician prominent in that country’s campaign against membership exactly why it was that his countrymen voted against it, and received the answer, “It’s the lack of democracy in your system that we don’t like”. It struck whoever it was – and myself, reading it – deeply. “Your system”: we may rant about Brussels ordering around, and still, even now, persist on reporting it as “Foreign news”, but we are a part of this system. It’s ours, it’s governing us, and it’s rotten. We prefer not to notice.

I thought the same thing when I read Andrew Gilligan’s Sunday Telegraph column this week: (more…)

Some observations of foreign types in crowds

There was some strange behaviour outside my hotel this evening, instead of the usual languid European-style pavement restaurant with a few, mainly elderly residents enjoying their café under an iridescent evening sun as a few blonde haired goddesses drift by aimlessly on bicycles, there was a massed throng of unruly teens and drunken men filling the square in front of my hotel.

I presumed that it was some form of political protest as they were uniformly dressed alike, but apparently not, it was in fact an opportunity to get utterly paralytic on Heineken served in plastic cups while watching a giant TV screen erected at the end of the not-so-very-grand place. I initially presumed they were there to watch the local version of “America’s Next One Hit Wonder” or whatever it is called in The Land of Clogs.

(more…)

A Word from Kropotkin

With hat-tip to Bryan Caplan*, of all people!

Parents and schools should be at great pains to see that the children learn this, take it to heart, learn to apply it productively. (I mean, you might know that the horses are leaving piles on the roadway, but the DIY method of taking care of the problem is not to kill all the horses.) It’s one of the main points which libertarianism, the Tea Party movement, and any other sensible political or philosophical group should stress.

In existing States a fresh law is looked upon as a remedy for evil. Instead of themselves altering what is bad, people begin by demanding a law to alter it. If the road between two villages is impassable, the peasant says, “There should be a law about parish roads.” If a park-keeper takes advantage of the want of spirit in those who follow him with servile obedience and insults one of them, the insulted man says, “There should be a law to enjoin more politeness upon the park-keepers.” If there is stagnation in agriculture or commerce, the husbandman, cattle-breeder, or corn-speculator argues, “It is protective legislation which we require.” Down to the old clothesman there is not one who does not demand a law to protect his own little trade. If the employer lowers wages or increases the hours of labor, the politician in embryo explains, “We must have a law to put all that to rights.” In short, a law everywhere and for everything! A law about fashions, a law about mad dogs, a law about virtue, a law to put a stop to all the vices and all the evils which result from human indolence and cowardice.

–Peter Kropotkin,
“Law and Authority”

*Bryan Douglas Caplan is an American economist, a professor of Economics at George Mason University, research fellow at the Mercatus Center, adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, and blogger for EconLog. Wikipedia

He contributes to econlog.org.

It was true then, it remains true today

“Mr Bond, they have a saying in Chicago: ‘Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action‘.”

Auric Goldfinger

Pearls of Wisdom

The more one considers the matter, the clearer it becomes that redistribution is in effect far less a redistribution of income from the richer to the poorer, as we imagined, than a redistribution of power from the individual to the State

Bertrand de Jouvenel, economist, philosopher and co-founder of the Mont Pelerin Society

Richard A. Epstein: When, How Should Courts Override Legislatures?

Please, do not miss this 1:26:33 of Prof. Epstein’s inimitable and marvellous discourse. Indescribably educational, and, of course, fascinating; and this one is particularly wide-ranging. My quibble-quotient here is tiny and is swamped by the education effect. The UT description:

Published on May 21, 2012

Richard A. Epstein, legal scholar and author, visits the Dole Institute to discuss courts grounds to invalidate the constitution.

Filmed on October 19, 2006 at the Dole Institute of Politics.

Cooking with Nick Griffin

Yes, you heard it right. For my next trick I suspect it’ll have to be kite-surfing with the Dalai Lama.

Anyway, Nick Griffin, the now bankrupt leader of the BNP is presenting cookery shows on Youtube. I suppose it’s a bit like de-snagging LANs with Hitler. Or something. “Goering, you never told me this network was installed by a Herr Cohen!!!”. I digress and must move on because I have a 9am building a tokamak with Ant & Dec.

Anyway, here is the new Nigella in all his shambolic glory.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8_HThEYP2o&noredirect=1

Well, there are things to note. I can cook and a beef casserole is one of my “signature dishes”. OK, I’m not exactly Michel Roux Jr (who is a perfidious frog, obviously – despite being a UK citizen – and my Mum fancies him!) and Mr Griffin cooked this veritable feast upon an Aga which is of course Swedish and we don’t want those Scandies coming over here with their affordable, but unfathomable furniture and their raping and pillaging of Lindisfarne (Northumberland folk-rock *shudder*) and all that. I once saw a doc about a plumber of Pakistani origin who fixed Agas. He was making a mint out of deranged cougars in Surrey who thought the path to enlightenment required the boiler from the Great Eastern chugging away in their kitchen. Anyway this guy who was doing well (and fair play) branded himself as “The Aga Khan”. It amused me.

Please watch the whole thing if you can. It is long but hilarious in parts. Some of it didn’t exactly amuse me though such as Nicky wearing a “Help for Heroes” shirt. I wonder what the Gurkhas or the many other Commonwealth troops in our armed forces think of that? Or what women make of it or how anyone who isn’t a total moron takes his advice on the need to remove the foil from a stock cube? Well the last one is funny. As are some similar “Top Tips”…

How to be human 101 – Empathy

Bad RobotIn my early years I had an all encompassing belief that the universe revolved around my arse. Apparently this is quite common among single children and ‘tail end charlies’ like myself, whose elder brothers were nearly 10-years older than me.

It also didn’t help that I came into my mothers life at a very difficult time when she was being physically abused by my father, as she told me in later years, I was the raft that she clung to during the storms of her turbulent marriage. She finally divorced my father when he was coming up for retirement as she couldn’t bear the thought of being stuck in the house with the miserable old bastard 24/7. (more…)

Pearls of Wisdom

If there’s an anti-democratic organisation or movement anywhere, an individual dictator or a tyrannical regime, then it’s a safer than safe bet, because it’s a certainty, that somewhere or other a commentator on the Western left (verkrappt section) will be telling you that the said organisation or movement, dictator or regime, isn’t as bad as all that. And it’s a near certainty that one of the somewheres he or she will be telling you this is in the Guardian.

Norm Geras

…As opposed to Imaginary ?

I have just been presented with a can of fancy-schmancy tomato soup.

It says, right there on the label, in LARGE red letters:

“REAL INGREDIENTS !”

Sowell: “Studies Prove…”

Often we hear that “all the experts agree” that A is better than B or that “studies prove” A to be better than B. ….

A fascinating discussion of the fact that statistical studies can be interpreted and presented in various ways…with varying degrees of rigor and of intellectual honesty…for various reasons. Dr. Sowell provides some excellent examples in this three-part article.

Part 1: http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell080906.php3

Part 2: http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell081006.php3

Part 3: http://jewishworldreview.com/cols/sowell081106.php3

Study: Global Warming to Blame for Rise in Violence and Wars

Remember, “Studies Prove…” — Dr. Thomas Sowell

Study: Global Warming to Blame for Rise in Violence and Wars

Posted on August 3, 2013 by Philip Hodges

For thousands of years, aggressive war has been used as a means of consolidation of power and money. But apparently, that’s all a myth. A study released by some group of scientists at the University of California, Berkeley shows that international conflicts and violence in general have nothing to do with power-hungry nations, money-driven individuals or even just a plain old desire to do evil. It has to do with global warming.

The BBC attests to this: “Rise in Violence Linked to ‘Climate Change,’” 2 August 2013.

Here’s the money quote from the column:

Earlier this year, Hugh Hefner’s daughter Christie said that the warmer climate is what causes Chicago’s high violent crime rate: “Last year, [Chicago] hit a record number of murders from guns, and this year, we were already outpacing last year’s numbers. Now, there are contributing factors that are not under anybody’s control, and it may seem odd, but it is factually true, one of them is actually the weather. There is a dramatic increase in gun violence when it is warmer, and we are having this climate-change effect that is driving that.”

I find this odd, since our last real summer-weather was in early June, I think; and for sure July has been reminiscent of late September through mid-October Near Chicago. Here, for example, is a map of the jet stream last week (more maps showing recent temps in the upper Midwest at http://blog.weathernationtv.com/2013/07/27/what-season-is-this/ ):

At least she says the weather is not under anybody’s control. A step, however small, in the right direction.

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