Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Search for a Legacy

Tony Blair's current frantic bid to find a legacy, after nine years of scrabbling around trying to make Marxism work, would be comical if it weren't so tragic.

I don't know why you bother, Tony. You have your Legacy already, as an utter failure combined with your role as a sycophant to the forces of self-adulatory neoconservatism based in the US. Oh yes, and to nail that legacy triumvirate home, as the harbinger of death to at least 100 British families.

As one who, in a former life, served in the British armed forces myself, and who still dreads his call-up papers arriving, I know that most soldiers volunteer because they love liberty, in whichever form they themselves believe it occurs, and that they wish to defend the right of their families to enjoy such liberty.

That 100 British soldiers have died defending your personal reputation, and that their actions, under your guidance, have made the world a more dangerous place for the rest of us, is a slur which I hope no amount of spin-doctor Teflon will ever remove from your person, for as long as your name remains in the footnotes of any history book, under the reference Bush's lapdog.

You have your legacy, Tony; as proven by the blood and ashes of 100 British volunteers. It is now time for you to go.

Lateralism, parallelism, separatism, and other spurious NHS cults

I've just finished re-reading John Le Carré's Karla trilogy, starring the indefatigable George Smiley. A quote within it reminded me of the current British government's abysmally chaotic handling of the NHS. Smiley is contemplating a lifetime spent under the dominant Whitehall doctrine of Machiavellian pragmatism, which is to create an impression of continual change for the good, when in reality Whitehall's only activity is one of enslaving the British population to feed its own whims; Smiley remembers:
"...such spurious cults as lateralism, parallelism, separatism, operational devolution, and now, if he remembered Lacon’s most recent meanderings correctly of integration"
Smiley is an amazing character, and one of my favourites from fiction alongside Rincewind, Aubrey, and of course, Gimli. Yes, Ok, Smiley was Chief of MI6 for a while, heading up the most odious branch of the most odious institution of British life, its government, but Smiley still remains one of my heroes nevertheless; I think his character is summed up best by a brilliant PDF article written by Jeff Scott, in Sean Gabb's Libertarian Alliance magazine:

George Smiley: A Real Hero

To Jeff's thoughts I would add only one further element. In Smiley's last appearance in The Secret Pilgrim, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, he bids adieu to many younger members of MI6 with the following memorable soliloquy:
[Smiley] picked up his balloon glass and peered thoughtfully into it while he swirled the last of his brandy. And I sensed that he was finding it harder to take his leave than he had expected. 'Yes. Well,' he muttered, as if somehow defending himself against his own assertions. 'It's not only our minds we're going to have to reconstruct, either. It's the over-mighty modern State we've built for ourselves as a bastion against something that isn't there any more. We've given up far too many freedoms in order to be free. Now we've got to take them back.' He gave a shy grin, and I knew that he was trying to break his own spell upon us. 'So while you're out there striving loyally for the State, perhaps you'll do me a small favour and lean on its pillars from time to time. It's got a lot too big for its boots of late. It would be nice if you would cut it down to size. Ned, I'm a bore. Time you sent me home.'
Is Smiley, then, a Minarchist? There's a definite hint of Bastiat, a whiff of Locke, and a smattering of Turgot in that last parting shot. Is Smiley even suggesting that western governments need a ferocious 'Enemy Bear' to justify themselves? Have they created another such bear in the Middle East, to replace the Russians? Are they deliberately trying to foment Russia into becoming a bear again, in case their surrepticious Middle Eastern initiative fails? I think we'll need another Le Carré novel to sort that one out, perhaps bringing Peter Guillam out of retirement to do it, played I would think by Ewan McGregor in the Hollywood film version.

But I'm not here to talk about Le Carré, but to take a look at HMG's latest NHS initiative-cum-U-turn, to get non-urgent surgery closer to the General Practice, which I think must fall under Smiley's definition of Lateralism. Let's see if we can predict the next initiative after this one, and then all the subsequent initiatives, until we're back to Lateralism again (probably in the middle of the next Prime Minister's first term in office):
  • Lateralism: Let's move surgery out sideways towards the General Practices

  • Parallelism: Let's establish a two-tier system of health centres, with overarching control centralized to Health Trusts

  • Separatism: Let's create separate sub-bodies within the Health Trusts, dealing with different aspects of modern aspirational health care

  • Operational devolution: Let's mandate the Health Trust bodies to operate independently, within an overall framework of market competitive initiatives established and maintained by central control

  • Integration: The left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing, and in following the divisive policies of the last government [insert rival political party], we have created a wasteful and inefficient cascade of replicating services. The only sensible and economically efficient thing to do, to give taxpayer value, will be to establish joined-up government and bring the entire control of the NHS within the control of the minister appointed by the electorate. If a bedpan is dropped in Huddersfield, the minister in Whitehall should know about it.

  • Lateralism: Centralism has taken too much power into the hands of Whitehall, because of the failings of the last government [insert rival political party]. We of the [insert own political party] will bring control closer to the people and establish independent health operating units, closer to the General Practices...

Ah, the revolving doors of revolutionary government:
Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose
A brief message to all those cretinous civil servants who think that they've pulled the wool over our eyes with this latest amazing initiative. I'm sorry boys and girls, but this continuous revolutionary activity within civil service departments to make it look like you're doing something useful may fool a few morons, but I'm afraid you're starting to run out of idiots. The wheels are off, and most of us, including you, know it.

The sooner you get your dead hands off the health system, in this country, the sooner we can get the health services we require. It's as simple as that. Just step aside and get out of our way.

The NHS should be taken out of government control, immediately.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Sven for the Liberals

So I journey to the shores of a foreign land to carry out the immoral task of earning a living, confident that it couldn't really get any worse for the British liberals. As my ship of trade enters a far distant far port I get finger-printed by a black-shirted moron who wouldn't know a real terrorist from a Creme Brulée and I get sniffed by a black-jacketed dog in case I'm bearing the vicious remnants of a cheese and pickle sandwich; so what happens while I'm being thus assaulted by the tax-paid dullards of the US police state?

Back home in Blighty the Curse of St Jack strikes again!

No sooner is one liberal-leader-wannabe caught with his cotton shirtails drifting in the breeze when he was supposed to be out fishing with the boys, than another is left explaining why he lied repeatedly about where he left his silken cravats, his pantaloons, and his underpants.

But I want the curse of St. Jack to stop. I don't think I can stand any more. Yes, it's our job here on AngloAustria to continuously point out the rank hypocrisy, lies, and immorality of all politicians, but enough is enough.

The thoughts of Sir Ming alone in a bed with a stuffed Aardvark or Chris Huhne alone in a bedsit with a bowl of oranges and amyl nitrate poppers, are just too much to bear. So please chaps, for the sake of my sanity, could you please just both drop out of the race and leave the field wide open for the none of the above candidate?

It would be a first. A race with no racers, a competition with no competitors, and a day of glory for the British liberal tradition. Just think of it; when given a clear opportunity to step forward, so as to try to lord it over the rest of us, every single liberal in the country spurned this fools' hope chance.

Becoming a political leader would then have the entered the realms of the England football manager's position; an arsenic chalice filled with hemlock and snake venom for anyone of England born.

And then we could also fill Sven-Goran Eriksson's looming career slot. Sven has all of the right credentials. He enjoys the trappings of luxury, he enjoys spinning webs of deceit, and he is always reliably impassive in the face of humiliating defeat; the perfect liberal leader. Add to that the social democratic philosophy and tradition of Sweden and I just don't know what the liberals are waiting for?

I know he also prefers the company of beautiful young women to the company of beautiful young men, but hey, we can't always have everything in life now, can we?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Robert LeFevre - Yes, You Do Have a Philosophy

Index: Robert LeFevre Commentary Abstracts

Having identified what he means by Liberty, in this second lecture LeFevre begins scaffolding a philosophical framework for his subsequent lectures on more concrete topics. He outlines Cause and Effect, the Natural Order, the Man-Made Order, the Objective Order, and the Subjective Order. His condensation of 2,500 years of philosophic thought into 30 minutes is a real treat, delivered in LeFevre's usual avuncular style, bursting with carefully thought-through common sense anecdotes. There should be plenty of material here to interest those in pursuit of knowledge about Randian Objectivism, Chicagoan Positivism, and Austrian Subjectivism.

Yes, You Do Have a Philosophy - MP3 Audio File

Rational thought, contends LeFevre, begins with a knowledge of Cause and Effect relationships. The only way we can survive in the world of reality is by learning these causes and their effects, such that we can predict, for example:

A + B - W = X

If we desire situation 'X', we need to learn that we should carry out acts 'A' and 'B', and remove condition 'W', to get to situation 'X'. In other words, the effect of 'X' is caused by the requirement of 'A + B - W'.

But this is only the start. There may be more than one way of achieving 'X'. And 'X' itself is not isolated. LeFevre argues that causing the effect of 'X' by one method may generate roundabout systemic feedback effects, which could be harmful to our ends or prevent us eventually from producing any more 'X'. We should learn how best to create our desired 'X' and the least consequential disadvantages, by reducing harmful side-effects or by eliminating them entirely; we can do this via the adoption of the best known causation chain from a range of discovered options.

Computers have helped speed up humanity here, because we can feed in all known data to predict the eventual consequences of a particular chain. But what of the unknown data, not yet in? The only way to successfully predict cause and effect relationships, says LeFevre, with 100% percent certainly, is to be omniscient. And this is impossible, he says, pulling a rhetorical rabbit from a rhetorical hat.

(If this lecture were an episode in a franchised TV series, at this point there would be a commercial break to enhance the dramatic tension.)

If perfect chain prediction is impossible, and humans require chain prediction to survive, where do we go from here? The key word is perfect. It is impossible to have 100% certainty, but the human mind is capable of getting pretty close.

What we need, says LeFevre, are Principles. For these we do not require computers or mathematics, but just the human mind. And if the human mind is smart enough, we can work out the Principles lying behind causation and effect. But how can we know which Principles are correct? We should be guided by reality, says LeFevre.

At this point LeFevre breaks the world of reality into two orders; the Natural Order and the Man-Made Order, to explain how we can be guided towards the correct Principles.

The Natural Order is that which is provided by Nature, including Man's ability to procreate the human species. Everything that is brought into existence by Mankind, other than children, is part of the Man-Made Order. The human mind takes the products of the Natural Order and then manipulates them to generate the creature comforts necessary in the Man-Made Order to make human life first of all bearable, and then prosperous.

But how we can know reality? LeFevre postulates two more orders; the Objective Order and the Subjective Order.

The Objective Order is that which exists in reality, in and of itself, without requiring human knowledge or judgment to bring it into existence. If we were to wipe out all human minds the Objective Order would still exist. Facts live in this realm, as do Cause and Effect Principles. (Incidentally, these Principles are never invented by the human mind; they are only ever discovered by the human mind.)

For instance, it is an objective fact that the dark side of the Moon exists. The human mind does not need to see the dark side of the Moon, to know that it exists. (LeFevre speaks later about knowing whether reality itself exists, as evidenced by the light side of the Moon.)

The Objective Order is thus the nature of things as they are, even if beyond human awareness. A table, for instance, would continue to exist even if the carpenter who created it left the woodshed in which he created it. It would not disappear on his exit and reappear on his return; it would continue to exist without needing to continually be within his field of visual awareness.

Which brings us to the Subjective Order. Some people claim to know objective facts, says LeFevre. But this, again, is impossible. Because everything in the human mind and everything processed through the human sensory system is part of the Subjective Order. And you don't create reality with the human mind, you only become aware of impressions of reality in the human mind, via the senses.

Here LeFevre uses the analogy of a camera. It can take and record an astonishingly accurate image of reality, but this image is never reality itself. It will always lack some dimension. And it is the same with the human mind, he contends.

Man is a creature of images and dreams and everything in his mind is subjective. Man only knows objective reality through his subjective senses, and this is why he can never stop learning about reality, because there will always be more dimensions to it than the subjective mind can fully process and record.

But Man's knowledge is impressive. The human brain is an impression engine which can gain remarkably accurate impressions of objective reality. (Incidentally, adds LeFevre, there must be a reality out there, otherwise there would be no point for the brain to exist. Without reality there would be no mind necessary to grapple with it and to learn from it.)

Why is the brain such a good impression engine? Because we must classify reality accurately to survive and learn quickly from our mistakes; a mistake is a subjective impression of reality which differs from objective reality. For instance, if one man kept making the mistake that a tiger was a rose bush, evolution would quickly remove him from the scene leaving behind only those minds capable of rapidly overcoming such mistakes.

(You might want to see my article on Anthropomorphism which also examines this area.)

So what makes the brain an effective survival tool? The brain possesses four major components, argues LeFevre; an Image Receiver, a Memory Bank, a Generator of Desires, and an Evaluation and Preference Processor. All four of these are necessary for learning and survival.

These modules work in combination to help us discover the correct Principles so we can initiate proper causes to achieve desired effects, with hopefully the least amount of dysfunctional side-effects.

Tyranny and Slavery are such dsyfunctional side-effects, says LeFevre. We should use our brains better, to remove them via the ideas of Liberty.

Previous: Communication About Freedom
Next: How Do You Know For Sure?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Long Live the King

In British television there is usually one impressionist who is King of the Hill. For many years it was Mike Yarwood, until Margaret Thatcher drove him to the whisky bottle. And for a decade or so Rory Bremner and Alistair McGowan have fought it out, with I think Bremner winning after forcing McGowan into the realm of low-brow comedy.

But Bremner is worried.

He is now afraid that David Cameron does a much better Tony Blair than he does:

A Little Bit Of Politics

Who is Gordon Brown anyway? Oh yeah, he's the man who's going to be left holding the bag when Tony's borrowing-financed New Labour "miracle" finally collapses, before David Cameron swans in.

Poor old Gordo. I'll cry a river for him.

The Independent British Mind

What do the following men and women have in common?

David Cameron, Tony Blair, Tessa Jowell, Charles Clarke, Ruth Kelly, George Osborne, Andrew Marr, Michael Grade, Richard Branson, Martha Lane Fox, Guy Ritchie, Hugh Grant, and Richard Curtis.

Yes, that's right: They are talented, successful, resourceful, resilient, independent of mind, capable of making it in a hard tough world, and above all, educated.

Let me ask a question. If you put that lot on a desert island, would there be endless weepy tears, feeble recriminations about evil parents, tales of lost lives as drugged-up teenagers, and bitter memories about relationships lost? No. They would get on with it. They would scavenge, they would build, and they would survive, no matter how harsh the environment or how tough the challenges faced. Within a couple of years, after completing an all-weather village complete with cocktails and jacuzzis, they would probably have a small movie industry going, ready to take on Hollywood after their rescue, which they would bring about through technological innovation, hot air balloons, and graft.

Oh yes, and another thing. They all went to private schools free of the dead collectivist hand of government. The freer the school, the freer the mind, and the more successful the individual is in life. It is a disgrace that many of the above promote the mind-deadening effects of state education; these hypocrites should sit back and ask themselves why they are in a position to do so and why their state-educated peers are not in their position.

And then they should decide to give everyone the same opportunity they had by getting the odious British government out of the business of ruining young free minds.

The state education system should be privatized, immediately.

The Great White Hope Disintegrates

So, it would appear the Great White Hope of classical liberalism, chocolate addict Mark Oaten, has been caught with his paddy pants down.

I predicted that whoever won the Liberal Party election should watch out for the skeletons in their cupboard; my omniscience told me they would have one. But it would seem that Mr Oaten couldn't keep his trousers on long enough, to win the race first, before his own particular uncontrollable urge leapt out of the bedroom closet.

I have a theory. You might want to try it on for size? No serious politician who hankers for power ever joins the liberals, because there is no real chance of achieving power. But what happens if you are a serious politician who does hanker for power, or at least a substantial taxpayer-fed salary and pension, but who knows you have a terrible peccadillo in the loft, which you know will come out if you ever make it to within a sniff of a real government post?

It's obvious. Join the liberals. Get the salary, get the pension, get on the telly to impress new sexual partners, but know that you'll never come close enough to the throne to worry about that monkey in the loft.

The Liberal Party is thus the party for abysmal losers. And the party for nervous winners with uncontrollable monkeys, addictions, and perversions.

I hope once Mark Oaten gets his HIV test results back, his wife and his children can forgive him for his lies and that he can restrain his urge to be unfaithful. My advice, should he wish to take it, is this: Stop being a politician, Mark. If you surround yourself with an atmosphere of base Machiavellian immorality and organized criminality, expect to become either infected with it or addicted to it. To clean yourself up, get out of the game of politics and go and do something useful instead, particularly if it involves you in getting your hand out of my wallet.

Poor old bloody Gladstone. Fancy having these muppets claiming to be your heirs? What a dastardly shower of poltroons.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Robert LeFevre Commentary Abstracts

Of all the amazing facilities provided by the Ludwig von Mises Institute, I think the most amazing has to be access to the Robert LeFevre commentaries, which you can access here:

Robert LeFevre Commentaries at Mises.Org

I thought it might be an idea to provide some written abstracts of these amazing lectures, on AngloAustria. I will reference the abstracts here, as I write them:

01 - Communication About Freedom
02 - Yes, You Do Have a Philosophy
03 - How Do You Know For Sure?
04 - Emotion and Motivation
05 - Sacrifice and Molestation
06 - Obligation and Responsibility


Robert LeFevre - Communication About Freedom

Index: Robert LeFevre Commentary Abstracts

To begin his amazing series of 60 half-hour educational lectures on the nature of freedom, Robert LeFevre begins with a positional talk on the meaning of the actual word, Liberty.

Communication About Freedom - MP3 Audio File

Speaking in 1970, LeFevre postulates that there are two growing and opposing forces in the world, liberty and tyranny, (or libertarianism versus authoritarianism, for the faint of heart.) But before we can compare the two forces, we need to be entirely confident that we all have a shared meaning of the word 'liberty'.

To do this we need communication skills. As well as the basics of vocalization and visualization, we need to be precise with our words, says LeFevre, and go beyond mere emotion. Human beings are amazing because of this ability to be precise with words and concepts, but the art of communication is more than mere words; it is one of the basic three conditions of humanity, which includes biological need and economic necessity. Learning how to communicate well means learning how to open a two-way street between speaker and listener. The speaker should gain attention quickly, and then gain rapport by focusing intently upon the listener. We should plug in to our listener and stay plugged in. LeFevre relates a tale of the first woman in his life he met who excelled at communication, by listening with rapt attention to LeFevre, the 15 year old boy; in the rest of his life as a professional communicator, he rarely met anyone better.

To keep the reader alert and interested, the speaker must stay in a temperate zone of rapport; the speaker should avoid the frigid zone of boredom, pomposity, and irrelevance, and should also avoid the torrid zone of antagonism and aggression, from the listener's point of view.

Precision is easy with concrete words, such as table. All the speaker has to do is show the listener a table. With abstract words, such as liberty, we need to use a four-point calibration scheme to get across the meaning of a new abstract term, in terms of already known old abstract terms. What is the new term identical to? What is it different from? What is it similar to? And what is it opposite from?

For instance, hot can be identical to fiery or burning. It is different from cool. It is similar to warm. And it is opposite to cold. What of human liberty? It is identical to freedom. But what is that?

Unfortunately, there are two general polarized meanings to the abstract concept of freedom. Here LeFevre uses an aphorism from Lincoln. The world needs a good definition of the word liberty. One is the freedom to do as you please and be free with your own life and your own property; LeFevre defines this as being true liberty. The second meaning of freedom is the ability for some men to be free with the lives and property of other men; LeFevre defines this as true tyranny.

Having established this initial platform on the two opposing forces of liberty and tyranny, LeFevre is ready to begin his second lecture.

Next: Yes, You Do Have a Philosophy

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Return of the Tax Farmer

Hang on a minute, surely this can't be right. Did I really just hear on the news that the UK government's Child Support Agency has failed to locate £3.5 billion pounds? Is it true that of this £3.5 billion, last year they managed to recover just £8 million pounds, and it cost them £12 million pounds to do it?

I'm sorry. I'm just going to have to go and lie down for a while, with a wet flannel on my face. Words almost fail me. A few are sputtering to the surface. Try these on for size.

Unbelievable. Failure. Government. Corruption. Jackasses. Idiots. Poltroons. Fibroids. Monkey Nuts. Bananas. Teapots.

Put them together in any order you like, with a few conjunctives, and see what you get. Nothing makes sense to me, anymore. Maybe you can do better?

And now because of this immense government failure, with no doubt not a single civil servant being troubled by the sack, HM Treasury is going to impose private tax farmers onto the UK's burgeoning population of single fathers.

When a government reaches a point where it has become incapable of collecting its own imposts upon its own tax slaves, without incurring more costs than it collects, then a new low in government incompetence has surely been breached.

Well, at least until tomorrow that is, when Ruth Kelly, the laughable education minister, explains why she allowed paedophiles to access children in the state school system, with her personal blessing.

Nurse!? The screens!!!

Cameron, Strike #1

You may recall I predicted future David Cameron policy statements, last week. One of my predicted quotes was:

"I believe that sustainable development - striking a balance between economic growth and environmental protection - is of crucial importance"
Obviously he's had to change his wording, since my forecast, but I think the spirit still remains.

Today, in the Torygraph and on the Tories' own website, amongst other bilge, I found the following statements of conservative principle suddenly bursting forth from one of his news conferences:

"In my New Year message, I said we should remember Mahatma Gandhi's words and 'be the change we want to see in the world'"
Mahatma Gandhi? You mean the well known Tory philosopher? It's good to see where David is getting his inspiration from these days, now that he is Tory party leader. I wonder what Winston Churchill would have made of the following?:

"We have a shared responsibility to tackle climate change, and Climate Change Now's fantastic campaign makes it easy for everyone to do just that"
Shared responsibility with whom? With me? No doubt if he gets into power Cameron will be pointing a gun at my head to make me share his responsibility, for instance by increasing compulsory renewable power quotas for electricity suppliers. It's for my own good, obviously, as I'm too stupid to know what's good for me.

One of Cameron's poltroons added the following:

"Supporting the Climate Change Now campaign is positive for both the environment and the political process, and I urge everyone in a position to do so, to seize the moment and switch"
Why should I bother? No doubt you'll be making me take an increasing percentage of renewable power, via taxation, subsidy, and regulation, once you're in a position to do so. I'll leave it you, O masters.

What was even more dispiriting were those at the press conference endorsing Cameron's position, such as Katie Elliott, a Climate Change Now campaigner*:

"Tackling climate change is the most important challenge facing us today and it is crucial that everybody takes whatever action they can to cut their emissions of carbon dioxide"
Hook, line, and sinker. The Greenpeace plan to sucker the entire world has finally toppled the UK Conservative Party. You've got to admire their pluck, really.

"The Government must also do more to make it easier and cheaper to make the right energy choices"
By forcing us to make the right choices, no doubt.

Another muppet, Alex Lambie stated:

"We must all accept that climate change has no social, political or geographical boundaries and that tackling the problem will enhance a modern lifestyle"
And what if I don't accept the idea of catastrophic man-made climate change, Alex, which we can alter at will? Are you going to make me accept it anyway, and force your opinions upon me via your best new friend, Dave? I should coco.

"We have an incredible opportunity not only to reduce the threat of climate change, but also to secure a bright and prosperous future for all"
Prosperous for you Alex, perhaps, with a nice little Whitehall sinecure in Dave's outer office, but I foresee my wallet is going to be thinner than it otherwise would have been, to help keep you in Soya beans. And whatever we do, the climate is going change unpredictably, anyway, just like it has been doing for the last 4.5 billion years.

And just think of all that land in Canada and Siberia which will become productive, if it does get warmer, and those new trade shipping routes around the Arctic, cutting raw material journey times? And I'll be able to grow wine grapes on my estate. Bring it on, not that I believe in it for a second, anyway, Alex. The climate has always changed in the past; the climate is changing right now; and the climate will continue to change in the future, until one day the Sun finally blows up providing those of us remaining with the ultimate climate change. Get used to it, Alex. What really would be miraculous is if someday we actually developed a terraforming technology capable of holding it constant.

The arrogance of mankind in thinking the Earth's climate gives a diddly-squat what we hairy little apes do scrabbling about on its surface, only leaves us open to these demagogues and their plans to rule over us. No doubt now that David has seen the light of Greenpeace, when he gets into government he will immediately cancel Tony Blair's airport expansion plans, so as to cut down on carbon dioxide emissions! What? You mean he has no plans to do this? Who'd a thunk it?

David Cameron doesn't give a toss about carbon dioxide levels. He just wants our votes. A more important question to answer is just why do we keep falling for these same old filthy vote-grabbing tricks? Politicians! We deserve 'em.

*Incidentally, isn't "Climate Change Now" a rather silly name for such a lobby group? It seems to suggest that they want climate change, now. Oh well, just a thought.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Laughing Cavalier

Living at the Heathrow-corridor end of Oxfordshire, it is occasionally ones unpleasant duty to have to descend upon the unjewel of the south, Reading, Queen of despair. Fighting in a league with Slough and Swindon for being the unloveliest of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's unlovely railway stopovers, only the appalling architecture of Terminal One, at Heathrow, can claim significant comparison with Reading's dreaded Inner Distribution Ringroad.

And so to one of funniest web sites it has been my pleasure to come across, recently:

Chase me, ladies, I'm in the cavalry

I haven't laughed out loud so much, since I first opened up Spike Milligan's Monty: His Part in My Victory. If you should ever have the pleasure to be visiting Reading, you may wish to check out the cavalry man's post, first:

Berkshire, Gateway to Wiltshire

I predict great things for Harry Hutton, the cavalry man. Respect.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Hullo Clouds Hullo Sky

So what's the best UK children's book series ever to be set in the grounds of a private school? Harry Potter? Come on, we can do better than that. No, the only valid AngloAustrian answer has to be Molesworth, and the four books below:

  • How To Be Topp

  • Wizz For Atomms

  • Down With Skool

  • Back In The Jug Agane

Absolutely splendid, and for some bizarre reason still yet to become a Hollywood film franchise. (Remember, you read that here first if it does turn into a Hollywood film franchise. By the way, the name 'Hoggwart' itself appears twice in the 1950s Molesworth series, entering the franchise into the great range of books which may have influenced our very own welfare-fed chick, Ms Rowling; other such book series include the Lord of the Rings and Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. In celebration of this coincidence, you can read an inspired Molesworth-based pastiche entitled ho for hoggwarts.)

No matter how bad your own personal schoolday, it only took half an hour with Molesworth and his chums to sort you out, as they coped with Grimes the head beak and Sigismund the mad maths master. But schooldays are even worse, these days, especially in the state system. Endless exams for children, endless forms to fill in for morale-sapped teacher drones, and endless left-wing propaganda being pumped into sensitive minds by these same drones. Just to add a little spice there are also endless registers to cope with paedophile paranoia, which are cunningly taken by government-approved paedophiles; ah, the magical directing hand of the omnipotent panopticon state.

Bog standard comprehensives were bad enough to attend in the 1960s. But now with extra-added drugs, knives, gangs, and rampant bullying, many suicidal children feel like prisoners in a Gulag. Those parents who can afford it often try the private system, but because these schools have to exist under the same Gosplan as the state schools, you're often paying an awful lot for not much real educational improvement and the same moronic politically correct propaganda.

So what's the alternative? Well, how about home schooling? Mock ye not. Home schoolers currently make up 150,000 children in the UK, and Durham University estimates this will climb to 450,000 within a decade.

I know it is a crime to criticize state education, but just how bad does it have to be before anyone will do anything about it? There's the thick end of a quarter of a million children and their parents, who are so disgusted with the 'free' state system, that they're prepared to pay for it through taxation and still swap it for the logistical difficulties of home schooling. Tony Blair promised us 'Education, Education, Education', a phrase taken directly from a 'Bildung, Bildung, Bildung' slogan first devised by the communist party of East Germany. With his UK educational system also creaking on its Soviet-style knees, despite all his promises, can you imagine what would happen to the state system if all these children decided to turn around, next Monday, and reclaim their 'free' places? The whole thing really would collapse. But then who would notice? How much worse could it get?

Home schooling has been going a lot longer in the US. In research, home schooled children regularly perform better than institutionally schooled children. In apocryphal tales from various Austrian professors, home schooled children are of such greater intellectual caliber that it is beginning to breed serious campus resentment from their US government educated peers.

So what are the advantages of home schooling? (drawing heavily from the US experience):

  • Students work more productively at their own pace using techniques that fit their individual personalities and strengths, rather than that of the herd

  • Students are able to avoid the negative socialization inherent in schools, such as bullying, cigarette smoking, and drug taking

  • Home schoolers tend to be more mature than ordinary school children

  • Parents are able to control the curriculum and avoid political indoctrination

  • Family ties are strengthened

  • The family can move home without creating traumas

  • Because there is no school run twice a day, there is more time for children to study music and play sport, particularly if home schooling is strong in a particular area and different home schoolers can easily get together

And all this without the usual benefits of the division of labor usually found in the free market, because the state has the role of a professional teacher tied in knots of red tape so thick it would cut the blood supply of a rhinoceros.

Once a certain critical mass is reached and more home schooling parents can share teaching tasks with like-minded people in the same area, there could be an exponential explosion in home schooling in the UK just as there has been in the US. There are several million children in the US now home schooling. And unless our own Marxoid politicians wade in to cut UK home schooling off at the knees, to protect their pet teaching unions, I foresee it will go the same way over here.

And in this age of the Internet and broadband technology, why do we so slavishly stick to the labor-intensive schooling system anyway, first invented by the Victorians? With the endless growth in the money supply, created by government, which has so impoverished us that both parents in most families need to work all day to pay their bills and taxes, it is useful that schools supply a childcare service; but how good is the actual education?

From the government's point of view, schools provide pay-off salaries for hundreds of thousands of teachers, usually the biggest intellectual supporters of the state in any society. Schools are also a useful way of brainwashing children into the need for the state; if you can control the minds, you can control the society. However, does the growth of home schooling indicate that the days of traditional schools are numbered?

Perhaps not. If schools were freed from the state I think most of us, including many of the home schoolers, would once again take advantage of the usual capitalist division of labor and send our children to such freed schools.

But while the state continues to smother institutional education within the dead grip of the Guardian class, let's hope that this continuing growth in UK home schooling keeps growing, both to the great advantage of the children involved and to the great undermining of the state educational system.

To get a free country we need to help create an intellectual class of libertarians, many of whom will perhaps come from the home schooling movement. To get a free country we need to help remove the state from the realm of education, which will further enhance and leverage this ideological process. To get a free country, once we have a dominant intellectual class of libertarians supported by a freed educational system, we can then ridicule the entire political process to such a point that it implodes of its own accord. And then we will be free once again, and out of the Jug. At least, that's the plan.

To help this plan work I think it's time, once again, to take up the feverish cry of Nigel Molesworth, and Peason, his grate friend, which any fule kno. Come on, you know it already, even if you never read the books:

Down with Skool!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Broken Hubble

Now I'm not usually one to start conspiracy rumors, but I've been a bit serious in the last few AngloAustria posts, so maybe it's time to lighten up a bit.

I'm currently re-reading Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and it's funny to imagine Peter Guillam and Mendel being completely secure from the eavesdropping of the state by using 1970s street callboxes; I'm sure MI6 has managed to plug this gap by now.

And it's also funny to think that the US government is going to let one of the most expensive and most powerful telescopes ever constructed, the Hubble telescope, go to complete waste in the future, too, because of a lack of NASA servicing.

Now obviously the cancellation of all future NASA servicing missions to Hubble could just be a bit of grandstanding by NASA bureaucrats to eke out a little more taxation, to supplement their meager $15 billion dollars a year.

But what if there's something else going on? Let's examine the situation. There's this IMMENSELY powerful telescope floating around close to the Earth, and it's due to go out of commission any time soon, because of a lack of servicing.

Hmmm, methinks, are the men in grey suits in Virginia just going to say shucks and move on? Or could it be tempting to authorize a black operation to turn the telescope around? They'd be able to count the hairs on the back of your hand, if they did so, wherever you were in the world; I'd certainly be tempted by rescuing Hubble if I was one of these men or one of their political chiefs. Indeed, could this have been the plan all along, which helped secure the enormous tax cost of Hubble in the first place?

I have absolutely no idea, and I'm sure there'll be all sorts of technical reasons which rule out this conspiracy theory at source, but if this web site disappears in the next three nanoseconds, you'll have your answer, and I'll be in a dark room somewhere surrounded by men in gas masks.

Alternatively, I could get a call from Hollywood asking me to work up a script. For a mere $1 million dollars I'm sure I could knock something out, perhaps with Keira Knightley as the female lead? Obviously I would insist on being present during the filming, but only for technical reasons.

The Fiction of Government Employees Paying Tax

It seems John Prescott, our larger-than-life Deputy Prime Minister, is once again in hot water for not paying the very taxes he is paid to administrate. But aside from his embarrassment, this story once again highlights the general fiction that people on public handouts (i.e. government employees, government pensioners, government welfare recipients) pay any tax at all.

Check out this quote from Uncle Murray:
It might be objected that, after all, a politician who urges higher taxes is not only imposing suffering on other people; he himself as a taxpayer will also have to bear the same deprivations as other citizens. Isn't there, then, a kind of nobility, even if misguided, in his plea for "belt-tightening" common sacrifice? To meet this question, we must realize a vital truth that has long remained discreetly veiled to the tax-burdened citizenry. And that is: contrary to carefully instilled myth, politicians and bureaucrats pay no taxes. Take, for example, a politician who receives a salary of, say, $80,000; assume he duly files his income tax return, and pays $20,000. We must realize that he does not in reality pay $20,000 in taxes; instead, he is simply a net tax-receiver of $60,000. The notion that he pays taxes is simply an accounting fiction, designed to bamboozle the citizenry into believing that he and the rest of us are on the same moral and financial footing before the law. He pays nothing; he simply is extracting $60,000 per annum from our pockets.
Check out the original article:

Babbitry And Taxes: A Profile in Courage?

Ask yourself the following question, particularly if you are a public servant, with no outside private income, who currently believes they pay taxes:

If for some reason we woke up in a world tomorrow where all taxes had been abolished, what would the wages be of the typical public servant?
Most people in the private sector would see their wages rise. Some in the private sector, close to the chaos of working on government contracts, might see their wages fall. Everyone in the public sector, who earned no outside private income, would see their wages drop to zero, except perhaps for a small amount of inflationary counterfeit cash printed up el rapido, on the Bank of England printing presses, thereby making clear the immediate need for the introduction of a 100% gold reserve banking standard to prevent this continuing government counterfeiting money supply fraud.

Let's just say this again, one more time. Government workers, pensioners, and welfare recipients pay no taxes. Don't ever let government payroll accountancy sleights-of-hand fool you otherwise. So why do they go through the bother of doing this? Wouldn't it cheaper all round if no politicians or public servants had to pay tax?

Yes, it would be a lot cheaper if everyone on the government payroll was simply excluded from the taxation process. But how far would a politician get if he stood up and told the rest of us that our taxes had to go up, again? Simon Hughes, the socialist muppet who is about to destroy the last vestiges of liberalism in the old Liberal Party, would look pretty much a fool coming out with cant such as the following:
"I hold to [a 50 per cent tax rate on earnings over £100,000]. We must have a progressive and fair tax system"
In a less opaque system, where it was clear that Simon Hughes paid not a brass banana in tax, Simon Hughes would be lynched for such a crass attempt to steal other people's money. As it is, with the government tax sleight-of-hand in place, he looks like a self-sacrificing hero; thank the Lord for the wisdom of Uncle Murray in making this clear.

So it's nice that my tax bill has just gone up again, to pay Prescott's wages, so he can pay his tax to pay another government official. It has a nice kind of merry-go-round feel to it, doesn't it? It's nice. But it is fictional that he has had to pay anything. It's still me holding the candle, baby. It always is.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Is Anthropomorphism the Key to Socialism?

Let's start with a given. Let's assume that to all intents and purposes, Misesian Austrianism is closer to the truth than all other ways of thinking, and that if the whole of human society started living an Austrian life, according to the tenets of the libertarian non-aggression principle and the principle of secession, then all would be well in the world, aside from a little crime squashed by the private law-abiding security men of the insurance corporations. Yes, it's a big given. But please let me ride with it for a few moments.

If this is the case, if the Mises Institute really is the last best hope for civilization, and if Austrianism really is the best way for human beings to conduct themselves, then why are there so many who disagree with it? If Austrianism is so good, why is it not blindingly obvious that it is so good? Surely evolution would not waste 4.5 billion years creating a rational acting species incapable of spotting the clear benefits of such a wondrous system! We got this far. Why can't we just take another easy step into a brighter Austrian future, away from wars, poverty, injustice, and all the other plagues with which we are continually inflicted?

In particular, why are so many of the most intelligent amongst us, the self-styled intellectuals, perhaps a 99.99% majority, believers in socialism? With our given above, socialism is the most evil, most degenerate, and most short-sighted way of thinking of all. Even a religious theocracy or a straightforward monarchy would be better than the hapless caretaker of socialism, and yet many intellectuals hold the diametrically opposed view that Austrianism is evil and that socialism is still the wave of the future, despite all the deaths, all the famines, and all the Gulags, including the ones currently being constructed by the American government in Iraq. We haven't worked it out yet, they say, how best to implement socialism, but if we keep trying, eventually we will get there. Maybe what we needed all along was a one world social democratic government. Yes, that must be the ticket!

Even the neoconservative thought of that makes me want to screaming into the foothills. So what is it that prevents humanity seeing the obvious truth before it, that Austrianism is the way to go?

Yes, it's a long answer. It combines genetics, time preferences, reciprocal altruism, and much more. The best book on the subject, in my opinion, is Hayek's masterly The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism. I must re-read it again, and I thoroughly recommend that you read it yourself, if you are also puzzled by my questions above. Alas, I have recently discovered there is some doubt as to its final form, because it was published near to the close of Hayek's life, but the clarity of his ideas still shine through.

Essentially, in the stone age we lived in closely related tribes and to be altruistic to our tribe and hostile to all other tribes was to be genetically successful. It was only through the trial and error of tens of thousands of years that the short-term gain of killing rival tribes and taking their produce was outpaced by the long-term gain of trading with these rival tribes. Those that lived their lives according to hateful individualist rules, such as those codified by Moses in the Ten Commandments, found themselves more successful than those who stayed with the older stone age collectivist way of thinking. Eventually the individualist way of life became predominant, particularly through the division of labor, but had to exist in a substrate of humans whose genetics continuously told them to resent these new rules:

Taking the materialist commandments from Moses, the ancient socialist spirit within us still wants to smash them:

"You shall not murder"
"You shall not steal"
"You shall not covet your neighbor's house..."
The modern social democratic welfare-warfare state, of course, continually challenges these traditional rules, particularly the last shameful one on envy, the most powerful demon of them all. But all three are routinely ignored by the state:

"You shall send cruise missiles against your enemies, and if you cause any 'collateral damage', well don't worry, because we don't do enemy body counts"
"Redistribution is plainly correct, and the rich have more than they need anyway"
"Let's tax the rich till the pips squeak, let's end health-queue jumping, let's end unfair educational advantages, let's..."
You could even say that the whole of socialist politics is a construct to avoid the shame of admitting envious urges. Socialism provides a fabulous excuse to be as envious as you like; the more envious the better.

The other book to read is Ludwig von Mises' The Anti-capitalistic Mentality. This short work provides a powerful insight into the nature of envy and it is a brutal demolition of the socialist intellectual platform. Essentially, the intellectual usually has a far higher opinion of himself than the free market will give him.

The free market generally pays producers of physical wealth. It is loathe to take on consumers of physical wealth. As most intellectuals aspire to be consumers of physical wealth, sitting in ivory towers writing poetry while the masses toil outside paying tithes to pay for the ink and paper, they feel rejected by the free market and become bitterly envious of wealth producers. In revenge, they then help the state wrap these wealth producers up in chains. In return, the state provides its pet intellectuals with compensatory tithes. The deal is simple. The intellectuals continue to receive their rent money, taken by the state from producers of physical wealth, and in return the intellectuals continually persuade these producers of physical wealth that the state and its taxes are necessary; give unto Caesar what is Caesar's. Unfortunately, the whole book is a masterpiece beyond mere commentary, but hopefully you've got the gist.

But I think there's more to it than envy. Why has evolution provided us with so many of these feckless intellectuals? They must have a purpose. What is it? I'm guessing a small percentage of them pay for their evolutionary keep by innovating new ideas and generating new more efficient ways of doing things. Fire, wheels, alphabets, computers, are all generated through such innovations, and physical wealth is generated from the ramifications of these innovations. Also, many intellectuals do make plenty of money on the free market. You only have to look at the salaries of Physics PhD students working in financial markets or Hollywood Producers to realize this. These champagne socialists are quite capable of surviving on the open market, and rational enough to overcome stone age instincts, so what is it that is driving them on?

I was thinking about this the other day when I came across the following article:

Seeing things as people: anthropomorphism and theory of mind in mixed societies

Is it anthropomorphism that is driving them them on? I am guilty of anthropomorphism on a daily basis. I talk to my car, I talk to animals, and I even talk to my television. I ascribe to all these things a human personality. It is natural that we do this, because we are creatures that evolved in the natural world, and for a few million years, give or take, any thing which possessed the following features was probably a sentient creature, another person, or a tiger, or a Wildebeest, which I would have to take into immediate rational account for survival purposes:

  • Similarity: How similar am I to this thing, physically and behaviorally?
  • Familiarity: How familiar am I with this thing?
  • Animation: To what extent is this thing an animate object?
  • Structure: Does this thing have a structure?
The more conditions satisfied, the more likely a person is to ascribe a definite personality to the thing and an existence as a physical entity with a life of its own; all of the animistic Gods of the ancient world began in such a way. In some ways you could even say that the anthropomorphism of the entire known Universe is the origin of monotheism.

Let's take a train, for example. It scores definite marks for familiarity, animation, and structure. We therefore assume, in some way, that it is alive and that it has personality. And if we take old-fashioned steam trains, those that hiss and spit, huff and puff, they also start scoring on the similarity front. Therefore they have more character, and become more alive to us than modern diesel trains, which score less well on similarity; hence in Harry Potter novels, a red-painted Hogwarts Express steam train is used by J.K.Rowling, rather than a non-descript diesel train. The Hogwarts Express is far more alive.

But if you see the parts for a steam train lined up on its assembly work station at the train factory, it is not alive. It's the same metallic parts, but unassembled into a final anthropomorphic form. The train only comes alive, when we see it steaming into a railway station, huffing and puffing like an old gentleman smoking a pipe.

There is also some evidence that reciprocal altruism, one of the stone age precursors of socialism, is particularly affected by anthropomorphic similarity. The more similar someone is to you, the more likely you are to help them, because the genetic reality is that you are more likely to be helping yourself, or at least helping your genes.

And so we come to the point of this piece. When an intellectual examines a modern city, the anthropomorphic module in his brain may see the following:
  • Similarity: This city has a boundary line forming a skin; it has an arterial supply of roads; it has a police force immunity system; it has a city hall brain (or what passes for one); it has a health system repair structure; it has factories for muscles; it has schools for stem cell units, and it has CCTV cameras for sensory organs.
  • Familiarity: I live here, I work here, and I play here. I know every one of this city's streets like the back of my hand.
  • Animation: The city moves, it heaves, the roads churn, the pavements throb, the shops gorge and disgorge customers. Cranes rotate in the skyline, fire engines rush to repair the fabric of the city, planes land every minute, and ambulances sprint to hospitals.
  • Structure: There are skyscrapers, hospitals, schools, roads, railways, airports, buildings and structures of every kind, in every direction. There are planners in city hall carefully arranging this structure down to the last curbside drainage grating.

According to the rules of anthropomorphism, a city is alive in the same way that the Hogwarts Express is alive and that Captain Kirk's Enterprise is alive. The city possesses similarity, familiarity, animation, and structure. From there, it is not too great a leap to imagine that Society is the soul of the city. The city keeps us alive, therefore we must at all costs protect the city. Society is the soul of the city, so we must then protect Society, even at the cost of a few small individuals. Does the body care when a few white corpuscles die to protect the body from viroid invaders? Should we care when a few soldiers die in Iraq to protect us from viroid insurgents.

It is at the unconscious level, I grant you. But it takes someone with an intellectual mind to see all of these connections between a city and its elements, and between a society and the individuals which compose it. The anthropomorphic module in the brain does the rest. This may be why socialist intellectuals take such a lofty view of the rest of us mere physical wealth producers. We are merely the arms and the legs feeding the needs of Society. They are the brain cells directing us to best effect. To the best effect of whom? To Society. And if they should make a few scheckels on the side doing it, doesn't the body itself reserve its best glucose supplies for the brain? When they live off our tax tithes, they are only taking their due and proper reward. We should be blessed unto God for our luck in having them.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Who the heck is Von Mises?

I was surprised, nay, staggered, this morning, when I read the following Simon Heffer article in the Torygraph, which could almost have been cross-posted from Cafe Hayek:

The man who took on socialism - and won

With Heffer's story on Arthur Seldon and the rise of the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Torygraph heavyweight revealed a knowledge on Austria I had never previously given him credit for. Unfortunately, like a man seeing the sparkling tip of an iceberg, he seems to be yet another economic commentator fooled by the brightness of Hayek's glittering Nobel Prize.

Hayek, while well-regarded by a liberal economic coterie, was in self-proclaimed exile from the mainstream of his discipline

This implies the usual general thought that Hayek sprang fully-formed from history, a man alone, like Athena from the brow of Zeus, to become a lion amongst Keynesian sheep, tearing them to shreds.

We Misesians, of course, know different. Hayek didn't choose a lonely exile from the mainstream of Keynesian economics, but instead became a sidelined Austrian black sheep amongst a horde of proper Austrian lions, in a line stretching from Menger, through Boehm-Bawerk, Mises, and then to Rothbard. Obviously we have to give Hayek enormous credit, especially for his immense work on the the Austrian theory of the trade cycle, and The Road to Serfdom, but his cave-in on the Popperian need for the welfare state, due one suspects to his intrinsic niceness, has long proved a thorn in our flesh. Hayek is Austria and Austria is Hayek. Von Mises? Who the heck is Von Mises?

However, let us still raise a glass to Hayek's memory, especially for his inspiration of Margaret Thatcher (Hallowed be Her name), via the Seldon-Joseph link and The Constitution of Liberty, a book which Mrs T. used to hand out at Tory conferences, saying "This is what we believe", as she did so. It may be watered-down Austrianism, but it still put us on the correct road to the future, albeit more of a winding sub-statist road than the direct Misesian private Highway of our dreams.

The reason the western world's ruling class rejected Mises was his stubborn intellectual intransigence, as opposed to Hayek's intellectual clubability. Some even say Hayek received the Nobel prize because the social democrats in Sweden, who awarded it, waited for Von Mises to die before handing out the prize to Hayek for his Mises-inspired work on the Austrian trade cycle. They did this, it is alleged, in the same ungracious snubbing spirit which led the social democrats in Athens to murder Socrates, as splendidly detailed in Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn's Monarchy and War.

Once Hayek had conceded Austrian ground on the need for a state, our political masters could welcome him with open arms. Hayekianism allowed the continued existence of Westminster and the Bank of England; Washington D.C. and the Federal Reserve; Brussels and the European Central Bank, and the whole counterfeit smoking fish barrel. The key phrase in Heffer's piece is the following:

...that the state's role in the lives of individuals should be limited to what was strictly necessary.
But what, exactly, is strictly necessary? Who defines the word necessary? Who shall guard these guards who define the word necessary? Lenin, eat your heart out.

Hayek and Seldon gave our rulers a way out from their self-induced mirror maze of Keynesian madness, by allowing the state to manage the introduction of more economic freedom to create a bigger tax-take. It was Austrianism, yes, but with enough left over for the state to become an even bigger machine than it had previously; witness the growth in state power during the tenure of Mrs Thatcher which drove many of our leftwing friends into socialism in the first place, as they grew up in the 1980s.

But let us not be too churlish. Let us too raise a cheer for Seldon and for Hayek. I wouldn't, however, go quite as far as Heffer, with the following quote:

...these are merely tragic harrumphs from the defeated. Seldon has won.
Seldon won a long attritional battle, rather than the war, and this historical conflict between the collectivists and the individualists is a long way from being over. Until the ideas of social democracy are dead and buried in the same cemetery as Mithraism , we should continue to keep our swords sharpened and our sword arms strong. The bitch that gave birth to social democracy hasn't finished yet. The final battle has yet to come.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Bureaucrat in your Shower

Meanwhile, over at Mises.org, in case you missed it, Jeffrey Tucker has written one of the best articles I've seen for a while on the worldwide home of Misesians*:

The Bureaucrat in Your Shower

We have similar problems over here too, with bureaucrats checking out our double glazing, amongst a hundred and one other things.

I wonder what Thomas Jefferson would make of the United States now. Would he really have risked a British firing squad had he known that people who speak in his name, 200 years later, are making a living by convicting shower head manufacturers? And when failing to convict them, vindictively changing their law so as to be able to do so? I think it might be time in the US for their people to throw off their government, and replace it with some institutions more beneficial.

*Notwithstanding Was Spock an Austro-libertarian?

Future Cameron Policy Statements

The bubble has burst. Oh, it has most definitely burst. When many UK classical liberals heard David Cameron say, "I am at heart a libertarian", they pricked up their ears. Could it be true? Could a leading politician, who looked like he had a chance of winning a General Election, actually be a believer in liberty? Could Cameron actually be a man who believed that less government is good for you? As hope springs eternal in the human condition, many prayed that it could be true and voted for him in the Tory party election. Naysayers such as myself said, "Come on, it's all just spin to get you to vote for him." I was rebuffed. "No, this time it could be true," they said, so I kept my powder dry. For I knew he would let them down, though I must admit even I was surprised at the speed with which he unmasked himself, once the final votes had been cast.

So now we all know the truth. For David Cameron really is, at heart, a Chocolate Orange Inspector. But there's a lot more where that came from. In fact, I have a secret spy at Tory HQ who has supplied me with future Cameronian pronouncements on his personal beliefs, due out over the next few weeks. I've highlighted the crucial phrases, which tell us all we need to know about Mr Cameron. Here we go:

I believe...

...that individual liberty, civil society and economic enterprise can only flourish in stable, orderly and strong communities

...there should be no cap on educational achievement and no limit to educational aspiration

...that good transport links, for both people and goods, are vital for our economy and the welfare of our community

...that sustainable development – striking a balance between economic growth and environmental protection – is of crucial importance

...that low taxes, a stable economy and intelligent regulation will make Britain one of the best business environments in the world

...that we have a global responsibility to help reduce international conflict, combat terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction

...that Britain’s security, prosperity and democratic values are strengthened by active international co-operation

Remarkably, all of the above pronouncements look identical to those found on New Labour's own web site.

But when you hear Cameron use the highlighted phrases above, embedded within his policy statements, remember where you read them first.

For good measure, let's just translate them too, into plain English:

  • Communities: Different snarling pressure groups, all of them aggressively at war with each other and after their own slice of the tax pie

  • Aspiration: More tax pie, but this time pie in the sky

  • Welfare: State theft from the haves to hand over to state supporting have nots, with a little slice left over to the state, for a job well done

  • Sustainable Development: Caving in to Malthusian idiocy, to assuage those nature worshipping voters who would have preferred it if we had stayed in the stone age

  • Intelligent Regulation: Oxymoronic ratchet steps on the roads to serfdom and full-blown Fascism

  • Global Responsibility: Doing what the US government tells us, so we can be favoured partners in their empire

  • International Co-operation: Caving in to the French government, so we can be favoured partners in their empire

Monday, January 09, 2006

Feeding the Intellectuals

Every ruling class in every state needs to feed its intellectual pets, so that these pets will keep telling the general population to keep believing in the ruling class; this payoff is usually much more than the pets could ever earn in the free market. The pharoahs had their priests of Ra, the Normans had their catholic bishops, and the Victorians had their Church of England. But in this secular age it has proved a little harder to declare tax tithes to feed directly into the pockets of the intellectuals, so other scams have had to be invented. For instance the BBC licence fee, the state's support of universities, and the lucrative advertisement of virtually all government jobs in the Guardian newspaper.

But usually the ruling class is careful to disguise these handouts, taken from the wallets of the general population. You usually get something back for your money; the occasional run of Doctor Who, a sociology degree, or an anti-smoking awareness counsellor job interview with the local council. But rarely have I seen such a blatant pay-off to the Outer Party, than this:

Wanted: icons of Englishness that would go nicely with a cup of tea

A cool one million pounds of your money has been taken from your wallet, without your permission, to fund a couple of offices full of the most useless parasites in England so they can run a blog, of little interest to anyone but themselves and a few friends. They really ought to be ashamed of themselves, but no doubt they've deluded themselves into thinking they're doing something useful, so useful in fact that I should pay for it whether I would like to or not.

However, I've got a couple of questions for everyone at Culture Online. What is it, exactly, that you're doing with our one million pounds which couldn't be done on a free blog site? Why don't you parasites just go instead to Blogger.com and set up something as useful which avoids the unfortunate tendency of emptying my pockets without my say so? In fact, I have set up such a Blogger web site for you; it took me almost a whole five minutes. I'll hold this site for you, for a week or two:


I look forward to your request for a handover and also seeing you return our million pounds back to the Treasury. Hope springs eternal.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Writing for AngloAustria

So, you'd like to post an article for AngloAustria and you are a Misesian with a European perspective? Excellent. You may like to read The Birth of AngloAustria before continuing. It's great that you would like to write for AngloAustria, but before spending any time creating your article, there are certain ground rules:

  • Rule Number One, as they say on Ocean's Twelve; you have a framed and signed photograph of Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe somewhere about your person, or you at least wish to acquire one.UPDATE: After prolonged, emotional, and frank discussions, with a certain 'Mr Anonymous', at the Libertarian Alliance, Rule Number One has been relaxed slightly, due to a partial cave-in on the hard-core Hoppeite front. Although it helps to be be a Hoppeian, Proto-Rothbardians, or Proto-Blockites, or even Proto-Murphyites, are also welcome to contribute to the glory of AngloAustria. Though obviously, you still want the signed photograph. Let it never be said that we on AngloAustria are inflexible.
  • Your personal Top 10 list of essential books for intellectual development looks remarkably like this one.
  • If you are religious, you hold that the God above all other Gods is Ludwig von Mises. If you are irreligious, you consider him to be one of, if not the, greatest intellectuals who ever lived, possibly in a two man grouping with Aristotle.
  • You are able to write. This is essential.
  • You are able to both laugh at others and laugh at yourself; there's only room for one prima donna at AngloAustria. Although the serious aim of this site is to be another brick in the wall of the demise of the state, we have to have a bit of fun being that brick, or all of our heads are going to explode.
  • You never use ten words where one might do, unless it would be funny to do so, or you really can't help it.
  • Although in principle AngloAustria does not believe in libel laws, unfortunately the men with guns do, so we don't go there. The odd amusing Jeremy Clarkson style gratuitious insult towards socialists-in-general, is however acceptable, particularly if it really hits a nerve with these sad mentally defective cretins.
  • Guest articles need to be as brief as possible. I may have already said this.
  • Guest articles need to have at least one really interesting point. Obviously, the site prima donna has no need to fulfil this condition.
  • I think that's about it.

Please send your articles to the editor.

Essential AngloAustrian Reading

If it's good enough for the BBC, ITV, and Channel4, to fill their airwaves, with Top 100 list compilations, then surely it's good enough for us here on AngloAustria to have a Top 10 list on books. Alas, due to contractual obligations Graham Norton is currently unavailable to present it for us, but notwithstanding here is our compilation in all its literary glory. Read 'em and weep:

A line-up of books fit for the Gods of Austria. Unfortunately Socialism fails to make it into the list, because whoops! mea culpa, I haven't got round to reading it yet. But I'm working on it Ringo, I'm working real hard.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Drink King is Dead

Oh well, poor old Chat Show Charlie's feeble bid to cling to power fizzled out today, as his loyal MPs shoved 30 silver daggers into his back. As I noted below, I think he has now deprived us of a good example to point to when discussing the liars, the scumbags, and the hypocrites we generally know as frontline British politicians. But I'm confident a new liar, scumbag, and hypocrite will come to the fore, to be exposed in a similar manner. Just where do the Liberals get them from? Jeremy 'Rentboy' Thorpe, Paddy 'Pants Down' Ashdown, and Charles 'I Do Not Have a Drink Problem, I Know Exactly Where My Hidden Bottle of Whisky Is' Kennedy. What a shower, and what a disgrace to Gladstone, one of my favorite Victorian politicians, if I must profess a weakness for admiring certain politicians.

Of all the contenders for this illustrious position of leader of the Liberal Democrats, I do hope for the sake of their family that whoever wins has no particularly Thorpe-like, Paddy-like, or Kennedy-like skeletons in the cupboard.

Menzies Campbell will probably win, because leftwing nutter Simon Hughes looks and sounds like a character from Schindler's List, and Mark Oaten has a name which sounds like a popular breakfast cereal. But if you made me pick one of them, it would have to be Mark Oaten. Sir Menzies Campbell will be the same old flim flam with an unpronounceable name attached, and Simon Hughes will fade immediately into a mishmash politburo background of socialist claptrap. However, Mark Oaten could at least prove interesting, if he should somehow discover the cojones to stand up for himself.

As an anarcho-capitalist I wish a plague on all their houses, but if you scratched me, underneath you would find a classical liberal, which is what Mark Oaten at least professes to be, with his Orange Book group, a collective which even Samuel Brittan thinks is on the right lines. The reason I am an anarcho-capitalist is because I've been forced into deciding that classical liberalism failed, because it merely became a midwife to socialism. However, I would love to be proved wrong. If a genuine classical liberal party could emerge and make this country freer I would have to reconsider my position. Though I won't be holding my breath, obviously.

If Mark Oaten does win to then promote proper liberty, in a proper Gladstonian tradition, then I predict his rapid demise, strangled in his bath by a horde of screaming bearded leftwing harpies, whom Simon Hughes represents.

I normally say on occasions like this that we live in interesting times. Well, not really. It is only the Liberal Democrats. I sometimes wonder why they bother. But then I look at the salaries and pensions of all their MPs, none of whom has anything more interesting to do each day than eat whole nut tofu on constituency expenses. No doubt Charles Kennedy will completely disappear from Parliament for a couple of years. And no doubt while he's away he will still keep helping himself to my wallet, via his parliamentary salary, while he cleans up on the chat show circuit. Politicians really are a bunch of thieving scumbags.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Charles Kennedy: A Liar and a Drunk

Charlie Kennedy's hilarious confession of alcoholism, yesterday, which surprised nobody, once again pointed out the flawed nature of those who would seek to control us, i.e. politicians. Alcoholism is a terrible condition, and I am full of admiration for most of those who manage to battle it successfully. But when they are liars who want to steal my property and tell me how I should live my life, they can sink into the misery of their own making.

Charles Kennedy looks like he will be staying on as leader of the Liberal Democrats, the smallest of the three social democrat parties controlling this country. It seems Mark Oaten, leader of the classical liberal-lite Orange Book group, is spurning the chance to bring back the ideas of Gladstone to the former Liberal party. This is a shame. It would have been fun to watch him sink under the sandals of the hippy brigrade in his party, who dream of a land of 95% taxation, with no cars, and everybody forced at gunpoint to become gay vegetarians.

As Charles Kennedy is now publicly a liar, a drunk, and a feeble grasper of power, I think his continuing leadership is a good thing. It gives everyone else a really fine political role model to point at. My commiserations to his family.

Let the Roads be Privatized!

There's an interesting article at Samizdata.net, which unfortunately appears to take the standard Minarchist line that if the state is necessary for but one thing, then that one thing is the strategic ownership of roads. It's a shame that a supposedly libertarian web site should hold such a view, even when examining the mess of state-based road congestion charging, but until Austrian ideology manages to infiltrate this particular Minarchist stronghold, I'm sure this sad state of affairs will continue.

However, if you think it even possible, God forbid, that the roads can be privatized, but your argumentation for this position needs bolstering, Professor Block of Loyola University has helped me unearth a few articles on road privatization and how congestion charging can work under a privatized road system. Most of the links are PDFs:

Private roads are not only possible. In a future libertarian society, if such a thing ever comes to pass, they are essential.

If you prefer reading old-fashioned paper, rather than wading through electronic PDFs, Professor Block will also be shortly publishing a new 300 page book on the subject, which I'm sure will contain a summation of all his work on road privatization:

Privatize Roads and Highways. Now!
(Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press)

Check out his web site for more details.


Thursday, January 05, 2006

A Tory Activist Wavers

As if I'd paid him to do so, Guy Herbert of Samizdata sounds like he's becoming a wavering Tory, because of Mr. Cameron's largesse with our liberties. AngloAustria prediction: There'll be one more lapsed Tory activist before you can say 'Compulsory State Service'.

The Rise of the Chocolate Orange Inspectors

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Oh dearie, dearie, dearie me. What did those blue rinse troopers do when they elected David 'Shiny Hair, Shiny Teeth' Cameron? Whatever it was, I hope they realized what they were letting themselves in for. Because they have now created a new Marxoid Monster in the form of the new leader of the Stupid Party.

I was worried just before Christmas, when the once sound Oliver Letwin decided to take up Leninism by sounding off on the merits of stealing from me to give to himself and his friends; apparently this is good for me. But now I need worry no longer, because the full social democrat program of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels has come to pass as full party policy for the Conservatives. Yes, they are going to conserve the full left-wing program of the Labour Party. Top hole, sir. At least we now know where we now stand; like Winnie the Pooh trying to escape the forest, we're right back in the same hole we started from.

Of course, I shouldn't really be so surprised. All of this was entirely predictable, according to Hoppe. Democracy will always throw up the most eloquent sounding thieves who wish to steal from the minority haves to give to the majority have nots, and if proxy government thieves can take a healthy percentage off the top, so much the better for them.

What I suppose was an aberration, was the Hayek-influenced attempt on classical liberalism by Margaret Thatcher (God Bless Her). Yes, she made many mistakes, and got sucked into the glory of power, but she had the right instincts. However, for all her work in at least stepping in the right Austrian direction the Stupid Party is finally reverting to type. Yes, Patriarch David 'noblesse oblige' Cameron will win the next election; it's certainly his to lose. But what possible difference will it make whether Thief-Master Cameron or Thief-Master Brown wins? Yes, instead of government friends in 'uneconomic housing estates' helping themselves to my wallet, if Brown wins, it will probably be government friends in 'uneconomic farming areas', if Cameron wins. But I'm sorry; I couldn't give a flying toss about either useless subsidized group. It will still be the same hole in the same wallet. Mine.

Let's examine his defense of the historical principles of the NHS.

I've met so many miracle workers who are the real jewels of the NHS crown
Oh, please. Pass the sick bag. Taken straight from Tony Blair's Off-the-Cuff Comments You Should Learn to Love, I do actually think Cameron could be on to something here. What is a miracle, is that anything is ever done by the NHS. With its 1.5 million employees, most of them choked up on paper, I'm surprised anyone ever manages to turn on the lights in the morning. Were it not for a heavily taxed semi-market system providing endless tax infusions and streams of ideas stolen from other (more) private health systems around the world, the NHS would grind into the sand in a heartbeat; does anybody doubt that? So hats off to all those NHS workers. I too have met many of them on the frontline. How they manage to get out of bed in the morning with all of that bureaucracy pressing them down is beyond me. Most of them, unfortunately, seem to believe in the NHS, but I suppose that helps keep them going through their endless days of miserable government service surrounded by miserable complaining begrudging patients; though of course, it wouldn't surprise me if these miracle workers have a high absenteeism rate as a way of avoiding the monopolistic horror and tedious frustration of working for the government. And if you ever get talking to some of them, individually, away from passing ears, there is a small minority who think the whole thing should be privatized, which is always refreshing to hear, God bless them.
The National Health Service is an incarnation of the belief at the heart of British Society
Karl Marx himself will have failed to put this better. Because, as you know, there is such a thing as society, and it is greater than any of the individuals who make it up. In fact, all miserable exploitative individuals should be forced to work in the Gulag to ensure that the heart of their society beats with a stronger tempo. If 51% of the population want something, then so be it. If the other 49% have to pay for it, even better. Because this will encourage those 49% of lickspittle bourgeois cockroaches to toil even harder to pay their taxes.
We should not use taxpayers' money to encourage the better-off to opt out
Ahem. Who, exactly, is providing all of this taxpayers' cash in the first place? Is it government workers? Is it those on welfare? Is it those on government pensions? What? You mean that those providing all the tax are what David Cameron calls the 'better-off'? That's remarkable. And it would be a crime to let them have some of their own money back to spend as they see fit? Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler, eat your heart out.

What I find remarkable about politicians is the breathtaking arrogance with which they steal my money and then treat it as if it really is theirs, rather than the proceedings of their massively organized criminality (a.k.a. government taxation). At least proper communist socialists were always honest when they robbed those of us in the bourgeoisie. Democratic socialists, such as the Stupid Party, really do seem to believe that I, as a proud member of the bourgeoisie, owe them 50% of my earnings, simply for the privilege of being alive on the same glorious sceptred isle as their tax collectors. Actually, I think I should be made to give them 95%. I could probably survive on lettuce, hay, and water. It is after all important that our glorious leaders, such as Blair, Letwin and Cameron, have fine roast beef and imported red Burgundy wine every Sunday, at Chequers, and other assorted nomenklatura swilling houses.
They want me to promise that under the Conservatives the NHS will be transformed beyond recognition into a system based on medical insurance. I will never go down that route.
I'm sorry, isn't the blessed National Insurance system supposed to pay for the NHS? I thought that's why it got raised recently? No doubt he means private medical insurance. I keep forgetting that anything bad is automatically privately run, whereas anything good is automatically government run. Aside from the Fisk, it really is outstanding of Cameron to so paint himself into a corner in order to try to win the 1.5 million votes of NHS workers. In Hoppeian democratic terms, many boondoggle NHS projects, holding these 1.5 million votes, have been carpet-bagged into marginal seats to help the Labour Party create a future one-party state. To win democratic power, David Cameron has realized that it is essential for the Stupid Party to become social democrats to overcome this gerrymandering. But of course you don't overcome pork-barreling, boondoggling, and gerrymandering by doing more of the same; you just make it worse. Mr. Cameron, and here I'm assuming the best of him, has failed to spot the real solution.

So what is the solution then, clever Mr. Maturin? I'm glad you asked me. It is to follow Hoppe's plan and to stop believing in and to stop working for democracy. It is not actually Cameron which is the problem. It is democracy. And to learn how to fight it, it is essential to read Hoppe's master work. After reading Cameron's tub-thumping bilge about the NHS, that is exactly what is going to happen to many of his party activists. Many will just give up, as they don't believe in social democracy, and many will head to UKIP, as if that will do any good. Some could even move across to the Liberals, if as seems likely their classical liberal-lite Orange Book group take over that moribund outfit, though it will be to little avail. Classical liberal politics is dead; successful politicians, at least in our democratic age, must become social democrats if they are to win democratic power. The Tory activists who give up politics entirely will be the most effective. Welcome to the Hoppe side.
We are now at the European average of health spending. But we are not at the European average for health outcomes.
The stupidity of the man defies ordinary amazement. If you copy the health system of North Korea, the old Soviet Union, and Cuba, expect North Korean, Soviet, or Cuban results. Other health systems in Europe work better because they are more private. The more private a health system the better it works. How much more bleedin' obvious does Mr. Cameron want it? To recommend that the solution to the crisis is to strengthen the factors which caused the crisis really does make Mr. Cameron either seriously deficient in intelligence, like most socialists, or put him seriously into the territory of Machiavelli and his Prince. Cameron is obviously intelligent, so Mr. Cameron must be Tuscan in his outlook.
It is the good [NHS] managers who most resent the bureaucracy which clogs up the system
And now, for me, Cameron has reached a tipping point of doublespeak. To actually say that bureaucrats resent bureaucracy needs no analogy from me to highlight its immense dishonesty.
Real freedom for new services to be developed and offered to the NHS
Real freedom, eh? How about my real freedom to keep what is mine, look after myself and my interests, and take the consequences? Freedom, at least in my book, means 'Freedom from Government'. To increase government interference, regulation, and taxation, to help keep this sick NHS monster on life support for a few more years, just so you can strut up to 10 Downing Street microphones on a regular basis, puts David Cameron in a category of which there was previously only one member. Tony, meet David, he's going to be your new friend. And if you wreck Gordon's chances, while you're still PM, and help David in, I'm sure David will be properly appreciative and get you that nice EU job you've just put a £14 billion pound downpayment on.
As Britain faces an obesity crisis, why does W.H.Smith promote half-price Chocolate Oranges at its checkouts instead of real oranges?
Once again we have this mythic beast, Britain, which has a life beyond those of the individuals which make it up. Yes, there are some people in the inland taxpaying area of what the British State Mafia call Britain, who probably need to wear elasticated pants. But there are many in 'Britain' who are perfectly fit. Those who are in elasticated clothing are free human beings who are (presumably) capable of knowing whether they want to eat chocolate oranges or not. I'm sure that if they wanted to eat fresh fruit oranges, W.H.Smith would be offering them fresh fruit oranges. But in a free market, Mr. Cameron, something which you don't appear to believe in, if W.H.Smith believe they can make a profit by offering their customers goods that they wish to purchase, that is up to them, not something to be decided by proto-Fascist demagogues such as yourself.

Here's a thought: perhaps those who are in elasticated trousers are in this condition because they feel incapable of controlling their own lives. And why, mayhap, could they be like this? Could it be because of sixty one years of the Welfare State? It's just a thought. I won't pursue it. It's obviously taboo to go down such a track.

Yes, you could hit my wallet even harder and employ government chocolate orange inspectors at every newsagent kiosk in England, to prevent what you regard as a problem, but I'm still happy being able to make my own decisions about what I consume. One might call this freedom, which is the ability to live one's life without government interference, though you might call it laissez faire madness. Whatever you call it, Mr. Cameron, I now know what you are. Bigwig Bighead Busybodies like you are not welcome round here. Please go back to the Notting Hill hole from which you emerged. And stop subjecting me to endless emotional pictures of yourself and your son to try to establish emotional controlling bonds over me. Just go away, and go and try to rob somebody else; I hope they give you both barrels of what you deserve.

The entire NHS should be privatized immediately.