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The terrible year of 1986.

A post on an often overlooked year – 1986. A year in which events occured that had (and are having) terrible consequences.

A British person when hearing of the date “1986″  will think (if they think of anything) of the “Single European Act” – formally it came into effect in 1987, but the agreement was made in 1986. Mrs Thatcher was told that the agreement with the European Economic Community (as some still called it at the time) would lead to free trade, an open market, and was, therefore a good thing for a free market person to agree to.

Of course Mrs Thatcher’s information came from officials – note to all politcians, the moment you start to rely on official information (and interpretations) you are lost. For you are no longer really in power – the officials are.

This is not hidesight – I remember as a university undergraduate knowing what the Single European Act was really about, and my friends all knew as well. We all knew that it meant that the EEC (EC – now EU) would be able to impose any regulation it liked in vast areas of life (the British veto having gone  – in these areas) and under vague words like “health” the Euros would be able to crush liberty in this land. The later works of such people Christopher Booker and Richard North just confirmed what we expected to happen. Lord Denning (and many others) had predicted the crushing of Common Law principles by Euro edicts (of course happily extended by British officials – overjoyed to have all restraints on their power destroyed by the Single European Act) at the time.

It was not an open market – it was a “single market” (a very different thing). In an open market customers decide what they want to buy – in a single market officials decide what customers should buy.

However, other terrible things happened in the year 1986.

The other great evil to hit Britain in 1986 was the “Big Bang” in the City of the London – the financial centre.

“But that was deregulation Paul” – it was deregulation, if by “deregulation” you mean government intervention ripping up the rules of private clubs and subtituting its own rules – a government definition of a “free market” defined not by what people had actually evolved over time (by voluntary interaction), but by following the “perfect competition” model from neoclassical economics text books.

There is some evidence that even the people who originally thought up the perfect competition conception only thought of it as theorectical tool (not as a picture of how the world was – or should be), and certainly the Austrian School of economics disputes the concept from start to finish – but the government went ahead anyway. It knew what a market “should” be – and if the people who actually built the markets thought differently, they must be wrong.

Remember although the London stock exchange was created in 1801, there was no law preventing anyone setting up a rival stock market (not before 1986 anyway). And also no law preventing people buying and selling shares “off exchange”. So the City of London (with all its guild like “restrictive practices”) was actually a voluntary institution. In fact a series of private clubs – covering the selling stocks and shares, insurance, commodities (and so on).

What had “deregulation” actually brought? The end of the great partnerships that created the City (the investment banks) – the partners sold up and ran away (not exactly a vote of confidence in the new order – from people some of whom had been in the City for generations). And the self employed stock brokers (who bought shares for the public) and stock jobbers (who sold shares for companies) were replaced by enterprises that did both (no conflict of interest there) and whose employees tended to have no lasting relationship with clients (they see them as cash cows – no more). And, of course, thousands of pages of government regulations (Financial Services Acts – and agencies to enforce them) with endless box ticking.

Somehow this not really seem like “deregulation” to me – in fact I think it will be the death of the City of London. But only time will tell.

Turning to the United States….

An American will say “1986 is that the year the Republicans lost control of the United States Senate?” – yes it was, but I am not concerned with party politics here. I am concerned with policy.

In 1986 an amnesty Act was passed by the Congress (including the Republican Senate) and signed into law by President Reagan. It was not descibed as an amnesty Act of course – the people who voted for it (and Reagan when he signed it) thought they were “controlling immigration” from this point onwards – and (to start from a clean slate) people who had been in the country a long time (and were nice and good – and had puppy dogs with big eyes) would no longer fear being dragged from their homes by evil jack booted thugs from the government. After all this was how officials (and the media – following academia) explained everything to the politicians, just as they had during the 1965 immigration law debate – which first messed up American immigration law.

“But what is wrong with this Paul – free migration, sounds very libertarian”. So it might be – had the Supreme Court (5-4 some years before 1986) not ruled that government (local, State and Federal) had to give “free” (i.e. paid for by taxpayers) education and other benefits to illegal immigrants – otherwise it was “discriminating” against them.

And the few nice illegals (the ones with the puppy dogs with big eyes – the people who love America dearly and do not wave the Mexican flag and pray for the destruction of the United States, not even slightly) who got amnesty? There turned out to be three million of them and (of course) many more millions of illegals followed them into the United States, believeing that they would eventually also get amnesty. As Comrade Barack is doing by Executive Order right now, after all the illegals vote for him even though they are not citizens, thanks to the “Motor Voter” (a driving license is enough to vote) Act he supported as a Senator.

“We should try to win their support Paul” – a person (regardless of ethnic background) who loves the United States can enter legally right now (join the military – serve your term, and you have citizenship). Yes the American immigration system is a mess (and has been since at least 1965 – the Teddy Kennedy Act), but 1986 made it worse – and made it farcical.  Someone who believes the United States unjustly took land from Mexico in 1848 (ignoring the fact that the Mexican government, a military dictatorship,  also wanted war – and had its own expansionist plans) are not likely to vote for people who do not hate the United States. Odd that they are so eager to vote for Barack Obama – of course not odd at all. But have “free migration” as long as there are no government benefits (“free” education for the children and so on) – except, oh dear, there is that Supreme Court judgement  (see above) of some 30 years ago.

Lastly there is the another major Act of Congress from 1986 – one that may help to destroy civilisation, and not just in the United States.

Again neither the people in Congress or President Reagan understood what they were supporting (the officials, media, and academia – advised them again). They thought they were supporting an Act that prevented evil hospitals throwing women on to the street in the middle of giving birth (seriously – that is how the Act was presented to them, after all it is so wonderful for the reputation of a hospital to throw a women who is the middle of giving birth on to the street, they were doing it all the time……).

What did the Act really do?

It made “emergency” treatment (without proof of payment) compulsory at all private hospitals with an ER (formally a hospital was not covered by the Act if it in no way had anything to do with government schemes – in the age of Medicare try and avoid any involvement with government schemes…..).

Wonderful – free treatment for the poor (indeed for anyone – one might try and chase them up afterwards, but about half of them never pay so what is the point….). Accept someone has to pay to pay for all this “free” treatment – so the bill (as with all government mandates) got passed on to the people who were paying their bills. The people who had carried on with private insurance in spite of the previous government interventions – such as Medicare and Medicaid (which has the same effect on health cover costs as government backing for student loans had on college tuition fees – they sent costs into the upper atmosphere) and the endless regulations (insurance mandates and so on) that have so increased costs. No surprise – insurance bills (that now carry all the “free” treatment) have exploded since 1986.

American government (State and Federal) interventions have been pushing up the cost of healthcare since doctor licensing spread from State to State like a plague (that this is about “protecting the sick” was exposed as a lie by Milton Friedman – more than half a century ago, it really has the same purpose as lawyer licensing, to increase producer incomes by keeping people out of the market) and the FDA (this agency was made even worse in 1962 – turning the development of new medical drugs incredibly expensive and delaying their introduction for years, thus costing tens of thousands of human lives). However, it was the Act of 1986 that really sent American health cover into a death spiral – that pushed the costs of insurance (for the old mutual aid “fraternal” system had long been undermined) beyond the reach of ordinary people.

Most people still oppose “Obamacare” (which will complete the destruction of independent health care in the United States – replaceing it with crony capitalist “private providers” who will depend upon the government – till the government decides to get rid of the crony capitalists, as it already has with the providers of government backed student loans), but the majority of people that are opposed was not a big enough majority to stop it (let alone repeal it). After all  everyone agrees that “something must be done” and the “something” is always even more collectivism – “free” health care for all “children” up to the age of 26 (SCHIP on steroids – but paid for by the insurance companies, i.e. by their customers) no “denial” (i.e. honest priceing) of medical cover for “pre exiting conditions” and on and on – the honest insurance companies (oh yes there are some) will be bankrupted over time, and only the cronies (those in bed with the government – hoping to become “private providers” for government funded health cover) will remain. Already more and more employers are dropping health insurance for their employees – as they have worked out that the fines will be cheaper than paying the inflated (inflated by Obamacare regulations) costs of medical insurance.

Does anyone really believe that Mitt “Romneycare” Romney is going to be willing or able to repeal all this?

So American health care will fall – and more than this will fall. For this entitlement program is added to all the existing entitlements – the ones that are already bankrupting the United States.

So the United States will go into de facto bankruptcy. And it will not fall alone – most other major Western nations stand on the knife edge of economic collapse already. The fall of the United States will drag us over the cliff with it.

So, overall, 1986 was not a good year. It may even lead to the “Progressive” dream (of Richard Ely, mentor of  “Teddy” Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, more than a century ago) of the desruction of “selfish capitalism”. For the history of the last century (including 1986) has not been an accident – and nor has it been some hole-in-the-wall “conspiracy”.  On the contrary it has been out in the open  – for those who bothered to look.

The Progressives were open in their aims – and even in their means. They openly said in their books (the century old books that, for example, Glenn Beck tried to bring to public attention) that they would use schools, universities and the newspapers to fundementally transform society – by manipulating opinion (both public and political elite opinion). Truth does not matter to the Progressives (it has never mattered to them) only their cause matters – and they will use any lie and distortion to further their cause – the cause of the destruction of existing society, of “selfish capitalism”. The Fabians in Britain had much the same aims – and used much the same methods. Including the desire to dominate education – not just at university level, but at school level (via text books and “teacher training” – step forward Comrade Bill Ayers and “social justice” education).

The books are more subtle today – such books as “Looking Backward”, “Philip Dru: Administrator” and “New Deal” (oh yes there was such a book) were a lot more blatent in their love of tyranny and hatred of freedom (sorry hated of selfish capitalism) than “Freakonomics”,  “Nudge” and “Thinking – Fast and Slow”, but they have the same message. The message is as follows …. most people are vermin (“Homer Simpson” types) they are bound to be maniputed by someone (most likely by greedy capitalists) so why should not the noble we (the enlightened elite) manipulate them – for their own good. “Thinking Fast and Slow” is the most fundemental of the lot – it openly denies that people (apart from, nudge and wink, the noble author and his noble readers) are human beings, they do not really think (they do not really have free will) so someone must control them – for their own good……. Yes it is “So You Think That You Think” the fictional collectivist book (aimed at making people accept that they are vermin – fit only to be controlled by an enlightened elite) that Ayn Rand makes up in her novel “Atlas Shrugged” back in the 1950s (the collectivists never really change – and their “science” is actually as old as Plato).

“But Paul – how do you know the authors of Freakonmics and Nudge share the idealogy of the author of Thinking – Fast and Slow?” Errr  – the praise they give the latter work (on its front and back cover – and when interviewed) is a little hint. I did tell you that this was not a hole-in-the-wall conspiracy – it is quite open, if you look. What more do you want – for the evil elite to have glowing red eyes and tenticles? Sorry, but they look like ordinary folk – and have gentle voices full of charming wit (whereas their enemies, people like me, sound like old storm crows).

The Progressives may not share the doctrines of the Marxists (although modern Frankfurt School “cultural” Marxists do not seem to make a big thing of the actual doctrines of Karl Marx either) – but they share their aim (the destruction of selfish capitalism). Ditto the alliance with the Black Flag people (the so called “anarchists” who happily cooperate with the Red Flag Marxists in such things as the international “Occupy” movement and the unions the collectivists control, for you see the Black Flag “anarchists” do not really oppose collectivism, they just want to rename the state “the people” and then get on with the looting and killing) – the Progressives may (privately) sneer and their uncouth allies – but leading Progressives (such as Mr George Soros and the other rich people who fund such things as the “Tides Foundation”) still fund them. And Progressive teachers and college Profs understand that both the Red Flag Marxists and the Black Flag “anarchists” are allies – allies against “selfish capitalism”, the old world they must destroy in order to build their perfect world.

Of course I am a reactionary – I do not believe that the interventions (the ever higher government spending and ever greater regulations) make the world a better place. And many of the Progressives do not believe that either – they believe (along with the Marxists who follow the “Cloward and Piven” doctrine and others) that the ever greater statism will destroy the present world – and, thus, (in their minds) leave things open for the building of the perfect world.

The “Fabian Window” (perhaps the most blatent example of evil turned into a work of art – and the Fabians were natural allies of the Progressives) makes this clear – wolves in sheep’s clothing, trickery and lies (openly praised), the world held over a fire and beaten with hammers (in order to create a better world – regardless of the human cost). George Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells openly talked of the tens of millions of human beings they wished to kill (not because they hated them “I do not hate anyone” said Shaw), but simply because they were in the way – in the way of creating the perfect world (the Heaven on Earth). And these evil people remain “liberal” heros to this day – ever seen a television show or a Hollywood film where they are shown as “bad guys”?. And, of course, they went on to support the Soviet Union – with Mr and Mrs Webb pretending that tens of millions of people were not being murdered (remember lying is O.K. if it is for the Progressive cause). Mrs Webb had some doubts, over the mass killings in Poland when the Soviets invaded in 1939 – you know when they were the allies of Adolf Hitler, but Mr Webb simply told her that “in a century no one will even remember this”. All was justified to build the “New Civilisation”.

And the American Progressives were the same. With Hollywood personalities busy doing such things as justifying the Soviet invasion of Finland – “I have been there and it seemed a little Fascist Republic to me” said Lillian Hellman (wife of  Dashiell Hammett [1929 "Red Harvest" evil capitalist America "Poisonville"] – together they made the prototype “celeb” Progressive power couple, both in Hollywood and in literary circles). One could always tell when Hellman was lying – her lips moved, not only was Finland not Fascist but Hellman had not been there.

One could go on and on – and people may already be bored (although in 1986  – and 2012 the Progressive celebs are just as powerful in cultural circles). And there is the standard defence (made by “anti McCarthyites”, even though Joe was actually interested in Communist agents of influence in the government not in the culture,  since the 1940s) “they are not Marxists”.  And they may not be – they may not have read a page of “Das Kapital” . The “Progressives” just share the objectives of the Marxists – the extermination of the existing society of  “selfish capitalism” (and anyone who defends it – rich or poor “henchman of the capitalists”), and the building of the wonderful new perfect world.

However, I am such a reactionary that I not only believe that that their interventionism (their ever higher government spending and ever more regulations) makes the world worse (not better) than it otherwise would be -  I also believe that their wonderful new perfect world (the one they dream of creating on the ashes of the existing world) would be Hell on Earth.


  1. john in cheshire says:

    Good posting, Paul. It’s a bit long, but well worth the effort; a pity that those who should read it probably won’t.

  2. Matt says:

    Excellent. May I say “well done”

    Two bits puzzle me–just can’t fathom them even when I change “accept” to “except”.

    >>>”But have “free migration” as long as there are no government benefits (”free” education for the children and so on) – accept, oh dear, there is that Supreme Court judgment of some 30 years ago.”<<>>”Accept someone has to pay to pay for all this “free” treatment – so the bill (as with all government mandates) got passed on to the people who were paying their bills.”<<<

  3. Mr Ed says:

    Mrs Thatcher, a former chemist and barrister, cannot reasonably have been expected to have not known what the Single European Act entailed, even if the clue wasn’t in the name. She went along with it all, asking for and getting the odd rebate. She could have purged her Cabinet, but chose not to.

    By 1990, she was an Environmentalist.

  4. Paul Marks says:

    Mrs Thatcher’s idea of what the Single European Act was is clear – and clearly wrong.

    However, Mr Ed if thee or me had been in her position – would we really have acted differently?

    Remember the tidal wave of lies and propaganda (sorry “official information”) that any minister (including the Prime Minister) gets subjected to.

    And Mrs T. was a “do the boxes type” – waking up before dawn and working late into the night, reading every scap of paper the Civil Servants sent her.

    Never once realising that it that those bits of paper were covered in poison.

    As for the Supreme Court judgement – as I said, it forbad State and local governments not handing free stuff to immigrants (even illegal ones).

    So that buggers up “free migration”.

    I did make a massive mistake in the post – but no one seems to have noticed it.

    I missed out the “Big Bang” – I will deal with that.

  5. Mr Ed says:

    Indeed Paul, her error was to be a goalkeeper, trying to stop her opponents scoring, rather than a striker, seeking to destroy her opponents.

    Even little steps, like abolishing automatic NUS membership for state-funded University students, would have been a start.

  6. Paul Marks says:

    Mr Ed – agreed.

  7. Schrodinger's Dog says:


    You forgot another little horror from 1986: the Public Order Act. It seems to give the British police the power to arrest anyone for behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace, and not just behaviour which has actually caused a breach of the peace – which, of course, means just about anything. It also outlaws insulting words and behaviour which, again, can mean just about anything.

    And, much as I hate to say it, I have to admire the stamina of the left, both short and long-term. As you point out, progressivism has been around since the late nineteenth century, and they have been working on it ceaselessly ever since.

    Around thirty years ago I was involved in student politics when I was still living in the UK. Rather to my surprise, I found my fellow students weren’t the rabid lefties of popular stereotype; I’d characterise them as more left-wing than the general population, but not radically so. But the lefties did dominate the Students’ Union. At committee meetings they seemed willing to debate points of order and various minutiae until late into the evening, long after the more moderate people had got tired/bored/given-up and gone home. As a result, they tended to prevail. Why? A cynic would likely say it was because they were all studying mickey mouse subjects with hardly any lectures, so they did not have to worry about getting up early the next day. But I think there’s more to it than that: politics is their life. They actually like doing this stuff. Meanwhile, more moderate people – or those who simply have actual lives – are doing something more interesting, like being with friends, being on a date, or even doing something that makes money. (And that last one is probably crucial: smart righties tend to go into business, while smart lefties go into politics.)

    If the right is to successfully oppose the progressive left, we’re going to have to accept we’re in it for the long haul. It’s definitely not a case of all that is necessary is a change of government and we’ll have our libertarian utopia two weeks on Tuesday – or even five years hence. This is going to be an ongoing struggle: we may be able to contain them, and counteract the spread of their ideas, but we will never, ever defeat them. (The fall of the Soviet Union should have discredited the left for ever. But here we are, twenty years later, and the ideas of the left are not only flourishing, but gaining ground.)

    This may sound depressing, but it isn’t hopeless. The National Rifle Association proves that a right-wing pressure group can be successful. It has not defeated the anti-gun lobby, not by a long way, but it has scored a lot of major successes over the years. There can be little doubt that, without the NRA, the Second Amendment would have been eviscerated decades ago. But its work is unceasing. In addition to Congress, it has to monitor fifty state legislatures and is constantly running campaigns against, or mounting legal challenges to, some anti-gun law or other.

    If the first component of successfully opposing the left is an acceptance of an ongoing struggle, the second if the need to form alliances. (This will also make the struggle easier, by spreading the work among more people.) The left has been successful in isolating an targeting specific groups. For example, smokers have been vilified for years, while others did nothing. Doubtless they took the attitude, I don’t smoke, so why should I be concerned? Fair enough, but there’s doubtless something they do do, and the left will come after them eventually. Indeed this is already happening. Short of a total ban on tobacco, there is not much mileage left in anti-smoking measures. So now they’re turning their attention to alcohol, with measures such as minimum pricing laws. So we need alliances: smokers, drinkers and lovers of fatty food unite!

    The other aspect of the libertarian right cause is that we will inevitably end-up defending people we may not like – and I don’t just mean smokers. For example, most people say they believe in free speech, but aren’t so keen on free speech for neo-Nazis. But free speech is an absolute: you either have it, or you don’t. So, if you’re going to have it, that means free speech for neo-Nazis, and being willing to defend it.

  8. kitler says:

    The Left will never be defeated as a political force because like SD says, they live and love the politics. They have no life outside it, the associate and network exclusively within it, they only marry for political reasons and they brainwash thier kids to think only in leftwing.

    But they can be defeated on an individual level, which is the core of what right wing is about. A smart right winger can run a modest business on paper whilst being very successful in secret and the left will never know because to them if its not on paper it doesnt exist. A thousand very expensive reports, meetings, fact finding delegations and lobbyists all concluding marijuanna is bad are rendered irrellevent every time somebody lights up a joint. And every minute of every day millions of people do, as well as all the million other things the left convince themselves they can regulate away.

    The only real weapon the left have is collective punishment taxes like fuel duty and VAT which you can’t avoid, but should simply be used by right wingers to motivate us to make even more money.

    If anything we should welcome the collapse they are engineering because a hell of a lot more of us will flourish than will their kind. They are just too damned clever to realise it.

  9. Paul Marks says:

    Interesting points people.

  10. zack says:

    1986 was also the year the singer known as Lady Gaga was born – so a terrible year indeed.

    More seriously, I agree with Schrodinger’s Dog – political and cultural wars are not you-win-and-go-home, they’re ongoing conflicts. We have to accept that if we ever hope to gain and hold ground in those arenas. Getting the levers of power in government is important, but we also have to focus on other arena’s – the teachers colleges and various institutions of higher learning being the main stronghold/source of the lefts influence is one more classically-liberal types should focus on.

  11. GalaPie says:

    All that, AND my sister was born? Truly a dark, terrible year.

  12. Paul Marks says:

    Good point about the Public Order Act Schrodinger’s Dog – and, as Zack points out, about cultural conflicts never really being fully won, or fully lost – for some folk memory of freedom remains even after long tyranny (for example Rome had been a dictatorship for five hundred years by the time a few people fled into the marshes to escape from the burning of a their city in northern Italy by the invading Huns – and yet what did those people produce? THE REPUBLIC OF VENICE).

    By the way – there is something I have long wished to ask you.

    Do you actually agree with Schrodinger in opposition to QM?

    Please explain anything in moron language – unlike Nick I am not a physics man.

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