Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Protectionism For Banks

It cannot repeated too often that while capital controls have a critical role to play in preventing economic collapse, in the absence of similar protections for manufacturers and labour, the absence of which is considered by some to be a good, they are a form of protectionism for banks.
This is grossly unfair upon the private citizen who does not earn their income from banking, who is forced to compete in an open labour market that they did not vote for, and which has grossly harmed their income and prospects. Less than a month ago, I wrote,
"As the Lindsey oil refinery dispute has shown, since 2004 the labour market has been where John Bull met Jim Crow, and lost. For years, the British worker has been subjected to systematic commercial racism, derided by ideologues as greedy, lazy and stupid."
They are now also financing the fascistic bailouts which have kept British banking together like a car engine held together by a pair of tights and a gob of used chewing gum. In these circumstances, it would be a crime against democracy for banks to be the beneficiaries of protectionism in the absence of protectionism for those who pay their bills.
If the banks must enjoy protectionism, then it is imperative that they suffer reform of their habits and practices. As I sort of wrote two days ago (and actually meant to write before getting carried off into a creative ecstasy), in a world where every other industry is subject to continuous upheaval and change, and the private citizen is tossed about by the forces of a so-called 'global economy' for which they have never voted and which has only come into existence by national governments abrogating their responsibilities to those who pay their bills, it is a grave moral injustice that banks should be able to adhere to mindsets and practices more suited to the late 19th Century than the early 21st. If everyone else must suffer change, the banks must also suffer change. The buggy-whip makers had no security; and it is wrong that the quant jocks should have been able to buggy-whip the rest of us, because that's what they did.
After all, if you try to bribe a policeman to get out of having to pay a parking ticket, you go to jail; if a bank in a light touch regulatory regime wines and dines those who police it, an economist will justify it as being rational, and a plutocratic corporate lawyer will call it 'regulatory capture'. This is not right.

Mortalophobia

Don't philosophers have anything better to do than think up reasons for people to die?
Doesn't the land of the living present enough them with enough dilemmas to try to solve, instead of fixating on the nonexistent problem of how to flush living, breathing human beings out of it like dead goldfish down the toilet bowl?
And what is 'Applied Philosophy' anyway? What is is it applied to? Stucco? Chipboard?
What is applied with? Velcro? A paintbrush?
It was GKC (Peace Be Upon Him) who wrote,"The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it his head that splits".
Indeed. Mine is splitting from trying to follow this one's thought processes. I could be reading him wrongly, but as far as I can see one of this philosopher's principal reasons for advocating the type of hangman's charter which an assisted suicide law would inevitably become is that death is preferable to Switzerland. This analysis is, to say the least, cheesy.
'Give me liberty, or give me death!' cried Patrick Henry. To Professor Grayling, death is liberty, an extreme example of the mindset best described as 'mortalophobia'; a profound and terrible fear of being alive, and having to take all that comes with it, which seems to be shared by all those who either wish to be put down like lame horses, or who would seem to have little compunction in wielding the syringe. Thank you, but no. All good things to those who wait.

Monday, March 30, 2009

GK Chesterton On Just About Everything That Ails Us

"In the world of Herbert Spencer, men wanted a cure for indigestion; in the world of Einstein they want a cure for vertigo. In the first case, they dimly perceived the fact that it was after a long fast that St. Francis sang the Song of the Sun and the praise of the fruitful earth. In the second case, they already dimly perceive that, even if they only want to understand Einstein, it is necessary first to understand the use of the understanding. They begin to see that, as the eighteenth century thought itself the age of reason, and the nineteenth century thought itself the age of common sense, the twentieth century cannot as yet even manage to think of itself anything but the age of uncommon nonsense. " - 'St. Thomas Aquinas', Pages 17-18.

The Persistent Vegetative State Labelled Ideology

A good example of PVSLI can be found here.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Civilisation Of Truth And Love

It's been a particularly ugly Sunday in the world of news and comment.

Once again, a political scandal has appeared from out of the blue.

The 'Mail on Sunday' has published a particularly nasty hatchet-job on the actress Emily Lloyd. The root of Miss Lloyd's health difficulties is made quite clear - she suffers from the Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome.

The reporter's ignorance of GTS is staggering; they write, "(s)he has, at various times, been diagnosed with mild schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and Tourettes syndrome" without knowing that ADD, OCD and GTS all belong to the same family of conditions, designed the 'neuropsychiatric disorders'; that many diagnoses of ADD and OCD are often misdiagnoses of GTS; and that obsessiveness is a very common symptom of GTS. What the reporter's ignorance reveals is that Miss Lloyd has probably been diagnosed with the same illness at least three times. Doctors, please note that some Tourettists' suspicion of you is not without cause.

Chronic insomnia might be another symptom. Miss Lloyd complains of it - and there is a very good reason why I write long essays before I go to work. One hopes that Miss Lloyd's confidence has not been too badly knocked by yet another stupid article purporting to deal with the effects of a grossly misunderstood medical condition; one whose nature has been used to murder the people who suffer from it.

Far ahead of the pack in the ideological nonsense stakes is Tim Congdon, with his suggestion that the Bank of England should be privatised. This is complete rot, a suggestion which, in this writer's opinion, is unfit for publication in any newspaper. If anything, the complete reverse of what he suggests is true; the Bank of England's independence should be revoked, and interest rates raised to 10 per cent immediately.

The Bank's unmandated policy of keeping interest rates artificially low for over a decade rendered the act of keeping money in the bank pointless. One of the principal drivers of the house price boom was the necessity of finding ways of accruing wealth that didn't involve having to trust your bank to make money for you. Unsophisticated savers who would otherwise have been happy just to earn interest on a pot of money in a savings account were driven to trying to become property speculators because of a claque of unelected coneheads' machinations and coneheading. The Bank of England should never have been freed from political control. OK, the politicians had messed up the interest rates many times before - but at least they can be thrown out by the people. The coneheads, dug in behind barricades of calculus, chanting formulae to each other like the priestly incantations they really are, can't. They're unassailable. This is not a satisfactory state of affairs.

It's time the coneheads were reined in. The economists have been the single most destructive group of experts in human history; yet being a secular priesthood, their comments are treated with a respect they frankly don't deserve. Since the days of Karl Marx, every single bad thing that has been done to human beings in the name of public policy has received intellectual validation from an economist. In a world without God, the followers of The Pie in the Sky Fairy are kings.

Their authority has never been challenged as it should have been - so let the iconoclasm commence. The best case for an interest rate of 10% is that it would give the little people an incentive to save some money, and accrue a little wealth on their own terms and in ways most suited to them; a banker's skill could then be determined by how much he helps to enrich his customers, as opposed to how well he enriches himself. The only reason for opposing such a move would be that it is British government policy that the British people should not have cash savings. We would then see our government's true colour. If that is British policy, we are entitled to know it.

Yet for sheer nastiness, absolutely nobody trumps a person called Ambrose Evans-Pritchard.

This individual, whoever they are, writes,

"The heroic Bank of England has pioneered monetary stimulus a l'outrance, even if the ungrateful wretches of this island mock their own salvation."

Nothing makes one wish to puke harder and faster than a double-barrel patronising those of their fellow citizens who enjoy the same rights and privileges under law as they do, but who have received less expensive educations or enjoy more limited media access. It is only in the United Kingdom that one citizen is permitted to trash others so casually, and get away with it. To my mind, it's not a symptom of how free but how sick British culture has become.

Yet he also says,

"There again, was it wise for the Czech premier and titular EU president to rubbish Barack Obama's fiscal blitz as the "road to hell"? That too comes ill from a leader who has just lost a no-confidence vote over his handling of the Czech economy. But the hapless Bohemian speaks for Europe, where Hooverism is written into EU Treaty law."

To this reader's eyes, the term 'hapless Bohemian' borders on racism. Hopefully it draws a public rebuke from the Czech Ambassador.

Yet in the midst all of this ugliness, there is always hope.

It's quite clear that history has taken a bazooka to the hubris of those of our bankers for whose benefit the world seems to have been run since the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Their apologists deserve to be sent to sit in the corner, wearing dunces' caps made from the spreadsheets which chart their dying newspapers' declining circulations. Whether or not banking as it has been practiced can actually survive for much longer is a question that's not really receiving the attention it should - if the coneheads can make jokes about displaced tradesmen pining for the days of the buggy-whip makers, there seems to be absolutely no reason why the displaced cannot question why the coneheads' paymasters have been permitted to behave as they did in the days when buggy-whips were commonplace. After all, what was the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act other than an attempt to roll back history to the days of the robber barons? Oh dear. They hadn't thought of that one.

As for the newspaper, well, that's going the way of the adze and the gladius; in its day it helped change the world, but it's outlived its usefulness, and has been overtaken by newer, better models. Newspaper proprietors should remember that organisms whose circulation is in decline tend to turn blue, and eventually require amputation.

The old ways of doing things are stuffed, kaput; the question is, what takes their place?
A model that quite appeals to me is one suggested by the Servant of God Pope John Paul II in his 'Prayer for Life' -
"O Mary, bright dawn of the new world, Mother of the living, to you do we entrust the cause of life.
Look down, O Mother, on the vast numbers of babies not allowed to be born, of the poor whose lives are made difficult, of men and women who are victims of brutal violence, of the elderly and the sick killed by indifference or out of misguided mercy.
Grant that all who believe in your Son may proclaim the Gospel of life with honesty and love to the people of our time.
Obtain for them the grace that accept that Gospel as a gift ever new, the joy of celebrating it with gratitude throughout their lives and the courage to bear witness to it resolutely, in order to build, together with all people, the civilisation of truth and love, to the praise and glory of God, the Creator and lover of life".
As its name, suggests, The Civilisation of Truth and Love will be a civilisation; and just as Mohammed Siddique Khan proved that belonging to two civilisations at the same time is impossible, so too it will be impossible for those who hope for the coming of The Civilisation of Truth and Love to call themselves adherents of Western civilisation.
Let's face it, the set of behaviours and practices grouped under the name 'Western civilisation' is now pretty much fit for the bin. It wasn't always like that; nobody has yet been able to tell me just what was so bad about the United Kingdom circa 1990 that it had to be 'globalised'. It was a good place to live in. Now it's not. In less than two decades, it's become the world's largest public toilet.
Western civilisation stopped being civilised when it sidelined He Who Is. This was a bad move. Doing this allowed the rot to set in whereby we gave the time of day to the rantings of a bedridden nutter who proclaimed that He Who Is had become He Who Was. We abdicated our status as created beings made in our Creator's image and likeness, becoming instead a sophisticated type of chemical soup that got here through a set of coincidences so fantastical that the wildest-eyed conspiracy theorist would be ashamed to give it credence. In order to believe that it's absolutely true, you have to believe that the sky fell in one day; a contention which would have the disciples of the most primitive New Guinean cargo cult laughing in your face.
Darwinism is just funny; Social Darwinism isn't. When allied to the line of guff thinking in German history that kicked off with The Revolutionary of the Upper Rhine, Social Darwinism was responsible for the greatest slaughter in history.
Yet we learned nothing from that slaughter, for when it was over we perpetuated it; and on the softest of soft targets, children in their mothers' wombs. Now a peroxided old barbarian wants to put my life at risk so that she can be put down like a dog, while an Australian parvenu pays Emily Lloyd the same compliment. These people really don't like us. They're so civilised.
In the dregs of a civilisation that does not give He Who Is His due, beggar-thy-neighbour trade policies are somehow bad, while bugger-thy-neighbour social policies are somehow good; go figure. I don't get it either.
The most appealing aspect of The Civilisation of Truth and Love is that it will be post-economic. Economics led to the stuff fixation; and nobody has captured the sheer vileness of that fixation and all that flows from it better than G. K. Chesterton -
"To brag of brute prosperity, to admire the most muddy millionaires who had cornered wheat by a trick, to talk about the unfit (in imitation of the scientific thinker who would finish them off because he cannot finish his own sentence - unfit what what?) - all that is as simply and openly Anti-Christian as the Black Mass" - 'St. Thomas Aquinas', Page 86.
You go, Gilbert! You rock!
Felipe Fernandez-Armesto's contention that 'Man is not an economic animal' is absolutely true. The pursuit of gain is a consequence of being alive, not a reason for living. It will only be when gain for its own sake is considered uncivilised that Man will be truly free.
For as soon as a society becomes post-economic in a spirit of truth and love, it will shortly thereafter become post-political. Love will guide men in the conduct of their social relations; and if economic policy is taken out of the picture by economics becoming redundant, what's left to argue about? The absence of the need for politics in human affairs would be the greatest step forward in human history.
There are those who would say that I am advocating totalitarianism; quite the reverse. Totalitarians are intensely political animals. Without politics, they have nothing. On a Soviet submarine, even going to the bathroom was political. In The Civilisation of Truth and Love, mortal man will come to realise that for the most part politics is nothing but an enormous waste of time, and a distraction from the important things in life like learning more, being friendly and working for your salvation.
The more tedious kind of libertarian will see the words 'Truth' and 'Love', and their clockwork brain will process the thought that I am advocating a '1984' style of civilisation where a Ministry of Truth tells lies, and a Ministry of Love tortures. This is not the case - The Civilisation of Truth and Love has no need of ministries. When we get it, we will look back and laugh at ourselves for ever having thought we really needed them. But that such thoughts will inevitably register shows how far we still have to go.
The Civilisation of Truth and Love cannot come into being at the point of the sword - it can only come about through Man's desire to love his neighbour as he loves himself turning into action. This is quite a hard thing to achieve at the best of times, and not made any easier to some peoples' attachment to the writings of Ayn Rand. Yet there is always hope. My friend Martin Meenagh has been engaging in a spot of futurology, and doesn't like what he sees; to Martin, I'd say, have hope. He Who Is is still He Who Is; and He'll see us all out yet.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I Couldn't Put It Better Myself

"I question the viability of a Catholic community which devotes any great energy to the question of ascending the throne while the born sleep in cardboard boxes on the streets and the pre-born are ripped from their mothers' wombs to be discarded as surgical waste" -
Quite. The Act of Settlement does not matter. It's another of the all too many hot buttons concerning civics and religion which fester in the more fetid, danker, darker corners of the land where the Jumblies live, for sure; but those who protest it seem to forget that the Act of Settlement is one of the most important documents in the British constitution.
Destroy the Act of Settlement, and you are over two-thirds of the way to destroying the Union. Whether independence would be a good thing for Scotland's Catholics is a matter over which I have grave reservations.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Making The World Like China

A Chi-Com Ur-apparatchik named Wang Qishan has published an editorial in today's 'Times' entitled 'G20 must look beyond the needs of the top 20'.
Its tone of concern for the world's poor must be contrasted with its author's adherence to a philosophy which has been responsible for the deaths of tens, if not hundreds, of millions of his fellow Chinese. The Chinese Communist Party started doing concern for the poor when its members realised they could wet more lips more efficiently through the Chinese peoples' transformation from being exploited slaves of Communism into being exploited slaves of both Communism and Capitalism.
Liberalism, a doctrine invented by the rich and solely for the rich, has done nothing but produce generations of well-heeled guilty and godless. The liberal excuse for the exploitation of China's poor has been that it has resulted in millions being lifted out of poverty; that this has only been capable of being achieved by a process of global labour arbitrage, the same goods once made in Cheshire now being made in China, producing a predictable flattening and destruction of the outsourced and offshored's incomes and prospects, is either ignored or held by economic liberals to be a good and wholesome thing - by losing your job you are doing your bit for international development, whether you want to or not.
In this posture, liberal internationalists have the unappealing habit of sounding like an Irish nun attempting moral blackmail on a classroom of innocent eight year olds; children in Africa are starving, while you throw away your crusts. One wonders how many people have been pushed off the path to God by such sermons; yet one can only hope that the repetition of the same type of message by the globalists will produce the same revulsion towards their revolting doctrines as the bad preaching of God's word had upon generations of people who were morally blackmailed as children.
The great fallacy of economic liberalism is that everyone thinks the same way. It should go without saying that this has never been the case. Many of the world's poor are poor because their civil cultures are comprised of nothing but stupidity, ignorance and greed. It is disheartening to see some writers adhere to the myth that Magna Carta had anything to do with the liberty of the general public. It did not; just like the vaunted Declaration of Arbroath, it was a mechanism by which the barons, local gangsters whose word was law, asserted privileges for themselves. At that stage in the histories of England and Scotland, the best ways to get rich were the type of rapine and pillage that ensured political control of a fiefdom. The Magna Carta barons had more in common with Sam Giancana than Samuel Wilberforce.
In his book 'America's Half-Blood Prince', Steve Sailer makes the same type of point; that in Africa the best way to get rich is to control the government. Kenya now is like England then; and China now is like England then. Show me a Chi-Com who's developed a business from scratch that hasn't involved the use of exploited labour and who hasn't insisted on the appropriation of intellectual property, and you will see a flying pig shortly thereafter.
Some of the more astute American observers of globalisation have noted that the process of mass immigration is turning the country into a chaotic Latin American hellhole. There are those who say that this is the plan of America's elites; suffused with false notions of their own exceptionalism, they really would prefer to be patrons controlling their peons' lives and opportunities rather than free citizens of a free republic. I would respectfully suggest that such critics are directing their ire in the wrong place.
In the United Kingdom, the liberty of the individual is under threat as it has never been before. Within living memory, wars both hot and cold have been fought against the forces of political totalitarianism. Yet political totalitarianism might just have been the only bulwark against a force just as oppressive and totalitarian - the universal totalitarianism of internationalist economics.
We recall how we criticised the Soviet Communists for spying on their slaves, and interfering with their private lives; yet the British government now does precisely the same things, and its hacks and shills say that this is a good and wholesome thing, in the interests of 'security'. That security has only been compromised by the introduction of a hostile and alien ideology through immigration is a truth that none dare speak - to holds view contrary to those of the elites is to render yourself liable to prosecution. The short-sightedness of our lawyers has seen to that.
We are becoming not Mexico, but China. One of the most pressing reasons why I feel that an election is necessary this year is that if Gordon Brown's government continues in office much longer, elements within it will seek to behave even more injudiciously, even more oppressively, than they have done already. Freedom of speech, freedom of protest, the right of free association, and the right of freedom of conscience are all under threat; only a totalitarian ideology could believe these erosions to be good and wholesome things. This totalitarianism defines wealth as a process of entropy - the diminution in your earnings caused by global labour arbitrage means that the stuff you buy is cheaper, so you're still getting richer and should be happy. This process continues until you earn nothing, and the stuff you buy costs nothing. Such philosophies aren't just guff - they're garbage. People are interested in more than just stuff.
Globalisation, a top down movement just like Magna Carta and the Reformation, a development nobody's voted for but which our rulers tell us is going to happen anyway, is not about making China like the rest of the world - it's about making the rest of the world like China. Get used to it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Only Thing You Need To Read Today

Forget the pan-European fantasies of Timothy Garton Ash - I'm not suggesting that he does think this way, but his comment on the fantastical Europe of his imagination that "(i)f we had spent half the time we wasted in that constitutional debate simply co-ordinating our actions better, under the existing treaties, we would be in a better position today", certainly suggests to me that his pan-Europeanism is so fanatical that he believes its Creator elites should do anything to bring 'United Europe' into being; even if that means persisting in their historic patterns of foisting their visions on peoples who are dead set against them. His degeneration from advocate to propagandist now seems complete.
One of the great hazards of being cerebral, literate and dead is that you become little-read. It was the great Otto Scott, now sadly ticking all four boxes, who coined the phrase 'the silent majority'. Integrated Europe does not have a 'silent majority'; as the outrageous behaviour of Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a real yesterday's man, towards Vaclac Klaus showed, it has a silenced majority. The pan-Europeanism cultivated by the continent's elites for the past 50 years has resulted in the confection of an ersatz nation-state, existing for no reason other than to enable the political empowerment and financial gain of a self-selecting political-financial complex and to which absolutely nobody but a very few people feels any sense of allegiance. The people don't want it; being sturdily parochial, their eyes are set on the higher priorities of home, family and nation. The people don't care about Europe. They just want their ways of life back; and if they're not given them back, one day they'll take them back. When that day comes, unmandated pan-Europeanism and its brainchild 'The European Union' will go the way of The Holy Roman Empire; and the day after it's finally gone, life will go back to normal, and nobody will read Tim Garton Ash any more.
The abject and persistent failure of many so-called 'opponents' of unmandated pan-Europeanism to criticise one of its most vocal propagandists is a matter for their consciences; I know that mine is clear.
Forget Seumas Milne; the occasions on which he has anything to say are diminishing from 'few' to 'rare'.
Forget the petite and tedious Hazel Blears - her pursuit of 'cohesive communities' would be more credible if she acknowledged that we wouldn't need 'community policies' if successive governments hadn't set about destroying the perfectly satisfactory communities we already had, the ones where men who built ships and dug coal had wives who stayed at home and children who went to grammar schools, and then tried to rectify their damage by importing new and unassimilable ones.
Forget Northern Constabulary and BBC Scotland - the incidence of honour killings amongst Gaels in the Gaeltachd must be higher than might otherwise be imagined.
Forget Katherine Ainger - one only hopes that the police will face down G20 protestors with the chant of 'What Shall We Do With The Pouting Crusty?'
'Anti-capitalism' is just another manifestation of our collective stuff fixation, as venal and materialistic as the capitalism over which its adherents proclaim their moral superiority so loudly. They deserve to be told to get stuffed.
One can't really forget Jo Glanville - the libel laws are a bully's charter. Scrap them all.
Try as one might, one cannot force oneself to forget Niall Ferguson - the great doctor and master seems to be touting the idea that social instability is somehow a 'good thing'. One wonders whether the residents of those parts of his hometown with which he might be less familiar would agree with him.
Nah, the only thing you should read today is this piece by PJ Mulvey.
My only comment on it is that Patrick seems to be heading towards two conclusions of mine.
Firstly, that the average citizen is now in the same political position as a German peasant at the end of The Thirty Years War.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Election 2009

My best wishes to my friend David Lindsay regarding his campaign for election to Parliament.
David has many valuable and important things to say - unlike, ahem, some Independent candidates, he even has a policy platform. He might not win; but by God, even the act of standing will get up the nose of the Establishment, making his candidature a good and wholesome thing in itself.
I am sometimes asked - OK, I was asked once, by a mate with whom I was sharing a pint- why I've never stood for office. The answer is straightforward; given the nature of the physical limitations I labour under, it would be immoral for me to do so. Even without any regard for whether or not I might be electable, there would be times when I could not discharge the responsibilities of office. Asking people to vote for me when I couldn't fulfill their trust would be dishonest.
But that doesn't mean one can't snipe from the sidelines.
We are now at the end of March in what could be an election year, and yet there has been no talk of elections. There is absolutely no reason why there should not be an election this year, apart from the desire of Gordon Brown to cling to office for as long as possible. That is not a good enough reason for an election to be postponed until next year. It is a disgrace to democracy that a Parliament's terms are not prescribed to a rigid four years. Two year terms are good enough for the Congress of the United States of America. Four year terms are good enough for American Presidents - they should be good enough for British Prime Ministers.
I look forward to seeing David on the stump later this year. He's a guy who wants to get involved, who feels he can make a difference, and who has actual ideas of his own, rather than the flatpack policies created by think-tank coneheads which seem to be favoured by the gangs we call political parties. For as long as the David Lindsays of the world are prepared to stand for office, we still have a democracy. We should get the chance to exercise it - and sooner rather than later.

The Light Of Truth Is Dawning

While very technical, Matt Taibbi's 'Rolling Stone' piece 'The Big Takeover: How Wall Street Insiders are Using the Bailout to Stage a Revolution' doesn't really draw conclusions any different from those I reached in a series of posts beginning last September, describing the bailout as 'The Great American Coup of Black September 2008' (hat tip to Steve Sailer for the article).
And as the coup's outcome fitted perfectly into Gaetano Salvemini's definition of Italian fascist economic theory that 'profit is private and personal..loss is public and social', it can properly described as a fascist coup.

Privatisation In Serbia

One is grateful to Private Eye's 'Funny Old World' section for pointing out something which is neither worldly not funny.
Eye 1232 contains an item from 'The Serbia Observer' of January 19, 2009, spotted by 'Mark Baillie'. It reports that the IMF has insisted that the equipment of Serbia's police must be made available for private rental.
A police uniform can be hired for 1, 440 dinars per day, a police horse for 2, 880 dinars per day, a police dog for 2, 160 dinars per day, individual officers for 360 dinars per hour and police helicopters and aeroplanes for between 54,000 and 168,000 dinars per hours. A Serbian politico named Dragan Todorovic is quoted as saying,
"Everything is up for sale or rental...We are walking the path of economic slavery..."
He is quite right. If true, this is a disgusting and shameful business. For all the faults of the police, they are public servants - they should never be for hire. It says little for the IMF's understanding of the rule of law that it should have demanded such a stupid course of action.
And in response, a voice can be heard emanating from the belly of the beast - 'Yeah, dude, whatever. They're just Serbs'.

A First Class Stamp

The wannabe Internet censor Andy Burnham's wackadoo plan to turn 'under-used' churches into gyms and pantheist temples called 'multi-faith centres' has taken an even wierder turn - he thinks they should be turned into Post Offices.
That this is a first class stamp on Christianity doesn't seem to have occurred to Mr. Burnham. A now little read set of documents called the New Testament records quite vividly just what Our Lord Jesus Christ did to the guys who were operating a bureau de change in the Temple. It also doesn't seem to have occurred to him that it's also a first class stamp on those postal workers whose livelihoods are threatened by The Pillage Of The Post Office.
One of the legalisms used to justify Fred Goodwin's retention of his pension is that he enjoys 'sanctity of contract'. This is a principle with which one agrees entirely - Goodwin could only be stripped of his pension by legal means which would have grave implications for the rest of us. No item of private property would be safe from confiscation by diktat. Yet one would have thought that if loser bank bosses' piggy contracts are sacred, so too are those of postmen. However, the sanctity of a postman's contract seems as fluid a concept as the intellectually irreconcilable contentions that the only way a loser bank run into the ground by a loser can be saved is by its nationalisation, and the only way that a national institution operating at a profit can be saved is by its privatisation. Does not compute.
And opening sub-Post Offices in churches is probably taking the principle of 'sanctity of contract' a step too far. It would turn the buildings in which they are housed into sub-churches.

The Great Conservative Commentary Algorithm

At times, one has wondered whether or not conservative commentators do not actually exist, except as front men for a back office in India whose staff pump codewords like 'the rich' and 'the state' into an algorithm which then generates 800 words for publication.
Of course, the idea can be dismissed as ridiculous.

Gordon Brown's Next Campaign Speech In Full

Global.
Global global.
Global global global. Global global global global global global.
Global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global global globalglobal global global global global global global global global global global global global globalglobal global global global global global global global global global global global global global.
Global. Thank you.

Two Time Loser

Just about the only piece of bad luck that Tsutomu Yamaguchi doesn't seem to have suffered is to have flown on a plane piloted by Chafik Gharby.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Precautions

Contempt In A Time Of Unemployment

Tony McNulty, the unpleasant and capo-like Employment Minister, faces allegations of having chiselled his expenses.
Mr. McNulty's track record of competence in public office has been such that I called for him to be sacked donkey's years ago; that he should have eventually come a cropper is neither here nor these.
What is irritating is the spastic 'more-ism' of his fellow Members of Parliament. Some are reported to be looking for an extra £40,000 per year, presumably in order to avoid the same fate. Mr. McNulty's defence to these allegations is that what he has done is within the rules. For a Londoner representing a London constituency to claim an allowance for a second home in London might certainly be within the letter of the rules; however, one very much doubts whether it is within their spirit.
The principal defect with the concept of 'strict liability laws', that they are only ever as strict as their framers are prepared to be strict with themselves, is once more thrown into sharp relief.
Whether or not you actually did chisel your expenses, to find yourself accused of having chiselled them when the public is suffering a manufactured recession (as consequences of imposed economic policy, all recessions are manufactured) is staggeringly inept. Yet why should the outrage just be directed at poor old McNulty?
How much does the Mayor of London earn? Doesn't the capital have problems he could be working on?
So why is he touting the disputable value of ancient theologies in a national newspaper? If he wants to be Mayor Of London, fine. If he wants to be a columnist for the 'Daily Telegraph', fine. At a time of mass unemployment, for him to occupy both positions, presumably both very highly-paid and one of which is taxpayer-funded, seems like a poking his finger in the public's eye.
By the same token, one of the reasons this former Conservative voter will struggle long and hard to ever vote Conservative again is his belief that over the course of the last 30 years, many members of the Parliamentary Conservative Party have behaved like a shower of boot-filling bastards. The Parliamentary Conservative Party seems to possess a collective belief that its members have a right to accrue well-paying company directorships while also collecting significant salaries from the public purse. Whether any of them would ever gain these boardroom positions on merit if they did not also enjoy high political access is never considered for a moment. That they consider themselves to be free to do so shows a lack of understanding of the pressures under which ordinary people have to work - if I am appointed to a post (and an election is nothing but an appointment process), my employers are entitled to insist that I do not engage in any other activities on their time. That the practice might lead to parliamentary politics being undermined, the MP beginning to represent the interests of the company he directs rather than those of his constituents, doesn't seem to occur to anyone. The idea of 'conflict of interest' is for schmucks. After all, they are Members of Parliament; they're exceptional. They're Tories, after all, and they believe in the freedom of the individual; their freedom.
If David Cameron wishes to make his party electable, he can tell the wide-boys and fatted calfs to dump the directorships for the recession's duration. Doing so would be a hard struggle, very possibly producing a challenge to his leadership. I wish him well.

The Old Communist Discovers That Civil Libertarians Will Only Defend The Liberties That Interest Them

I have been making this point for some time.
By and large, professional civil libertarians tend to be either aristocrats, the politically ambitious - or just common or garden insider Establishment radicals. As a group, they will earn my respect when without hesitation or reservation, and in full view of the media glare, Shami Chakrabarti defends the rights of private British citizens to hold views on immigration and race which differ from her own.
I might be wrong, but I doubt that day will ever come.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Futility Of Making War On Death Cults

A propos of not much in particular, the writer has recently revisited his long held views on atomic weaponry. He has been greatly assisted in these reflections by the output of the two Ronnies.
In his short book 'God and The Atom', published very shortly after the destruction of Hiroshima, Monsignor Ronald Knox denounced it is an immoral act; and quite rightly. It would have been proper for a declaration of intent to have been made; perhaps, as Monsignor Knox says, by the destruction of an uninhabited mountain, before a town larger than Southampton was just wiped out. Yes, it was done badly. Yes, it was immoral.
On the other hand, perhaps the most committed atomist of the 20th Century was President Ronald Reagan. Possibly the 20th Century's most intellectual and thoughful president, the Dutchman was committed body and soul to the advancement of peace. I challenge anyone who has read the book 'Reagan, In His Own Hand', to draw any other conclusion. The Soviet Union was not a peaceful entity. At Reykjavik, Dutch was prepared to give up on atomic weaponry completely, provided he got a guarantee; a guarantee that the committed and lifelong Communist turned secular saint Mikhail Gorbachev was unwilling to provide. That should have said it all.
The Cambridge Spies, the rogue members of the British elite whose treason was made possible because of our absurd belief that morality flows from the schools you attend and your attachment to your college, helped imperil us all. It took a ham actor from small town Illinois, a man they would look down on and sneer at, most definitely not their sort of chap, to undo the havoc they wrought.
What Dutch Reagan understood, and which Monsignor Knox might perhaps not have, is that the ability to wage peace is entirely dependent on the willingness of all parties to be peaceful. In its last stages, Imperial Japan was a death cult. It might be said the kamikaze were suicide bombers - none of them ever seems to have planned on coming home. Faced with an enemy who actually wants to die, who volunteers for suicide missions, would a show of strength on an empty mountainside have done any good?
We now face the Dutchman's dilemma in Afghanistan. Is bombing medievalist Muslims, guys who not only want to die but who think that doing so will help them get laid, back to the Stone Age ever going to do any good? I don't think so. The very first piece of commentary I ever published on the Intenet was entitled 'Is Afghanistan Worth Saving'? Sad as it is to say, I thought then and I think now that the answer is no.
Better for it be cut into statelets, or a wall built around it, than for another non-Afghan to lose their life on a quixotic, undefined, indeterminate mission impossible.
However, that is not to say that the conflict in Afghanistan is not without winners.
The entity that President Eisenhower labelled the 'military-industrial complex' is doing just fine, thanks very much. Depending for its survival on death and mutilation, the military-industrial complex is just as much a death cult as Shinto or Islam. Why not call it that?
Since Ike gave his stern warning, another death cult has sprung up which is also doing just fine out of Afghanistan, and is prospering wherever human beings suffer. One might call it the 'Sexual-Secular Complex'; the array of taxpayer-funded non-governmental organisations dedicated to 'human rights', 'womens' rights' 'human women's rights', 'reproductive rights' and anything in particular that will help make the world look like San Francisco in 1975. The Military-Industrial Complex exists to ensure that your enemies will be efficiently bombed; the Sexual-Secular Complex exists to ensure that your enemies will be efficiently damned.
The Sexual-Secular Complex is just another death cult. Like the imperial Japanese, trying to reason with them is futile. They are dedicated to our destruction, and thus can only be opposed. They must be loved; but being a death cult, it is to be hoped that they kill themselves off, before they have a chance to kill us.

'Obama As Peron'

Boardroom Bullying

If non-executive directors at the Royal Bank of Scotland were subjected to bullying, it should be perfectly reasonable to ask why they remained on its board, why these allegations have not been made before now and why they have been made by a whistleblower.
These people were not 16 year old NEETS in Burberry baseball caps, but some of the most illustrious names in finance and commerce. As directors, their duties were rigidly prescribed by law. If they failed to execute those duties because they felt intimidated, then they not only failed the bank's shareholders and customers, and the taxpayers who have had to step in to save it; they also proved themselves to be unfit and improper persons to be involved in the management of public companies.
I guess a china shop can only hold so many bulls.
These revelations makes the need for a radical overhaul of the United Kingdom's weak and unsatisfactory laws concerning the disqualification of company directors even more pressing. No member of the Goodwin-era Royal Bank of Scotland's board should ever be allowed to direct a company again. If collective responsibility applies in representative democracy, it must also apply in shareholder democracy.
The plutocrats will always have tame apologists, ready to spew out agitprop about how Sir Shumley Cholmondeley spends every waking hour not dedicated to his own enrichment exercising noblesse oblige. All well and good, I suppose - the maintenance of his conscience is his business.
But a defence based on the principle that 'a big boy made me do it' would cut no ice if presented by a 16 year old Burberry baseball-capped NEET facing a charge of breaking a window at Glasgow District Court. It should not be available to some of the planet's most committed plutocrats.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Children Of Adam Smith

While predictably nasty and hostile, the comments beneath the article express a belief in individual rights which goes far beyond libertarianism; spastic in their secularism, and largely proceeding on the assumption that your doctor should be allowed to kill you in case you make a spectacle of yourself, or even make a mess, in the act of dying a natural death.
As with almost everything leftist and absolutely everything secularist, the interests of the dying don't really matter so long as the leftist and the secularist is spared an unpleasant experience. Rooted in the false and Satanic religion called economics, their worldviews exclude the operation of Providence in human affairs. They don't believe in miracles, because they can't believe in them; Adam Smith taught them that people only ever act in their own interests (to my knowledge, no evidence of the performance of the secret good works that were posthumously attributed to Smith has ever been produced), they believed Karl Marx's ramblings about class struggle, and they believed Friedrich von Hayek's vicious lie that altruism does not exist.
The irony of all this is that in so doing, they show themselves to be spiritual beings, capable of great acts of faith. They just believe in the wrong gods.
The assisted suicide debate is not a race to the bottom, it is a race to Hell; and as I have written before, I have a horse in it. I suffer from an incurable neurological disorder. I am unconcerned about dying; indeed, at this point in time I do not fear death. Whether that will change in the future, I don't know; I hope it won't, God willing. However, I have grave concerns about the time and manner of my death being chosen not by my Creator, but by a doctor who considers that my continued survival would be a drain on resources which they believe could be used more productively and efficiently elsewhere. This is not an argument about medical ethics; purely and simply, it is an argument about economics in its most base and brutal form.
To label the public pronouncements they have made on 'assisted suicide' as debate is to dignify the pronouncements of Margo MacDonald and Patricia Hewitt with a dignity they do not deserve. It is characterised by the very absence of debate. The lives of tens of thousands of people across the United Kingdom, myself included, are being endangered by two women on ego trips, both burning to be burned into history by making burnt offerings of the old, the sick and the weak.
There is no other way of saying it; 'assisted suicide' is euthanasia. It is neither assisted nor suicide; it is unassisted murder. As should be said day in, and day out, preached in the pulpits and shouted on street corners, once introduced it is very likely to follow the same track as abortion has done. Abortion was legalised in order to prevent women from being endangered by the largely mythical depredations of 'backstreet abortionists', a breed apparently immune to the blandishments of carbolic soap and with a weird predilection for wire coathangers; and as a result, we now have social abortion. The killing of children has become routine and mechanised, justified by the political left in the name of 'reproductive rights', and justified by many on the sexually sinful political right as a fundamental liberty.
Abortion is an economic sacrament. If Lord Layard's sacrilegous 'civil birthing ceremonies' are its baptism, 'Spontaneous Order' its Heaven, 'equilibrium' its grace, 'moral hazard' its venial sin and inefficiency its mortal sin, then abortion is its absolution. Yet it is an anti-absolution. It usually happens because two people have followed Adam Smith's teachings, deciding to act in their own interests by seeking a moment's thrill in the groin. Of course, such acts have consequences like the conception of a child. In order for what Smith taught to continue to be believed to be true, abortion must exist; for it is only by allowing the murder of children that you can have a society based not on the idea that you can act in your interests all the time; but that you should.
The abortion absolves the thrillseekers of the consequences of their actions. Yet the absolution provided by the abortionist does not demand the performance of penance with a firm desire for amendment - if he did that, like, he wouldn't be acting in his own self-interest.
Euthanasia will go the same way. A practice publicly stated as being intended to be safe, legal and rare will become unsafe for those at risk, legal and prevalent. And there is no debate about it. Its advocates' sickening selfishness, their refusal to die normal deaths like normal people perhaps motivated by the appalling sense of their own exceptionalism which blights Britain's political classes, just won't go into the the great goodnight the same way as everyone else. I know that at least one doctor reads this weblog - they will know that this comment is not directed at them, for they are as appalled by the advent of euthanasia as I am.
Yet it is sadly all too likely to be the case that too many of that doctor's professional brethren do not possess the same sensibilities regarding the end of human life, and will have bought into the same leftist, secularist agenda that touts euthanasia as a win-win deal for all concerned. I do not wish my life to be in such a doctor's hands - and yet that is not a matter in which I have the slightest freedom of choice. I wish that choice. I will not get it.
For those such as me, it would appear that we have no choice but to prepare ourselves for death and to consider each day a blessing; for the day will come when The Children Of Adam Smith deem our survival to be 'inefficient'.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Deathwatch Beetle

The former professional civil libertarian Patricia Hewitt wishes to roll the right to die across the nation.
A professional civil libetarian will never defend your rights, including your right to die a natural death. They will only defend those rights they think you should have.
"Dying He destroyed our death,
Rising He restored our life,
Lord Jesus, Come in Glory!"

Beating The Crusties

While one has sympathy with the views of anti-globalisation protestors - nah, scratch that sentence. It proceeds on the assumption that crusties have thought processes, and protest out of a sincere desire to effect political change rather than from a desire to break stuff and make nuisances of themselves.
The crusties will use the coming of the G20 as an excuse for rioting. Appropriately enough for a riot against economic policy, it will be a riot conducted according to economic laws; a win-win scenario for all concerned, and most certainly not a zero-sum game.
Titus and Jocasta, with all the best tattoos and cosmetic ironmongery that you can accrue at the end of an expensive education, all pierced and painted like a War Party of primitives, will get to break stuff. The cops will get to engage in the more animalistic kind of baton-wielding argy-bargy that too many of our more brutish boys in blue seem to enjoy. Our most oppressive and illiberal government, a touter of the kind of human rights which only seem capable of being advanced at the expense of civil liberties, will use it as an excuse to crack down even further upon the rest of us; as if thoughtful critics of economic policy would be seen dead with these people.
Exercising crowd control on combative crusties out on the warpath does not require brute force; only a sense of humour, and a spot of lateral thinking.
Instead of presenting the crusties with drawn batons, the cops should let them march to within 10 yards of their lines. At that point, the operational commander should give the order to present arms. Every officer should then pull out a bar of soap.
The crusties will run away in horror.
The public can be co-opted into this effort. Instead of barricading their premises against looting, every gents' outfitters in the crusties' path should offer to give the boys a fitting for a free three-piece suit. Every beautician and hair salon should offer to give the ladies a free makeover. The recipients could then be interviewed by feminist Ph. D. candidates researching the question of whether or not applying make-up is an art or a science.
If this sounds harsh, good; for no good ever comes from violence, and by and large, the crusties are spoiled adult children.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Laughing Duck Laughs No More..Perhaps...

Since the posting of my short essay of yesterday regarding the silliness of her views on what is important in a marriage, the toothy Abigail Gliddon's MySpace page has been set to 'Private'; meaning that passers-by can read no more of her interest in, in her words, 'the laughing duck that haunts my sleep'.
Like Ayn Rand, one must ask - Who is The Laughing Duck?
They seek that fowl everywhere!
Has he flown south? In what ponds does he splash?
I know where he is - he's on Googlecache!"

Lost In Translation

A woman named Jill Rutter has published an editorial in today's 'Guardian' entitled 'Don't forget – we need immigration'.
With 2 million people officially out of work, expanding the labour force shouldn't really be a matter of top priority. With the employment services in the Western Isles now reporting that there are up to 40 applicants for every vacancy, the very idea that there ever were jobs that the British couldn't or wouldn't do becomes ever more incredible.
But readers of this blog knew that anyway; not that you'd ever know that if all you were ever read were the effusions of columnists for 'The Times' who are married to journalists at 'The Daily Mail' whose brothers are Tory MP's. Got that? There are occasions when the web of relationships at the top of the British Establishment seems positively Oriental. It seems to generate the kind of genealogies that only a Hobbit would have the patience to record.
One would love to see how such persons as that 'Times' columnist would fare standing in line to apply for a minimum wage job, or trying to claim Incapacity Benefit.
However, Miss Rutter mutters that,
"There are some public services that migrants use disproportionately. Young migrants tend to be greater users of services used by similar age groups among the general population, for example sexual health and maternity services. Migrants also require translation and interpreting services and English language classes."
The provision of translation services is one thing - whether or not they are actually used is, well, quite another.

A Moderate Muslim Speaks

Here.

Henceforth, Shahid Malik will be referred to on this blog as 'Mr 5.40'; the point in his speech when he really gets going.

Dubai, The Adobe Civilisation of The Middle East

Sir Simon Jenkins has published an interesting piece on Dubai and its future; or rather, its lack thereof.
Dubai seems to be little more than an adobe-type, here today and gone tomorrow, kind of culture, built by coolies, paid for with laundered money and doomed to extinction. When it's gone, will anyone miss it?

An Open Letter To Professor Simon Schama

Although your efforts to secure President Obama's election were so single-minded that they went beyond satire, this rather disappointed fan turned critic still pays you the nominal courtesy of considering you to be a civilised man.
One knows of your academic interests in the Dutch Golden Age and the French Revolution. Accordingly, one cannot help but wonder what either Malesherbes or The Grand Pensioner might have thought of the President's disparaging remarks about the disabled. To my mind, your homeboy was telling the Tourettists, the dwarves and the spastics to get to the back of the bus.
I very much doubt that you share these negative attitudes; but as you sowed the venal and superficial politics of race, so must you reap them.
I guess that's my chance to ever hear you lecture, an intellectual experience I would dearly love to have, well and truly crocked. Never mind. We shall overcome.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

No To Proportional Representation!

The Laughing Duck That Haunts Her Sleep

A young darling named Abigail Gliddon, all teeth and tilted head, has published a commentary in today's 'Guardian' entitled 'Not in the name of marriage'.
Prefacing matrimonial musings with the words 'When and if I get married', does not inspire confidence. Miss Gliddon has no personal experience of the married state, yet already she knows that she will not take her husband's name. If she doesn't realise that her publication of that sentiment might just have made that 'if' a great deal bigger, Miss Gliddon also doesn't seem to know much about men.
While it is not at all uncommon for those who have no experience of things to opine on their validity - we can all hold views on the morality of warfare without having served in the military, for example, and our employment policies are formulated by a self-selected political class many of whose members have never done a proper day's work - the experience of marriage is so common that if comment upon it must be made, it would be better for the commentator to have some idea of what they're talking about; that is, if they don't wan't to be laughed at by unsophisticated provincial married men on the cusp of middle age, who have seven years' worth of scars from practicing divorce law on their back.
Marriages are properly described as being 'contracted'; perhaps Miss Gliddon thinks the same, as if marriage were a communicable disease, like scabies.
There is a banality to Miss Gliddon's musings which borders at times on the charming; and yet, and yet, and yet, she fails to see how she undermines the argument she is trying to make.
The purpose of marriage is to create a new family. That family is entitled to its own identity. One of the easiest ways for it to do so is for its members to share a name. The retention of a surname used before marriage indicates that a person identifies more strongly with the individual they were before marriage than with the new unit they have voluntarily joined (one assumes for these purposes that Miss Gliddon runs no imminent risk of being taken out of school to be married against her will to a cousin in Waziristan, a practice against which her feminist ire might be more properly directed; if she can stop thinking about herself for a minute). If you want to stay who you were before you were married, don't waste the vicar's time.
The retention of surnames is anti-marriage, and by extension anti-family. It is not surprising that the encouragement of surnames' retention should have occurred at the same time as the other monstrous assaults which materialism has made on the family and the married state. The reduction of a sacred state to a financial transaction is one of the biggest crimes that the cultural left is going to have to account for when they meet their Maker; as an aside, it never ceases to amaze me that many leftist and libertarian materialists, fixated as they are with manufactured stuff, can say with a straight face that they don't believe they were manufactured themselves. They believe that their existence is due to nothing but an entirely random set of factors which, if laid out in word form, defies all probability; including the Earth getting hit by an asteroid. The pure Darwinists therefore must be held to believe that in order for their guru to be correct, the sky had to fall in. I have never read 'De Bello Gallico' myself, but if my memory of what I was told about at school is accurate, it was at the point that the Gauls told Julius Caesar that they lived in fear of the sky falling in that he realised they could be beaten. Instead of believing that they were created, many materialists advocate attempting to manufacture other lives for their own purposes; quite forgetting that their attempts are doomed to fail, for the greater Maker has the patents on both the manufacturing process and the quality control.
Perhaps Miss Gliddon believes that marriages are manufactured, like pots and plates and doomed to obsolesence, and not created to endure like the marvellous works of art they can be; after all, nobody watches 'On Golden Pond' to marvel at the boat.
For all the rock 'n roll, should she ever decide that she wishes to get married, one really does wish Miss Gliddon well. During the course of her search, she might even fall in love, quite the most wonderful experience anyone can ever have. It is not just in the poorer type of Country and Western song that love makes fools of us all; it happens day in and day out, it ennobles women and it reforms men. Who knows? It might even keep Miss Gliddon from making references on MySpace as to how her interests include, in her words, 'The laughing duck that haunts my sleep'.
Well, at least it's a bit different from another spinster's public enthusiasm for 'moonwalking on slidey floors'.

'Just Because You Robbed The Grave Doesn't Mean You Killed The Guy'

There are times when it hard not to get angry.

The video attached to this link should provoke anger - righteous anger.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Proportional Representation Is Gang Warfare Upon The Public

In today's 'Guardian', both Jon Cruddas and Polly Toynbee recommend the introduction of proportional representation.
Since the reconstituted Scottish Parliament began sitting in 1999, the experience which we in Scotland have had with proportional representation is that it has proved to be nothing but a means by which some of the gangs we call 'political parties', and the thugs in their service, can obtain power, pay, position, perks and pensions at public expense that they would never get under first past the post. Proportional representation should not therefore be considered to be a means of ensuring wider and more democratic political representation, but a form of gang warfare perpetrated by political parties upon the public instead. Political parties' members benefit from it, while the necessity of forming coalitions makes public life less stable. And it is always minority parties which call for it. They see what the others have got, and they want a piece of the action.
That two voices so closely associated with Labour are now calling for PR does not indicate a degree of confidence amongst the party's membership that it remains a party capable of forming a government. Given the Labour Party's historic record of avoiding PR where it could possibly do so (it could not avoid doing so in Scotland, due to the extravagance of Tony Blair's commitments prior to the 1997 election), that some voices within the party are now speaking in favour of it should make the public very suspicious indeed.
The theory behind PR is perfectly rational; first past the post elections inevitably result in the creation of majority governments for which a minority of votes have been cast. However, the underlying fallacy behind advocacy of PR is that those voters whose parties are under-represented in first past the post are the bought and sold creatures of the parties for which they cast their vote at the last election; that such voters are utterly incapable of ever voting for any other party; and that as voters they are permanently excluded from influencing a choice of government. This is not so; the Hillhead bye-election of 1982 (I was raised in the constituency, was resident in it at the time and can remember it vividly) is a classic case in point.
The SDP's victory was as much due to the West End of Glasgow's upper-middle classes having been dazzled by Roy Jenkins's celebrity candidature as by anything either he or his party actually said. It is often said that politics is showbusiness for ugly people - by any standard, the late Lord Jenkins of Hillhead was one of the ugliest of celebrities. People who would never have voted for the Liberals on account of David Steel's sponsorship of the Abortion Act of 1967 trooped into the booths to vote for the creator of the abomination some call 'the civilised society'; a political irony if ever there was one. That he later lost the seat to George Galloway, of all people, is the certain proof of Powell's maxim that all political careers end in failure.
Proportional representation in Scotland has been an unqualified disaster. It has trivialised public life by enabling the election of self-imploding political wildmen like Tommy Sheridan, otherwise known as 'Pollok Pot, the Tartan Trot', and fanatics like the green on the outside, red on the inside little atheocrat Patrick Harvie. The 'List' system of proportional representation has brought the unedifying spectacle of politicians who have lost elections sitting in the Parliament nonetheless; Nicola Sturgeon, now Deputy First Minister, has participated in three elections to the Scottish Parliament, has lost two but has still worn the letters MSP after her name through thick and thin. As far as political parties are concerned, proportional representation really is a win-win deal - even when they lose, they win.
If we must have unstable government, then better for it to be a true government of the people, by the people, for the people kind of deal, than just seeing the same old faces laughing in the face of defeat - because even we reject them, they know they're going to win.

Pins



The cartoon in the picture appears in a newspaper owned by a company whose chairman is a Knight Commander of The Order of St. Gregory the Great.

Notice the depiction of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI's expression. It is malevolent, the image of a tortured, conflicted individual. That the Holy Father generally projects an expression of togetherness and calm which could put a Californian hippy to shame seems to have escaped the cartoonist.

Instead, they have chosen to depict Benedict XVI as something akin to Roland Rat. What's next? Cormac Murphy-O' Connor as Kevin the Gerbil? Basil Hume as Errol the Hamster?

The really intriguing thing about the cartoon is the cartoonist's ignorance of Papal history. The condom upon Benedict's XVI's head is intended to be a travesty of the Papal tiara. Pope Paul VI renounced his tiara, and all his successors have declined coronation. The cartoonist is therefore associating Pope Benedict XVI with an item of headgear he has never worn, about as absurd as depicting Barack Obama in a 'See You, Jimmy!' wig.

There is a moral for our cartoonists and satirists in this. When depicting popes wearing condoms on their heads, do not act like johnny-come-latelys.

The reason for this cartoon is that the Holy Father has once again mentioned the unmentionable, and spoken the truth that condoms are not the solution to the AIDS epidemic. All those committed internationalists who would be out of work if HIV and AIDS were ever to be brought under control in sub-Saharan Africa must have sighed and thought to themselves, 'Oh crap, the crazy old Bavarian fart's gone off on one again'; yet the fact remains that he's not wrong.

In 2004, I wrote a commentary on this very subject entitled 'The BBC's War On The Pope', concerning the very biased treatment that the state broadcaster gave it in a 'Panorama' programme entitled 'Sex and the Holy City'. If you want the science that condoms are not universally effective in reducing the rate of HIV infection, here it is, under a rather misleading title -

"This review indicates that consistent use of condoms results in 80% reduction in HIV incidence".

So, even with a consistent use of condoms, HIV infection is reduced by 80 per cent. Notice the presence of the word 'consistent'. Presumably no data exists on those victims of HIV whose partners were inconsistent. Even amongst those whose partners' concept of fidelity include insulation, as if the act of lovemaking were akin to lagging a pipe, their chances of contracting HIV still stand at one in five. Those are not good odds.

The published conclusion also presumably assumes that the condom manufacturing process adheres to the highest possible levels of quality control; a conclusion which, given the nature of the manufactured article's purpose and its intended durability, requires an enormous leap of faith. Sorry, but isn't it only crazy old Bavarian farts who do faith?

The expression 'the sex industry' is often defined all too narrowly as solely meaning the labours of 'sex workers'. However, it is surely appropriate to include the manufacture, distribution, advertising, promotion and sale of all types of contraceptives under the 'sex industry' banner. There is absolutely no reason why the grinders of pills and the hawkers of rubbers should be exempted from the contumely which still attaches to pornography and pimping. Without sex, the pornographer and the pimp goes out of business. Without sex, the grinders of pills don't get professorships, and the hawkers of rubbers don't get to run train companies.

It is difficult to formulate a riposte to this type of cartoon. That it's ineffably ugly anti-Papal, and by extension anti-Catholic, propaganda straight out of the Tudor era should be taken as read. Or seen. One can safely say that the cartoonist should be considered a propagandist.

Putting a pinpricked condom on the Pope's head also indicates to this writer that the cartoonist should be considered a pin.

The cartoonist should not feel offended; the slightly less civil ex facie competent alternative also certainly seems applicable.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Darkness Into Light

After nearly four years, I have become tired of a blogging format that some readers have claimed hurts their eyes. I think the new look is a bit smarter.

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Even to Eamonn Forde.
One would have thought that 'craic houses' would have been a better description of the Irish themed pub than 'craic cocoons'.

The Glob

It seems that we now have a global currency.

It should be labelled 'The Glob'.

No Fees

And it has long been a gross injustice that students should be forced to take student loans on account of policy decisions made by leaders who received student grants. It is not just a gross injustice - it is an injustice screaming to Heaven for vengeance. There was no talk of efficiency and book-balancing being required for Tony Blair when he was at Oxford; there should be no similar talk for his successors.
Tony Blair and Gordon Brown should fork out for all the freebies they got from the taxpayer when they were students before any youngster has to go in hock to the state. A university-educated population should be considered a universal benefit, and a university education should be considered not just a personal benefit to the educated; as the more idiotic coneheaded idiot economists seem to think.

David Aaronovitch, Elitist

It is hard to see what point the old Communist is trying to make in this piece, apart from defending elitism, and his right to bilge on the public.

Dulce Et Decorum Est

It is a good and noble thing to see David Frum, for a long time the world's least credible public intellectual, being wilded by conservatives.
He made a career out of saying that it was a good and noble thing for other men to die for their country.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Civil Liberties

Our police have too much power.
The comments of Allyn Thomas, Kent's Assistant Chief Constable, are quite chilling -
"By seizing items which could be used to commit a crime we were able to ensure criminal acts were not carried out and more importantly no one was injured by some of the items which potentially could have been used to harm others."
Has it just become illegal to keep a hammer in your own home? In the deadly arts of hand-to-hand urban combat, there is no more vicious weapon. Virtually any item can be 'used to commit a crime'; the commission of crimes has always been one of the most fertile areas of human creativity. Can any item be seized from you at any time on the basis that it 'might' be used to commit a crime?
Have the right to hold private property and the presumption of innocence both just been abolished without anyone noticing?

Get With The Program Now! Economics Is NOT A Religion!

One of the best Catholic blogs about is 'Under a Chindolea', written by two scholastics.
It has reported that Pope Benedict XVI has recently engaged in a dialogue on economics; the blogger holds forth in 'Comments'. I look forward to reading the published dialogue in full.
That the majority of economic thought is essentially religious in character should now be beyond dispute. If Lord Layard's delightfully dotty 'civil birthing ceremonies' can be compared to baptism, then regulation is clearly sinful, an obstacle in the path of achieving the economic vision. And there can be no better description of 'spontaneous order' than that is an economist's idea of Heaven.
The very idea of 'spontaneous order' is complete rubbish, of course; it has had plenty of opportunities to happen, and never has. As historians as diverse as Felipe Fernandez-Armesto and A. J. P. Taylor have pointed out, history itself is spontaneous. It just happens; and the last thing that history could ever be described as being is orderly.
Many so-called economic 'truths' are entirely ontological, just wordy mental gymnastics. If St. Thomas Aquinas hadn't taken a vow of poverty, their propagators could have given him a run for his money. The killing that David Ricardo made on The Battle of Waterloo, in the company of the Rothschilds, probably makes him, and not Patrick Sellar, the real father of 'disaster capitalism'. His theory of 'comparative advantage', the justification for free trade (which as history has often shown is usually neither free nor trade) is nothing but ontology; all theory, no evidence. Last year, when my wife asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I asked her to see if she could buy a copy of his 'Principles of Political Economy and Taxation' in Borders Glasgow. One could not be found. The fact that you can't buy a book usually means that there's not much interest in it (supply and demand, see? Economics is a religion of which even crazed Jesus-freak theocrats like me can grasp the basics). One wonders whether it is read even by students of economics. One wonders whether it is still even in print. Yet today's 'Times' carries an editorial from Lord Mandelson entitled 'Free trade is the gateway to recovery'.
To which one can only say, 'Prove it; and without recourse to buzzwords like 'sustainable', and without suggesting the necessity of global government implicit in the phrase '(t)he growth that comes with rising trade, especially in the developing world, has to be...properly managed.'
This is not a frightening piece; it is instead a frightened piece. All the little children who've run the game for so long might just be realising that the game could be about to stop. What they will do to keep it going is anyone's guess. Could an Inquisition be in the offing?