Sunday, February 26, 2006

Stupidity Cubed

Although many people in the UK hate Gordon Brown with a loathing I would describe as almost Scargillesque, virtually everyone I ever meet seems to kowtow to the idea that he is some kind of economic wunderkind. This is despite his theft of their pensions, his grandiose and hugely wasteful borrowing requirements for government consumption purposes, and his bombastic Marxoid claim to most of their income for most of the rest of their lives, to create a world of social justice; whatever the hell that is. This general awe as to the Chancellor's economic genius is to be expected though. All you need do is read any piece about the Chancellor's thoughts and planned actions and his economic idiocy is laughable; but it is always reported by the sychophants of the British press as holy writ. Take for example, the following story:

Chancellor's bid to boost women's pay

Let's Fisk this monkey for fun:

Gordon Brown is to unveil a multi-million pound boost for working women after new, Government-backed research uncovered a huge "gender pay gap".

So, a whole load of parasitic morons spent a couple of years living it up on our backs, I should imagine with endless comparative trips to all sorts of foreign holiday destinations, to check conditions in other countries. Let's be generous. Let's say this research, which simply told the government what it wanted to hear to try to gain more women's votes, cost the voluntary productive economy £10 million pounds in tax.

The Chancellor is determined to use next month's Budget to take urgent action to deal with what he sees as injustice in the workplace, and which is estimated to cost Britain's economy up to £23 billion a year.

Of course, whenever our masterful central planner pulls a lever, it always has an immediate positive effect, so whatever he does must be done urgently. I also wonder where they got this figure of £23 billion from? Personally, I can't decide whether they used a dartboard or the back of a fag packet.

The figures have been uncovered by the Women at Work Commission, whose chairman, Baroness Prosser, the Labour peer, will discuss the 40 recommendations in her landmark report with Tony Blair and Mr Brown at Downing Street tomorrow.

Oh Jesus. I wonder how much these useless bigwigs cost me each year in mileage expenses alone, never mind salary. And Forty recommendations? Wouldn't one or two do? I suppose to justify her probable hundred grand a year plus salary, the Baroness needs to come up with some heavyweight figure to make her Commission seem worth the price. Couldn't you have used 42 though, Baroness? Even I would have approved of the use of that particular number.

By the way, don't you think it's strange how these Marxoids, who so profess to hate class advantage, always seem so keen to take up the titles of the ousted ruling class?

Let's once again be generous. Let's assume this Commission only costs the productive voluntary sector £50 million pounds a year.

The report will claim that while girls outperform boys at school, this advantage disappears in the workplace, with the average woman's earnings 13 per cent lower than the average man's in full-time jobs.

Hmm. I wonder why? Could it be because, as a friend of mine said recently, "I never take on any women under the age of 45". As one who has seen the regulations covering the employment rights of pregnant women, and who has witnessed one or two businesses almost run into the wall because of the exploitation of these rights, I'm surprised it's only a 13% drop. I would've guessed a figure more like 30%, as the price paid for all of these rights. Perhaps the Chancellor lives the dream that all government regulations come without a price. Perhaps the Chancellor still believes in Father Christmas.

Women in part-time jobs earn 32 per cent less than those in full-time jobs and 41 per cent less than men working part-time, figures which suggest a glaring lack of quality part-time posts for women who return to employment after having children.

Hey, maybe this is because women like to balance their employment against their ability to rear their children, and like to balance work flexibility against their salary rates. How dare these women choose to do this! Perhaps the solution is for all children to be compulsorily reared in state brainwashing institutions for 12 hours a day, to enable their mothers to earn more tax for the government. Yes, that seems like the ticket.

The commission will claim that removing barriers that prevent women working in traditionally "male" jobs and increasing overall female employment levels could add between £15 billion and £23 billion to Britain's earnings every year.

By removing barriers, the Commission obviously mean create more regulatory barriers to female employment, thus making my friend stop employing women altogether. I did ask him, by the way, what he would do if the government ever came after him for his avoidance of employing women of child bearing age. "I would sack everyone," he said, "and move to Spain." Indeed.

And just where do these clots get this increase from? Personally, I would love to be able to wish into existence a measly £23 pounds, to pay for a slap up fish and chip supper, including a six pack of Heineken; but £23 billion extra? I suppose they've done it by aggregating all female salaries, and then adding in the 'missing' 13%. It seems the fag packet is back in operation again. Hey, why don't we just wave a magic wand and double everyone's pay overnight. That would make us all twice as rich.

Its findings, the Sunday Telegraph understands, will identify several key problems, including girls being steered towards "stereotypical" choices of subjects at school, the widescale "undervaluing" of women's jobs, the lack of training for women and unequal pay.

Oh no. We're back to the Marxoid Labour Theory of Value again, but this time mixed in with social engineering and socialism's stereotypical hatred of choice. Quelle Horreur! When given a choice in schools, girls are choosing to do girlish subjects, and boys are choosing to do boyish subjects; no doubt this is some kind of market failure, but I have the solution. We must abolish choice at all costs!

The commission will suggest better vocational training for girls, adapting current employment practices to cope better with women returning to work after giving birth, and seeking "exemplar" companies to help promote equality and opportunity for female employees.

More coercion, more regulation, more tax stolen from the productive voluntary sector to pay for this coercion and regulation, and in the end what will be the result of this intervention? Yes, that's right. The situation will be even worse, according to these numskulls, and the only solution will be yet more intervention.

And doesn't that phrase exemplar companies just send shivers down your spine. Political favouritism, cronyism, or just out-and-out plain state fascism anyone? No, let's introduce a new phrase for our government-favoured subsidised business friends; let's call 'em exemplar companies. No doubt my friend will get a new term too; Kulak.

Mr Brown is said by his aides to believe that the report highlights both "injustice and a clear economic cost to the country". He will use it as a basis for further action in this area - starting with schemes likely to cost several millions in new funding which he will outline in the Budget on March 22.

Oh my God, does this man's stupidity know no bounds? Yet more taxation wasted on this pet scheme, plus horrific new legislative intervention, plus lots more employers sacking everyone and moving to Spain. This man, our very own Sun King, is a veritable idiot.

These are likely to include a doubling of the number of skills coaches available under government programmes, focusing on helping low-skilled women. Taxpayer-funded support to businesses which employ larger numbers of low-skilled women, the "Train to Gain" scheme, will be boosted.

Sing along with me, to the tune of the Monty Python Spam song:

Waste, waste, waste, waste
Waste, waste, waste, waste

Imagine, with me, endless lines of tax collectors and endless lines of socialist government parasites sitting in cubicles brain-washing endless chickens as to the horrors of the free market and you will have entered the nightmare of my mind.

Meanwhile, Jobcentre advisers will be told to broaden their outlook when it comes to suggesting jobs for women to ensure they "do not simply move in and out of low-paid, low-prospects work".

Yeah, like Jobcentre advisers care. I once knew someone who, ahem, 'worked' in a job centre. I asked him what it was like. He said he tried to avoid going there as much as he could, and when he did go, he tried to spend as much time as he could on fag breaks.

But what the Chancellor will imagine is endless lines of eager apparatchiks in dark suits and red ties, clicking their polished heels together and smartly saluting his picture, when the word of God comes down the line from Whitehall. It's called cloud cuckoo land, Gordon. The staff in Jobcentres, particularly those poor schlepps who have to deal directly with the public, are too busy trying to screw the taxpayer over maternity and paternity rights and trying to retire early due to stress, on a full government pension, to worry about what anyone in Whitehall is telling them to do.

Mr Brown is currently focusing on his Budget as a way of setting out a financial benchmark for future years in which he expects to be prime minister, with Tony Blair still likely to step down next summer.

You know, I really want this clown to get voted in, so that when all the marble of the Reichs Chancellery comes crashing down around him, he'll have no-one to blame but himself.

Gordon Brown, L'État c'est moi, may be masterful when it comes to trying to prop up Labour's failing vote by boosting women's rights with propaganda and other spam, but when it comes to the generation of wealth, as opposed to the government confiscation and consumption of wealth, Gordon Brown is an ECONOMIC CRETIN. If we all keep saying it loud enough, maybe one day the message might get through. In the meantime I better start looking at house prices in and around Andalucia.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Six Nations Thrown Wide Open

Scotland Beat England, 18-12, at Murrayfield, to win Calcutta Cup

As someone of mixed genealogical heritage, I can never decide who to support in many of the Rugby six nations clashes. I generally know in about the 70th minute of each close game, as my unconscious mind tells me which kicks and which tackles to cheer. My unconscious mind got this one right, too. Because it decided to go for the winners, Scotland, ye ken.

As one who wore a losing Scotland shirt to an English bar once, surrounded by about 200 victorious English shirts and triumpant flags of St George, it was a sweet victory indeed. Being a solo Scotland supporter surrounded by such a horde of Saxonic Huns was a bitter experience, though the Hun did keep me propped up with free drinks all night to drown my Celtic sorrows.

England under Andy Robinson lack intelligent guidance, and are going to come a cropper in the World Cup unless they replace him. Harry Ellis is too slow to the breakdown and the panicky reliance on old hands like Dawson and D'Allaglio, who will both be too slow and too old next year, proves the lack of invention in the current coach's mind; he should be trying out much younger replacements to give them the necessary experience.

So who will win the next World Cup? No problem. New Zealand, a land of Scottish heritage, or ... Scotland. Och aye the noo, as we mixed-up Englishmen say here in rural Oxfordshire.

Friday, February 24, 2006

A New Fix for Hoppe Junkies

In case you missed it, Der HoppeMeister has been at it again, penning another missive to help rid the world of socialism.

Check it out via an accompanying article, over on at

The Economics of Taxation

Karma Chameleon

Just what is a boy supposed to do?

David Cameron goes all flip-floppy on Tory policies, embracing whole-hearted socialist horrors such as the benefits of redistribution, in order to garner more votes for D. Cameron Esquire and then he hears this:

Voters think Cameron has credibility gap

Monkeys. Apparently, voters like David Cameron, but don't know what he stands for.

Well, Ladies and Gentlemen of the voting establishment, it's easy. In a nutshell, David Cameron stands for getting D. Cameron Esquire into power at whatever cost possible, especially if that cost is borne by other people's wallets; everything else rests upon that single Randian axiom.

But after hearing the news above, expect apprentice D. Cameron to now start displaying rock solid uncompromising principles, of a kind only a credible man could follow, like his masterful friend, T. Blair, on Iraq. And then next week, when the polls change, expect D. Cameron Esquire to display an entirely different set of rock solid principles. When the facts change, you know, David changes. What do you do?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Whose Prints on the Prince?

It's got New Labour handling and fingerprint marks all over it. What has? This latest great-and-the-good attack on His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.

So, he reckons himself a dissident then does he? Well I say, good for you sir.

What are the crimes he is accused of?

  • He thinks that politicians never learn anything and rely too much on focus groups
  • He laments that few politicians have experienced what it is they are taking decisions about
  • Worst of all, he doesn't like Tony Blair
Well, I don't know about you, but I reckon these general thoughts about politicians are almost worthy of Professor Hoppe himself and the last point about Tony Blair is the absolute clincher; we must defend this man at all costs. So hands off Prince Charles, socialist scum bag republicans. If we must have a form of government, I would rather live under a proper non-democratic King Charles III monarchy than a happy slapping multicultural democratic nightmare, any year of the century.

Okay, so he's got a dodgy taste in women and he's a bit hoity-toity about first class travel arrangements, but if the future Dissident King needs men for the barricade against the democratic socialist horde, I'll be there; I may even buy a Barbour jacket this afternoon, in Windsor, just in case.

US Coalition Fiddling While Iraq Burns

Whenever any terrible crime happened in ancient Rome, without any immediately obvious perpetrator, the Roman citizenry used to ask the subtle question Cui Bono? - who benefits?

If Nero benefitted from the burning of Rome, so he could build his famous Golden House, who benefits from this terrible bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra?

If I was an American Neocon Nazi, I would be itching all over to get my stormtroopers into Iran. It's full of oil and other pelf which I could quartermaster out to my friends; it's full of enemies who need to be dealt a final solution; and when a final reckoning comes against either Russia or China, it forms, with Iraq and Afghanistan alongside it, a splendid triple-headed bulwark against both of the other major Asian powers. And you can't get a one world state ruled by Washington DC until you've dealt with those two monsters; the EU can come later, especially as we already have its most militarized member on board, as Oceanian sub-neocons.

We need to get Iran now because if we leave it too long, they'll get themselves a nuclear curtain like those damned Koreans.

So what do I need to take out Iran? Obviously, I need Iraq secured in all three of its Ottaman vilayets of Mosul, Baghdad and Basra - Thank you Dick.

The Kurds are running Mosul, we're running Baghdad, and the Brits are running Basra - Thank you Tony.

What else do we need? Obviously Afghanistan. We've pretty much got Kabul wrapped up and a tin-pot dictator in situ, but the south's proving a problem. When we invade Iran, we don't want to leave any back door open via the Herat corridor, so we need to bottle this up by ensuring the southern airbases are decently protected. Let's send in Tony's crack boys to secure this one; they're pretty good in a tight spot. We'll get him to pump out some cock and bull story about heroin; if anyone's stupid enough to believe that SAS troopers are needed to police a few farmers around Kandahar, we'll put them up as US presidential contenders.

Two more to go.

We need a ready-built insurgency to destabilize the mullahs, especially to act as a northern screen against the Ruskis. Easy. We just pump a few more Fed dollars into Mosul, plus a few more CIA special op teams, and we'll let the Kurds exact their revenge over the Persians, all the way to the Caspian sea.

One more to go.

We need a spark. And what better than to follow the master himself, who used a few of his own men to fake a Polish attack on that radio station at Gleiwitz to start World War II, shooting a few German convicts dressed as Poles to cement the excuse. If it was good enough for Adolf, it's surely good enough for us.

A few well-sited bombs could kick of the civil war we need, then the mullahs will pile in alongside their Shi-ite brothers and then we can let the bombers roll. Now what we need is something that's really going to incense the Shi-ites and get them to start slicing down Sunnis in the street. Has anyone got any semtex?

Ok, so I have absolutely no proof whatsoever that any of the above is true. But if I was such a neocon who wanted to invade Iran, then that would be my plan. As far as I can make out from this Golden Mosque bombing, nobody benefits but those who want a civil war in Iraq, more than likely followed by an especially uncivil war with Iran.

It's all going to be very bloody, particularly for the civilians; the bomber pilots at three miles up are going to be just dandy.

So what should the US coalition do? They should get their troops out of the region as soon as is physically possible. They were sent there on a Great Lie and if they don't come out right now, there are going to be hundreds of thousands of civilian bodies lying dead and dying in the streets. Thank you Dick and Tony.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A Panopticon of Windows

One of England's greatest monarchs ever, was surely Queen Elizabeth the First. Okay, so she abused herself with the granting of state monopolies and various other sordid Tudor government financial scams. But if we had a modern government which ran itself on anywhere near the same GDP margin she did, I for one would be dancing in the streets with David Bowie and Mick Jagger.

My particular favorite of Elizabeth's many memorable quotes is the one below:

"I have no desire to make windows into mens souls"
Unfortunately, this enlightened philosophical view failed to make it this week to, of all places, Austria, where the local democratic Stormtroopers have just jailed David Irving for daring to possess politically incorrect views.

As a man myself who possesses politically incorrect views, I should imagine it is only a matter of time, and a few more regulations, before Benthamite Blair's own Thought Police come knocking on my door. Just in case they need an excuse, let me put forward the charges:

I don't believe in democracy, taxation, the British legal system, environmentalism, multiculturalism, the BBC, market failure, Kirsty Wark, Graham Norton, David Cameron, Gordon Brown, property taxes, death duties, health and safety legislation, town and country planning, the need for the cash-rich British football industry to be given £500 million pound bungs to build football stadiums, the NHS, comprehensives, Boris Johnson, the London Olympics, nuclear weapons, the invasion of Iraq, the forthcoming invasion of Iran, and I'm even starting to have my doubts about whether Neil Armstrong really landed on the Moon; I can entirely believe that NASA cocked this up, like it cocks up everything else, and had him knock out an ersatz landing somewhere in New Mexico to ensure Kennedy's 1970 target was hit, just like all those spurious Soviet Gosplan tractor targets.
That little lot should be enough to get me put away.

And if that isn't enough, I also refuse to believe that the people of the United States really voted in George W. Bush twice, to be their President. If you ever wanted an alternative definition of political incorrectness, that surely must be it.

Chasing the Cavalry

Britain's greatest current wit, Harry Hutton, is bang on the money again with his latest assessment of our glorious neocon leader:

Mad Ruler Bans More Stuff

If I was a lady, I'd certainly be chasing this particular cavalryman.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The God of Gold

Are you confused about the true nature of value?

Are you a Smitho-Bentho-Marxian who believes the true utility and value of a product is mainly determined by the amount of labour used to create that product or are you a Scholasto-Cantillonian-Mengerian who believes that the utility and value of a product is entirely in the eye of each individual beholder?

Do you believe that because a labouring man spends four days hunting a beaver this makes the resulting beaver pelt in the city fetch a market price of four ounces of silver? Or do you believe that an entrepreneurial man might choose to spend up to four days hunting a beaver because he has economically calculated that when he brings the beaver pelt back to the city market, in four days time, he will probably get four ounces of silver for it, basing this risky view upon today's current market price?

Fear ye not; for there is a simple way of deducing the answer to this tricky cart-before-horse or horse-before-cart question. You can avoid all of that labour theory of value nonsense, which generated the dreadful Gulags and concentration camps of the twentieth century, and which still leaves us at the mercy of such Marxoid morons as the British Labour Party, an organization which actually named itself after the labour theory of value. How so MacDuff? By inventing a time machine and returning to the Byzantine Empire, in what is now the European segment of modern Turkey.

According to a plaque I read in a small English archaeological museum recently, there was a special pedestal in the Byzantine Hippodrome, the East Roman version of the Circus Maximus, upon which was placed a magical statue. If you named an object and then placed a certain amount of gold in the free hand of this statue, if the price was right the statue's hand would briefly close upon the gold; in other words the Gods themselves would consent objectively to a stated price transaction.

Although nobody knows which column this was, of which only three linger on, in the ruins of the Hippodrome, I feel certain that it must have been one of these very three historical survivors; namely the Serpentine Column.

To the right of the picture above you may be able see its remains. These stick up out of the ground in the ruins of Byzantium at the famous Hippodrome. You can still visit this column today, in modern Istanbul.

So why do I believe that this particular column must be the seat of objective truth valuation? Because of its history, which is tied directly into important mythological predictive capabilities. After the Battle of Plataea, in 479 BC, in which the Greeks defeated the Persians, a golden tripod statue was created for the Oracle of Apollo, at Delphi. Surmounting this tripod was a statue of the Sun God Apollo himself. The Roman Emperor Constantine and his successors later stripped Greece of her treasures to adorn the New Rome capital of Byzantium; the Delphic Tripod was one of these treasures. Sited in the Hippodrome, in a venue which could hold a hundred thousand spectators, the Tripod remained standing until 1204 AD, when crusaders, on their fourth crusade, sacked the venerable old city. These Latins, as the Byzantine Greeks knew them, stripped all of the gold from the Tripod and melted it down for coinage; what remains of the Tripod is a last supporting bronze stump, known as the Serpentine Column.

So now we know what to do to stop the endless arguments between the war-mongering neoclassicists and the peace-loving Austrians. All we need do is take some of the Bank of England gold that Gordon Brown is selling off to buy paper Euros with and then recreate multiple copies of the Delphic Tripod of Apollo. We should then set these copies up in the entrance halls of all the world’s major central banks, open them to the public, and then hey presto all of our valuation concerns will be over.

So it's goodbye Ludwig von Mises and the socialist economic calculation debate, because we will have at our disposal perfect economic calculation engines driven by the Gods themselves. Plus, the inflationists and counterfeiters who run these banks will be held in check. For if we ever doubt the value of the fiat money that these underhand shysters keep running off the printing presses, the supreme golden Sun God Apollo himself will let them know the errors of their ways via publicly certified transaction valuation checks. Marvellous.

Until this happy day, however, I am afraid that we will still be at the mercy of value in the eye of the beholder and the need for a market of such beholders to allow reasonably predictable economic calculation. 'Twas ever thus. The true God of Gold must therefore be Von Mises, because of his spectacular view on economic calculation which so successfully predicted the end of communism. Let us pray his theory on economic calculation also one day brings down the British Labour Party and all the dangerous morons who sail in her. That truly will be a happy day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Short Walk to Fascism

And so, with an Orwellian haste to rush us towards the horror of a Eurasian police state, the thugs and other mental retards of the Labour Party have pushed the ID card issue closer towards compulsion.

Most on the Labour back benches, who slam-dunked this measure through the House of Commons, will have read Nineteen Eighty-Four. Many of these will have come into politics, in the first place, as anti-authoritarian socialists, decrying Pinochet, Thatcher, and the ID-card based Apartheid South Africa.

And yet they now find themselves walking through the lobby which will condemn this country to an almost guaranteed fascist servitude at some point in the future; they have certainly made it easier for such a situation to come about, if it hasn't already. Their reward for this short walk through the Aye lobby will be their continuing fat tax-fed Commons salaries and pensions, for not much effort, plus an opportunity for personal advancement within the Labour Party. The price for this reward will be my freedom. Bastards.

No doubt such ugly creatures have long since learned how to look at themselves in the mirror, despite being such utter craven turds.

The real crunch will come when I get my ID card sent to me, along with my next passport. Obviously, the scissors will be out, and the damn thing will be sliced and flushed down the toilet. But do I present myself at the police station, if I can find one in rural Oxfordshire, and demand to be placed in a prison immediately, or do I wait for the boys in big boots to come and get me when I refuse to present my non-existent ID card to some arrogant government twerp with a clipboard doing a random sweep in a shopping centre? Decisions, decisions.

I suppose they'll try to attach themselves to my bank accounts, and kick me into submission via the financial route; I earn far too much tax for them to lock me away. So the real question is, how can we all manage to get into jail for non-possession of the card, without losing any money in the process? No doubt even if we solve that one, they'll then use the usual terrorist trick of threatening our families to get us to bend our knees and tug our forelocks.

Political prisoners anyone? It makes me feel sick to the stomach to be British.

Monday, February 13, 2006

An Introduction to the Austrian School

I searched in vain for an entry level book on Austrian Economics, but I obviously wasn't searching hard enough. I would like to thank everyone who helped me go in the right direction towards Gene Callahan's Economics for Real People: An Introduction to the Austrian School:

When my ordered copy arrives, a review will be forthcoming as soon as God, Virgin Atlantic, and my more demanding business clients are willing. Chapter 13, Times are Hard, is available online at Gene's own site. There is also searchable access to the book, via Amazon.

The book is available to purchase via:

But you gain more brownie points from heaven if you order the book from:

Now just where is that Federal Express postman? yeah, baby

Clarksophilia or Johnsonitis? Which is Worse?

For my sins, mea culpa, I watch three programs on the BBC. These are Match of the Day, Doctor Who, and Top Gear. Unfortunately, my usual Sunday night Top Gear slot was recently filled, to borrow a phrase, by my local MP, Bonson Jorris (aka Boris Johnson); he was banging on about how good the Roman Empire was. What utter drivel, Bonson.

I'm sorry, but the Roman Empire was pure evil, particularly once Cicero’s Republic collapsed. Taxation, slavery, inflation, welfare, counterfeiting, massacre, compulsory state religion, mob rule, serfdom, death, war, and continual life and property destruction; thank you the Roman Empire. Ok, so in the immortal words of John Cleese there were the bleedin' roads. But only to help get the Roman armies of tax collectors nearer to your home to help crucify you more efficiently if you failed to cough up enough gelt on a regular basis.

Bollocks to the Romans. We were much better off without them, which is why the free peoples of Europe finally cast them off in the west without even much of a final whimper. I don't think it's any coincidence that the one European group which did manage to resist the earlier encroachment of the mighty Augustus was the Germanic Horde, heavily comprised of Beowulfian proto-Angles and proto-Saxons, who later founded both England and America; this Anglo-Saxon group is still continually associated with a bloody defiance of tyranny, albeit a defiance tempered by the patriotic misdirection of their own miserable empire-aspiring governments.

Speaking of which, I once had an excruciating evening out with some High Wampum Chiefs from HM Treasury. They banged on too, in the style of Jorris, about how the Roman Empire was the greatest thing before the invention of crumpets and how it was the seat of all modern civilization, a tradition which HM Treasury felt morally obliged to continue (for without our masters in Whitehall, all would collapse into a terrifying wode-painted blue whooping anarchy).

And just what was Bonson Jorris whittling on about? Was he saying we should leave the EU? Was he saying we should stay in the EU? Was he saying we should modify the EU? Or was he just enjoying an extended European holiday courtesy of the UK television license fee payer?

What a load of old cobbolds. Perhaps it was some huge joke, at my expense, based upon Saturnalian confusion? And to think he's my representative in the House of Commons!

I think my own impression of the Roman Empire is summed up by the reported speech of Caledonian chieftain, Calgacus, in A.D. 84:
We, the most distant dwellers upon the earth, the last of the free, have been shielded until now by our remoteness and by the obscurity which has shrouded our name. Now, the farthest bounds of Britain lie open to our enemies. There are no more nations beyond us – only waves, and rocks, and the Romans. Pillagers of the world, they have exhausted the land by their indiscriminate plunder. East and west alike have failed to satisfy them. To robbery, butchery and rapine, they give the lying name 'government'. They create a desert and call it peace. Which will you choose – to follow me into battle, or to submit to taxation, labour in the mines and all the other tribulations of slavery? Whether you are to endure these forever or take a quick revenge, this battle must decide.
That is the truth of Rome, Bonson; a monstrous regiment of tax collectors and other human offal, paying for their marble pillars in Rome with other people's blood. And that is the truth of our current EU masters, as they too seek to create an empire, which you would appear to sanction, based upon the sweat-shopping of their pusillanimous citizen serfs. Yes, it is no wonder that the EU came into being in the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, in Rome, in 1954, right next to the temple of Juno Moneta, the Goddess of Central Banking and Inflation. Where else could such a horror come into being?

But it would seem Bonson is enjoying these regular pillar-gazing junkets on the back of the license payer as much as the hundred grand a year he lifts in salary and expenses from the Commons (give or take, know what I mean guv). It would seem his nice little taxation earner has addled his once fine free market brain. If I have it right, at one point he was agreeing with some government-paid professor that Roman taxation was good because it stimulated the European economy.

Come on Jorris, you can do better than this? Or are you now simply bought and paid for by the state? That it should come to this. Surely there are more morally defensible ways of getting your children through the expense of private education?

In future I shall stick to my golden rule; if I see anything other than my three usual programs I shall switch immediately to Top Gear on UK People, UK Gold, or any of the other TV satellite stations where you can get Jeremy Clarkson 24 hours a day, God bless him; yes, Clarkson is a man with his own faults, but at least he has little aspiration to tell me how to live my life.

Oh, and by the way. While Bonson was swanning around on his Grand Tour of Europe, paid for with a combination of taxation salary and taxation license fee, he found enough spare time, despite the enormous pressures of being my MP, to write a book-of-the-series. No doubt all the profits will be going to charity. Ho hum.

Bonson Jorris, tax parasite. What a shower.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Austrian Economics for Dummies

You know, a thought struck me this morning. You just have to be too darn clever to be an Austrian, or at least aspire to such a position. You have to read hundreds of really heavy books, gain a degree or better in something really clever, and still you will be attacked, usually by other Austrians, for being insufficiently educated. This is no good. Economics should be for the whole of humanity, not just for those with PhD after their name. Indeed, considering the mess in the world caused by those economists with PhD after their name, perhaps we should even exclude such people from being able to contribute towards economics? Whatever the case, what I think we need is a new book for the masses. What I think we need is:

At the moment, as best as I can make out from a period of feverish activity on Google, there is nothing between Sean Corrigan's excellent Austrian Primer, and Uncle Murray's superlative Man, Economy, and State. We need something in the middle far more condensed than the 500 hours of reading required by the Austrian Study Guide.

This single 500-page book should cover the basic a priori axioms, economic calculation, time preferences and interest rates, subjective utility, the win-win situation with free trade, the gold standard, a bit of money and credit, some refutations of the lauded policies of US Presidents (particularly Lincoln and Roosevelt), and then an extensive well-crafted guide to further reading. Oh, and all the other important stuff I've forgotten to mention. There should be lots of pictures, lots of pie charts, lots of graphs, and lots of cartoons. We need to appeal to the visual centres of the right brain as well as to the auditory centres of the left brain. Though we should also have lots of bulleted lists and tables to appeal to the less intellectual part of the left brain.

The book should not try to prove Austrianism, as if playing to a hostile crowd of socialist Keynesian professors. It should just describe Austrianism simply and clearly, so that the average intelligent man or woman can pick up the book, and put it down a day or two later, with a lucid understanding of what Austrianism is. Ideally, a business traveller flying from London to Los Angeles should be able to get through the whole thing on the plane, there and back, if they skip the George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon movies.

There may already be such a book out there. If there is, I can't find it. And more importantly, even if there is such a book, Joe Public probably won't be able to find it, either. And the more of Joe Public we have on our side, the brighter the future of Austrianism will become.

So my plea is, given that Henry Hazlitt and Uncle Murray are no longer with us, we need someone brutally intelligent and acknowledged as being cleverer than a hatful of Swiss Army knives, to write this masterwork for the common man in the street. We need a Professor at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, a Raico, a Reisman, a DiLorenzo, a Salerno, a Hoppe, a Block, or even dare I say it a Tucker, to create this masterwork.

The problem with being really clever though, is that it's sometimes easy to forget what it is was like to be stupid.

But fear ye not. Becuase if you need a sounding board, a co-author who could provide you with common-man questions, such as "I'm sorry, I haven't a clue about what you've just written", modesty forbids me from presenting the name of a man who hasn't forgotten what it's like to be stupid, who could easily help drag you down to the level of the common man. But I'll let you know if you contact me.

So go on, make millions for yourself (and your co-author). Push Austrianism out to the suburbs of civilisation and help propel a bright uplit future into the present age of democratic uncertainty and socialist decivilisation.

I can see it now: A book published by and fully available online, which we can all reference when given pesky questions by non-Austrians, to clearly demonstrate the superiority of Austrian thought, without needing to read or reference the entire Mises-Rothbard canon.

It would be a Magnum Opus of a genius. Is anybody out there up to the challenge? Is there anyone out there capable of condensing Austrianism into a clear and succinct 500 pages or less, and making a good free market profit at the same time?

Dead-ender Hayekians and other socialists need not apply.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Robert LeFevre - Emotion and Motivation

Index: Robert LeFevre Commentary Abstracts

LeFevre heads towards the steak tartare of his sixty monologues, in this straight-talking piece. With an opening that could have come directly from the preface of Human Action, LeFevre discusses human emotion and motivation. He postulates that there are four basic motivational patterns guiding human action; (1) the avoidance of loss; (2) the acquisition of gain; (3) the gaining of respect; and (4) the seeking of self-esteem. The balancing of these four motivational patterns, he declares, leads to all normal human behavior. At several points he puts forward brilliant insights, all of them appearing obvious with hindsight, on how each individual balances these four quadrants, thus unmasking the human condition. In this, the fourth of his talks, the Maestro compels you to listen; the piece ends just when you want LeFevre to go on, which is of course the classic sign of a classic speaker in action.

Emotion and Motivation - MP3 Audio File

There is only one reason why a man acts; because he wants to obtain something. Man is a creature of desires and motivation, but because he is a rational being he lacks a pre-supplied list of wants when he is born. However, each man discovers early in his mental development the nature of cause and effect relationships.

If a child failed to discern the various principles behind cause and effect, he would probably miss the lesson of learning to act. He could only become like a tree, putting down roots and putting up leaves and letting nature takes its course.

But what is driving us to desire certain effects above others? We usually feel such desires, wants, and needs emotionally, though we like to think we’re simply being rational. Historically this rationalist attitude may have taken hold because we used to think that the brain was the intellectual seat of rationalism and that the mere superfluousity of emotion came from the heart, or the spleen, or the liver.

But emotion is deeply intertwined with rationalism in the brain, as we can witness when we perform a lobotomy. As well as losing much rational thought, a lobotomized patient also loses much of their emotion.

(We have to remember that LeFevre delivered this talk in 1970.)

Because of this deep intertwining of rationalism with emotion, ideas are tremendously individualistic. As individuals we choose discrete packets of information from the world around us and relate them to ourselves in entirely unique ways to create our own personalized ideologies which ultimately govern our own individual human actions.

(You may like to see my article on the iPod Wars which heads into this kind of territory.)

However, although individual men may possess many different ideas, all of mankind tends towards the same emotional and intrinsic instinctive drives at the root of each of these personal ideologies. This is independent of creed or color. In other words, intellectual ideas vary widely between men, but our basic emotional drives remain very similar.

What about the dichotomy here? Surely we behave rationally rather than instinctively? Surely our behavior rises above the instinctoid nature of insects? But LeFevre is only putting forward a platform for where our motivational drives arise from. The actual behaviors themselves can be entirely rational, he claims, given the motivations. For instance, we used to say that every man had a basic instinct for self-preservation. But this is false.

Rather than any such basic instinct of self-preservation, LeFevre claims that there are four basic motivational patterns driving our rational behaviors. The first is that all men have a tendency to prevent loss. If a man has something he values he will seek to preserve it or diminish its loss. Therefore if a man ceases to place a high value on his life, he may take risks with it. Further, if a man's life becomes burdensome to him, he may even do away with himself.

(Especially if he lives in a high-suicide socialist utopia such as Sweden.)

Therefore it is manifestly untrue that all of us try to maintain instinctive self-preservation at all costs. We may trade our lives for something we hold of more value than our lives. Many have gone to the gallows or walked into the lions’ den rather than deny something they held to be true, or betray a friend or loved one.

(LeFevre avoids saying that the state itself is propped up on the noble altar of soldiers hurling themselves at the deadly defensive spears of the enemy, but you can feel the implicit thought hovering in the background.)

Men often trade things they consider of higher value for their lives. Some men live quiet retiring lives and minimize all risk. But some men find this kind of life unbearable. Stunt pilots and racing drivers, for example, enjoy chancing their lives on the altar of risk and many of us place more value on how we live our lives, rather than on how we can continue to maintain a basic existence.

So if all men act to minimize or prevent loss, what is the second motivational principle according to LeFevre? All men will act to promote personal gain.

So what's the difference between minimizing loss and maximizing gain?

(It’s at this point that LeFevre makes a point which could explain the whole security-based raison d'être behind the initial formation of all states.)
  • When men anticipate a loss, they try to get in with the group

  • When men anticipate a gain, they try to get by themselves
LeFevre does not claim this as a principle, but only as a high probability. He is aware of counter-examples, but to put it simply: If there's a loss, we want to share it. If there's a gain, we want to keep it for ourselves. We are egocentric, he states, and the most important person in the eyes of any individual is always that self-same individual.

However, there is more to it than simple pure self-centered egotism. LeFevre’s third motivational principle is that all men act to gain approval from others. This is not necessarily from all others. Indeed, we may even take pleasure from the disapproval of certain others. However, we do seek approval from at least some others.

What about rugged individualists?

LeFevre claims that even rugged individualists are trying to appeal to a very small group of other similar rugged individualists. There may be a woodsman up in the mountains of Colorado who claims he cares nothing for the thoughts of others. But if in some other mountain range another similar rugged woodsman approved of this attitude, then our man in Colorado would probably allow the trace of a smile to crease his cragged whisky-stained lips.

Even a child, says LeFevre, will sometimes invent an imaginary friend to gain approval from someone else. Other people don’t even have to like us. They just have to understand our lives to the point of lending us their grudging respect or approval.

Some people need respect from just one approver. Some people need a few approvers. And a few people may need many approvers. But the principle is there, that we are all seekers of some form of approval. Why? Because we have to feel, to at least some measurable extent, that we fit in with some part of society and that our lives are working well.

This is particularly true of businessmen, often self-proclaimed rugged individualists, who are always seeking the approval of others via the activity of goods and services provision. A businessman needs to be in tune with others to survive and prosper. Although he may like to think he is a rugged individualist, he needs to concentrate on the needs of others all the time in order to anticipate these needs so that he can fulfill them; obviously this particular need for approval is for a dollar profit, not that there's anything wrong with that, but it is still based upon the thinking of others nevertheless.

So what of LeFevre’s fourth principle?

All men act to gain approval from themselves, or what you might call self-respect or self-esteem. According to the medical profession, a decline in self-esteem can often cause psychological problems. For instance, a guilt complex can create all sorts of complications and we can even become physically ill if we over-criticize ourselves. We must maintain self-esteem, to at least a certain point, to prevent ourselves entering a potential realm of mental imbalance. One of the best ways to gain self-approval is to behave in a way that we personally approve of. Doing things we may think fun, but that we morally disapprove of, can trigger a downward spiral into mental imbalance.

(I think Professor Hoppe would have some fun here, discussing decivilisation.)

In summation then, according to LeFevre, to be emotionally healthy we need to approve ourselves, get approval from others, seek gain, and avoid loss. Therefore, every human being, by their nature, is a Profit Seeker.

(At this point Bob asks the audience to avoid jumping up too high. The point he has just made is the ultimate given of this talk, but he does acknowledge that he needs to explain his use of the word Profit, which he believes goes beyond the usual meaning of the word in the materialist sense.)

By Profit Seeker he does not mean purely a dollar chaser. He means a Plus Seeker; a searcher for something that is better than it otherwise was going to be. If someone mitigates a loss, this is a plus factor; if they acquire a gain, this is a plus factor; if they gain approval, this is a plus factor; and if they retain self-esteem, this is a plus factor.

Can someone extend charity, then, and still enhance their plus factor? Yes, if this act increases their personal plus factor. If a man gives a hundred dollars to his church he will almost certainly feel better after doing this than he felt beforehand. If he didn't anticipate feeling better afterwards, he wouldn't have done it in the first place. Yes, he's down financially a hundred dollars, but for that money he has bought a non-material plus factor. He may think he is going to gain a better position in the next world; he may want his church to succeed; he may want recognition as a donor of the church, to stand as an important figure in front of others; he may simply enjoy the self-approval of such an action. But however you want to frame it, fundamentally he is donating one hundred dollars to please himself; he is buying something of greater personal value than a piece of paper stamped with the image of Benjamin Franklin. There can therefore be no such thing as pure selflessness, unless someone is mentally disturbed.

(And here we get interesting.)

So what of altruism?

Altruism is impossible, says LeFevre, unless you have a mental problem, for all of the plus seeking reasons outlined above. It is impossible to place another person or thing above yourself.

What about self-sacrifice?

You can sacrifice others, by throwing them into the lions' den, but if you throw yourself into the lion's den, this is self-fulfillment rather than self-sacrifice.

(Your abstract writer was staggered when he first heard the above LeFevre statement!)

But what of an acquaintance of LeFevre’s who said they had sacrificed everything to help put their daughter through a good school. Why was it sacrifice, asked LeFevre? Who held a gun to your head?

Nobody made any sacrifice. The acquaintance simply placed their daughter’s education higher in their personal list of priorities than anything else.

Only the sacrificing of others is possible, ends LeFevre. Self-sacrifice is impossible.

(It’s a topic he promises to come back to in the next piece.)

Previous: How Do You Know For Sure?
Next: Sacrifice and Molestation

Friday, February 03, 2006

The iPod Wars

There's a great new MP3 file, by Mark Thornton, that has recently been released by

An Introduction to Libertarianism - MP3 File

If you're in need of something to think about while journeying on your travels or while sweating through your post-Christmas fitness routine, it could be just the ticket for your iPod or iRiver device. As well as being a great introduction to libertarianism, Professor Thornton delivers an etymological definition to die for, covering the word politics. (My apologies if you've heard it before.):


Prefix: More than one; many; much; more than usual; excessive; abnormal.
Etymology: Greek polu-, from polus, much, many. See pel1.


Noun: Any of numerous small bloodsucking parasitic arachnids or various usually wingless, louselike insects that are parasitic.
Etymology: Middle English teke, tik, from Old English ticia for small insect.

This of course becomes:


Noun: Many abnormal excessive blood-sucking louselike parasites.
Etymology: See above.

Go on, you thought the definition of politics was more like the following:


Noun: The art or science of government or governing, especially the governing of a political entity, such as a nation.
Etymology: Middle English politik, from Old French politique, from Latin polticus, political, from Greek poltikos, from polts, citizen, from polis, city. See pel2.

But now you know different.

All of which got me into thinking which is better, an iPod or an iRiver? In the iPod wars, I'm behind the iRiver barricade; half the price, twice the battery time, double the capacity, and twice the features. I may be losing it here, but why does anyone buy iPods? Yes, they're twice as stylish, but if like me you have to spend half your life in a hole in the ground, laughingly known as the Tube, when a Taxi ride would just take too long despite the success of congestion charging, this makes them twice as nickable, therefore half as good again; the iRiver just keeps winning even when at first sight it loses.

Are the socialists right? Is it evil marketing men who make us buy iPods, rather than iRivers which have much more intrinsic value? Or is all value truly in the eye of the Austrian-minded beholder, with intrinsic value being a figment of the neoclassical mind?

It's these kinds of thoughts which keep me awake at night.

Incidentally, I do unfortunately know a few socialists, and all of them who possess such things, seem to prefer iPods to iRivers . It seems the evil marketing men have got them again; the poor suckers.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Rule Britannia

It would seem the rulers of Dubai have been putting the thoughts of Chairman Hoppe into practice again, by re-creating a long-forgotten country; an England in which a man's home truly is his castle. In case you missed it, check out the following Tim Swanson story on

An Anarchistic Oasis In The Middle Of The Desert

So now there really is some corner of a foreign field that is forever England.


Robert LeFevre - How Do You Know For Sure?

Index: Robert LeFevre Commentary Abstracts

Continuing his previous discussion, LeFevre debates the nature of Truth, Principle, and Predictability. There should be plenty in this talk to interest those who wish to understand the nature of conviction, belief, and how different people can come to have such diverse opinions about the world. Tangentially, it also points the way towards why any state serious about its own longevity should establish educational and emotional control over its subjects, to successfully manage their attitudes, beliefs, and convictions.

How Do You Know For Sure? - MP3 Audio File

Truth, which is part of objective reality, is the only thing that we can count on as human beings. However, the nature of truth has baffled some of the finest minds that have ever existed, so how do we discern it? Those things that exist within objective reality exist independently of human judgement and irrespective of human opinion. And we can only discover these truths within the context of how these things relate to other truthful things. This relativity is not the same as saying that no reality exists, as some subjectivists have claimed. But as human beings this is the only route open to help us discover the truth.

Take, for instance, the Law of Gravity. In normal circumstances, if someone drops a piece of chalk it will fly, with increasing speed, towards the current centre of the Earth. But this is only relative to our current gravitational situation. If another massive body would come close to the Earth in the future, we might instead see pieces of chalk leap upwards out of our hands. This would not invalidate the Law of Gravity. However, it might cause us, in the mode of Newton gazing upon the Moon as it hung in the evening sky, to enhance our understanding of underlying gravitational principle. Evidence of any such Law, or principle of nature, can change, according to the context.

We know, or think we know, many truths. We have discerned them from understanding the many related principles underpinning them. Take, for instance, the substance of wood. It is relatively durable to human contact, generally malleable with metallic tools, usually flammable if dry, and unless waterlogged, something that usually floats.

(At this point, Bob quickly uses an interesting word, natatorable or natatorible, as a descriptor for something which floats. I couldn’t find this word on the Interweb, but I did find natatorial, something which swims, and natable, something possessing natability, which is the ability to float. All these words descend from the Latin natator, for swimmer, which itself comes from natatus, the past participle of natare, to swim. Going even further back in time, natare may itself derive from nesos, the Greek word for island, which we can detect in many modern words such as Poly-nesia, indicating a place with many islands. Incidentally, there are several species of Ironwood which are too dense to float.)

Knowing the properties of wood, we can assume that products made from wood will assume the woody characteristics (e.g. durability, malleability, flammability, and natability). We have ascertained the nature of wood. We have thus gained a measure of Predictability about what can be done with it. A desk made from wood will also be durable, malleable, flammable, and natable. The nature of a wooden desk is therefore predictable, if we know the nature of wood.

LeFevre states that we only stay alive because of such predictability. If we sow a wheat crop, dependent on growing conditions it may or may not grow into wheat; but it will definitely not grow into pumpkins or mouth organs. And as we move through the Stone Age and past the Arable Age, this predictability is what develops into scientific method; that is the ability to put different pieces of nature together to predict consequences.

These consequences must be achievable by anybody following the correct method. If the method A + B – W gives you X, if only one person can do this, then this is magic. If anyone can do it, it is science. The principles behind the method should be independent of human judgement. Indeed, men never invent such principles, they merely discover them.

If the results of a particular method keep changing then we have not yet fully discovered the correct principles underlying the process. For instance, if someone buys a vehicle and discovers that one of the operating pedals does different things on different days, they have a problem. If we can’t predict how some device will work, it is no good to us. A brake pedal that sometimes accelerates the car is worse than unusable; it is dangerous.

So how do we learn how to predict?

Borrowing from the Thomist concept of John Locke’s Tabula Rasa (the blank slate, or literally, from the Latin, the scraped tablet), LeFevre postulates that as babies we reach out and discover predictability through personal association. If something has meaning to us, e.g. we cry out and our mother comes, we begin a process of predictive learning. If something has no meaning, e.g. we turn our head to the left and our mother fails to come, we create no associative linkage between the two unrelated events.

(For those interested in the psychology behind the ideology of the blank slate, and the arguments against it, I can highly recommend Steven Pinker’s seminal book on the subject, the appropriately entitled The Blank Slate.)

This associative learning is all done at an egocentric level, because human beings are first and foremost individuals. Everything in our world has significance to us, as discovered by personal inference. We therefore form opinions about that of which we are personally aware. Even as tiny infants we are constantly discovering principles, especially those which enhance our livelihood and security. So when we discover that by moving a certain muscle group we can predictably get a thumb into our mouths, this is a great day of predictive insight.

But in the case of crying out, one day the mother may fail to come when called for. One day the mother may even be repelled by the crying. What the child discovered about crying out was probability rather than predictability. On the fateful day the mother disobeys her order to respond, for whatever reason, the world is turned upside down for the child. This failure of prediction leads to emotional trauma and screaming. Gradually over time, however, as individuals we begin to form more concrete opinions about that which is properly predictable (or at least very highly likely probable).

Once we have collected a group of highly probable predictions into a set of opinions, we may form a mental attitude. This attitude gives us certainty about the world and emotional conviction about what works and what doesn’t work. We have gone beyond assumptions and developed beliefs. We know we are right.

(Though we are wrong to think so – listen to LeFevre’s second talk.)

Man is an actor and must do more to survive than a passive botanical species, like a tree. Man needs belief to back up his rational action, to enable his survival. With certainty, conviction, and belief we can plan for the future; intelligent cognitive action finally becomes possible. But there is a downside. This conviction can create the attitude that we have removed imperfect probability and achieved perfect predictability.

Because we are creatures of the human mind who can never fully know all the facts about objective reality, as we discovered in LeFevre’s second talk, we will eventually make mistakes about predictability, just as the child made with crying. And such mistakes can cause the same emotional outburst as experienced by the briefly neglected crying child.

The government predicts that it will solve world poverty. It has all the facts and all the resources necessary to do so. And yet we realise, after a while, that their prediction has turned to ash, and that world poverty has, if anything, grown worse despite their action driven by their belief. This creates uncertainty in our minds.

And it is this growing uncertainty in the world which LeFevre promises will occupy him in many of his subsequent talks.

(Let’s hope his prediction comes true!)

Previous: Yes, You Do Have a Philosophy
Next: Emotion and Motivation

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A Tale of Two Legal Systems

Meanwhile, over at the Home Office, another bunch of clowns have been caught with their hands in the till by the government's own financial controllers.

Let's just take a closer look at that story:

Expert accountants had to make "adjustments" amounting to almost £1 billion to correct one discrepancy
Blimey. That's a lot of change to lose down the back of the ministerial sofa.

Sir John said: "The Home Office has failed to maintain proper books and records in 2004-05. I am unable to reach an opinion as to whether they show a true and fair view."
Let's translate that into human speak:

The Home Office are a bunch of lying swindlers. Somebody in there has got their hands in the pork barrel, and if they think I'm going to turn and blind eye to such Third World style government pilfering they can stick it where the sun doesn't shine.
Sir John is even more forthright in the following quote:

Sir John said the Home Office had found no evidence of fraud but he was not in a position to back that up because controls and checks were weak or absent
Or in other words:

All of my instincts tell me there has been a substantial amount of fraud going on at the Home Office, but the crooks have either burned the books or ensured nobody was around to stop them, so we're just going to have to wave goodbye to all of this gunpoint-expropriated cash taken from the taxpayer
If you want any further evidence of creative-but-incompetent skullduggery going on within the Home Office, take a look at this:

One transaction shown as a £68 million debt to the Treasury turned up as £112 million owed by the Exchequer to the Home Office
Aren't spreadsheets marvelous! A little laptop cooking here, a little PDA spicing there, and before you know it, there's a suspiciously round-figured £170 million pounds lying around in petty cash waiting to be slotted into the nearest bandit bank account in either Switzerland or Luxembourg.

The report in the Telegraph unearths another little gem:

While auditors routinely fail to pass the books of welfare departments because of fraud, the NAO made clear that at the Home Office financial incompetence was to blame
They routinely fail to pass the books of welfare departments because of fraud!!!

And you thought you weren't living in a banana republic? Is anyone doing anything about this fraud? Apparently not. It's just part of the fun of the fair of living in a country where the government sucks up 42% of the country's individually generated wealth, year after fraudulent year.

All of the above is, alas, entirely predictable, given that we are sinking into a morass of ever more socialism. But will anybody at the Home Office pay for any of this, in any way? To ask the question is to know the answer.

If I'm out by as much as a pound, in my private sector tax accounts, I know the boys in the big boots will be round bearing a summons to attend the nearest star chamber tax court, where if I fail to account for this pound, I will be summarily hung, drawn, and financially quartered, with the distinct possibility of being gaoled for my trouble. A government department loses a billion, give or take, and they'll probably be a couple of promotions in it for the boys and girls who next year manage to successfully cover it up with some Microsoft Excel spreadsheet wizardry.

Would somebody mind pressing a switch and making this bad dream go away? Am I really living in a sane moral anarcho-capitalist world and experiencing a terrible democratic nightmare filled with feckless idiots and potato-minded buffoons? If I am, please wake me up. Whatever I did to deserve this, I think I've suffered enough.