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December, 2010:

A Certain Age

My mother is now back in Blighty. She saw her dream lover on the boards in New York. She said she was a bit miffed because he wasn’t eaxctly love’s young dream. Yup, Al Pacino was playing Shylock which is not generally considered a romantic lead…

My mother has a thing for Mr Pacino. I like this. You can tell a lot about a woman by their “things”. I mean if she had a thing for De Niro then… I will gloss over the fact my mother also has a thing for Ian McKellen because – well, do I need to draw a diagram. My mum and me saw him play a kick-ass Lear and saw him in Godot (also excellent) but I reckon I have marginally more chance of sleeping with Sir Ian than my mum. I had a South African friend who was Lord Owen’s house-keeper and he lives next door to Sir Ian. I have dropped cannabis ash on Sir Ian’s patio. So Mum, kick that inta touch! I even rolled the spliff whilst looking at the family piccies. Yeah, David Owen fishing with Helmut Kohl (like you do). Bizarre because it was just stuck on the sort of kitchen noticeboard that in my house has a Post It from the missus saying, “Buy some milk for fuck’s sake!”. I also once dated a woman who nearly defenestrated Newt Gingrich from the US Capitol but that really is getting way off topic. Sir Ian is also hung like a rutting stallion. Yes, he dropped his pants in Lear. I have indeed seen Gandalf’s staff. I can honsetly say his wilfull homosexualism is depriving the ladies. I mean I’m not the smallest donkey in the park but fuck me… My brother turned a peculiar colour.

Back to the point (if there ever was one). The point is that my mother has a soft-spot for Al. OK, fine, superstar actor and a good-looking chap and all but… My mother-in-law has a soft spot for Al too. Indeed every non-lesbian woman with a bus-pass has a thing for The Pacino. Am I criticising women old enough to be grandmothers? No. Because I was born in ’73 and have therefore had girlfriends and a wife of a similar vintage. Whilst they have all (to the extent to which this was discussed) said, “Yeah, Al’s an attractive guy but…”. The “but” is always the same. The “but” is always Johnnie Depp. It’s a generational thing I guess. I am 37 and every single girl I have slept with had a thing for Johnnie Depp. All of them. Even a lesbian (long story). Obviously she wasn’t entirely a lesbian but you know like whatever!

So that’s just me saying women my sort of age like Depp and women my mother’s age like Al… Oh, no… Because the same applies to the male of the species. That is why long-term readers will have noted that I have posted vids of Kylie Minogue, The Cardigans and Alison Goldfrapp. I mean when I was 19 I kinda liked 19 year olds but I’m not 19 anymore. To be fair sex back then was pretty ropey (frewuently gropey). You see my point? My iconic shags that never happened are all about my age or older. I even carry a torch for Debbie Harry but then who doesn’t? Ye Gods she is awesome! When I first saw Blondie play the Manchester Apollo…. I was about 2m from Debbie and she sounded like God burning a bush. It was that good and she’s still got legs to die for and a voice like an air-raid siren. And you just know, you do don’t you? That if you get her into bed she’d be unbelievably filthy. Debbie is bisexual so knock yourself out ladies – as long as I get the SD.

I pity the lasses who are twelve because they only have Just in Beaver (the dismally hung Canadian he truly is). My mum has Al and I have Kylie. I reckon both of us lucked out.

But it is odd. Is it not? I don’t fancy girls under thirty. Because I only like women who burn like the nuclear furnaces of the stars. And I mean a Type Ia supernova here. That is 10 to the power 58 Hiroshimas (let’s go nuclear!). That is a “Way hay – duck and cover time!!!” That is a hypersonic flying fuck. That is something else. That is serious fucking. That is Biblical. That is one wish fulfilled tonight. The alterntive is frankly pointless.

Take it away Nina…

Yeah, that’s my only wish this Crimbletide. Utter filth with a lady that knows what she is doing. What else?

An F-16 would also be nice.

#1

Now there are things that annoy me and there are things that really boil my piss. This is the first post in a series of things that merely annoy me.

Yesterday I took my 8Gig SDHC into Jessops. I had a shed-load of “free” prints which seeing as the camera and it’s assorted impedimenta cost somewhat North of a grand this wasn’t exactly free.

Now Jessop’s did me a good deal on my kick-ass Sony Alpha-55. That is a serious piece of kit. When I set it for a 10fps burst it sounds like a fucking machine gun. In Keswick I unleashed it on a jackdaw which resolutely did absolutely fuck all for 20 frames. I want the point it took off or something but it just stood there. OK. Basically… I learned to take piccies with a Zenit then progressed to a Pentax SLR (and another Pentax SLR) and via a Kodak Z7590 I got the Sony which is just (permission to go tribal in the back yard – WARG!!! – is just 16.2 megapixels of awesomeness) Thanks, cheers, that’s over. Because it’s a DSLT not a DSLR so it don’t have the reflex so the focus is faster than Josey Wales. Useful at 10fps. The autofocus just follows the subject like a fucker. I think I may be drooling but I just love it. I got a deal which was the full set – bag and baggage and two high speed 8 gig SDs and a bag and a fuck off lens and all that.

Right. OK I will f/stop. But it has to be said the Sony Alpha-55 won “Popular Photography Camera of The Year”. It is that good. Fuck ya Nikons! They are cameras for Leo Sayers. You got a a few hundred quids to drop on a camera then go Sony. The Alpha 33 is also good and the Alpha 77 is coming out soon.

All I’m trying to say is… I have a degree in physics, an MSc in astrophysics and a camera you would club to death a Colombian dwarf to get. Esentially I am an f/stop philosopher. I understand the optics of Hubble let alone a Sony. So…

Get back to the point Nick! Oh yeah, there was one.

So I’m in Jessops and all I want is my three hundred free prints that came with the Sony. But ahead of me in the queue is some dopey moo who wants to buy a camera. But this isn’t just any camera. Now I didn’t just buy any camera. I bought a kick-ass DSLT. I bought something with an Exmoor 16.2MP CMOS and both a 18-55mm and a 70-300mm lens. The lady ahead of me wanted… I bought magic out of East Asia. She wanted something in pink. She (I shit you not) argued the toss with the salesman over whether it came with a grey or white strap and whether one or the other looked better with it in pink – in fucking pink! At this point SLR dissolved from “Single Lens Reflex” into “Self Loading Rifle” in the mind of Nick. Yes she ought to have been shot (“Oh, it’s a lovely colour!”) and quite possibly shot up the arse. I haven’t even seen such theatrical rectumnalism down Canal Street. (Now fixed, Sam)

So that is #1 of my annoyances of this century (there are more). Yes, pink cameras. Cameras are black or silver unless they are owned by the sort of people who shouldn’t be trusted with an MP3 player.

This has been building. Oh has it not! It started with the moo from “Cold Feet” who in a Tesco ad said, “Oh, the Samsung camera, the pink one” and therefore I wanted to taser her up the fucking cunt. Because ladies and gents that Zenit I first leaned my f/stops on belonged to a woman with like tits and everything. Yes, a woman who had a proper camera that weighed a fucking ton and was black. Women who buy pink cameras are something else. I cannot find words to describe men (gay or otherwise) who do similar.

My mum recently bought a touch-screen Ixus. Sounded a nice piece of kit. It cost her £169. It almost cost her £199 but she got it cheaper becuse she got it in black. My mother is a woman (obviously) and she bought a camera, not a colour statement.

Anybody who buys a pink camera is a twat. That simple. Because I bought a “prosumer” camera and me ma bought a consumer camera. And we both ‘em bought it in black.

She has managed by hook or crook to get back from JFK. I look forward to seeing the pics…

Philentropy

Okay, so I made up the title word but the love of chaos seems to describe our crapolition government to a tee.  Welcome to the Big Society money grab state induced guilt trip philanthropisation of the masses.    The sub-headline of Robert Winnett’s piece in the Daily Telegraph reads:

People will be asked to give to charity every time they use a cash card dispenser or pay with a bank card under government plans to increase philanthropy.

What the…?

Banks are to adopt a system that allows people to make a small donation to charity whenever they withdraw cash.

The Government also wants shops to offer customers the opportunity to “round up the pound” when using a debit or credit card, with the extra money going to charity.

That’s right.  The proposal is that every bloody time you stick your card into an ATM or card reader some fucking electronic guilt goblin will try and snatch your cash if you press the wrong button.  Of course there will be a superlative  inducement to join this national culture of gullible twatishness philanthropy.

Under the proposals, anyone making sizeable charitable donations would get letters from ministers.

Wow!  Letters from ministers, eh?  If there’s ever a national shortage of bum fodder we’ll know what to reach for, won’t we.   But what of the little people?  Those who can’t afford such largesse but who, in total, will give far more than any individual donor?  Well they can just fuck right off can’t they.  No letters for scraping the pennies proles.  No siree.  Unless of course…

Any National Lottery winners who donated part of their windfall to good causes would be publicised on television.

That’s right, they think we’re all publicity seeking whores. What a brilliant idea!  How could anyone refuse?  The last thing I’d want as a lottery millionaire is to let millions of strangers know what I look like and where I live.  But that’s just me.

The plans are unveiled on Wednesday in a discussion paper published by Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, who wishes to foster a culture of charitable giving.

As opposed to the enforced culture of taxpayers billions supporting fake charities and quangoes and even more billions soaked up by the UK’s foreign aid budget.

The proposals are likely to prompt accusations that ministers are hoping charities provide services to compensate for the Coalition’s public spending cuts.

“Likely” is a gross understatement n’est pas?  Absolutely, on the other hand…

Ministers will begin talks with banks in the new year over how the scheme, which operates in Colombia and Mexico, might work.

So the UK government is looking for inspiration from drug cartel afflicted, third world shitholes now…

But sharing experiences can inspire others. “Giving is too often characterised as worthy and selfless, but there’s nothing wrong with doing things for each other and repaying kindnesses”.

Glad to hear it.  So give us a fucking referendum on the EU already.

The Pennies Foundation charity already operates the Coalition’s proposal with retailers such as Domino’s Pizza. Ministers believe that it has the potential to generate “significant new funds”.

There’s already a (fake?) charity in place to rake in the loot administer funds.  What a surprise…

But it’s not going to end with Domino’s Pizza or the weekly trip to Morrison’s.  Oh, no.

Under the proposals, which will lead to plans for legislation in the spring, people could also be prompted to give money when they fill in tax returns or apply for passports, driving licences and other state services. They may also be encouraged to donate over new mobile phone services.

They’ve missed a trick.  How about a donate button in public convenience cubicles?

Mr Maude said the Coalition was not trying to “compel” people to give. But he unveiled two schemes that would offer taxpayers’ money to match private donations.

So no one will be compelled unless you are a fucking taxpayer?  What sort of newspeak insanity is this?  Words fail me…

And do we get to choose where this money goes?  Well no.  But what’s the betting that government sponsored fake charities, already bloated by public funding, will be on the receiving end of this feeding frenzy, laughing all the way to the bank at our expense – a-fucking-gain.

Francis Maude is a prime example of a prokaryotic,  intellectually and morally bankrupt cunt of a politician.  Just like all the other crapolition cunts.  I hope the people who voted for this bunch of deadbeat fuckwits are happy.  Thanks for frigging nothing.

The Way Back – good film, please go and see it.

A short post.

“The Way Back” (the film based on then anti Communist book “The Long Walk”) is very good – please go and see it.

It is the sort of film that the cultural bias in the film industry (and virtually everything else – due to the education system and so on) means we do not often have a chance to see.

So rather than complain about why there are not more anti Communist films (television programmes, and ….) grab this chance to see one whilst you can.

Especially as it is a good film.

“What is your name?”.

“Smith”.

“Do you have a first name?”

“Yes”.

“What is it?”.

“Mister”.

Whilst we slept – or how the left’s control of education gives them vast power.

It is becomming obvious that the “collapse of Communism” at the end of the 1980s was a false dawn. Not because various Marxist regimes did not collapse – i.e. that it was some sort of trick. No, in most cases (not all) the collapse was quite geniune and to be welcomed.

The reason it was a false dawn is because the economic and poltical failure of Marxism did not lead to the discrediting of the left – of the word “Communism” certainly (although none of European Marxist regimes actually claimed to have achieved “Communism” they were in the socialist stage that they taught would lead to the egalitarism of Communism at some future time – the claims made by Chinese Marxist regime under Mao and the Cambodian Marxist regime under Pol Pot were different), but not collectivist doctrine in general. Leftism (both Marxist and supposedly non Marxist) continued its “long march through the institutions” without pause – getting stronger (not weaker) with every passing year.

Alternative forms of collectivism (such as early 20th century American Progressivism – with its extreme nationalism and racialism) have largely been coopted into an international “leftism” (for want of a better word) that despises national independence as much as it despises the independence of individuals or the voluntary, self financing, associations of civil society. Instead supporting the aim of a world community based on collectivism and (eventual) egalitarianism.

It is important to remember that classical Marxism had mutated into various forms long before the 1980s. For example, as far back as the 1920s the Marxist Frankfurt School (known, when it expanded into the United States as the New York based School of Social Research whose doctrines dominate much of American academic and other life) had abandoned the idea that industrial workers would be the main force destroying “capitalism” and tried to lead, step by step, other groups of people into thinking that “the system” (which the “most advanced” members of such groups were to be told was “capitalism”) was causing all their problems and only a “new society” (which, again, the most “advanced” members of these groups would be told was socialism) would solve their problems – meanwhile “capitalist society” was to be attacked using these “cultural politics” ideas of victim groups (racial, sexual, whatever), thus such concepts as “political correctness” were born.

The reader is, most likely, getting bored at this point – “why does he not just tell us that Barack Obama is a Marxist, give us a little biographical evidence, and then stop – so we can go back to watching sport on television”.

Sorry I am not going to bother with that today – I have another example in mind.

What is the least leftist major nation in Europe? What major European nation is most known for its low taxes, sound finance, secure property rights and (tradtionally at least) conservative society?

I think almost everybody would say “Switzerland” well I was looking at the Swiss Constitution today and I was pulled up by something.

As should be well known in the 1990s (whilst we were asleep, dreaming of our “triumph over the left” with the fall of Communism) the left (both Marxist and nonMarxist – although the nonMarxist left use concepts developed by various schools of Marxism so it all gets bit messy) were busy – in all nations. For example, in Switzerland (quietly and with little fuss) they (and “they” includes many “modern” and “progressive” businessmen and women) got rid of the last links between the Swiss Franc and gold – and it was the last currency to have an gold limitation on its monetary expansion at all. But this is not the example I am thinking of.

Back in the early 1980′s I (along with a lot other people) came upon one of the more absurd tactics of the Frankfurt (cultural) Marxists. This one a lot of the nonMarxist left thought was as absurd as Cong fighters (such as myself and my friends) thought it was – indeed we used to laugh about it together.

The concept was “equal pay for work of equal value” – it was sold to feminists (both the more collectivist and the more just plain dumb type of feminist) as a wonderful “equal rights” or “anti discrimination” move. However, a moment’s thought showed it was both an effort to hand arbitrary power to the state (how would judges and so on decide what work was of “equal value” to other work, would they have a God like “valuation” ability – oh how we laughed, fools that we were), and an effort to smuggle in the labour theory of value (a false doctrine that Karl Marx took from David Ricardo – who, in turn, took it from some errors in the later years of Adam Smith) into the modern world, in spite of it being known for more than a century that the only way to put an economic value on work (or anything else) is to see WHAT SOMEONE IS VOLUNTARILY WILLING TO PAY FOR IT (not how many “labour units” it needs to produce it – or whatever).

I had actually forgotten about the absurdity – till I read the opening paragraphs of the Swiss Constitution (the one created in the 1990s to replace the Constitution of 1874) today.

You see there it was – the full and total absurdity. As a basic “right” the government of the Confederation of Switzerland was to ensure that there be “equal pay for work of equal value”.

However, this should not have shocked me. After all have I not for years (indeed decades) said that the left control the education system – and the best “educated” people (i.e. the people who absorb the most of the doctrines they are taught) get the key jobs – such as writing constitutions……..

It should not have shocked me – but it did.

I am clearly still not emotionally prepared for this world. A world where the left (including many people who do not consider themselves Marxists – indeed some would call themselves “liberals” and others “conservatives”) use far left concepts as the basis of their work – even the most absurd far left concepts.

Why not – it is what they were taught. And they were, after all, good students – that is why they are where they are today.

Thanks to the semi monopoly education system (dominated by government finance and standard rules and examinations – all a perfect environment for the left to control) the cultural (the political) power of the left is vast. Indeed they have almost total control of what Marxist call the “cultural superstructure”.

It is true that the policies of the left (both economic and social) always have terrible results and, therefore, the “common people” continue to have great doubts about “leftism” (again, for want of a better word), but policy is made by elites – and the left control education and (via this education) the culture the elites live in. In this way the left have vast power over policy – even the policy of people who belive themselves to be “liberals” or “conservatives” and no amount of failure really undermines this. On the contrary, the power of the left is continuing to grow.

Only by attacking the enemy at the source of their power (by breaking the iron grip they have over schools and universities) can the cultural and political power of the left really be broken.

Unless that happens, no amount of economic or social failure will really undermine the doctrines of “leftism”.

In short – civilization will fall, and a new Dark Age will start. A Dark Age on a globel (not just European) scale.

Merry Christmas!

Best go. I still have wrapping to do!

Quote of the Day

The Met Office had this bare faced and shameless porky to say in response to Boris Johnson’s article in the Torygraph:

The Met Office has not issued a seasonal forecast to the public and categorically denies forecasting a ‘mild winter’ as suggested by Boris Johnson in his column in the Daily Telegraph.

Following public research, the Met Office no longer issues long-range forecasts for the general public; instead we provide a monthly outlook on our website, which have consistent and clearly sign-posted the very cold conditions.

Our day-to-day forecasts have been widely recognised as providing excellent advice to government, businesses and the public with the Daily Telegraph commenting only today that ‘the weekends heavy snow was forecast with something approaching pin-point accuracy by the Met Office’

To which the inimitable Piers Corbyn replied:

If the Met Office no longer issues long term forecasts, is it going to stop telling us what the temperature will be in a 100 years time?

And in the ensuing silence you can hear the distant squawk of a Moonbat’s Great Tit crying coldizwaaarm, coldizwaaarm, coldizwaaarm…

H/T Climate Realists

The Abyss

‘Developing mass gymnastics is important in training children to be fully developed communist people, to be fully developed communist man, one must acquire a revolutionary ideology, the knowledge of many fields, rich cultural attainments and a healthy and strong physique. These are the basic qualities required of a man of the communist type. Mass gymnastics play an important role in training schoolchildren to acquire these communist qualities. Mass gymnastics foster particularly healthy and strong physiques, a high degree of organization, discipline and collectivism in schoolchildren. The schoolchildren, conscious that a single slip in their action may spoil their mass gymnastic performance, make every effort to subordinate all their thoughts and actions to the collective.’

On Further Developing Mass Gymnastics. Talk to mass Gymnastics Producers. April 11th 1987 Kim Jong Il

I have seriously been considering a trip to North Korea. Sometimes it is good to stare evil in the eye. But I can’t. I am a blogger, a freedom lover and an inveterate photographer. Do you, dear reader, think I could abide by these rules? I like going different places, seeing different things and I am not a “Brit Abroad”. I never use flash inside religious buildings let alone diss national monuments yet the imp of the perverse that would like to take me to Norkland is the same imp that means I extend this courtesy to my hosts entirely because it is polite and not down to “rules”. In short it is because I am not a twat. You start sticking rules on me over things that are the common intercourse of the civilized and I rebel because I don’t need to be told not to whistle in church or not to piss on war memorials. Indeed I resent it. True civilization operates to a very large degree on the unwritten almost by definition.

Moreover, if I lost it North of the DMZ, the real pain would be visited upon my “guide”. That I could not stand. More to the purpose they really couldn’t. I would be being petulantly unfair to the most appallingly oppressed people on this planet. And yes I do mean “petulant”. I’d only have to stand it for a few days but they have it from cradle to grave with virtually no chance of escape.

I can’t trust myself to do it. I guess that is not my fault – that is what totalitarianism does to people. Irrational, arbitrary persecution causes irrational, arbitrary fear. Yes, I would like to see into the abyss and whilst I do not fear it seeing into me I fear my rational reaction to arbitrary evil. My reaction to what is the absolute antithesis of civilization.

Photography when being driven around is also restricted. Even what we would interpret as ‘day to day’ harmless scenes may cause problems. It is too easy to get carried away and think that it is not causing offence or would not put the guides in danger. This is not the case and therefore we ask our tourists to take a very responsible attitude even though it may mean missing the photographic opportunity.

I am way too responsible a shutterbug to feel confident around such arbitrary rules. I took quite a few photos of the Vietnam (and indeed the Korean) War memorials in Washington DC. The Vietnam memorial I felt particularly odd about. Some of the people there were there to see the name of a son, a brother or a father. I wasn’t. I understood that. That unwritten code, that subtlety in photography, that civilization is something I can do. Bizarre and arbitrary rules I can’t do. At a deep level they are antithetical to me because they are the fundamental tool of a totalitarian state. Don’t take my word for it. Read Kafka, Borges, Orwell… All three understood that an eternally mutable, utterly opaque and quite dementedly petty legal canon is the most potent weapon of the despot. Laws on criticising the Dear Leader are one thing but ones against photographing, “Even what we would interpret as ‘day to day’ harmless scenes” are quite another. That is straight from “The Trial”, “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” or “1984″.

Do you see why? Do you see why 2+2=5 is so powerful? I am by training an astrophysicist. By inclination my view on mathematics tends towards a form of Platonism – the belief that mathematical truth is true because it is real and not a convention. 2+2=4 whether one likes it or not. Like the burning bush, “It is“. Totalitarianism is the invention (by which I mean the betrayal) of reality. True evil, utter evil isn’t just moral evil but ontological evil. That is why it was not enough for Winston Smith to love Big Brother but to genuinely believe false arithmetic. That is why K was never told his alleged crime, that is why the languages of Tlön don’t have nouns. Only without reality is anything possible. The ultimate evil is not Sauron’s orcs -they are trivial, cartoon evil, obvious evil. They are palpable evil because they are even ugly and all that. Utter evil isn’t like that and doesn’t twirl a moustache or have a Persian cat. Some people executed in Stalin’s purges thanked those who ruled them as being deserving of death. They did this genuinely. That is the quintessence of evil. That is 2+2=5. That is the evil of North Korea. That is six impossible things before breakfast time. It is not the mere prosaic evil of rape, pillage and murder (though they follow in it’s wake) but a crime against civilization, common decency and ultimately reality itself.

And that is why I can’t go to North Korea. Because Juche is not just something I disagree with but an assault on rationality and reality themselves. That is the abyss because it isn’t even something I could call wrong in mutually understandable terms with a believer. It is fantasy made real, a semi-consensual hallucination writ in steel, concrete, blood and bone. It is evil beyond the scope of moral philosophy. Bad people do bad things all the time. That is simple evil. Utter evil is beyond that. I guess most criminals know at some level they do bad things. They might try and excuse themselves but they at least have a moral compass. Absolute evil does not. Absolute evil doesn’t just not know or care but is a redefinition of morality. The victory of absolute evil is not to be found in heaps of skulls but in little things. The skulls are the triumph and that comes later. 2+2=5 remember? Because if you can convince enough people to believe the petty lies then… Seriously. If you can convince the population of Nebraska that Wyoming is in Africa then you are well on your way to a heap of skulls to make Ghengis Khan doff his furry hat. Note here I really mean convince. Not parrot the party line but really believe it.

Real evil is not, can not, be just the invention of politics, economics or morality but of reality itself. That is the true abyss. Hell can be built on Earth but only by denying reality. Hell is not just a moral lapse but an ontological one. Hell is 2+2=5. Hell is the absence of the real. Don’t get me wrong. Getting your teeth knocked out with a rubber truncheon in a state re-education camp is real as Hell but it follows exactly from false logic. You might think bad primary school arithmetic doesn’t lead to evil but it does – it is the absolute requirement for the most foul evils. Lucifer fell because he defied God. Lucifer was smart enough to know God was… well, God but he defied that reality. I don’t believe the historical reality of that tale but I believe it’s essential truth. That mythic truth is the reason why Satan is to this day seen as the utter personification of evil. Lucifer’s sin was as much ontological as moral. Indeed I would say the ontological sin logically came before the moral one and that the latter followed from the former.

The wilful invention of reality is not the root of all evil – just of the most pernicious forms.

Out of the mouths of leftists

The Shadow Business Secretary, commenting on Vince Cable’s remarks to the Telegraph, said on Sky News,

“If you’re running another business, perhaps one less well known to the public, what confidence can you have that the competition authorities will view your case fairly?”

(Quoted from memory.)

Indeed, Mr. Denham. You’re learning. What confidence can you ever have?

In defence of Karl Marx.

Very well the title is, partly, a trick – I do not intend to defend the general work of Karl Marx, I am simply going to, partly, defend one aspect of his thought.  Specifically that 19th European century liberalism was, in part, an ideological cover for material interests – which were, at base, in contradiction with the general rhetoric of liberalism.

I do not accept the philosphy, history, economics or political ideas of Marxism – either the various positions of Karl Marx himself or the various mutant forms of Marxism (German, American and British Frankfurt School, Italian, American and British Gramsci school, the various French Schools and so on) that have emerged since his death. However, if Karl Marx said “I think it is noon” and the sun was at its highest point in the sky – I would not argue.

The rhetoric of 19th century European (it is more complex with British liberalism – due, perhaps, to an oddity in the English language – but I will not go into that here)  liberalism is well known – freedom, rolling back the state, voluntary interaction and private property rights (and so on).

Yet the practice was very different. For example after the liberal constitutional revolution of 1830 France got a regime that proclaimed inself widly in favour of free enterprise and freedom generally but……..

Taxes on imports, and other state interventions, saturated France, and half the members of the French Parliament had direct connections with companies subsidized by the government.

The gap between the “ideological superstructure” of the regime and its base (its “economic base”) was vast and could fairly be described as a “contradiction”.

Nor was France an isolated case. For example, both German and Italian unification were central liberal causes passionately supported by liberals all over the world (including in Britain). Yet in both cases unification led, overall, to a state with HIGHER taxes and MORE regulations. The sour taste of German unification might be blamed upon Bismark (although German liberals were not noted for demanding independence for old low tax Kingdoms such as Hannover, or for denoucning Bismark’s persecution of Roman Catholics).

But “Bismark” can not be reason why Italian unification meant higher taxes and government spending than had been the case before, nor can it explain such things as introduction of conscription to Sicily or the persecution that led to such violence there (far more deaths than in the “liberation” of Sicily), or the language persecution that was subjected on places (such as Venenzia) where people did not speak “standard Italian” – i.e. Tuscan.

Before unification Italy, unlike Ireland, was not known as a huge source of immigrants to the United States – after unification it soon became a place of mass emmigration. A sad comment on the supposedly beautiful liberal unification.

And if Italy is not enough, what of Switzerland?  Liberalism was forced on the Catholic Cantons in Switzerland by armed violence – and nor was it “just” the war of 1847, Cantons such as Appenzell, which had made no effort to leave the Swiss Confederation, were fined for the “crime” of not attacking Cantons who had tried to leave the “voluntary” Confederation (remember, unlike the United States, there is no slavery factor here – Cantons like Zug and Luzern were attacked simply for the “crime” of trying to leave the Confederation), the Jesuit Order was banned (so much for religious freedom) and elections in Cantons like Zug were rigged (by a liberal occupying elite) for DECADES.

So much for both the liberal claim to represent “freedom” and for the liberal claim to represent “democracy”. Direct democracy, the people voting themselves in a public open square, was always despised by liberals – but indirect “representative” democracy was rigged.

In Italy voting was also  wildly suspect (and on a restricted franchise – after all one would not all those Catholic peasants voting, that would make things hard to rig) – with the various unification votes being by such big majorities as to be considered (even by the supporters of unification) obviously rigged.  Such votes could also be rigged in reverse (and were) – for example Savoy and Nice were proclaimed to have voted to no longer be Italian and to want to join up with France (because that was the price N. III demanded for his aid). They were most likely better off with France – but the whole thing left a sour taste, at least to someone who was not so drunk with liberal rhetoric that they believed everything the rulers said (a rather odd form of liberalism – that depends on a total trust of everything that govenrment says, even if it contradicts what they said only yesterday).

How to explain all this?

How to explain the contrast between the endless talk of liberty, smaller less burdensome government, and constitutional self government, and the reality of persecution (religous persecution, language persecution and so on), bigger government (higher taxes, more government spending, more regulations) and ballot rigging and endless corruption in government.

Karl Marx had an explination.

His explination was that, whilst many liberals may be totally sincere in their talk, in reality (at bottom) liberalism is just ideological rhetoric for the material self interest of the owners of capital – capitalists (factory owners – and so on).

The capitalists needed bigger markets and would benefit from state favours – so liberals found themselves supporting unification.

If free trade benefitted the capitalists – then governments would end up supporting free trade (as they did in Britain) if it did not benefit the capitalists then governments would support protectionism – regardless of liberal rhetoric. Just as they did in early 19th century France.

And on and on, with later Marxists making adjustments – for example talking about the possibly different material interests of factory owners and bankers (industrial capitalism and finance capitalism) and how this might lead to conflicts.

And Marxists making the point that they could explain even the obsession of liberals with state education. Seemingly this was the most obvious contradiction of all – with liberals (going right back to “liberals” such as John Locke in the 17th century – i.e. before the word “liberal” was even used in political terms) denouncing the idea of state education as a way of destroying freedom of thought and diversity – of nipping them “in the bud” , and producing a drab mindset.

Yet, in practice, every liberal regime in the world set about building such a state education system – with the full active support of most liberal thinkers of the time, who seemed to forget about “freedom of thought” and “diversity of opinion” as soon as their political faction was in power. To the Marxist the solution of this problem was obivious – liberalism was (at base) just a false ideology to cover the interests of the capitalists , so OF COURSE the liberals created a state education system (or state examinations, as with the desire of J.S. Mill – Mill accepted private schools, but his desire for state examinations de facto castrated them) in order to spread their ideology of control over the masses – and if this contradicted their “freedom” talk, that was just another capitalist contradiction to be expossed.

Now I do not accept that liberalism is a cover for the material interests of factory owners (I do not even accept that “capitalists” have a unified material interest – or that, for example, factory owners will always have political views based on their material interest), for example ALL the great French economic writers (not just Bastiat, ALL of them) denounced the economic policies of the “liberal” French regime of 1830 to 1848 – the subsidies and the trade taxes.

Just as the great Italian liberal writers denounced the economic policies (the wasteful spending and so on) of the new Kingdom of Italy (with the German example it is more complicated – with the liberals splitting, and even the anti statist liberals falling into other forms of statism quite quickly).

Nor do I accept that governments are just tools of capitalists – for example the government of the Kindom of Italy followed many of the policies it did (such as forcing conscription on Sicily) for nationalistic reasons – not just to serve the interests of Turin factory owners in Piedmont, or Lombard bankers in Milan.

Lastly state education has never proved to be a good way of spreading ideological acceptance of  “capitalism” – on the contrary (as John Locke and many others predicted) it produces a drab mindset that sees state action as the “natural” way to deal with any problem (after all if the state is good enough to control education….. and people are naturally unable to pay for or organize the education of their own children…..) the mass products of such places are not exactly naturallymore  friendly to private property after they leave school and university than when they entered them (rather the reverse if anything) – even before statists infiltrate and take control of such things as teacher training (which they do with great ease in a near monopoly system).

However, I think I have said enough to show that Karl Marx had a case when he claimed that there seemed to be vast contradictions in liberalism – and why he was listened to, and why his explination seemed, to many, to be convincing.

Nor is this just a European story – for example the difference between liberal rhetoric and liberal reality in 19th century Latin America, and the case that material interests of wealthy farmers and other businessmen were at the base of this contradiction, is famous – but to examine (the truth and the falseness in the case against 19th century Latin American liberalism) would take a post on its own.

QOTD

You can train an Englishman for 6 months to say "have a nice day" – it will still come out sounding like "f*** off".

pwrenplan @ 06/10/2010 07:34 AM

Update:  Link fixed

Great Uncle Bulgaria!

I have done questionable things but this is off the Richter scale. This makes Tony Adams in his boozing days look tame. It happened in Bulgaria. These things always seem to happen in Bulgaria or Romania. Strap yourself in. You’re in for one hell of a ride…

A Bulgarian has racked up a lengthy list of drug-induced felonies after being given drugs that were promised to ‘guarantee a good time.’

As you shall see a good time was indeed had by all…

On a slow day in Bulgaria Angel Atanasov decided to take some drugs with a friend.

What followed was a drug-addled rampage of immense proportions.

The following statement by a police spokesman details a comprehensive list of the man’s crazed trail of destruction:

‘First he cut-off a piece of his penis, and when his father came to help him he sliced off his father’s ear.

‘He then ran into the road partially naked and bleeding, where he jumped into a car owned by a young woman who was unloading the trunk and drove off.

‘He went through a red light and crashed into a motorcycle before leaping out of the car and running to a nearby farm where he tried to batter down the door.

‘When that failed he ran down the back of the house and tried to set fire to a haystack.’

The statement continues:

‘He then stabbed a lamb to death before stripping off his remaining clothes and stealing an axe which he then ran off with completely naked.

‘When police closed in, he climbed up a high-voltage cable and was blasted with several thousand volts.’

It would seem this put an end to Atanasov’s rampage as he was arrested soon after.

Atanasov was said to have been taking drugs with a friend in Pazardzhik, a city in ["to" - surely - Ed] the southeast of the capital Sofia, because they were bored.

He is now fighting for his life in intensive care.

I suspect the cops will never have to buy another drink in their lives. That is a hell of a tale. I mean that’s a real, “Other than that it was a quiet shift…”

Banana Boat

Isn’t that adorable? Except… I have done that ferry trip and it is the one time I have ever been sea-sick. The Bay of Biscay is vile. The idea of doing it with a puking ape is beyond comprehension. Oook!!!

Humanists

The British Humanist Association was founded in 1896 by American Stanton Coit as the Union of Ethical Societies, which brought together existing ethical societies in Britain. It became the British Humanist Association in 1967, during the Presidency of philosopher A.J. Ayer.

This transition followed a decade of discussions which nearly prompted a merger of the Union of Ethical Societies with the Rationalist Press Association and the South Place Ethical Society. In 1963 the discussions went as far as creating an umbrella Humanist Association of which Harold Blackham (later to become a President of the BHA) was the Executive Director. However, the BHA, the Rationalist Association and the South Place Ethical Society remain separate entities today and in 1967 the Union of Ethical Societies alone became the British Humanist Association.

The 1960s the BHA campaigned on the repeal of Sunday Observance Laws and the reform of the 1944 Education Act’s clauses on religion in schools. More generally the BHA aimed to defend freedom of speech, support the elimination of world poverty and remove the privileges given to religious groups. Ambitiously, it was claimed in 1977 that the BHA aimed “to make humanism available and meaningful to the millions who have no alternative belief.”

At this time the BHA also supported a growing number of local communities, continuing today as a network of affiliated local humanist groups. A network of celebrants able to conduct non-religious funerals, weddings, naming ceremonies and same sex affirmations (before the law allowing gay civil partnerships) was also developed and continues today as Humanist Ceremonies.

Educational issues have always featured prominently in BHA campaigns activities, including efforts to abolish daily worship in schools and to reform Religious Education so that it is objective, fair and balanced and includes learning about humanism as an alternative life stance. Gaining recognition for humanism as a lifestance has been a constant theme.

Do you see the essential paradox?

PS The current chair-human of the BHA is Polly Toynbee but don’t let that bias you.

I think it rhymes with clucking bell…

The head of the RAF’s fighter and bomber force has said that drastic cuts in the Government’s defence review “worry the hell out of me” and would leave the Air Force only “slightly above Belgium” in squadron numbers.

Yes, that’s the six squadron RAF. Cheers Dave you 100% proof absolute parrot-faced wazzack who’s underpants reek of rancid lemon curd. You are not even a cunt Dave. Not even a cunt. You lack the blood and fury for cuntery Dave. You are just dismal. That’s the RAF Dave, the Royal Fucking Airforce. That’s the oldest independent air force in the World and…

Oh fuck me Dave! Fuck me rigid. OK, let’s get this straight. The RAF will no longer have a maritime patrol capability because Nimrod MRA4 has been chucked to the wolves despite being just about to enter service. Yes, folks, that’s the most expensive scrap duralumin in human history. Three and a half billion pounds of it. Of course we don’t need maritime patrol aircraft because we’re part of Europe now and no longer an island nation whose major source of income is seaborne trade. Do not get me wrong here MRA4 was a disaster waiting to happen. I have been saying for many years now we should have replaced MR2 with P-8s but does anyone listen to me? The only thing worse than building MRA4 was cancelling it at 11:59. Hell’s teeth! The Duncan Sandy’s White Paper of ’57 which infamously declared the manned combat aircraft obsolete didn’t even cancel the Lightning Interceptor. Sandys himself said, “Unfortunately it has gone to far to cancel”. That was three years before the Lightning F1 entered service. The Nimrod didn’t get even that grace – it was chopped as it was entering service.

Of course the Cold War is over and we need not fear enemy submarines starving us into submission (though quite what nine, yes, nine Nimrods would have done is moot) because nobody would ever try that. I mean it’s not like the Germans ever tried it (twice). Me Gran never saw a fucking banana for about five years. Oh, yeah, and the whole edifice of Western Civilization almost bought the farm as well. Possibly due to the lack of tropical fruit or Dave as we now call him.

So what’s it looking like… Well, we scrapped the Harriers, the Tornado F3s are on the way out after a remarkably short service life but then they were shite anyway. Do you know what the only tactic the F3 could use against an F-16 or F-15 was? Light the fires and head for the deck. Pretty much nothing could out pace a Tornado at sea-level. Hardly edifying but at least not dead. But we got Typhoon! Jeez Louise that was like pulling teeth from a recalcitrant mastodon. I mean fuck me that was a 1971 AST and only hit IOC in 2005! Keep that point. It is important. Anyway, it looks like the tranche 1 Typhoons are for the chop. Yup, the T1 and F2 are gonna be scrapped over the coming decade because they are “too expensive” to update to T3/FGA4 standard (able to carry bombs, basically). Oh cunting piss! What is that really about? I’ll tells ya. In the late nineties the Eurofighter (as was) was re-branded EF2000 and the idea was that would be the date at which it would enter service. It didn’t of course and the first Typhoons were delivered ASAP (to save embarrassment) without being full-spec. And yes (you’re gonna fucking love this) this included fitting them with a 27mm Mauser cannon – probably the best aerial cannon going though I do have a soft spot for the NR-30 (MiG-19)- which didn’t work. So why not delete the cannon? Er… The flight control software had been written already and it would cost to re-write it. The cannon was therefore not a weapon but essentially ballast. BAE did consider removing the gun and replacing it with ballast but (a) it was bought and paid for and (b) the actual Rheinmetal-Mauser BK-27 turned-out to be the perfect ballast to simulate carrying a Rheinmetal-Mauser BK-27.

One version of this tragic tale of the gunless fighter was that Labour decided to delete all fighter guns for – I shitteth ye not – environmental reasons. More prosaically it was really about work-share and the fact that the Brits and Krauts had a Barnabus Rubble over who wrote the software for the sighting. The end result was no fucker did. Magic. The same thing happened over AIM-132 Asraam. Way back in the ’80s NATO decided that the AIM-7 Sparrow and the AIM-9 ‘winder needed replacing. It was decided that the US would build the Sparrow replacement and that Britain and Germany would build the new ‘winder. Well, the AIM-120 Slammer happens in America approximately on time but between us and the Germans the AIM-132 doesn’t. Indeed it slips to the extent that the Septics blow a fuse over our European pissing about and re-jig the ‘winder as the AIM-9X, the Brits build Asraam (also sold to Australia) and the Krauts get IRIS-T. This from a program designed to standardize NATO short range air to air missiles. Of course we could have just bought Pythons from the Israelis but that would have been easy. Asraam should have been easy because it was based on Sraam which was based on Taildog and that goes back to the ’60s.

Asked whether this left the RAF on the same level as Belgium, he replied: “I think we’re slightly above Belgium, and we are not a Belgium-minded country.”

He added: “I might, over the next few years, argue that that might not be quite enough.” As recently as the 1990s the RAF had 30 front-line fast-jet squadrons.

We are looking at six squadrons by 2020.

Slightly above Belgium. Some fucker ought to be executed. All my life I have seen my country degraded. I have seen the Royal Navy dwindle to a brace of rowing boats on the Serpentine and the Army eviscerated but the RAF reduced to just about able to handle the Belgians? The fucking Belgians! What the fuck have the Belgians ever done for us? Note not even the Dutch (we’d struggle against the Dutch) but the cunting Belgians. The bastarding Belgians! Jesus wept! The only fucking contribution to civilization Belgium ever gave us was Hercule Poirot and he was created by an English author. That’s it. We are officially finished. I mean the Belgians! Belgium only exists because of us back when we had a foreign policy and the ability to twat fuckers who by and large (let’s leave the Opium Wars out of this) richly fucking deserved it. We invented Belgium as a buffer zone between France and Germany. We did the same with Kuwait and Uruguay. Why? Small countries at the mouths of big rivers can be leaned upon in useful ways. Not, alas, if you don’t have a fucking air force worthy of the name but then that would require Dave to know some history or indeed even be able to find his own arsehole with both hands and anally frig himself.

But we can’t afford it Nick! Well, there are a couple of ways of looking at that. The first is that we can’t afford it. I have, above, and not for the first time, mentioned some of our spectacularly maladroit procurement decisions. No, we can’t afford those. We can’t afford insanity. If I’d been in charge we’d be getting a few wings of Saab Grippen NGs for the money we saved by not pissing around and paying for BAE Systems to pay for Saudi Princelings to get blowjobs from grand an hour hookers. And yes, they would be built at Warton by BAE though BAE’s knackers would collectively be upon the anvil whilst I toted a hammer. Grippen would have perfectly replaced Jaguar one for one. It’s cheap (I mean in fighter terms which of course means horrendously expensive), it’s cool, it’s STOL, it’s got a BK-27, it can supercruise… Nah, seriously though. I might have been tempted by Block 60+ F-16Es from LockMart with the CFTs instead. Why not? Keep all the buggers on the hop I say. I got a good deal on my most recent significant purchase. It was a DSLT (note not a DSLR) from Sony. I only got a good deal there because I also looked at Canon, Nikon, Samsung, Panasonic…

But still! Can we afford it? Can we afford to have an air force rather than an air farce? The cheap (and true) shot is to say we can’t afford not to. But… Look at it this way.

The ConDem spending review cut defence spending and lots of other things. But let’s focus on defence. We spend about 2% of GDP on it. Call it 2.1% because that means if you divide equally between Army, Navy and Airforce then that is 0.7% of GDP for the RAF. That is exactly what Dave “ring-fenced” for international aid. Indeed one of the few areas where this government is spending more is international aid. This includes aid to India. Yes, India that has a bigger air force than ours. Yes, that India. The rapidly growing economy that has a fucking space program and nuclear weapons. It also includes, abysmally, aid to Afghanistan. Yes, whilst our troops over there are called the “borrowers” by their NATO allies because – well, let’s forget fast jets and esoterica like that – they don’t even have toilet paper unless they blag it from some US Sergeant Bilko type. They aren’t getting better kit, more helicopters, rifles that work or even fucking bog roll but we’re bunging The Khazi a fucking bundle to spend in whatever corrupt manner he sees fit. Bless him though! I mean when NATO admit defeat the Taliban will hang him by his scrotulence if he’s fucking lucky. The last time an English government bunged the evils cash to play nice it was called Danegeld. Correct me if I’m wrong here but didn’t King Alfred decide the money was better spent on twatting them? Coming over here with their interlocking plastic bricks rape, pillage and high-quality butter… Sheesh!

There was a time you know when we fuckin’ rocked. There was a time when we didn’t give aid to corrupt regimes (we fuckin’ ran ‘em) and there was time when blood would have been spilt over the idea of a six squadron RAF. That is so far beyond a fucking joke as to be… Words fail me. They do. For once they do.

Now the twist…

Do I believe in helping the needy? Do I believe in digging wells in Uganda? Yes. Do I think our corrupt bunch of bastards giving their corrupt bunch of bastards 0.7% of GDP is the answer? No. I don’t. Do you know what the largest and by far the most effective aid to the third world is? It is immigrant workers wiring money home to their families. Do I even need to explain why that works better than building a new wing on the presidential palace or sending Grace Mugabe shopping in Paris? My wife once worked for an insurance company in Manchester with a lass from Malawi. The Malawian was very helpful on Scottish place names because Malawi had a veritable infestation of Jockulent missionaries way back when mainly because, just like Scotland, it pisses down all the time and they felt at home in the gloaming misery. This woman used to wire money for her Gramps to buy some chickens and such. Vastly more to the purpose than anything Al, Dave or Bono ever did.

My point of course is very simple. Some things are best done by government and some things aren’t. Helping the poor and needy isn’t one of them. Having an air force is.

So am I against helping out the terminally potless? No. Not in the slightest. Indeed quite the reverse. I just don’t want to see that fucked up the same way the military has been. This is not about priorities or charity starting at home… It is about demarcation. It is about the government competently handling defence and leaving the charity to us. Because if they can’t do that then what is the fucking point of them?

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