Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hope for America

Long may it last! Ron Paul's The Revolution: A Manifesto, right now, is number one for book sales on Yep, that's right folks, #1 for ALL books on Amazon! So forget J.K.Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Pratchett, Patrick O'Brien, Bernard Cornwell, Conn Iggulden, Stephen King, Dan Brown, Uncle Tom Clancy, and all my other usual favourite schlock pen-pushers, the top author on Amazon (at least for one day), is the Good Doctor himself. Marvellous.

Even now, despite its rapid slide towards fascism, I still see the United States as the best hope for an anarcho-capitalist future, because of its incredible history of sloughing off British statism and instituting a previously unwitnessed level of freedom, 250 years ago.

With Doctor Paul's book going to number one on Amazon, it is evident that despite the invention of state comprehensive schooling and all the other arms of state stupidity that the American government has instituted over the last two centuries, there is still a tremendous beating heart of freedom over there within our blessed colonies, sorry, daughter states, sorry, world hegemonic masters. (Well, at least they still have the most evil baddies in 'Battlestar Galactica' and 'Lost' talking with proper English accents, so good luck to 'em.)

And now, if only we could see one of these fifty states, or even something smaller such as an Indian nation, or even the Alabaman town of Auburn, secede from the monstrous Hamiltonian Leviathan. What a glorious day that will be, should it happen in our life-times. May this book help make this so, and thereby help bring on a truly free world.

My faith and hope in the future is thus renewed and healed once more. Thank you, Doctor Paul.

So come on! Where's my copy?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The black hole of British law

Why did the western Roman empire collapse? This has always proved a great mystery to Latinists and other exponents of the imperial principle.

"Surely," they argue, "men in Europe could see the glory of the empire, so why did they abandon it to the ravening hordes from the North? Why in their turn did these ravening hordes not delight to prostrate themselves under the wonderful laws of the Eternal City?"

Well, all of this pro-imperial fondness is easy to profess in hindsight, especially as we have no idea what life was like for the ordinary "Johnnius Britannicus" on the Claphamus Omnibus. However, this fondness for Rome misses the essential point that given the alternative, most people in western Europe were much happier with the western Roman empire destroyed, otherwise it would have continued, as it did in the Eastern Mediterranean at Byzantium. Alas, all of our histories of this period are written by those who suffered most from the end of the western empire (i.e. the clergy of the Roman Catholic church), so we have nothing but this skewed view from history, which may remain impossible to unpick.

But what was it really like for Johnnius Britannicus, at home on his farm at the edge of Londinium?

Well, in the late period of the Roman Empire the emperors had introduced serfdom, the money was worthless bronze junk, there were endless wars into which your sons were unwillingly dragged, the taxes were horrendous as well as being taken "in kind" (because the money was worthless), which meant you were living at starvation levels much of the time, and the laws were virulent, copious, and unfathomable. Indeed, there were so many laws that if the local governor woke up in a bad mood on any particular morning it became virtually impossible for an ordinary man to go from sunrise to sunset without breaking some inane regulation he could be locked up for. (Does any of this sound familiar?)

What this cornucopia of Roman law produced was not the rule of the law, but the rule of man, because for everybody outside the magic circle of the ruling parasitical elite there was never any certainty in anything they did. If the rulers so chose on a whim, your life could be made an unendurable agony with your life, family, and property all held within the pinching fingers of this greedy aggressive claque of lawyerly politicians, tossed one way or another dependent on their clemency, spite, or otherwise, because of their mastery of these laws and their monopolistic control of the courts.

The end of this state of affairs, and the end of the western empire, must have been an absolute relief for everyone living under this yoke of endless law. Despite being a cod-latinist myself, and a fan of the original much simpler twelve tables of Roman law, I too would have been on the side of the barbarians to end this misery and quite prepared to burn these endless regulations to get to something much simpler such as the following natural law formulations:
  • You shall not instigate violence to directly harm or otherwise impede the lives of others
  • You shall not steal the life-giving property of others or trespass upon their property
  • You shall not break contracts freely entered into with others, upon which their lives may depend
  • You shall not be envious of the life-giving property of others
  • You shall not be envious of the life-enhancing relationships of other people
The five "laws" laid down above are probably as much law as most people need in their lives. Indeed, most of us live according to various versions of the five laws above, virtually all of the time. Obviously, anyone working for the state breaks all five of them all of the time, but it has taken 2,000 years of weasel-words and conniving graft to get back to this appalling state of affairs.

So how has this been done? In the same way that the Romans reached the same nadir, by the explosion of law-making brought about by the acceptance of democracy as an acceptable state of affairs.

Take for instance the latest publication of all British law, which is produced by a company called Halsbury. Every 20 years they codify all the laws of Britain. (In a court case, ignorance of these laws is no defence, which presumably means we all need to know all of them, just in case.)

So do we have five simple laws we can use in all cases? No, it is now 100 volumes of closely-packed text, which has more than doubled in size since the last time Halsbury published these codes 20 years ago.

Which means that the laws in Britain have become nothing more than empty meaningless gibberish, just as they were at the collapse of the western Roman empire. Nobody knows these laws any more, not even the editor at Halsbury. Even handsomely paid lawyers only know tiny fractions of them, and only in their own areas of speciality, which entails that the modern Johnnius Britannicus, on the broken down Clapham tube link, has absolutely no chance.

No, we don't really have laws any more. We just have regulators who "interpret" them, any way they fancy in whichever way is politically expedient at the time. You only have to look at the words "regal" or "rex", to see where all of these "regulations" or "regs" originate from; that is, from the edicts of royalty and bureaucratic kings. Even simpler is the link between the words "rulers" and "rules"; i.e., obey that which the rulers (and your betters) decree, or else it's into the ruler's gaol cage for you, peasant!

Nothing is pre-ordained (except that David Beckham will one day present "Match of the Day"). However, unless we stop it first by removing ourselves from the overlordship of politicians and their endless fascist laws, I predict that a second dark age is coming and probably sooner than we realise.

Are you ready for it, if it does?

The revolution arrives in England

I have been checking regularly for a while now and today my target purchase item popped up for the first time. In the scrambled words of U2's Bono, I have finally found what I was looking for. Buy it. Buy two. Buy a hundred.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Re-gilding the lily

Yes, I know, another diary blog re-design. But a change is as good as a rest. And it certainly will be by the time I've figured out how to get my web page links to work again! :-)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Dead man walking past

Anyone who has followed British politics over the last week will know that Gordon Brown (seen in the far left background of the picture above) is a dead man walking. I may even relent from pouring buckets of offal over his head for a few days, because he is such an embarrassing laughing stock. Which does of course mean that we need to start taking a closer look at the man in the right-of-centre foreground.

It's bad enough that I occasionally find myself cycling beside David Cameron on Constitution Hill or bumping into the back of his bike at the cycle lights on Hyde Park Corner. However, for Her Majesty's leader of the opposition to start stealing my train seat at the blessed Paddington station really has become too much; I may have to return to Waterloo unless he relents from this further infringement of my deep-seated wish to be left alone by politicians.

So David, if you are going to keep nicking my seat, we need to start asking you a few questions. Let's start with an easy pair of related no-brainers: How many parasites are you going to sack on day one of your premiership and how much of the resulting saved cash can I then look forward to receiving as a massive tax cut in an ongoing rolling program of further massive tax cuts?

The answers should of course be "lots" and "lots". Alas, I fear his actual answers would be more along the lines of "we'll see" and "it's more difficult than that". Which will once again prove that the end of Gordon Brown is not what we need; this will simply be the political circus spinning around once more to fool the gullible proles into believing that democratic elections actually change anything.

What we really need is the removal of all politicians, including Mr Cameron. So David, I know you eschew the wearing of a cycle helmet but think ye not that this will remove you from the protection racket frame of AngloAustrian taxation blame. Unless and until the envious and ignorant Labour Party replace Gordon Brown with that honey-tongued wretch David Milliband, you will now enjoy the dubious distinction of moving into our number one public enemy slot. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A recession survival guide

Rather than bleating on endlessly about who caused the forthcoming recession, I thought now might be a good time for a survival guide, seeing as we're about to enter two years of central-bank induced hell. But there's no need for this poor aspiring Austrian scholar to try to attempt to write one. Instead, all you need to do is to read Gary North's archive of economic commentaries, particularly those of the last few months. I've picked out my recent favourites below and then tried to condense Uncle Gary's thoughts on surviving this 'temporary downturn' (Ha!): Here are his condensed recommendations for those panicking too much to read the articles above:
"This is also a time for going the extra mile for your boss. Find out what he expects and do more...You need to protect your investments against deflation...I think your first line of self-defense is your job. If you lose your job, you are in big trouble...You need to do whatever it takes to increase your value to your employer."
Then there are Uncle Gary's career plan questions to bolster the advice immediately above:
  • Is it [your career plan] consistent with recent events?
  • Is it positioned for future events?
  • Does it maximize your lifetime opportunities?
  • Does it allow you career flexibility (new career)?
  • Does it lead toward a retirement career?
  • Does it offer you enough time to build a side business?
  • Have you identified your fall-back job?
  • Have you developed a system of networking?
  • Do any potential employers know how profitable you are?
  • Does your boss know how profitable you are?
  • Does his boss know how profitable you are?
  • Are you well known within a niche segment of your industry?
  • Do you have your own website?
  • Do you have your own blog site?
Finally, with my apologies in advance, there are some big scary questions to answer:
  • How safe is your retirement portfolio from a major recession and stock market decline?
  • How much of your retirement portfolio is in dollars?
  • How much equity do you still have in your home after normal discounting and the sales commission? After recession discounting?
  • How much money do you owe on things other than your mortgage?
  • How safe is your employer's bank?
  • What would happen to your employer if the bank were to cut off your employer's normal credit line?
  • How secure is your job in a recession?
  • What are your employment opportunities locally?
  • What is your fall-back position if you get fired?
  • How long would it take you to get a job in a recession at your present salary?
  • What is the cut in salary that you could afford to take, given your present monthly budget?
  • How much could you cut your budget if you had to? How?
  • Is your wife employed?
  • How do these questions apply to her?
Personally, I'm going to run screaming to the hills. But for anyone sensible, the above recession survival guide should get most of us through, if we can face up to answering and dealing with the questions above. Good luck. See you on the other side.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

We all have to have a hobby

Mine is writing pointless comments under Daily Telegraph articles. Here's the latest article I've wasted my time posting under: The gravy train powers on - paid for by me. Did you really think I could resist a splendid article title like that? ;-)

Here's the comment, in all its mellifluous glory:
How about we ask everyone who works for the state to take an immediate six month leave of absence? If any of the rest of us notice that they're no longer working, within this six month period, plus that our lives are worse off as a result, then they can come back to work - they are all, of course, supposed to be there for our benefit. We then sack the other 85% and use the saved money to pay for them to do something useful in the private sector.
Posted by Jack Maturin on April 12, 2008 1:24 PM
If it's read by just one useless Marxoid state drone, causing them inner fury, it will have been worth the mental bit space. Pip pip!!

UPDATE: I couldn't resist it. Some tax parasite on the same thread banged on about how public sector workers pay tax. I therefore had no choice but to fire this missive:
I think Jamie 10:30 is getting a little confused about public sector workers paying any form of tax. The way to spot it is to ask the following question: If everybody stopped paying taxes of any kind tomorrow, what would the subsequent gross wages be for any full-time public sector worker? If your answer is anything above nothing, you need to think it through again and ask yourself where any state wages would come from. This accounting sleight of hand, where state workers pay nominal amounts of tax, is a really clever way of fooling the rest of us that state workers do actually pay tax. If I wasn't being robbed in the process, I would have to admire its subtlety, where even people who should know better, such as senior civil servants, swan around under the erroneous assumption that they too are taxpayers. Unconsciously however I think most state workers know they don't pay any tax. That's why they're always clamouring for the rest of us to pay more. A tax rise for the private sector is nothing more than a wage rise for the public sector. No wonder state workers are so happy to vote for tax-raising political parties. Voting for other people's money to be painlessly stolen from others and then handed to you has been a sure-fire vote winner since Roman times.
Posted by Jack Maturin on April 12, 2008 4:06 PM
Just why do we post these comments to newspaper threads? What compulsion is it? I suppose we may be under the illusory spell of thinking that the 'great published writer' who wrote the original piece may be spending their entire time reading these comment threads to be overwhelmed with the logic of our wise positions, rather than drinking heavily in a London saloon bar trying to think up the next 2,000 words. Personally, I just love causing cognitive dissonance in the odd Marxist and potentially tipping a miniscule percentage of this tiny fraction towards the ideas of freedom, by spinning awkward ideas in their minds. Well okay, I might not be George Orwell, but I do like to keep the Austrian aspidistra flying.

Nurse! The screens!

Crikey. You may have thought that I have been a bit pessimistic recently. So did I, until I read this article by Uncle Gary North.

Crivens. This 'temporary credit crunch' may be even worse than we thought.

Friday, April 11, 2008

What are we going to do now?

I must say that after my diary posting yesterday, I almost spilt my cornflakes this morning when I read the following headline in today's Torygraph: Mortgage costs rise despite Bank rate cut. Could Spike Milligan have written comedy as funny as this? It would be a close run thing.

BTW, that's Spike above in a sketch about the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee. He's playing Sir Mervyn King. John Bluthal (to Spike's left) is playing Alistair Darling, and David Lodge (to Spike's right, and a star of the famous British war film Cockleshell Heroes), is playing Gordon Brown.

So let's test the theory outlined above. Below I've pasted Spike's funniest ever joke. It contains all of the elements needed in a top quality joke, including anxiety, superiority, and surprise. But is it funnier than the situation behind the headline above; Mortgage costs rise despite Bank rate cut. I'll let you decide. Here we go:
Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn't seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps, "My friend is dead! What can I do?". The operator says "Calm down. I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead." There is a silence, then a shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says "OK, now what?"
It's close. But then, there is a lot of it about. Pip pip!!

UPDATE: If you look to the extreme right of the photograph (to John Bluthal's left), you may also spot Sir Mervyn King himself, in a cameo role. He is of course, playing a feckless idiot.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Government unveils secret weapon to fight financial bubble

Okay, so let's assume that I don't win any prizes for correctly guessing yesterday, that after heavy hint instructions from El Gordo on Monday, the Bank of England would cut interest rates today by another quarter per cent, to roll yet more fiat currency out the door thus impoverishing everyone in the world holding sterling.

Given the current headless chicken status of the British financial establishment, with no clue as to what is going on and with no clue as to what to do, Plan B was always going to be to print more money. It always is. Which is, of course, why we're in this mess.

But aside from ruining even more pensions, boosting inflation further, and pushing up yet more asset prices, this reflex action is simply going to make no difference to the problem it is trying to solve, as the Fed have found out with their own interest rate cuts.

If a bubble is imploding, let it implode. The necessary correction, though painful in the short-term, will be briefer if we allow it to happen and the subsequent recovery from the malinvestment caused by the bubble will be quicker. If we prick the bubble, we can then write off the losses we have sustained through wasteful malinvestments, liquidate what left overs we can from these malinvestments, and then put these capital savings to better use this time guided by stable unfettered prices. If you keep pushing out the bubble by inflating paper and thus increasing paper prices, we head directly full square towards a crack-up boom and eventually, as in Zimbabwe, a land filled with starving billionaires.

Just answer these questions, oh wise ones in the London business press. How much is petrol? How much are food bills? How much are poll tax bills? Are taxes going up? How is your wallet doing? How much are your mortgage payments? How well is your pension fund doing? How well is your endownment fund doing? How much are your school fees? What is your holiday going to cost this year? Have you ever heard of the Weimar republic? Have you ever heard of the 10 year depression in Japan? Have you ever heard of Robert Mugabe? Has the use of the printing press ever been a long-term solution to anyone, anywhere?

Printing more of this fiat paper rubbish is exactly the wrong way to go and I simply don't care how eminent you are in the finance department of your newspaper. If you believe a rate cut was a good thing, then you are wrong and you simply do not understand economics. Or, if I may be less charitable, you do understand economics but you are within the magic circle of those who benefit from increased amounts of fiat currency, which includes anyone working directly for the state, or for anyone working indirectly for the state in the City of London or the media, or someone who will get this counterfeited money first.

The state always needs an intellectual bodyguard to protect its existence, hence the state education system and the state regulated media system, and the state always needs someone to finance state borrowings via a corrupted money supply and government debt system, hence the entire UK gilt market and most of the banking system; so these people will always be looked after.

Now I know you've read Douglas Adams. And I know you laughed at the Golgafrinchams running around stuffing leaves under their shirts and calling them legal tender. Now explain to me the difference between this leaf stuffing and the Bank of England counterfeiting yet more paper currency? If you can, I would be pleased to hear your response.

With Brown's ten year boom about to go bust I'm reminded of the old Spike Milligan shows where the entire cast would look towards the camera and then start shuffling off the set under the refrain, "What are we going to do now?" As far as the UK government goes and its latest cut in interest rates performed by its useful idiots in the Bank of England, I think we have reached that Spike Milligan moment. When they publish the meeting minutes, I think between the lines the phrase "What are we going to do now?" is going to be quite prominent.

Oh well. I think that's enough from me for the moment. It must be time for a stiff gin and tonic while I can still afford one. Cheers.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

They don't like it up 'em!

Oh dear. Don't panic!

The IMF has just predicted that UK house prices will fall 10% in the next year (following Halifax's prediction of a 5% fall, yesterday). However, Alastair Darling, the UK government's Caporegime, has just claimed that all is still well with the British economy.

Well Alastair, you may be fooling an ever-decreasing portion of the supine British electorate, but I would just love to be a fly on the wall in Downing Street at the moment. I bet the words Panic and Brown Trousers don't cover the half of it.

AngloAustria's solution? Stop the printing press. Burn the rulebook. And let the market decide.

So what will the Downing Street morons do? They're going to run the printing press faster, come up with another 1,000 pages of financial regulation nobody understands, and then blame it all on the market when this "solution" makes things even worse.

And so down the rabbit hole we continue to go...

The song that is irresistible

Following on from our earlier theme about the state being nothing more than an over-sized protection racket, in case you missed it you must read Robert Higgs's much more refined Schlarbaum Award Acceptance Speech about the same topic. It's one of those pieces that you wish you had the ability to write yourself, and in the face of which you stand in awe for its clarity and its ability to cut through to the central realities. For instance, here's the tiniest snippet:
"The state's most fundamental purpose, the activity without which it cannot even exist, is robbery. The state gains its very sustenance from robbery, which it pretties up ideologically by giving it a different name (taxation) and by striving to sanctify its intrinsic crime as permissible and socially necessary."
Bravo, Sir; it truly is a magnificent piece of writing.

UPDATE: And here is the MP3.

RIP, Charlton Heston

What a man. What a life. What an actor. All that, plus much more:
"The egalitarian world view now considered politically correct makes us uneasy with the idea that one individual is better than the rest of us. But having played several great men, I can tell you that they are better than we are ...."

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Daydream believer

The entire reign of Gordon Brown, first as chancellor and then as prime minister, has been based upon debt, and all of that debt has been based upon the daydream of ever-rising house prices, with people gouging out their own property equities to keep their noses above the ever-rising waters of Brown's stealth taxes.

Well, these cornerstone house prices were ever-rising, until today, when Halifax reported a 2%-5% drop in house prices, in March. And so now let us find out what happens when the tax man comes to the cupboard to this time find it bare; the ensuing carnage may be quite spectacular.

Ranged along one side will be the forces of the public sector demanding yet more pelf in their inflationary spiral of waste, their dreams precariously dangled over the rocks of avarice. Ranged along the other side will be the forces of the private sector finally giving up their cake-eating dreams of champagne socialism and rightfully demanding to keep what is theirs, with whatever weapons come to hand.

In the middle will be Gordon Brown clinging on by his chewed finger nails to the rapidly vanishing dream of a socialism that works in a world of scarce resources.

To paraphrase Hannibal Lecter, it's going to be quite a show.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Vanity towns

Let’s take it as read that AngloAustria is thoroughly against the idea of government-sponsored eco-towns, of which around 10 are planned in the UK, by Gordon Brown, the forthcoming ex-prime minister. I could toss in phrases such as “Stalinist concentration camps outside the market and therefore doomed to fail”, “An appalling Swedish-style harbinger of things to come”, and other assorted anarcho-capitalist diatribes, but where would the fun be in that?

Obviously, these “eco-towns” will be a total disaster, from start to finish, making the dreadful Milton Keynes look like a sumptuous Xanadu, but think of the business opportunities! These towns will be full of people with nothing to do all day except recycle cardboard boxes, push-biked in to them by sustainable Aardvarks. Therefore, these suicidally bored mono-maniacs will be desperate to escape and get proper jobs somewhere else, though none of them will have cars so they’ll be stuck! So if you provide commuting services for them, to get to the nearest rail terminal for instance, you could clean up! (Pun thoroughly intended.)

And then, once you have made a fortune from transporting these sad miserable people out of the hell-holes of their own choosing, think of the amusement you’ll be able to have reminding them how incompatible commuting is with “sustainable environmentally friendly eco-living”.

Personally, if they build one of these Potemkin villages in my neck of the woods, I’ll be up there each weekend in an enormous hired 4x4, smoking cigars, and lecturing them all via truck-mounted loudspeaker on the evils of commuting. Picture the stone aged hatred on the faces of the inhabitants as I roll by. Imagine the fun!

But seriously, can you imagine living anywhere worse than in a green-field government eco-town? It really will be a living hell, with one hundred per cent state-employed populations of po-faced human haters living cheek-by-jowl in houses made from goats’ cheese and Peruvian muesli (canoed in by mutinous Camel).

Aside from the horrible amounts of subsidy each of these towns will suck in, until enough of the population commute away to do real work in the market place of voluntary human needs, I shall be filled with hilarity each day until the point comes where all of these appalling places become either ghost towns, vacuous “nowhere-places” like Canberra in Australia filled with nothing but government jobs, or dead commuter villages re-populated each evening by self-loathing hypocrites.

And if we do get ghost towns, think of the money we could make turning each one into a giant paint-balling venue! Fantastic.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

More pond scum cleaned up

It's good to see yet another 'eminent' politician has been exposed as a crook. So it's goodbye, Bertie Ahern, another follower in the inglorious pickpocket Irish tradition of Charles Haughey. No doubt Ahern will get kicked up into the Crime Commission, in Brussels, but at least it's good to see he has suffered a thoroughly excellent public shaming, thus throwing all politicians into their rightful dock of constant suspicion. But here's the rub! Have you noticed that the smaller a country is (in terms of population), the more crooked the politicians seem to be?

You would have thought that "bigger" crooks would go after "bigger" countries, where there are more resources to pelf and greater powers to sell or otherwise corrupt. But it always seems to be the Australias, the Canadas, and the Irelands, where there is a greater chance of an individual tax slave rubbing shoulders with a politician, who seem more inflicted with these rats, rather than the larger "Anglo" states, such as America and Britain?

For instance, Scottish politics is full of liars, rogues, and ne'er-do-wells, whereas Scottish politicians in British Westminster politics, though equally likely to be liars, rogues, or ne'er-do-wells, seem to appear in court a lot less often.

Is this because the bigger the state, the more democracy can rein in the constant urge of politicians to reward themselves for all of their hard work in serving the rest of us?

Or is it because in bigger countries the politicians find it easier to hide their graft through greater power, lesser contact with individual tax payers, a more supine press eager to feast on juicier world news fed to them by a more influential government, and the easier opportunities to hide smaller percentages of "skim" taken off greater amounts of tax?

I'm stumped? The answer to this conundrum is simply too hard to fathom!