Monday, December 26, 2005

Britain's New Golden Age of Prosperity

There are only three programs I watch regularly from the BBC. These are Match of the Day, Top Gear, and Doctor Who. Yes, I know I shouldn't watch anything from the BBC, to keep my mind cleansed from this Guardian-reader tax-supported filth, but mea culpa; we all have our crosses to bear.

The new Doctor Who, David Tennant, is good. And I loved the Arthur Dent reference in the first episode of the new series.

But just where does the BBC get its scriptwriters from? It's either direct from Crooked Timber, or the philosophy graduate club at the Guardian Newspaper. It surely isn't from, or anywhere else economic sense is spoken.

For instance, did you notice in the opening episode that the new Prime Minister had introduced a new golden age of prosperity to Britain. It seemingly hadn't taken this politician long to generate this land of cornucopia, so what was the proof? Yes, Billie Piper's mother now had an extra £18 pounds a week in benefit from the government.

Oh yea; hail the government, font of all wealth and wisdom. All it takes is a new regulation, and more government power, and, lo, extra benefits can be handed out to all and sundry whom are deemed worthy of such gifts. And where does this wealth come from, pray? Well, the scriptwriters don't bother explaining that mere bauble of economic reality. People living in government high rises now have more benefit, drawn from the ether, and now Britain is entertaining a new age of prosperity. Why hadn't any government worshippers in the past realised how simple this was? Everything Trotsky said about utopia can now be realised, as the philosopher stone secret of how to make the stupidity of socialism actually work, seems to have been discovered by a fictional BBC-inspired government.

You might think I'm being a bit melodramatic about this blatant pro-government economic voodoo from a blatant pro-government organisation like the BBC, but I just want Doctor Who to go around sorting out Cyborgs, and Daleks, and Sea Devils. If any Doctor Who scriptwriters ever get to read this, can you leave the trendie leftie political brainwashing at home please, and simply leave us with decent science fiction. Is this too much to ask? I am forced, at the point of a gun, to pay your wages. Is it too much that I can ask you to leave just three BBC programs free of your moronic government-worshipping bias? Just three?

Do what you like to Eastenders, because thank the Lord I never see it, or the other 300 rubbish BBC TV series you all create to mind blast the proles, but please could you leave Doctor Who alone? I thank you.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The New Left

The UK Conservative Party, a.k.a. the Stupid Party, has finally signed up, completely, to the full Leninist program of International Socialism. Redistribution of other people's property to other people, with a healthy commission taken by the men who oversee the processs, has now become central to Tory principle, at least according to one of their main spokesmen, Fat Cat politician Oliver Letwin:

Letwin: We will redistribute wealth

Words simply fail me. I once held a torch for Mr Letwin. It fizzled out long ago, but to see him descend to this level of praise for property theft takes him to a new low. How much lower he goes in his bid for power, which will no doubt in some way enrich him significantly, I will not predict; the closer politicians come to a sniff of power the worse they get. But who would've thought when Margaret Thatcher was in power, that within a generation, Tory politicians would be openly praising redistribution? If she was in her grave, she would be turning.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Was Spock an Austro-libertarian?

Check out for an Anglo-Austrian article covering everyone's favorite alien:

Was Spock an Austro-libertarian?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Tax Consumption Merry-Go-Round

Oh no, the NHS mess goes on and on:

GPs offered cash to let patients book in advance

A few years ago it was usually possible to book an appointment with an NHS General Practitioner for, let's say, Tuesday week at 10am, at a mutually convenient time. It was occasionally tricky to get an appointment the same day, if say you phoned up at 11:45am, but if it was serious enough, in most places I lived in the country the Doctor would generally try to fit you in somehow. Not perfect, but as the most private part of the NHS, the GP service was perhaps the least worst of a bad bunch. But the politicians couldn't help but get their oar in even further, into the fruit pie.

"What? You can't always get a GP appointment the same day for some trivial problem you're only going to the doctor with so you can shaft your employer with a day-long sickie, so you can watch a football game? This is outrageous and a direct contravention of your footballing Human Rights!"

So something had to give. The politicians gave GPs extra payments for ensuring that if anyone phoned up and wanted a same-day appointment, they got one.

Go on, guess what happened next! Yes, to absolutely nobody's shock, except the politicians, for a short while it became astonishingly easy to get a same-day GP appointment, but virtually impossible to get a convenient one at 10am on Tuesday week. Doctors now started holding the whole day's appointment slots open just in case somebody phoned and wanted an immediate sick note. And the unforeseen consequence? The GPs got paid more for doing less. As the same-day bonus payments hit their bank accounts, they gradually started doing less work to ensure they always had free slots to get the same-day appointment cash, so the patient throughput became less; this led to further shortages of what you might call GP up-time. Perversely, it then gradually became even harder to get an appointment the same day, than it had in the bad old days of less government intervention. How so? Well, the only way of getting a GP appointment became to phone the same day. To get a morning appointment, you now had to join a herd of other people all phoning at, say, 8:30am. Getting through would be a minor miracle in itself. Often, once you did break through the engaged lines at 8:45am, you would be told that all the morning appointments had gone.

"Can I have one tomorrow morning?"

"Oh no, sir. As part of our improved NHS service we only offer same day appointments, so we're keeping all of tomorrow free, until tomorrow morning."

"Can I have an appointment late this afternoon, then?"

"Oh no, sir. As part of our improved NHS service we only offer afternoon appointments after 11am this morning, to ensure everyone can get an appointment the same day."

Absolutely mind-boggling. In my pre-Austrian days, I found that shouting down the phone line didn't really help. Sometimes this could go on for days until you gave up, and then phoned one morning at 11:01am, for an afternoon appointment, which did of course mean you had to take the whole day off work to spend ten minutes being told by some politically correct nerk that you ate too much of this, or drank too much of that, when all you wanted was something for a really sore throat. But what the heck. Employers can always carry the cost for employees taking the whole day off. That's what they're there for.

And so because of this preposterous solution, much worse than the original problem, everyone complained to their politicians. And the next Chicagoan market-like solution? GPs are now going to be paid even more to offer the service they used to offer years ago for nix, to get advanced appointments. So now they'll get two subsidies where previously they had none, for exactly the same service.

This, of course, does assume that these two subsidies aren't unbalanced. Because whichever one is greater will skew GP behaviour in that direction. So if they get more for later appointments, it's bye-bye same-day appointments. And if it's less than same-day appointments, we'll be stuck with the current mess. So by intervening with perfect plans, the central planners have wrecked something which used to work, albeit imperfectly, but adequately, and without any need for the cost of all this planning and subsidy. Government in action. Don't ya just love it.

Oh, and if you read the linked article above you'll find GPs are also going to get even more tax-paid subsidies to maintain obesity and learning disability registers. How nice of Big Brother to take notice.

I wonder if all the obesity and learning disability statistics are now going to shoot up? I wonder. It'll be worse than all those non-existent olive trees in Greece, which attract all those billions of Euros in EU subsidies. They'll be skinny economics professors on both registers, before you can say cash payment, and the GPs, whom I once used to respect before I realised they have become the biggest bureaucrat snouters in the trough, will have even more toys on their Saab convertibles. God Bless the NHS and make mine a brushed magnesium and beechwood gear stick lever.

The founder of the NHS, Nye Bevan, really did have it right when he said that to create this gorgonic monster he would have to stuff the doctors' mouths with gold. You were right then, Nye, and you're right now. I hope it makes you feel proud to have been such a profoundly great socialist cock-up artist. Thanks a trillion.

The entire NHS should be privatized, immediately.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Parallel Lives: Abraham Lincoln and Julius Caesar

What were the American Founding Fathers thinking of? To create a nation of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, they deliberately modeled their new nation upon the original Roman Republic, which had itself escaped from a foreign yoke via a conspiracy of Roman nobles, in 510 BC. The parallels begin immediately, with George Washington playing the valiant role of Lucius Junius Brutus, a leading Roman noble with Etruscan connections, and King George the Third playing the despised role of King Tarquinius Superbus, a hated Etruscan tyrant.

Even the iconic stories of independence sound remarkably similar. For the Romans we have the Rape of Lucretia, the indecisive battle of Silvia Arsia, and the swimming of the Tiber by Horatius Cocles; for the Americans we have the Massacre of Boston, the blundering battle of Bunker Hill, and the midnight ride of Paul Revere.

So what’s wrong with all this, you might ask? Surely it is in the nature of rebellion that terrible deeds will be done by tyrants and heroes will spontaneously arise to defend themselves from these deeds. As Julius Caesar himself said, all events of importance are usually the result of trivial causes, with the whole blue velvet of history being studded with sparkling white diamonds of individual heroism to turn the tide. But what puzzles me is why the American Founding Fathers used Rome as a model for the creation of their thirteen new States? As the Spanish-born American philosopher George Santanaya said much later, those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Here we have the Founding Fathers staring right down the ballista barrel of the anti-freedom horror of the Roman Empire, with its dole, circuses, slaves, serfs, wars, mobs, inflation, and taxes. And with this in full view they still deliberately recreated the same republican conditions which led to Caligula, Nero, and Ridley Scott’s favorite emperor, Commodus, a dangerously divine one-man mixture of vanity, cruelty, sexual perversion, paranoia, anger, jealousy, and rampant megalomania.

A more ideal candidate for US President would surely be impossible to find, even in the Georgetown area of downtown Washington.

One almost wants to go back in time and drag the Founding Fathers back to present day Washington DC to show them the full consequence of their actions. We could show them imperial palaces and the Romanesque temples of power, such as Federal Reserve resplendent under its imperial Roman eagle. We could draw their eye to the super-obelisk on the horizon, the Washington Monument, and point out how the Emperor Augustus erected a similar obelisk in Rome in 10 BC, stolen from Egypt to celebrate the Roman conquest of the East. We could even show them the Iwo Jima memorial, the modern equivalent of the Emperor Trajan’s column, featuring victorious legionaries at war and built in 113 AD to celebrate military triumph over the despicable baby-eating Dacians.

But I would save the best till last.

This would of course be the mighty statue of Jupiter Optimus Maximus himself, supreme God of justice, resplendent in a venerable Doric sanctuary directly facing the Senate and his own temples of justice on the distant Capitoline hill. This God has been known by many names over the millennia; Thor, Zeus, and Jupiter are just three of these names. A fourth is Abraham Lincoln.

I recently had the good fortune to buy and read Thomas DiLorenzo’s masterpiece, The Real Lincoln. If you haven’t read it yet, make sure you put it on your next birthday list. As someone without an American passport and being more interested in Queen Elizabeth the First than contemporary American history, I had a great big hole in my head where Lincoln was concerned. Having never thought too deeply about him beforehand, the naïve image of a man who had saved all the slaves was the only one which filled my mind. Professor DiLorenzo has since fixed all of this nonsense.

I will leave DiLorenzo to describe the full myth-busting horror of Lincoln to you, but what struck me most while reading the book, once DiLorenzo had dissipated the smokescreen of slavery, was the amazing parallelism between Abraham Lincoln and Julius Caesar. Both demagogues set out ostensibly to save their republics, but ended up destroying them; both murdered more of their own fellow citizens in bloody civil wars, than anyone had ever done before them; both were assassinated shortly after their final victories, to a mixture of joy and horror, and both were made divine immediately after their deaths, a status which Caesar kept for 1,500 years until the fall of Byzantium, and which the angel-winged Lincoln still possesses to this day amongst most American statists.

So how did the early Roman Republic reach its own state of imperial despotism?

The problem was its reliance upon democracy. This led to the bribing of voters with other people’s property, by aspiring politicians. This led to multiple wars instigated by these same politicians to get hold of other people’s property to pay the bribes, such as the looting of Gaul by Caesar to pay for his own shot at the prize. After the institution of the empire the democratic bodies withered away to rubber stamps, with everyone knowing where the real power lay; in the hands of a single power-addicted prince who spent every night living in a paranoid fear of being garroted in his own bed, poisoned by his own chef, or drowned in his own bath.

If you want to check out the modern meaning of the word paranoia, try going anywhere near the security screen around the White House or the security gate blocking off Downing Street here in Britain.

If George Washington created the republic and Abraham Lincoln created the empire, then where are we now? I don’t think we’re quite into the full religious turmoil of Constantine, in the fourth century AD. I would say we’re more into the military turmoil of the third century, with George W. Bush being the Emperor Aurelian, who in 271 built a high wall around Rome to keep out the barbarians. But how long till these barbarians start smashing down the gates? Will it be when the social security checks start bouncing for the baby boomers? Will it be when the Muslim religion becomes dominant in the western world due to forced government integration? Will it be when the dollar and euro implode under the gravitational weight of all that worthless paper?

If a critical collapse does come, as history teaches us it could, then we should be prepared for the moves our tyrants will use to oppress us even more, to ensure their personal survival. The following are taken from the policies adopted by Diocletian and Constantine near the end of the Western Roman Empire. Taxes will increase further, to build even bigger walls. We will see more armed bureaucrats on the streets to ensure the collection of these taxes. More politicians will come directly from the ranks of the military, to keep the walls thoroughly manned. More summary justice and martial law will be meted out by these men on the wall. Paper currencies may be inflated to a point where governments give discounts to taxes paid in goods, land, and services rather than their own paper scrap. Confiscatory government fines will mount, will be easier to rack up, and will be charged in goods, land, and services. Compulsory government service will be instituted, with a rising proportion of taxes paid as various government work duties.

We will know we’re in real trouble if governments start ear-marking particular tax generating occupations for particular types of productive people. This will be start of full-blown serfdom. I’m guessing this will be based upon an extension of the racial and disabled quota systems. Instead of limiting you in career choice, which is obvious serfdom, this may be tried instead by limiting the locations in which you can pursue a career, with even tighter border and zoning controls. In the end game situation, armed violence may break out between political parties. But at this point we should be close to the end. The mark of the real end will be the growing disappearance of tax generators. In the Roman Empire they often migrated north to avoid serfdom and taxation. The modern equivalent at the moment appears to be New Zealand.

But as long as we are ready with a growing Misesian intellectual vanguard in place and a range of Austrian policies, such as a 100 percent gold reserve standard, I maintain a strong hope that we will not only survive, but go on to create the greatest civilization the world has yet seen, based upon freedom, tolerance, and a complete lack of the state. Roll over Abe. The Austrians are coming.

Monday, December 19, 2005

A Few Thoughts on the New Tory Messiah

What do you think of this quote from David Cameron:
"I'm a practical person, and pragmatic. I know where I want to get to, but I'm not ideologically attached to one particular method."
Does it remind you of anyone?
"What counts is what works"
Yep, that's His Holiness Tony Blair, explaining that his guiding principle is that he never follows any guiding principles. Yes, you need to read Machiavelli's The Prince to work that one out, but it seems we're merely replacing one Third Way Messiah with another blockhead drawn from the same quarry.

From current newspaper polls, it looks as if David Cameron will win the next election, probably against Tax Farmer Brown. Well, wake me up when something interesting happens. When we replace one unprincipled man with yet another, we'll get the same democratic grasping for power and riches that we've had in this country for generations, which has sent us spiralling into our current binge-drinking happy-slapping welfare-induced morass.

Everything changes, everything stays the same. The less principles you have, the more democracy will reward you with its glittering baubles. The replacement of Blair by Cameron, with a walk-on part for Brown, just goes to show you that if you want to get on in politics, then don't be ashamed of your lack of principles; advertise it out loud. He who is worst, wins.

A plague on all their houses.

The Birth of AngloAustria

Hello, and welcome to my personal blog covering all matters Austrian, from an English perspective. I'm hoping that this blog could evolve into some sort of staging post for those of us on this side of the pond, who feel a little isolated from the mainstream Austrian school in the US. My inspiration is Ludwig von Mises, and his Institute founded by Lew Rockwell, at My main influences are Ayn Rand, Murray Rothbard, and Hans-Hermann Hoppe. Though for light entertainment I'll occasionally try a little Hayek, with a few water biscuits, some Stilton, and a glass of port. Not too much, you understand, because he was of course, a socialist. Though not as much of a socialist as his great friend, Karl "Piece-meal" Popper. Welcome to AngloAustria. Auf wieder hören.