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January 8th, 2013:

A Brave Man…

Yang Jisheng. A Chinese academic who has written a book that might do Mao’s memory irreparable damage. Yes, it’s about the Great Famine that resulted from Mao’s absurd and evil schemes. Yang Jisheng – at great personal risk – dug out the archives on a period of human insanity and vileness that ought to be at least as well known as the Holocaust or Stalin’s purges.

Here’s a taster (for want of a better word).

A decade after the Communist party took power in 1949, promising to serve the people, the greatest manmade disaster in history stalks an already impoverished land. In an unremarkable city in central Henan province, more than a million people – one in eight – are wiped out by starvation and brutality over three short years. In one area, officials commandeer more grain than the farmers have actually grown. In barely nine months, more than 12,000 people – a third of the inhabitants – die in a single commune; a tenth of its households are wiped out. Thirteen children beg officials for food and are dragged deep into the mountains, where they die from exposure and starvation. A teenage orphan kills and eats her four-year-old brother. Forty-four of a village’s 45 inhabitants die; the last remaining resident, a woman in her 60s, goes insane. Others are tortured, beaten or buried alive for declaring realistic harvests, refusing to hand over what little food they have, stealing scraps or simply angering officials.

When the head of a production brigade dares to state the obvious – that there is no food – a leader warns him: “That’s right-deviationist thinking. You’re viewing the problem in an overly simplistic matter.”

I have just been out to buy cat food because kitty’s cupboard was bare. Now that is not “right-deviatonist thinking” – that’s arithmetic. You have twelve pouches of cat food and the cat eats twelve pouches then poor kitty then has none and I have to get my boots on. This blog is called “Counting Cats” and at some level little Timmy (who is not exactly a maths professor at Cambridge) has a stronger grasp on arithmetic than a Chinese Communist apparatchik. He at least has a folk conception of zero and will mewl until the situation is ameliorated and because I am not a Communist apparatchik but a reasonable, rational human being so do I.

I increasingly regard Communism as a religion – a bizarrely humanly invented one. It’s the only way I can understand the squaring of “never jam today” with the fact there clearly isn’t any jam, nor was there, nor will there be and jam doesn’t happen by wishing it to be so. I guess what I’m saying is these committed communists (and Yang Jisheng was one in his youth – even when his father starved to death in front of his eyes – another reason Yang Jisheng is a brave man – to challenge everything you were brought up to believe and admit you followed a false prophet for years is intellectually brave).

I say a “bizarrely human invented religion” and I need to clarify what I mean. This is hard. What Communism (in most forms) does is create a quasi-religious mythology that manages – all too often – to get away with the seeming paradox of championing the “ordinary Joe” whilst deifying whatever “Great Leader” lives in the palace. But there is another paradox and it is the conflation of “religion” and “science” (and the scare quotes are there for a reason). The reason of course is that it is neither religion nor science but a load of hokum dressed-up in pseudo scientific terms and expressed in an almost transcendental manner. That is Communism’s power. It touches both the bases of a quasi-mystical “worker’s paradise” where money is too cheap to meter (religion) with what appear to be scientific arguments that this state of affairs is not just desirable and doable but inevitable if only everyone believes enough. Like bringing Tinkerbell back. It’s a heady brew appealing simultaneously to both idealism (of a sort) and a faux rationalism. Do I dare go further and suggest the obvious contradictions here fit with a belief in the dialectic and thesis hitting antithesis as the engine of progress?

I don’t believe that because I can see when the cupboard is bare. As I said so can a relatively simple critter such as the Dear Kitty. Yes, Mao refuted by a cat! No where have I heard that one before? I can also spot intellectual bankruptcy as well as cat food deficits. And it is intellectually bankrupt. Occam’s razor cut’s the throat of Communism. I mean there is either no food because of colossal mismanagement (I also regard such epic mismanagement as actually evil in somewhat the same way I regard homeopathy, quacks, cults and any number of other frauds*). Of course some of the agents are poor misguided souls who like Agent Mulder “want to believe” and some just wish to gain power and stuff and see this as a convenient vehicle and the synergy of faux-science with faux-religion is a powerful vehicle for that. Just get your ouija board out and ask the shade of L Ron Hubbard. Some of course are just thugs and some just terrified of those thugs. Yang Jisheng became neither and for that I salute him.

*Examples of Communist intellectual bankruptcy might include Lysenkoism Or Stalin’s truly bizarre objection to Fermi-Dirac statistics in Quantum Mechanics – Fermions within a system all have to have different quantum states – so they “don’t collectivise” was Uncle Joe’s objection. The idea of Joe Stalin being well-up on cutting edge physics is peculiar enough but what is really weird is that that is bizarrely atavistic as well as showing some (deranged) understanding of physics it is a prime example of someone who would undoubtedly have called himself a materialist objecting to the nature of… matter itself on a spurious quasi-religious “make it so!” basis. There was also a bizarrely vile attempt under Uncle Joe to produce a subservient soldier/worker class (Morlocks?) by attempting (against both any er… conceivable ethics or even brute biological science) to cross humans with gorillas. Deranged science and deranged ideology hand-in-paw. Some women actually volunteered to be (artificially) inseminated with Ape jizz. Seriously. Now that really is pseudo-science allied to some sort of “vision thing”.

The A to Z of bans (may not be comprehensive)

The government doesn’t trust you to make adult decisions, or abide by the law, or engage in a whole range of behaviours they don’t like.  They like your tax money and seem to enjoy lecturing and controlling you for sure.  But on a personal level, I really don’t think they like you.

Now let’s set aside the fact that being lectured to by the government and those people who make it up is somewhat ironic to put it mildly.  The only people I know who cheat their already way generous expenses are elected representatives of one kind or another.  I’ve never known anyone else do it in business.

They are a bunch of greedy, frequently overweight, often alcoholic, sometime drug-taking, stupid, opinionated bunch of sociopaths who probably shouldn’t be lecturing the rest of us about obesity or booze or greed or much anything else.  They’ve plunged the country into bankrupting debt and pointless wars, given us useless creaky state run health and education and seem to think that the high cost of houses in the UK is because bricks are expensive.

They only solution to any problem seems to involve more tax, more of them or banning something they personally don’t like.  Government by edict and whim may lead to trouble down the road, and certainly does not lead to freedom.  So let’s take a (by no means exhaustive) jaunt through things the government or (its camp followers) doesn’t like and tries to use the force of law to ban.

Advertising ~ they don’t like the fact that young children are targets of advertisers, because clearly as parents you can’t possibly say to your kids ‘No’ and explain why.  So ban stuff near schools because kids don’t go anywhere else.

Begging ~ nothing new here, governments have passed anti-begging statutes down the ages

Charity ~ Apparently they think that people spending their own money on charities is just a ruse to spend their own money on charities and not pay taxes instead.

Direct charity ~ Yep, plans are afoot to stop people saying “can you give two quid a month to help save rocks?’ or something in the high street because clearly you can’t say no, thus we need goons with guns to ban this vile practice.

E-cigarettes ~ they maybe entirely harmless to those around you, but nanny has jolly well nearly got you to stop smoking, so you can just stop this nonsense. The fact that it is entirely harmless to others and thus has no basis to be banned in the original terms of the debate is ignored.

Fast food retailers ~ the sylph-like Diane Abbott whose beautiful physique we can only gape at in awe has decided that people who sell chicken to children are closet chetniks and this behaviour should be banned

Getting a tan ~ they can’t ban the sun of course and so have to confine themselves to lecturing you about using factor two million sunblock and not exposing yourself to the sun for more than eight seconds or something.  But tanning salons are something that really annoy those intellectual giants of the Welsh assembly.  My fellow countrymen it seems just can’t work out for themselves when they maybe burning or looking a bit too George Hamilton.

Headscarves ~ If there is one thing governments love/hate/can’t quite make their minds up about, it is the critical issue of female head coverings.  They need to be banned or possibly the exact opposite depending on what your own brand of bigoted stupidity is.  So France bans ‘em, Iran insists upon them and the Saudis insist on full face coverings.  No choice in any of this.

Illegal bans ~ ever been stopped under a section 44 of the Terrorism act 2000?  The stop and search powers are illegal.  Don’t tell the police though; they seem to find it quite useful in combating stuff they don’t approve of.

Jelly beans ~ if they are made from a thickening agent called konjac the EU doesn’t like ‘em.  So learn Japanese and import from Tokyo.

Ketamine ~ Quite why anyone wants to take this I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter much, you aren’t allowed to.

L’Oréal Ads ~ specifically one featuring Rachel Weisz because it seems to have been airbrushed and you are far too stupid to realise this.  Thank god for beneficent bureaucrats to save us from Rachel looking lovely.  Lap dancing was just too easy.

Men only organisations ~ You can’t ban women from private clubs in the UK anymore, so screw you and your property rights, but women only gyms seem to be okay for some reason.  Of course in some of the less sane parts of the middle-east, mixed anything is banned.

N-word ~ racists are generally pretty dumb right?  Pretty much the only way you can make this nonsense attractive is to ban it.  Yep, make some of these hoons you see on youtube into free-speech martyrs.

Offending someone ~ Say something, anything that someone else doesn’t like and if the scream to the cops, look out, thus the kid who said some things on twitter about some non-dead football player, or various people who have drunkenly opposed immigration and been involuntarily published on youtube.  Chokey for you.

Protests ~ try protesting against the government without the government’s permission (no really, this is not made up).  Plastic bag bans seemed unimportant by comparison,

Quality of life ~ not specifically banned per se, but just consider the cumulative effects of fuel taxes and airport duties. This means fewer, costlier holidays and the general tax level means less of your own money to spend.

Rare burgers ~ yep, apparently someone thinks that you shouldn’t be able to enjoy your burgers unless they are entirely cremated (I’ve lost the link, but it may have been a yank state somewhere) but this seems to conflict with another nanny who reckons burned red meat gives you some form of intestinal cancer.  So I guess both cooking forms should be banned.

Salt ~ Nanny really hates this for some reason, so don’t imagine you are mature enough to decide this for yourself either.  Look forward to a safe, tasteless, bland eating experience (presumably of meat cooked to nanny’s tastes?)  No room to discuss smiling for your passport photo or smoking.

Turning guns over to the police ~ If you find a gun, don’t hand it in to the police because strict liability laws mean you can be convicted of possession.  Arguably the dumbest law yet passed.

Unlicensed landlords ~ yes, you and I cannot enter into a private contract anymore in one London Borough.  I might look at your flat and want to rent it, but not without the council’s say-so.  And you can bet the licence won’t be free.

Velocity ~ 70mph was introduced in 1966 arguably to suit cars of the time.  well things are different and far, far better now, but just try arguing with someone from the Avon & Somerset constabulary on January 1st 2008 than doing 90mph down an entirely empty M4 was quite safe.  You can’t decide on appropriate speeds you see, some bureaucrat should instead.

Walking your dog ~ yes, yes, you might have paid for the park over and over, but don’t expect that to cut any ice with Newark and Sherwood District Council and expect a £75 fine if you take Fido for walkies in a public place.

X-rated TV and films ~ You see, it would be impossible for you to make an objective judgement to watch or not watch various media offerings , so Nanny has to watch it for you.  Some stuff is banned and you obtain a pirate copy of clockwork orange and wonder what all the fuss was about. Dumb and ineffective.

Yellow pages ~ some US cities have made the physical delivery of ‘yellow pages’ an opt in-only service, thereby disqualifying lots of older people who simply won’t know about this or how to use Google.

Zebras ~ The government wants to make sure you can’t see zebras in circuses anymore from 2015 onward.

This was easy, way too easy.  Please add your own examples of mindless annoying, freedom crushing bans.

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