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March, 2011:

The Labour Theory of Value

I shall refute it via the medium of interpretive dance.

I’m sure such dancers put a lot of effort into their dancing. Doesn’t mean it is of value to me because I wouldn’t cross the street to watch it.

Or possibly a refutation by carpet. In the Museum of Turkish and Islamic art in Istanbul there is a particular C17th Persian carpet. It is very beautiful and obviously had a lot of work put into it. I have no idea what it’s market value is but it would be worthless to me. It’s about 10×3 metres and I don’t have a room that size.

Which brings on the refutation by sock. Surely a sock is worth less than that carpet? I have seen the world’s largest sock factory on the telly and that is in China (it would be wouldn’t it) and they churn them out at a staggering rate. Obviously a higher rate than them old Persians crafted their carpets. But if you recall the movie Apollo 13 one of items need to fix the scrubbers on the spacecraft was a sock. Sometimes a sock is worth more than any carpet.

Or how about the refutation by late C19th comic novels? Harris or George (I forget which) in “Three men in a boat” gets a right strop on when the three of them picnic by the Thames and he unpacks the cold roast beef only to discover there is no mustard. He then says he would, “Give worlds for mustard”. Admittedly George (or Harris) apparently frequently said he’d give worlds for mundane items. Once on a walking holiday in Switzerland he’d said that about a bottle of beer after having developed a powerful thirst during an Alpine hike and then complained bitterly when charged sixpence for a bottle of Bass.

Or SF stories. Spoiler alert! Paycheck by Phil Dick is perhaps the best story I know about what you might call the “circumstantial theory of value”. Sorry I can’t say more here without giving the plot away too much and it’s a great little story.

So I will call on Commander Bond instead. Picture the scene. Bond has made love to beautiful women, fought baddies, wrecked the car (Q will not be pleased) and swapped wise-cracks with an evil genius. It is now the end of the movie and he alone can defuse the nuclear bomb planted in Trafalgar Square. You know the one encased in perspex with a seven-segment display countdown which is exactly how real nuclear bombs don’t look but whatever!

Now you know the routine. Bond clips the final wire just as the countdown gets to 007, cue the Bond theme, one more wisecrack, one more mild sex scene with Dame Judith looking on via the sat-link with that curious mix of motherly love and disapproval and roll credits.

But perhaps not. What if James Bond had had one too many dry Martinis (shaken, not stirred) the evening before and left his Leatherman on the bedside cabinet of a beautiful Russian spy (of course the Bond franchise not being averse to a hint of product placement we can imagine the lingering shot of it next to the model-turned actress almost showing her breasts). All for the want of a nail and all that! That tool is now the most valuable item on the planet even though it is something that can be bought for a few tens of pounds. But the ever resourceful Commander Bond mugs a Japanese tourist for his tool and this takes six seconds so the countdown stops at 001 and everyone breathes a sigh of relief (not least me because that 007 thing is a bit overdone). The Japanese tourist is handsomely recompensed, has tea with the Queen and the tool is exhibited in pride of place in, say, the British Museum. Even more Japanese tourists from this day on will flock to be photographed next to that because if the bomb had gone off all of the priceless stuff in that wonderful museum would have been scattered to ashes. A humble multi-tool had therefore earned it’s place. Because for one brief, critical, moment it had been in a very real sense more valuable than everything else in that museum.

So I refute this theory with a Persian carpet, a space mission, a Victorian novel, a SF short story and an action hero. Is that too schlocky for you? If so then how about the Bard himself? What was Richard III prepared to give a kingdom for again?

The State is Still Not Your Friend

A Glasgow City Council employee Delivering Essential Services to the people who pay his wages.

A Glasgow City Council employee Delivering Essential Services to the people who pay his wages.

I’m a few days late with this, but having finally caught up with the endgame of the Jaconellis’ house being siezed by the state, I’m literally shaking with anger. Nothing has made me quite so mad as this in all the years I’ve been following British politics, and compulsory purchase isn’t even new.

The family seems to have signed an exlusive deal with the Currant Bun – fair play to them, they’ll need the cash – so read this, this, and this, and remind yourself that this is Britain in 2011, not some mitteleuropean principality in the 19th century, the Soviet Empire, or a tinpot African banana republic. The land of hope and glory, mother of the free…

A pal said: “It’s shocking it’s come to this. This couple lived in the home-owning democracy.

They thought they did.

“As they battled for a decent compensation figure their neighbours moved into new four-bedroom homes nearby as they were housing association tenants.

“But because Margaret and Jack owned their property they missed out.

“It is a disgrace in this day and age people can be treated like that.”

Indeed it is. Indeed it is.

Immediate Update: Look at those houses they’re going to demolish, by the way. Good, solid, red sandstone tenement blocks, finished in the signature “polished ashlar”; the sort you see all over this city. I live in a rather more upmarket version in the West End (some in my street have servants’ quarters), but a mate has a flat that’s probably identical to the Jaconellis’. They’ll be well over a hundred years old, and still in good repair. How long will the athletes’ village stand? Talk about destruction of wealth…

Green Kills

Families buying meat for barbecues are unlikely to be aware of their food’s controversial links because the labels on packaging will be no different from normal meat.

Note the “families” there and think of the children! As to the labelling that’s because it isn’t different to normal meat. And as to barbecues the same advice applies as to general food hygiene. Essentially you are more likely to go down with terrible guts from an under-cooked chicken breast than develop super powers (and possibly use them for evil) as a result of insane men in white coats meddling with things they don’t understand in Bavarian castles. Or something.

Campaigners for new controls were defeated after 12 hours of talks between the 27 EU states and the European Parliament failed to agree a law to manage the industry.

Like that is their job? Why is it their job?

Anyway it’s a non-issue. You want a real one. The double muscled Belgian Blue cow. So heavily muscled it’s calves have to be delivered by C-section. Now that is obscene and it is not the work of anything other than good old selective breeding and not loons with eppendorf tubes and an Igor cowering behind the Jacob’s ladder in the Schloss. Most scientists are more concerned about their next funding review and not about auditioning for a Hammer movie. Of course they do “meddle with things they don’t understand” but that’s research. Meddling with things understood is a waste of time. Scientifically speaking it’s down. It’s done.

The failure to toughen legislation means that so-called “Frankenfoods” – which come from ancestors whose DNA was altered – could be on supermarket shelves in the UK within months, subject to approval.

Messing with nature, playing God. People have said that about everything since God knows when. And seeing as God relies heavily on holy books they probably said it about writing too – where will it end? As to the weasel words of “so-called ‘Frankenfoods’”… Well, that was applied to GMO and not cloning but when the peasants have seized the torches and pitchforks such pretty distinctions are hardly likely to diminish the blood-dimmed tide. And you know calling something something doesn’t actually make it so.

Scores of dairy cows from cloned parents are already being reared on British farms.

Why am I thinking this is now one for Mark Wadsworth? Radioactive mutant Godzilla cows on the rampage. Very much his schtick.

This piece from The Telegraph is beyond parody. The comments are (in part – some are sensible) something else…

brian-dickson says…

” authorise cloning for commercial purposes”…. so shagging is out, it seems they can’t reproduce fast enough for the desired amount of profit. (tongue-in-cheek).

Honestly, can chemical companies and scientists keep their experiments away from our food? It’s getting near impossible to eat food that is ‘untainted and natural’. Something that should concern every mature and responsible citizen.

Note the scare quote which mean he knows fuck all about what he is holding forth on. I mean really! If it is truly natural and healthy and Strength Through Joy and all that why the quotes? Why? Note also the use of the word “chemical” as if everything isn’t made from chemicals anyway. I hve noted some shysters trying to sell “organic salt”. To anyone with a chemistry GCSE the idea is risible.

jeremiah_methusela says…

We are what we eat, but we don’t know what we are eating. We do not know the long-term effects of eating GM food.

But the EU does nothing.

When will the English wake up ?

I can’t even start with that utter pig ignorance. So if I eat hummus I become a chickpea. What best bollocks!

HedleyC says…

Naturally, we’re against it. But government’s are fundamentally made up of corrupt scum who only love money.

Why Hedley are we “naturally against it”. Did your great grandpappy protest against aeroplanes because he was naturally against it? And if God had wanted men to fly he would have created us with wings. I hate your assumption. I am by training a scientist. I did physics but almost did genetics and your “Royal we” makes me want to stick my degree certificates up the deranged clacker you clearly speak from. Oh, I shouldn’t say that! I almost called him an arsehole didn’t I? This is unfair to the anus which carries out a necessary though unglamorous job generally rather well. Unlike Hedley who is a twat. Though twats have their uses too. It is a disservice to any part of the human body apart from possibly the appendix to compare Hedley to them.

William Topping says…

Can the DT explain why this article is hidden away?

Why they have a picture of a house that looks like Hitler as one of their main articles instead?

Well, it isn’t hidden, it’s on the front page. And the “Hitler house” is at least funny whereas this just is nuts. It’s just deranged piss-poor Bud Lite journalism raising the hackles of luddites who think George Stephenson’s moving tea kettle was a step too far.

William goes further…

A bloody disgrace.

I need to buy a f**king TV license, but it’s ok for the big multinationals to not label if the food I am eating has been genetically altered.

William, assuming your were born of a man and a woman who mixed their DNA in either the traditional way or had the help of moustachioed fanny mechanic Lord Winston in the conservatory with the turkey baster then you are genetically modified. You could though be a lab mistake. You sound like it.

And it goes on. Will.i.am has another bite at the “organic” cherry. If there is anything I hate more than anything it is ludditism. These people are actively preventing the feeding of 7 billion (it will hit that this year). This feeds into the Optimum Population Trust schtick because by banning agrarian advances they cause their beloved population crisis. I live in one of the most densely populated countries on Earth with maybe 62 million others. I don’t feel crowded. And this is not because I’m rich because I’m definitely not. GMO and cloning is the “Horse Hoeing Husbandry” of this century. It is this century pissing on the grave of Malthus from the stratospheric height that jet planes enable us. It is a thing of progress. If like nuclear power and so many other things it is just let rip just imagine that? We are learning how to control genomes at the molecular level. Is that not swell? The same sorts of doom-mongers probably said much the same when Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse first generated alternating current or The Italian Navigator entering the New World and found the natives very friendly.

If our society has gone bad it is due to this insane anti-science. This is not the 1950s any more where every housewife in the USA desired a nuclear vacuum cleaner and every kid just knew they’d live on cities on the moon and eat food pills, possibly whilst using a jetpack. This is the endarkening. This is retreat. Look at this. So what is going to keep the lights on Clegg? What is going to bang the ‘trons because without electricity we are to use a technical term, “fucked”.

How did we get here? How did we go from kids in the ’50s (or in my case the ’70s and ’80s) who wanted to be astronauts or nuclear physicists or look to the stars and see our future and not our doom and now want to be George Monbiot and develop “sustainably” in a fucking yurt like some deranged parody of The Good Life but without Felicity Kendal’s callipygian form and only Richard Briers ratty old sweater? How did we learn such reckless self hatred? Apologies to King Theoden there. How? How can Clegg get away with such tomfoolery? When was the last time Britain had an 8.9 Clegg? When? And quite frankly Mr Clegg you are saying that to keep the Lib-Dem nut-roots happy with such a statement and you are prepared to do it from a soap-box constructed of tens of thousands of dead people. Dead because of nothing to do with nuclear energy. In fact if that quake and tsunami hadn’t happened in a highly advanced economy like Japan but in a poor country we’d be talking hundreds of thousands. We’d be talking Indonesia on Boxing Day. Clegg, you disgust me. You vile man. You utterly opportunistic cunt. The party of Gladstone? If he was still with us Clegg he wouldn’t be using his axe on trees.

Yeah, we have problems… But we can muddle through if we are allowed because money, resources, people and innovations solve problems. We just have to be allowed. We can’t retreat because that will make things worse. That is what scares me because it would be a vicious circle. It would mean we would be less able to deal with our problems which would amplify them and would be spun by the luddites as a reason for further retreat and so on. Feedback.

Look at it this way. Would Uganda have the problems it has if it had the GDP per capita of Singapore? Yet they tell us to live more like the Ugandans and less like the Singaporeans. By banning the technology that could feed the billions of this planet they make their prophecy of doom self-fulfilling. And for that I hate them. We can sort it, if we are allowed. But they don’t want that do they?

It would prove them wrong.

From here.

I went to Sainsburys today. They security tag the better cuts of meat now. apparently the middle class are now lifting their “Taste the Difference” chicken breasts.

Bring on the Soylent Green!

From Montesquieu to Voltaire – the corruption of the Enlightenment, thanks to Frederick the “Great”.

For centuries two of the standard attacks on the French Revolution have been the related attacks that it took liberty “too far” and that it applied principles rather than practical experience.

I will not, here, explore the debate of whether the above was Edmund Burke’s view of the French Revolution (I will simply say that I do not think that the above is a good description of Burke’s opinion), but I will give my own view.

I have always rejected the above line of attack upon the French Revolution – and for very basic reasons, based upon the opinions of leading Revolutionaries themselves, and what they actually did. Their words and their deeds.

The most often attacked group of Revolutionaries are the Jacobins and their leader Robespierre. Was he a fanatical supporter of laissez faire?

Of course he was not – he was an ardent statist (not a socialist – but no great roll back the state man, quite the contrary). Robespierre supported an active role for the state in economic and social life – the “freedom” he supported was the freedom of “the people” (not individual persons and private associations such as families) and a collective freedom under the wise guidence of a lawgiver (himself – or someone like him).

Nor can one blame “pressures of war” or even the supposedly power crazed nature of Robespierre for the statist nature of the French Revolution. As right from the start (before war and before people like Robespierre were leading figures) its nature was obvious – if one bothered to look at the facts.

The individual acts of murder (such as promising the Governor of Bastille safe conduct and then murdering him when he came out – such was the truth of the “storming” of the Bastille), destruction and plunder in 1789 could be dismissed as the actions of out of control mobs (although the fact that the supporters of the Revolution acted in such a way should have given observers some warning), but the central action of the new government could not be dismissed.

This was to confiscate the property of the church (the largest corporate body outside the state in France) and the issuing of fiat money supposedly “backed” by the stolen lands of the church.

For those people (like the Jacobins) who reject the corporate form (other than in their own clubs of course) and hold that there should be only atomized indivduals and the state, the confiscation of church property will cause few tears to be shed.

After all, no doubt the church had not “justly acquired” the land, or the people who had given the church this land had not “justic acquired” it (after all if one traces back far enough, very little land is “justly acquried” especially if one reverses the burden of proof by demanding that the owner “justify” his ownership or have the property taken by force and fear).

Of course confiscated property that is then sold or given away will soon concentrate in great estates again – if it is allowed to do so.

There have been many “land reforms” (i.e. mass land theft and handing out of land) in Latin America over the last two centuries – and great estates reemerge (if they are allowed to) under new owners. This is because even if everyone starts with the same – some people will soon be rich and some people will soon be poor (that is human nature – which ideological collectivist egalitarians ignore).

However, the French Revolutionaries (at least in theory) intended to keep the church property in the hands of the state and use it is as “backing” for their new currency.

However, land can not be used in this way – there was no need for a new currency anyway (the coinage under Louis XVI was basically sound) and whilst gold or silver can be divided up to make coins, land can not (trying to use land as money is folly).

As Edmund Burke predicted the fiat money of the French Revolution would soon became worthless – it was just printing press “money”.

It is often forgotten that Burke uses vastly more ink in “Reflections on the Revolution in France” denoucing fiat money and property confiscation (confiscated from the church – AND FROM OTHERS) than he does on the abuse of the Queen or anything like that.

But WHY did the Revolutionaries act in this way?

Two reasons – partly their desire to spend lots of money (this is always a desire for politicians – and it leads them down the fiat “easy” or “cheap” money road), and partly because they had no ideological committment to property rights (the bit in the Declaration of the Rights of Man about property sounds good – but when one looks at the wording in detail…..)  – at least not the property of other people (the Revolutionaries were, in the main, not socialists – those who had property themselves were rather keen on defending it).

Indeed there was less respect for private property under the Revolutionaries (even the moderate ones) than there had been under Louis XVI – just as there was less respect for civil liberties (the Bastille had about half a dozen prisoners in it when it was “stormed”, and none of them were there for their political opinions).

For example, under the old regime would-be Revolutionaries openly plotted in certain areas of Paris and the police did not touch them.

Why not? Because these areas were the private property of the Duke of Orleans and it was wrong to enter private property without a warrent. Of course the Duke of Orleans (the richest man in France, yet a radical – a sort of George Soros figure) was financing the Revolutionaries. He would later rename himself “Citizen Equality” and voted for the death of his own kinsman – the weak and well meaning Louis XVI (who went to his death with a courage that surprised his foes, and some of his friends). However “Citizen Equality” later met a bad end – and if there is a future state, kinslayers and oathbreakers have little to hope for in it.

Like “world governance” supporting  Geoge Soros (am I the only person who has read his little book denoucing Hayek and so on? Soros may talk about “the Open Society” but he is not really a supporter of Karl Popper, who was a fiend of Hayek), the French Revolutionaries (in the main) cared greatly for their own lives and goods (Soros bases his operations in the Netherlands Antilles – to avoid the high taxes he demands be imposed on other people) – but did not mind the plunder or murder of other people IF it was for the good of building the new society.

However, WHY did the Revolutionaries think they way they did?

It is normal (among people who get this far) to blame the influence of Rousseau.

Conservatives from Burke to Babbitt have claimed that the French Revolutionaries (unlike the American Founding Fathers) had their opinions warped by the collectivist influence of Rousseau – indeed many would point to the ideas of Rousseau (such as the idea that working for a private employer is a form of a slavery) as the inspiration of totalitarians from Karl Marx to Kevin Carson, and would claim to see the influence of Rouseau in such things as National Socialism and the modern “Green” movement.

I do not argue with the above, but I wish to draw attention to a more mainstream figure – Voltaire himself.

Unlike Rousseau, Voltarie is a main (and mainstream) figure in liberalism. And, indeed, much about him is admirable.

For example, his support for freedom of speech “I disagree with what you say – but I will defend to the death your right to say it” (what libertarian is not moved when he or she hears those words – and we are right to be moved). And his religious tolerance – it should not be forgottent that religous persecution was in decline in the 18th century, but cases of great injustice still occured and Voltarie was right to denounce them.

So why do I claim that Voltarie’s influence (and the influence of the many other intellectuals who followed him) had its dark side?

Partly his economics – Voltarie fully accepted the idea that one nation’s wealth in trade must be the result of the poverty of another nation. A fixed sum of wealth idea in trade (trade as a form of war). And an idea that if it was ever applied internally (to domestic economic matters) would lead straght to the totalitarian evil of state enforced egalitarianism – for if wealth can only be the result of the poverty of others should we not “forbid capitalistic acts between consenting adults”? Should we not follow the path of “land reform” and “communal anarchism” (collectivism with the state renamed “the people”) and “mutalism” (and all the rest of the totalitarian folly)?

Of course Voltarie never took this idea (the idea of trade as war) to these conclusions – but a false idea will be taken to false conclusions. For example, David Ricardo never used the (utterly false) idea of the labour theory of value, to reach collectivist conclusions – but the “Ricardian socialists” did, as did Karl Marx and (inspite of the labour theory of value being shown to be utterly false) collectivists down to our own day.

However, economics was not where Voltaire’s chief negative influence lay – it was in political theory.

Please remember how the 18th century enlightenment started. It started (in its European form at least) with the opposition of Montesquieu (and others) to the policies of Louis XIV – the Sun King.

Montesquieu did not claim that the France of Louis XIV was as bad as the Ottoman Empire (where tyranny went unchecked by such things as great private owned estates of land – protected by fundemental law and out of the reach of the “public power”), but he noted the tendancy towards tyranny in the regime of Louis XIV.

The centralized power (Montesquieu did not favour local tyranny over central tyranny – on the contrary, he understand that decentralized power acts as a check on tyanny by making it less difficult for people to vote with their feet), the undermining of insitutions (both legislative and judcial) that might act as a check on the executive – and the result, ever more taxes and government spending, and ever more regulations covering every aspect of life.

All the traditional checks on the power of the central government (from an independent Church, to provincial autonomy, to the independent nobility) were under threat in the opinion of Montesquieu.

In the words of Edmund Burke some decades later… the power of the monarchy (the central state – it need not mean the person of the king) had increased, was increasing, and ought to be diminished (rolled back).

This was the spritit of the early enlightenment – yes concerned with free speech, relgious tolerance (although Montesquieu, like Burke, was a believer – his was not a tolerance based on INDIFFERENCE, it is easy to be relgiously tolerant if you do not care, but more important if you really do care) and hostilty to things like torture and slavery (Montesquieu was famous for his denouncement of slavery – we pretend that blacks are not human beings, for if we accepted that they were beings endowed with souls by God, we could not claim that we are Christians for we treat  blacks as if they were not human beings).

However, the spirit of the early enlightenment was also a spirit of “traditional liberties” (seeking to recapture them) and a spritit that held that centralized and unlimited power was tyranny – the supreme political evil, that it was the duty of all to work against it.

This is NOT the spirit of the late enlightement – not the spirit of Voltarie and others.

To them centralized and unlimited power was a GOOD thing (not the supreme evil) – it was the way they would be able to reshape all of society to their heart’s desire. I am not claiming that Voltaire and others were like the depraved Fabians (see “the Fabian Window” a stained glass window created by the Fabians themselves, that shows their utter evil much better than any words of mine can), but some of the same “intellectual” spirit is there.

A throwback to Francis Bacon (of “The New Atlantis”) and even to Plato – a view of the intellectual as ruler or as adviser to the ruler. And that government should be centralized and absolute, with no traditional limitations upon its power.

No independent corporate organizations (such as the church), no great private estates, no provicial autonomy, no local customs……

For all his faults this is not really totally the view of Rousseau (who, for example, held that government should be as local as possible – although I doubt that he held that view for vote-with-your-feet reasons, Rousseau would not have been too unhappy with tyranny, as long as it was local tyranny) – it is more the view of Voltarie and his friends.

But WHY?

Why did they turn the spriit of the enlightenment on its head (from freedom to statism) and why did anyone listen to them?

The answer is Frederick the “Great”.

Where Frederick was pro freedom it was because of indifference – not conviction.

He supported religious tolerance – because he had no real religious faith (not because he belevied it was a natural right of free will given by God Himself, as the American Founding Fathers did) – “who cares, it has the same result”, actually whether you support freedom out of indifference or conviction matters a great deal.

Nor was it just religious faith – Frederick is (or should be) famous for saying “let my subjects believe what they like – as long as I can do what I like” but even this cynical view does not get to the heart of his philosophical contempt for freedom.

Frederick did not just have indifference for religion – he was also indifferent to human freedom (to the idea that humans are beings, free will agents, at all) in general. In fact he was a philosophical determinist – who did not see any basic difference (in TYPE) between a human being (not really a “being” in this view of course) and a lump of wood.

It is perfectly possible for a non religious person to be philosophical libertarian (Ayn Rand, not just nonreligous but an athiest, is the obvious example), but Frederick was neither a religous man (although he was not a formal athiest) or a philosophical libertarian.

And Voltarie and the others opposed this evil man? On the contary he was their idol. He was the “enlightened Prince” who would make all their dreams come true.

Why was Frederick so important? Partly because he was truly cultured (he had read their works – always a way to flatter an intellectual) and he loved music and the arts, he could play the flute to a professional standard, and was composer in his own right.

He was also indifferent to traditional aristocratic things – for example he did not chase women (I will not go into the reasons as to why that might be so – or into the CONTESTED claims that it was a factor that led him to the rejection of traditional values, as it is supposed to have done with certain people from the University of Cambridge in the 20th cventury), and he sneared at points of honour.

To an aristocrat (and to a non aristocrat in the Western tradition) force should only be used to defend a point of honour (Montesquieu defined “honour” as the defining feature of a Western monarchy – and what made it different from an Eastern despotism). To the honourable man (or women) force should never be used against the weak or helpless to take their lives or goods – on the contrary it was the duty of the honourable to defend the weak (even if it meant their own deaths).

“My honour is loyality” (the Nazi S.S. line) is, to the tradition of men like Baron Montesquieu (but to non barons also), a total perversion of what the word “honour” means. “I was only obeying orders” is no defence.

On the contrary – the man of honour (aristocrat or not) should oppose “orders” indeed should stand against a whole army on his own, if this is the only way he can defend the lives and goods of the weak or helpless.

Like the title character in the film “El Cid” (the Charlton Heston version) on hearing the words “you are alone and we are many” he should reply “the just man is never alone” and plunge in sword in hand, if this is the only way to free someone who has been unjustly arrested (and if killed, this is just the price of being an honourable man).

Old sickly, Edmund Burke (spectacles and all) knew all of this -  and when faced with the Gordon Riots (in 1780 London) he drew his sword to defend the helpless and (when the rioters backed off – courage was not their stong point) he went quickly to help defend houses under attack from the mob.

However, to Frederick the “Great” honour was just nonsense.

He could point to many cases (to hundred of cases over the centuries) where people had claimed to be honourable – whilst seeking base advantage with the use of violence.

You should not need my help in seeing the flaw in this “argument”.

Frederick wrote the “antiMachiaval” claiming to oppose the cynical power politics associated (perhaps unjustly) with the name of Niccolo Machiavelli. But Frederick admitted that he started the war of Austrian Sucession out of a desire to “make a name for myself” NOT out of a sincere belief that he had an honourable (just) claim to Silesia.

Frederick’s wars led to at least a million deaths – and the country that suffered the most deaths in proportion to its population was Prussia itself. And the only reason that Prussia was not full of cripples after his wars is that Frederick did not spend money on medical care for his soldiers – your chances were bad if wounded in the service of most 18th century armies, but in the Prussian service you were doomed (a man without a leg or an arm was no use to Frederick -  so he would just let you die, remember most humans are not “beings” not free will agents, they are just material like lumps of wood).

Wars that were not motivated by justice – but a desire to make a name for Frederick, wars born of a lust for power.

This was the hero of the intellectuals. And he was a hero because he WON.

His battlefield success mattered to them – not the lack of justice in his cause.

I might point out that had the Empress Elizabeth of Russia lived a little longer Frederick would have been crushed and his Prussia his “army that became a state” (with its nobility that were dependent on government employment – rather than being independent of it) along with him. But that is one of the might-have-beens of history.

Frederick won – and winning (power) is the only thing that impresses some intellectuals (now as well as then). The victory proved, to the intellectuals, that a state bureacracy, if it was honest and hardworking and led by a man of genius (like Frederick – but also like themselves of course), could achieve great things – could create a new great nation (if there could be a new Prussia – why not a new France?).

As for Frederick’s economic opinions – of course they were vile.

Frederick was in the mainstream of German “Cameralist” thought, state guidence of the economy, state education (and so on) were all good as far as he was concerned.

Frederick was only limited in his statism by practical considerations (lack of money) not by any principled anti statism.

It is absurd to compare Federick to the National Socialists – he was not a fanatical racialist and anti semite seeking to exterminate Jews and enslave Slavs (and that is what the Nazis were – anyone who thinks only Hitler was a problem is a fool, the Nazis were a force of basic EVIL, evil that had to be OPPOSED, and those who do not see that are no more historians than they are camels), but it also absurd to make Frederick a hero – to a person of honour, to a person who believes in justice and freedom (the rights of people and private associations to be secure in their bodies and goods) Frederick is nothing of the kind.

But he was the hero of Voltaire and his friends. And the “enlightened government” (whether the enlighted Prince or the enlightened Republic) has been the, STATIST, ideal of many since then – from the French Revolutionaries to own times.

It is not really freedom, not really putting one’s faith in Thomas Reid style “Common Sense”.

To use words from Rousseau – it is more faith in the “lawgiver” in “the General Will” not the “will of all”.

Not the traditional liberties of people (seeking to recapture them – by removing the corruptions of the passing years, seeking to RESTORE liberty, indeed to get to the heart of traditional principles even if this was NOT fully achieved in the past – which is what Montesquieu and Burke and others have tried to do). But rather the liberty of THE STATE – to remake the world (build a “new society”) in line with the “heart’s desire” of those “enlightened ones” who try to control the state. What they call “good sense” (of the elite – although I am, of course, not attacking everyone who has ever used the term “good sense”) rather than (truly) “common sense”.

Of course Thomas Paine himself (the writer of  “Common Sense”) was, especialy in his later years, far more in the second group than the first. A centralizer (not a defender of local autonomy – and voting with your feet), a person who supported religious tolernance out of indifference to religion (not out of committment to religion) and a person who would violate private property if it did not produce the results he wanted – if it did not produce a new society in line with his heart’s desire.

For example, Paine first claimed that getting rid of King George III (and hangers on) would give the money needed for such things as government financed education for most people (of course government financed education is harldy what a pro freedom person should support – as John Locke pointed out almost a century before).  And when it was pointed out to Thomas Paine that his sums just did not add up (that “The Rights of Man – Part II” does not add up) he simply demanded a tax (going all the way to 100%) on private landowners.

In short Paine was not really a libertarian (any more than Voltaire was) – he was quite happy to use government power (unlimited tax and other power) to create the new society he craved. He was (at bottom) no better in this than Frederick the Great or Plato. I am not saying that Paine was a man of blood (as Frederick was), but I am saying his principles were no good.

This cancer at the heart of the late enlightment (the enlightenment of Voltaire and Paine, not Montesquieu and Burke) was, I believe, first noted by John Adams. And modern libertarians (whether in America or elsewhere) could do a lot worse than study the judgements of John Adams – in this and many other matters.

Mexican Wank Off

DPM Clegg has delivered another one off the wrist after pre-empting a recently commissioned review into the safety of UK nuclear power stations following the Fukushima incident. So, like a bastard child of Mystic Meg and Angus McTango, he’s using the barely underway and unpublished review to rip the balls off the only coherent energy strategy being put forward, a strategy the government already agreed in principle.  Does he know something we don’t?  Like the outcome of the review as yet unwritten, for instance?  What is the brief of the safety review?  What questions are they asking?  Is this exercise merely an anorexically disguised Libtard deep green energy stitch-up?

According to Rosa Prince of the Telegraph,

The Liberal Democrat leader insisted that no extra government money would be found to meet additional costs and suggested that energy firms would struggle to raise investment from the private sector as a result of the Japanese near-meltdown.

I’m sorry, did he say government money?  It’s not government money, it’s our fucking money!  And what exactly are these “additonal” costs?  Is the cunt seriously suggesting that we should expect and prepare for Japanese style earthquakes and tsunamis?  Is he proposing exorbitantly expensive precautionary measures disguised as government sanctions that will render the construction or replacement of any nuclear power station unviable?

His remarks, made in a briefing to journalists on a visit to Mexico, throw into doubt the future of Britain’s energy supply.

Ya think?

The Government has given provisional approval to the building of at least 10 new nuclear reactors, costing around £50 billion each, at eight sites as part of the pledge to cut carbon emissions by 80 per cent in coming decades.

And ordinary people are being forced to foot the colossal bill for this fraudulent, anti-carbon wankfest.  So we scrap the nuclear option.  What’s left?  Wind turbines and PV cells that anyone capable of critical thought now knows are as much use as a marshmallow dildo.  Will we get a rebate on our energy bills if Cleggy successfully fubars the nuclear component of the de-carboning programme?  Will we fuck.

Experts have cast doubt on the capacity of the oil, gas and coal sectors to fill the energy gap if the 19 existing reactors are not replaced as they age over the next decade.

Who needs experts, rational energy policies and “carbon” belching power stations when you have a green fairy to sprinkle magic moondust around.

The Lib Dems had long opposed nuclear power but agreed in Coalition negotiations last year that existing power stations could be renewed as long as no public funds were involved.

Yes, let’s not invest in the technology that produces almost 20% of our generating capacity.  Instead let’s pour hundreds of billions into “sustainable” technology that doesn’t fucking work!

They demanded that energy firms no longer benefit from generous public subsidies and be self-funding.

Let market forces decide.  I’m all for that.  So how come the public subsidy guzzling corporations energy firms that operate the wind farms aren’t exposed to the market?  Surely, with all those R&D billions that have been pissed against the wall invested in turbine technology, they should be self-funding as well as productively functional otherwise what use are they?  So how about it, Cleggy, you cockwaffling, hypocritical streak of goat’s piss?

Now Mr Clegg believes the extra costs of protecting the new plants could prove unsustainable.

Protecting them from what? Asteroid impact?  The Easter Bunny?  It is government energy policy that’s unsustainable.  Clegg needs to understand that if the lights go out thanks to this insane fuckwittery we’ll happily create our own fiery brands to steer the tumbrils by.

“We have always said that there are two conditions for the future of nuclear power,” he said. “They [the next generation power stations] have to be safe, and we cannot let the taxpayer be ripped off, which is what they always have been in the past.”

Oh, that’s fucking precious.  He’s protecting us from being ripped off is he?  Does he think we’re as stupid as he looks?  What a swivel-eyed, double dyed, weapons grade cunt.

Mr Clegg said that, under the terms of the Coalition agreement, he had the right to veto the provision of any additional government funds. He insisted that no further public funds would be made available to fill the gap. “There will be no rowing back from the Coalition agreement on this.”

Thus speaks an unelected ecofascist who needs to consult a colorectal surgeon whenever he gets a toothache.

You can read the rest of the sorry story here.

Evil works backwards.

Cars will be banned from London and all other cities across Europe under a draconian EU masterplan to cut CO2 emissions by 60 per cent over the next 40 years.

Oh fuck me up the Khyber Pass!

The European Commission on Monday unveiled a “single European transport area” aimed at enforcing “a profound shift in transport patterns for passengers” by 2050.

Fuck right off.

The plan also envisages an end to cheap holiday flights from Britain to southern Europe with a target that over 50 per cent of all journeys above 186 miles should be by rail.

Cunt off. Do just do that you utterly raving cunts. Not long since I bought a model ornithopter from a bloke at the Galata tower in Istanbul (and no I didn’t get the now defunct Orient Express to Istanbul, I went on a Boeing 737). So why was he selling it there?

According to the Seyahatname of Ottoman historian and traveller Evliya Çelebi, in circa 1630-1632, Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi flew as an early aviator using artificial wings for gliding from this tower over the Bosporus to the slopes of Üsküdar on the Anatolian side, nearly six kilometres away. Evliyâ Çelebi also tells of Hezarfen’s brother, Lagari Hasan Çelebi, performing the first flight with a rocket in a conical cage filled with gunpowder in 1633.

Because you see flight has been a dream of humanity since forever. I think that story is dubious but the point, the desire of it isn’t. There is also a coda to it. The sultan at first thought to richly reward Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi for his feat but then thought otherwise… I mean ordinary folks flying! Where will it all end? Well, in 1903 it was nailed by Orv and Will on Kill Devil Hills. I’m reserving a post here for December 17th but Orv and Will did it off their own bat. Who spotted the Flyer? The lifeguard team on the beach and a mooching teenager. Aviation historians have reckoned that the Wrights spent $1000 to fly. It is a matter of public record that the US Navy spent $50,000 on their attempt which involved a very early bath in the Potomac for the director of the Smithsonian. He launched from a boat using a $10,000 steam catapult. The Wright brothers spent $4 on a wooden rail from the local timber merchant. And it worked. And the world took off.

And that is why the likes of Orv and Will are hated by government of any form. Four hundred years ago, just over a hundred years ago, now, by 2050, whatever it’s the same old nonsense and the same on at least two continents. Three if Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi crossed the straits to Asia… Who knows but he gave it a go!

Top of the EU’s list to cut climate change emissions is a target of “zero” for the number of petrol and diesel-driven cars and lorries in the EU’s future cities.

Siim Kallas, the EU transport commission, insisted that Brussels directives and new taxation of fuel would be used to force people out of their cars and onto “alternative” means of transport.

“That means no more conventionally fuelled cars in our city centres,” he said. “Action will follow, legislation, real action to change behaviour.

Do the fuckers also have a final solution to the “Jewish Question?”

The Association of British Drivers rejected the proposal to ban cars as economically disastrous and as a “crazy” restriction on mobility.
“I suggest that he goes and finds himself a space in the local mental asylum,” said Hugh Bladon, a spokesman for the BDA.

“If he wants to bring everywhere to a grinding halt and to plunge us into a new dark age, he is on the right track. We have to keep things moving. The man is off his rocker.”

Mr Kallas has denied that the EU plan to cut car use by half over the next 20 years, before a total ban in 2050, will limit personal mobility or reduce Europe’s economic competitiveness.

Mr Kallas is right. It will not reduce our economic competitiveness – it will send us back to the fucking stone age.

Orville Wright died in 1949. Will died in 1912 but Orv saw the fire-bombing of London, Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo and the nuking of Japan. Orv saw the first jet-pilots kick the tyres and light the fires. Orv saw what he had wrought upon the world. What did he see? The Wright Brothers were the sons of a bishop. Their dream of flight was a dream of helping to bring peace to the world by facilitating travel around it. A noble ambition. Cars and flight made the last century much as railways made the one before. What is making this century?

Cunts if you ask me. Utter cunts.

And why? Why can so many people hate freedom so much?

I don’t know exactly what Orv saw but I know what I see. I see the endarkening. And yeah, I’m sure that is one of my mine but Perry at Samizdata nicked it. Well I’m having it back because the endarkening doesn’t happen on my fucking watch. No way. Or his.

Anyway! Why put the stop line at 2050? Because like every control order they have ever done, they get away with it because of time. They are saying it now to put the myth into the sphere. They are saying it now so that children as yet unborn shall learn it and be old enough to put it in place. In that they are clever. For anything that kicks around in the public whatnots for that long gains a perverse reality.

Even if it is insane.

Never invite a palaeoclimatologist to a party…

Scientists have come up with new evidence in support of the controversial idea that humanity’s influence on climate began not during the industrial revolution, but thousands of years ago. Proposed by palaeoclimatologist William Ruddiman in 2003, the theory says that human influences offset the imminent plunge into another ice age and helped create the relatively stable climate that we are familiar with today.

Woo hoo! High five to Mr Ugg and that idea of bringing fire into the cave.

It has been repeatedly panned as implausible by palaeoclimate researchers, but eight years on, Ruddiman and others say that they have the data to support early anthropogenic climate change.

Well I dunno but it has the whiff of the fairytale to it. Paleoclimatology being an historical science – God knows! Unfortunately God ain’t answering his texts at the moment so instead we have wild speculation.

The argument centres on a curious trend in atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane levels since the last ice age ended about 11,000 years ago and the current Holocene epoch began. In previous interglacial periods, CO2 levels spiked early and then gradually declined until the globe went into another ice age. The Holocene began by following this trend, but then CO2 levels changed course and began to rise around 8,000 years ago. The same thing happened with methane levels around 5,000 years ago. These trends align with the expansion of human agriculture, and Ruddiman, of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, argues that it is no coincidence — the clearing of land and expansion of irrigation released huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

I am actually warming to this hypothesis. One of the great myths that almost everyone believes is that primitive types live(d) in harmony with nature. The poster kids for this are of course the pre-Colombian peoples of the Americas. The inconvenient truth here is that they caused vastly more extinctions of species than European settlers ever did.

Critics say that human populations were probably too small to support such a hypothesis, and recent studies have raised serious questions about early anthropogenic carbon and methane emissions. But rather than backing down, Ruddiman and several other researchers will present their supporting evidence in a series of papers scheduled for publication in a special issue of The Holocene journal later this year. Researchers presented some of the work this week at the American Geophysical Union’s Chapman Conference on Climates, Past Landscapes and Civilizations in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

“I’m of course hopelessly biased, but this year is going to be a good year for the early anthropogenic influence hypothesis,” Ruddiman said as he presented his overview study.

Well, he said it. I don’t know if that is balls-to-the-wall chutzpah or refreshingly honest. I suspect I shall never know because I couldn’t really give a flying one about, “the early anthropogenic influence hypothesis”. There are fascinating fields in science and this isn’t one.

Ruddiman also took issue with a high-profile Nature study published in 2009 by a team at the University of Bern, Switzerland, led by climate modeller Thomas Stocker, who is co-chairman of Working Group I for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Climate modeller for the IPCC. I’d rather trust Nanny Ogg reading the entrails of a goat.

The study takes advantage of the fact that plants preferentially take up the isotope carbon-12, subtly altering the ratio between carbon-12 and carbon-13 in the atmosphere. Stocker and his team analysed an Antarctic ice core and found no evidence of a change in the ratio, which would have been expected if carbon from cleared vegetation were released back into the atmosphere.

Is that true? Really is it? I want to know because my understanding is that different isotopes of an element have the same chemical properties. So how does that work.

But that study underestimated the amount of carbon-12 taken up by peatlands, say Ruddiman and Kaplan. It assumed that just 40 gigatonnes of carbon were buried in peatlands during the late Holocene, whereas other estimates come in at 280 gigatonnes or more. That number would have to be offset by terrestrial emissions to maintain the atmospheric carbon isotope ratio.

They are all making this up.

In an e-mail to Nature, Stocker said that Ruddiman’s latest paper merely “reiterates in extenso all of the points made earlier”. Although Stocker acknowledges that peatland estimates need to be better quantified, he cited a recent analysis by his institute suggesting that carbon emissions from land-use change are neither sufficient nor properly timed to explain the rise in CO2 levels in the Holocene.

Yeah, whatever. I’ll go back to casting runes – it’s more honest.

The rise of rice.

Now they’re having a go at the Asians…

Kaplan says that Stocker’s land-use analysis contains some of the same problems and assumptions as others that have come before. Another study in The Holocene by Dorian Fuller, an archaeologist at University College London, explores methane emissions from livestock and the spread of rice agriculture in southeast Asia. Fuller says that the expansion of rice could account for up to 80% of the additional atmospheric methane as of 1,000 years ago, and suggests that the expansion of livestock could help to plug the gap in previous millennia.

So is livestock not as bad as rice because all the Greens rail against the evils of livestock as opposed to eating plants? I am now utterly confused. And as to why anyone feels the desperate need to plug that gap… God knows but thankfully I never felt my life’s work would be paleoclimatology. Watching paint dry would appear to be more worthwhile.

Palaeoclimatologist Eric Wolff of the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, UK, acknowledges that whereas no one can refute the idea that humans played a significant part in influencing the Holocene climate, no one can prove that they did.

That is fucking priceless.

Wolff points out that a modelling study that appeared in Nature in February this year, led by Joy Singarayer at the University of Bristol, UK, shows that orbital variations and tropical sources can explain the Holocene methane trends. “This does not prove there was not an anthropogenic influence, but it removes the need for one,” Wolff explains.

That’s an explanation? Jesus wept. Maybe it is but exactly what it is an explanation of is beyond me. The way I look at it if Joy Singarayer’s work is true and what actually happened then not only does it mean there isn’t a need for an anthropogenic cause for Holocene methane but that didn’t happen otherwise you’d have both our distant ancestors and the orbital wiggles and whatever happened in the tropics liberating gases. The only way you can get away with saying the sort of thing Wolff does there is if the error bars are enormous enough to allow all causes. Or to put it more pungently he is talking bullshit – probably quite literally. This isn’t science – this is witchcraft.

Both Kaplan and Fuller say that their focus is not so much on Ruddiman’s specific hypothesis as on the idea that humans might have influenced climate well before the industrial revolution.

Wow! Just re-read that. It’s awesomely vague. That is not science, it’s not even witchcraft – it’s demonology.

“The human influence is there,” says Fuller. “We can see that.” Researchers have plenty of work to do in terms of quantifying early human emissions, adds Kaplan, “but it is getting hard to support the idea that anthropogenic influence was negligible before the industrial era”.

“Quantifying early human emissions”. That is what these people get out of bed in the morning to do? Dear sweet fuck! I thought solid-state physics was dull but that was enjoying an evening of cigars and witty anecdotes with Oscar Wilde and Peter Ustinov compared to this unbelievably tedious area of study. I reckon the climate alarmists get way with what they do because their field is so frigging dull almost nobody can be arsed to call ‘em on it. Anthropogenic Holocene methane emission trends… Oh do please just fuck off. I mean I studied astrophysics which people tend to find interesting at parties. Note the world is full of amateur astronomers. That’s fun science. So is say genetics or evolution or Cantorian set theory or… Anything but that. That makes the study of ditchwater seem fascinating. That’s worse than trainspotting. And it’s all models (though I bet few of ‘em get to date models) with no empirical base whatsoever. It’s therefore an eternal hell of clever guffery which gets funded because it is sufficiently dull that the Oxford PPE types that fund stuff reckon it must be like really important. Well, plugging the gap in the Holocene methane hole mattered fuck all to Mr Ugg and it matters the square root of fuck all to me.

I’d rather grunt with Mr Ugg and offer him a glass of a rather cheeky Merlot and perhaps some Pringles. Seeing as he could chuck a spear at a woolly mammoth he’d have no problems decking a paleoclimatologist. And no honest jury of his peers would regard that as other than utterly justifiable.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrr!

As Nick says, it’s all go this weekend. Sometimes – you may have noticed – I find this blogging thing a bit tough. I expect if I’d enetered it off my own bat, rather than being invited, I’d have packed it in by now. I either can’t think of anything to say, or – and this weekend is an example – there’s so much stupidity, idiocy, and downright mouthbreathing fuckwittery going on in Britain that it seems like some kind of Herculean labour to chronicle what I’ve noticed about it and vent my bulging spleen. So I don’t bother. I can’t hold it in today, though. Some people are just so fucking… oh, I don’t know. I can’t find words in the English language sufficient to describe the utter, wilful defiance of objective reality.

Take the small number of morons who took to the streets of London yesterday. I mean, where to begin? As I said about the students last year, here we have self-styled “anarchists” protesting against a reduction in the size of the state. A reduction, moreover, that isn’t actually happening. If the legacy media and my own acquaintances were all I had to go on, I’d think the entire country was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. It’s downright bizarre. How ludicrous are these people? Helen, at Your Freedom and Ours, gives some idea of the intellectual level:

… several hundred demonstrators, who came in order to cause trouble, did just that, smashing shops, banks and occupying Fortnum and Mason in Piccadilly, a store that is owned by Whittington Investments Limited that is, in turn, owned largely by the Garfield Weston Foundation, one of the largest charitable foundations in the world or, in other words, an organization that actively helps people through various targeted charitable donations.

What really promted me to start writing today, though, was reading about it in my mum’s Mail. I should respect her property and leave it alone.

GMB leader Paul Kenny said the local elections on May 5 should be a referendum on the Government’s economic and social policies.

‘GMB will urge voters to reject unemployment, poverty and cuts in public services. We will ask them to support an end to tax evasion by the super-rich and multi national companies and support a financial transaction tax. These two measures alone will raise at least £40 billion,’ he claimed.

Frankly, I strongly suspect he’s talking shite – “tax evasion” to these brainless wonders means foreign subsidiaries not paying tax to the British government on business conducted abroad, as Vodafone discovered to the cost of a few branches’ windows – but even assuming his figures are correct, where’s the other £20,000,000,000 coming from? And that would just eliminate the deficit, not start a surplus to begin paying the debt off.

In the print edition – I can’t find it online, as it isn’t part of his regular column – Peter Hitchens noted the BBC’s impartial coverage of the riot:

It began with a bizarre report on Friday night on Newsnight. Reporter Anna Adams provided minutes of free publicity to protest group UK Uncut, whose spokeswoman was identified only by her Christian name, Lucy.

Here’s a sample: “UK Uncut is a new kid on the block.

… Yeah, the very latest front group for the SWP…

They only got together after the Chancellor’s Budget cuts

[sic]

last year, but they’ve already got quite a following. They are a social media success story and more than 1,000 of them will be out tomorrow. They think that’s more than enough to close down shops and banks.”

So what are their policies? Where do they get their funds? Are they linked to any political organisation? No idea. Nobody asked.

Remember that, next time some BBC-Guardian type starts waxing lyrical about “public service broadcasting” and “Reithian values” (as if Reith was anything to shout about*; if I’d invented the Public Corporation I’d keep bloody quiet about it). Remember this, too, from El Reg.’s coverage of the Fukushima panic:

Two days ago, levels of radioactive iodine-131 were found in the city’s water which were above the safety limit for baby milk calculated on the basis of a year’s consumption: in other words, if babies drank such water for a year constantly they would have a tiny, minuscule extra risk of thyroid cancer.

One should note that iodine-131 has a half-life of 8 days: it disappears almost completely within a matter of weeks.

[...]

The spurious water announcement, of course, caused pretty much everybody to stop drinking from Tokyo taps and there was a run on bottled water. This was reported globally under such headlines as “Tokyo Water Works is new ground zero” (since retracted, but the Google cache will show you the guilty organisation for a while) even as the announcement came that, of course, the harmless minuscule iodine-131 spike had passed.

Here’s a screengrab from Google:

google-search_1301116777713

I expect it’s something to do with the unique way it’s funded. TV news is, as I think I’ve probably said before, inherently tabloid in nature. The BBC isn’t “the Guardian of the air”, it’s the Mirror. Dressing the newsreaders in smart suits, playing portentious orchestral music, and using marginally less shiny graphics than Sky doesn’t make the lack of context any more excusable, or the sensationalism any less breathless. (In fact, Jeff Randall’s show on Sky News is the best current affairs coverage on British TV by some margin. And that’s not saying much. But it’s certainly the only thing I can bear to watch these days.)

Also from the Mail (and also, apparently, only in print – I am, of course, notoriously hopeless at web searches: as they say in the Open Source world, patches welcome) comes the earth-shattering news that Hugh O’Donnell MSP (who?) is to stand as an independent next month. He’s resigned from the Lib Dims in some kind of protest.

I joined the party because I believe in free-thinking and personal liberty.

Oh, excellent. One of us, then. Resigning because he can no longer put up with the maternalist, nannying, profligate statism of the Coagulation, no doubt. Er… no. As he makes clear in an apparently self-penned op-ed piece in the Jock edition:

… the social progress made on pensions, education, and the welfare state created by old Liberals

[sic]

is slowly being dismantled by the coalition.

He’s disappointed they voted against imposing an illegal minimum price for alcohol, too. But oh, he’s all in favour of “personal liberty”. Except for shopkeepers, presumably. This man is no liberal.

There’s probably a lot more I could cram into this portmanteau post, but it feels good to get that off my chest. I despair for this country, I really do.

*His father was a Free Kirk minister. Sound familiar?

Something for the weekend

Well, it’s all go ain’t it?

Yesterday we had the cuts protest in London which with the Met’s usual brilliance was badly policed. This is what appeared to have happened. 250,000 turn up and they are generally peaceful. There is maybe 300-500 hoodlums and 4,500 coppers but the cops patrol the entire thing and don’t focus on the anarchists who quite frankly looked like anarchists. The balaclavas and stuff gave the game away rather. Moreover their planned outrages had been announced previously via the internet but the Met apparently didn’t bother to check otherwise they would have known Oxford Street’s Topshop and Fortnum & Mason’s were on the hit-list. This is not Sherlockian coppering. That is the sort of thing Sam Vimes could safely leave to Fred Colon.

Then we had Earth Hour yesterday which is… How can I put this? Profound wankery. It slipped past me until I saw people turning-off lights on BBC News this morning. It was perverse. Truly perverse because they had ceremonies in big cities such as Paris where some bloke (Mayor of Paris?) presses a big button and the Eiffel Tower lights go off. It perversely reminded me of a sort of counterclock-world version of firing-up the Christmas lights ceremonies. It is thoroughly demented. I mean raving mad and the symbolism is beautifully barking. For over a hundred years now what is the language of cartoonists to suggest a bright idea or cunning plan? It’s an incandescent light bulb going on over someone’s head. The reversal of this, if you think about it, is staggering.

And then today it was premises committee for the religious building I am warden of. “Green issues” came up here as well and what shocked me is the level of utter ignorance on display of basic scientific facts despite relentless belief. I was asked to buy “low carbon” washing up liquid such as Ecover. Right… To the mind of the asker Green = low carbon but Ecover have never claimed to be low carbon. They claim to be less polluting to the water supply and are anyway utter shite. You need about three times as much as you do with Fairy which does claim to be low carbon because it is much more concentrated so is less of a transport burden. It makes me wonder. It really does. It makes me think of W B Yeats and the best being full of doubt and the worst full of passionate intensity or whatever. Or indeed the old astrophysics joke about cosmologists – “Frequently in error, never in doubt”.

My wife also mentioned Ecover’s dirty little secret. Like The Body Shop they rely on others to test on animals…

I then almost lost the fucking will to live in a discussion of similar ignorance over burning garden waste. I have said many things here (and elsewhere) contra Greenism but until today I never really realised the level of ignorance of basic physics, chemistry and biology which is made-up for by the demented enthusiasm to “do something”. I’m a Northener and we have a saying up North (where it’s grim) – “When in doubt – do nowt”.

So that’s my weekend – almost. It is also census day and I appear to have lost the form which is quite a feat for it is huge. Shame really. I had a great answer to the religion question. I am a Primitive Hannibalistic Lecterist. This means that I could wash down a census-taker’s liver with a bottle of Blue Nun.

And yes, the religion question matters because it enables state-funded “faith schools” to Rick-roll their schtick. And if, as a libertarian, I have qualms about government funded education I can easily double that over government-funded faith schools. I have never attempted to foist my religious belief (or lack thereof) on others and I will be stuffed if my taxes will do the same whether I like it or not.

Quote of the Day

All over the world you can see Jewish memorials, Jewish monuments – they’re called cemeteries, in places where once were Jews and now are none. And that’s how anti-Semites like it.

Jews don’t need memorials, they need a living presence.

Mark Steyn

When every second counts

The police are only minutes away.

 

Quick! Behind the sofa! Pretend we’re out!

Barack Obama locked out of the White House:

President Barack Obama was filmed being confronted by a locked door when he tried to enter the Oval Office from a terrace at the White House as he returned early from a trip to Latin America.

With a nonchalant stroll and a whistle, the US president walked past another set of locked French doors before he was finally able to gain access to his seat of power.

If that had been the previous Prez, the BBC would probably have set up a new channel to show it on constant rotation.

H/T: A commenter at Scaryduck.

Britain Rocked as Millions Join Non-Protest

The streets of cities across Britain were packed today with millions of people not protesting against boy Chancellor Georgie Osborne’s cuts of £-80bn over four years. People crowded into the country’s urban centres going about their normal weekend business, failing to wave SWP-printed placards or chant angrily about the government’s imaginary austerity measures. This reporter witnessed first-hand the wave of inaction in Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street. Archie McKay (76), from Partick, said,

“Aye, Ah’m jist popping intae Lauder’s pub tae meet mah pal Alec. His wife died last year and he doesnae get out much, so we meet in the toon oan a Setterday efternoon fur a wee dram. Ah tell’t him tae come along tae the bools wi’ me through the week, but he says it’s an auld man’s game. He’s 82. Anyway, nice speaking tae ye, son. Here, Ah hope it doesnae come oan tae rain. Ah’ve went an’ left mah brolly oan the bus.”

This lack of concern was shared by Kylie Lafferty (19… and the rest), another non-protester:

“OmigoddidyeseethaeshoesinTKMaxxthatshop’samazin’yegetsomemadbargainsinthereanitsalldeadgoodstufftaeSeemahpalAmiee-shespellsitwianIandtwoeescosshethinksitsexoticherrightname’sjistAmy-she’sneverootaethatplaceanshesalwaysgotawesomeclaesSheletsmeborrowthemsometimesanshegetspuremadcosAhlookbetterinthemBitch.”

Indifferent words indeed.

Clearly, whatever the hell the Chancellor thinks he’s up to, the people of Britain don’t give a flying fuck.

(I was going to illustrate this post with a photo of the non-protesting masses, but I, er… forgot to take one, so it’s turned into a sort of fictionalised version of Dizzy’s wise words of this morning.)

7968

I went to buy a Coke at the local Co-op…

Well, the deputy manager looks un-gruntled and asks the lad on the till, “Steve, you seen 8,000 Bakewell slices?” to which he replies in the negative because I guess if you ever see 8,000 of anything much you tend not to forget it. At this point me and the other bloke in the queue are chuckling but… it gets better… She follows up with, “Well it could have been 32″ which almost floored me and also the bloke ahead of me who almost dropped his dog food and four Stellas.

That is logistics for you! And also why I tend to shop at TESCO or Sainsburys.

The deputy manager in question was (is?) the face of the Co-op in the TV ad campaign from when they took-over Sommerfield. Possibly by buying them out with 7968 Bakewell slices. Who knows? Not the Co-op management for sure.

That’s her on the left…

I don’t even like Bakewell slices.

Shooters

I flicked on the telly box to BBC News this morning and…

Well they had guests. They had a posh young man from Wiltshire who had had a shotgun certificate since he was 11 and some dismal old trout from wherever wearing what looked like the torso of the Honey Monster in waistcoat fashion. She apparently founded a charidee or some form of theatrical gayness called “Mothers Against Guns” – at this point I wished I’d kept the puke bag from THY. So the posh fella explains that he needed his shotgun certificate – note not a license – as a minor all this enabled him to do was shoot clay pigeons under the supervision of an adult with a full license. In order to get even this he had been interviewed at length by a police firearms officer and his house had been inspected to ensure the gun or guns would be secure. This lad was a competition clay pigeon shooter. He was not the sort to walk into an HSBC and demand cash with menaces (from my experience of HSBC they are more likely to do that to the customer which is essentially why I don’t bank with them no more). But still this woman harrumphed and moaned during this fella’s explanation of the hoops he and his parents had to jump through so he could pursue a hobby he was clearly good at and which harmed nothing other than clay pigeons. Shooting clays is quite simply about as innocuous a sport as you can imagine but by this woman’s twisted logic because it involved a gun it had to be definitively evil.

I couldn’t watch much more but I think I saw enough. Her obvious discomfort was enough. I assume she founded this charidee because she had a child (probably a son) shot to death. I would bet my wife’s breasts that said gun was not legally owned. I would bet my own kidneys that tragic though her loss may have been (it may not have been exactly tragic – when I lived in Manchester a woman came on the local telly holding a candlelight vigil against guns in much the same way – her son had been shot dead in a a pub in South East Manchester – but you know how? He was a teenager and took a contract to off a drug dealer who managed to be swifter on the draw so my nano-scale violin plays the lament). It in no way involved folks in Wiltshire shooting inanimate objects for fun. Or indeed any of the totally justifiable reasons why one might want to own a gun. My brother has taken up archery. He does it with a mate of ours who is actually a copper. My Bro got into it after a trip to Vegas where he shot an AK-47 and loved it. Obviously back in England this was not an option so he took-up the bow. Now as our Frogulent pals discovered at Crecy and Agincourt a bow is also an extremely lethal weapon. But then so is everything if used right. Don’t get me wrong here. I am not defending the posh fella from Wiltshire having a shotgun purely because his personal use is clay pigeon shooting. Oh, no. I am perfectly happy with guns being used to cause lethal harm in the right circumstances. I only mention this chap because he was on TV and because his gun use was so impossible to “unjustify” that the only way to claim it was unjustifiable was to argue that guns in and of themselves are immoral and I will go to a pool party courtesy of Michael Barrymore before I will accept that there is any moral issue with shooting clay pigeons or gun ownership in general or indeed the general idea that inanimate objects can be discussed in moral terms at all. Obviously there are moral issues related to how guns are used but… Well do I need to draw a diagram? Lets not talk of guns, let’s talk of vans. When I last moved house my brother hired a van (it wasn’t a Transit but something of that ilk). This enabled a sofa (and much else) to be moved from Gateshead to Cheshire. You got a problem with that? Thought not. Ah, but what about vans in the service of evil? If you believe the media then loads, van-loads, of girls are being trafficked into my country as sex-slaves or something. Possibly dusting Lord Mandelson’s wainscotting – God knows! But when I was 17 I had an (un)fortunate encounter with a Transit – I use the brackets because whilst I was extremely unlucky to be hit given that I was hit I was extremely lucky to gt off with cuts and bruises – it was matter of cms and milliseconds between feeling pretty rough for a week and feeling nothing ever again. It was doing 60 through the fog and came off worse than I did (stern stuff us Geordies). My arm did though ache for weeks after. That was my left arm and my elbow took the wing-mirror off, “ouch!”. I also apparently left a Nick-shaped dent in the side of it in classic “spread-eagle” fashion. So let’s ban vans. Lets. Except this incident saw an NHS ambulance (which is essentially a van with flashing lights) pick me up and take me to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital A&E where the doctors and nurses glued (literally) me back together and sent me home. I had rather long hair back then so you should have seen the bottom of the shower the morning after – it looked like a field dressing station at Stalingrad. So you see for every problem a van creates, a van solves.

But if you think about it… The real problem here was the road and me being a bit late already and hurrying and it being very foggy. The problem was not the van. It was how straight that newly built bypass was which at the best of times made judgement of distance tricky and with a heavy fog up from the Tyne Valley impossible for both me and the driver. The devil was as ever in the details. As with shotguns. The BBC flagged-up the number of 11 year olds with shotgun certificates. This was apparently a bad thing. The real question here of course is how many pre-teen farmer’s sons and daughters actually murder people with them and this was not mentioned. Let’s just ban guns entirely (except for the cops obviously) because banning decent law-abiding citizens from owning lethal weapons will reduce the murder rate of course. What profound silliness!

The simple truth is that the sort of person who wants a legally owned weapon is not the problem. The criminal who doesn’t (by definition) give a monkey’s about the law as to owning a gun or pretty much anything else is the problem. Further restricting the generally law-abiding from legal gun ownership essentially prevents people from doing what they wouldn’t anyway.

I know it’s trite but there is truth in the NRA slogan, “Guns don’t kill people, people do”. And also their other slogan, “When guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns” rings similarly true. But then is that not the bansturbatory cycle? More gun regulation will inevitably lead to more shootings by criminals which will be spun as justification for even more regulation which completely misses the point that obviously the sort of people who cause problems with guns are also criminals who pretty much by definition don’t give a toss about the law anyway.

The same with vans I guess.

Or indeed anything.

I have never even touched a “live” firearm, never really had the chance. Does that make me ultra-moral by that lady’s obscure calculus? It probably does by her deranged reckoning because guns have to be intrinsically evil in her world. That is a failure of imagination. I could, but probably will not, do quite appalling things to you with a stick. Or a rock, or indeed anything the cave-personage Ugg could bring to hand. Essentially the intent is always the issue. Not the article. To believe so is to be mad. My wife has just driven off to go to the supermarket and meet her parent’s new dog. That is a ton of steel which could easily kill a small child. That ought to be banned. As should the dog which could also kill a small child. The fact my wife is a very safe driver and her parents are very good dog owners is not something that occurs to the bansturbators. Indeed if my brother had an AK-47 would I be scared? No. I have known him since the mid-70s (as long as anyone) and if he did have such a shooter I’d be like, “Can I have a go?”. Just for the hell of it. Not to kill anyone because quite frankly I simply don’t desire to kill anyone. Oh, George Monbiot is annoying but do I really want to empty a clip of 7.62 into his bladder? Probably not. Though I would insist on using things from my tool-box on his pal Jonathan. But then again that is the point. My tool box with which I fix computers and stuff contains vastly more vile (when connected to this brain that has read some awful stuff) possibilities than a mere shooting which is sort of clean in a way. Well cleaner than removing a rectum with a claw hammer.

Or to put it another way… Why should a 37 year old man (that’s me) not be allowed to carry despite in all those years never being even cautioned by the rozzers and that by some alchemical process improves public safety? Why? I’ll tell you why. Because the “do-gooders” think, they have it in their DNA, that if something is against the law their work is done because obviously making something against the law solves the problem by which I mean as far as they are concerned and they can then wash their hands of it. They think that if guns are illegal shootings will also be and essentially that by making guns against the law they feel their work is indeed done. Because making a bad thing against the law works right? Well, yeah, except it doesn’t with respect to criminals does it? It doesn’t because… Do I need to explain again?

And they clearly never hung in the gaffs I have. And I have lived in some rum cribs in my time. Meanwood Road in Leeds springs to mind.

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