Monday, April 27, 2009

Banning websites

To get a flavour of the kind of disgusting little people that we libertarians are up against, why not have a look at this post from a... er... gentleman who tried to have the UK Libertarian Party website banned in the Netherlands (a tip of the horns to Bella).
I have asked the Netherlands Interior Ministry to censor the website of the United Kingdom Libertarian Party,, and the party's blog at The website is registered to the party's leader Patrick Vessey. The censorship is partial: I asked the ministry to add the sites to the national police blacklist. That means they would be blocked by several providers, including the largest in the Netherlands.

And on what grounds has "Paul" got for trying to block these sites?
The request is based on the central defects of libertarianism, which it got from its parent ideology liberalism. Primarily, the claim of absolute truth and universal validity for their own values, and the conviction that they are morally entitled to enforce these on others, against their will, and by force if necessary. Specifically, the request gives as grounds for prohibition of the website, that
  1. the United Kingdom Libertarian Party presents libertarian values, including an absolute ownership right, as if they were an absolute truth.

  2. the party seeks to subject others, against their will, to a libertarian society and to libertarian values.

  3. the party openly advocates a "libertarian government" that would rule over non-libertarians, and subject them against their will to libertarian policies, using the powers of the state.

  4. the party seeks to deliberately harm others, by depriving them (against their will) of the protection of the state, for instance by the abolition of minimum wages

  5. the party is reactionary, and its goal is a harsh Victorian society, where the poor are dependent on private charity

  6. it advocates a return to the gold standard

  7. the party advocates the maintenance of a national state, and of national sovereignty

  8. it advocates the detention of asylum seekers.

From this list of reasons—many of which apply to any political party, including those in the Netherlands—one can only conclude that Paul is, in fact, quite insane.

I particularly like the bit about LPUK's "goal" being "a harsh Victorian society, where the poor are dependent on private charity", although I cannot see why that is grounds for attempting to get a website blocked. It's also somewhat amusing to see LPUK—a party whose policies some write off as being too radical—described as "reactionary".

And since when was it wrong to "advocate the maintenance of a national state, and of national sovereignty"? I mean, national states actually exist: wouldn't it be weirder if we were advocating none?

Anyway, it's when Paul tries to justify his application for censorship with a free speech argument that he gets really silly.
There is no reason why I should not seek to block or close a website on the grounds of its content. Freedom of speech includes the freedom to advocate and seek censorship.

Um... Sure. But once that censorship is imposed, then freedom of speech no longer exists: and if we are going to try to pursue this silly argument, then the application to apply for censorship on the grounds of free speech also no longer exists.
The formal rights to free expression in constitutions and treaties - for example article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights - are directed at states, not at individuals. Laws, not constitutions, are directed at individuals, and there is no law that prohibits me from seeking censorship in any form.

Well, you see, Paul, you are applying for the government, i.e. a state, to use its power to enforce the censorship of a website that breaks no laws. As such, you are, in fact, inciting a state to use its power to break the ECHR conditions that it has signed up to. Do you see?

Whilst there may be no problem with you, as an individual, applying for censorship of certain websites, you, as an individual, would have no power to ensure that said censorship takes place, i.e. you require the state to ensure that certain carriers prevent other users from accessing the websites. And, as such, there is a problem: the state is using its monopoly legal power to block said websites when no crime has been committed.
Politically, there is also no reason why I should refrain from seeking state-enforced prohibition, when others do it all the time.

Lordy. If we are going for a tit-for-tat argument, how about this one: throughout history, many political regimes have murdered thousands upon thousands—even millions upon millions—of their own citizens; in fact, throughout the world, there are governments beating up, starving and killing their own citizens—governments do it all the time. So, Paul can have no objection—were I a ruler of a country—to me enslaving, murdering and torturing thousands of my citizens "when others do it all the time".

And given that this is the case, and to further illustrate what a moronic line of argument this is, one could thus say that Paul is openly advocating torture, slavery and murder on a grand scale. Perhaps I should apply to have his website blocked?

But it gets even sillier...
If the United Kingdom Libertarian Party hosted child porn on their website, and if I complained about that content, and if the UK police and providers blocked access, then how many people would object? Would it get any attention from third parties, or from anti-censorship campaigns? I doubt it. So what is the difference if I complain about its libertarian content, and try to get that blocked?

The difference, Paul, is that the creation and dissemination of child pornography is illegal—not just in this country, but pretty much universally. Libertarianism, or the advocacy of libertarianism, is not illegal (yet).

Luckily, the Dutch government is not stupid and rejected Paul's lunatic application in short order. I like to think of the official in question looking at the application, and giving a little sigh as he shakes his head in weary incredulity.

Unfortunately, nutjobs like Paul never give up—they just move onto another target...
I have asked the Netherlands Interior Ministry to censor the website of the Adam Smith Institute,

What the good citizens of the Netherlands think of Paul's solicitous actions on their behalf is not, alas, recorded. However, I do think it worth pointing out to said citizens that Paul has taken it upon himself to decide what you, the citizens of the Netherlands, are adult enough to handle: in short, he is accusing you all of being stupid and immature.

In other words, my Dutch friends, Paul, like any good dictator, has taken it upon himself to decide what is best for you because Paul believes that he is cleverer than you. Paul believes that he knows how you should run your life better than you do.

And that, my friends, is why I loathe socialists.


Ian B said...

This arse-about-face belief in anti-rights is surprisingly common on the Left, I'ev argued pointlessly with quite a few of these bastards. Basically their reasoning is, if we succeed in getting some type of libertarian state, then we are denying the rights of collectivists to coerce others. IOW, it's totalitarian to prevent totalitarianism. Alice, by speaking freely, has overridden Bob's right to prevent Alice speaking, kind of thing.

There's not much you can do with these people. They're just too far gone.

Bill Sticker said...

Whatever the pillock is, he's a complete and utter one. Comparing Libertarianism with child porn? He must be so far on the other side of the insanity event horizon it's small wonder what little brain he has hasn't imploded.

As an aside, I did wonder why the Dutch Ministry of Justice (Amused snort) had been sniffing around my paltry little blog. At the time I simply thought it was bored tech support.

truthversusevil said...

The guy also has a more recent post claiming Libertarians to be racists.

What the fuck?

Anonymous said...

That guy wants everybody to be the same. He wants everyone to earn the same amount, wear the same clothes, eat the same food, live in the same sort of house, not have any aspirations in life except to be taxed. Oh man his blog is soo boring. I can only read one paragraph of each post before I phase out. It's as if it was written by a robot. He hates the individual. Also I see the word Islam on a lot of his posts but the actual posts are too difficult to read without nodding off. So he is not only a robot but a racist one too..?

However he has helped me in one regard - now I know exactly what is so appealing about the LPUK. It shows that you are alive and human not just a number in the government database etc etc. Actually, to be honest I think socialism is a really good idea but there are two problems. 1, it doesn't work. 2, the people at the top are like Paul. This comment thread from Guido sums it up:

Lord Ashcroft says:
Conservatives believe in taxing everyone less. Money may then trickle down.

AC1 says:
Whereas socialists beleive they can rob people to make the country wealthy.

Capitalism is a positive sum game.
Socialism is a negative sum game.

Jacqui Smith says:
No. Socialists believe you can control people to make me wealthy

I bet Orwell's Goldstein actually lives in luxury and laughs away at the sad humans he has created alongside all the politicos from the other two countries.

Anonymous said...

Does Paul live next door to a coffee house?

TheFatBigot said...

The man's clearly a fruitcake. You see his ilk in the Royal Courts of Justice in The Strand every day, launching pointless and misconceived claims against anyone who has said or done anything they disagree with.

You don't need to go further than his first three points to see the incoherent upside-downness of his thinking. Point 3 is particularly brilliant - I love the concept of removing powers from the State being a oppressive use of State power to prevent people being subjected to the abolished powers.

I needed a good laugh tonight, thank you Mr Kitchen. Thank you also for adding me to your blogroll, I feel awfully important now.

Simon Dyda said...

Paul is apparently not only a fuckwit, but a whatthefuckwit as well.

William Cobbett said...

It merely shows the communists in their true light, nothing more. That's why in a revolutionary circumstance they are so dangerous, and have to be rounded up and shot. They can justify anything, and sadly, to deal with them, so must normal people. Defence of Liberty = Killing commies.

AsYouLikeIt said...

Unfortunately, the Dutch goverment is still stupid, always has been. Yours truly left that stinking cesspit of PC hell in 2000. The Dutch "Gutmensch" has worked its way into every strata of society, from the upper echelons of Government and boardrooms right down to the dole queue. You've got your fake charities in trumps, they've got their commissions that need to have an opinion of and influence over every conceivable topic under the sun. Obviously, one gets paid well for performing such altruistic deeds, as can be demonstrated by the fact that all that has been "bestowed" onto the Dutch people in the all too familiar top-bottom approach, somehow has not befallen their moral superiors in the shape of unsafe neighbourhoods to live in, falling academic standards in local schools and universities, rising taxes and the likes. No, these have been avoided by moving into all white "people-like-us" neighbourhoods and by sending their creamy white offspring to Montessori schools, thereby avoiding the riff raff.

Apologies, had to rant.

Mark Brentano said...

"[T]he United Kingdom Libertarian Party presents libertarian values, including an absolute ownership right, as if they were an absolute truth."

As we all know, in our post-modern enlightened times, absolute truths are off the menu. Every viewpoint, as well you know, is as valid as any other. And now, if you will excuse me, I have a rifle to clean.

Chris said...

The man is either a witless blockhead, or a very subtle troll. I would hope for the latter, but fear he is in fact the former.

Anonymous said...

I would like Paul to be banned on the basis that he is a first class cunt.

Idle Pen Pusher said...

This guy is too funny for words... you can't think he's serious, can you?

Anonymous said...

At least they've finalyl taken off the mask and let the whole world see the cancerous evil that lurks at the heart of the left.

They've stopped pretending to be democrats, stopped pretending to respect basic civil standards for political discourse and stopped pretending to be anything other than a totalitarian ideology bent on the annihilation of anyone and everyone who deviates from their beliefs by an iota.

I don't hate socialists because their opinions differ from mine. I hate them because, underneath their carefully-constructed social democratic exterior, is a heart of darkness, a being of pure evil whose sole goal is the blood-soaked elimination of anyone who won't bow before the socialist altar.

Prodicus said...

I wish to propose Paul as the mascot of the European Union. He can have his own collar and lead and be paraded around Brussels and Strasbourg. His main job will be to whine approvingly whenever Cohn-Bendit gets to his feet. His teeth will have to be removed lest he bite any passing Czech presidents. Still, small price to pay for finding one's niche in life, eh?

Prodicus said...

And the next WV up is CULTAMI.

Yes, you are indeed, but your spelling's lousy.

The Nameless Libertarian said...

He's right - freedom of speech does allow him to ask for things to be censored. And it also allows everyone else to shout "SHUT UP YOU FUCKING MORON" at him.


Anonymous said...

This one is a beauty - the guy is nuts.

The Filthy Smoker said...

Thanks for bringing this lunatic to my attention, DK. He's brightened up my Monday no end. So far I have learnt that:

- Obama is a "racist assassin"

- it should be a crime to buy a £50,000 yacht

- the death penalty is justified because people die of starvation

- libertarians are racist

- racial discrimination should be punishable by death

- the Dutch Labour party "hates fags"

- bankers should be sent to Guantanamo Bay


Tristan said...

I'd rather the poor (who in a libertarian society would arguably be fewer in number) being dependent upon private charity rather than the whim of state bureaucrats.
These are the same statists who upon breaking the legs of the poor congratulate themselves for giving their victims crutches.

Chalcedon said...

Paul is not insane, he is just an illiberal, illogical dickhead. His own arguments regarding free speech are self contradictory. It is good to know however that there are such people out there, in the crowd.

Hugo said...

"I love the concept of removing powers from the State being a oppressive use of State power to prevent people being subjected to the abolished powers."

Yes, it is odd, isn't it.

"the party seeks to subject others, against their will, to a libertarian society and to libertarian values."

Yes, it is this guy's will that he should be able to steal our money. And we want to prevent him stealing our money. Surely "no one should steal other's money" is the default position - you are not being "subjected" to it?

Mark M said...


Can a libertarian society even technically "subject others, against their will, to a libertarian society and libertarian values"?

Surely the point of libertarianism is that everyone is entitled to their own views. I suppose asking for logic from this man is a bit much.

wh00ps said...

I think I am going to have to start a whole new category on my blogroll for lunatics like this. On another note, do you think that item 6, a return to the gold standard, is what may hve earned his ire? After all, nations that refuse privately-owned central banks issuing fiat currency do not tend do have many friends internationally. Returning the UK to the gold standard would put us in the same group as North Korea and Iran...

Anonymous said...

Sense of humour bypass, he's clearly trolling. If it wasn't obvious enough from the tone, the gold standard point is the real stone cold giveaway.

Amazing that 15 years after trolling became common on the internet, so many still fall for it.

Anonymous said...

I don't think he's trolling. Look at the rest of his blog. Masses of it. Very few readers, though, judging by the lack of comments.

Hugo said...

"the Adam Smith Institute seeks to subject others, against their will, to 'free-market economic and social policies'"

Again, how can you be "subjected" to free market policies against your will? Surely it is the default position? I understand that plenty of people do not want to live in a free market, but free markets require the absence of laws. No one is being subjected - a free market is the absence of subjection.

Classic "positive rights" versus "negative" rights.

Anonymous said...

Good idea make LPUK.ORG illegal and then watch the site hit counter go through the roof

Anonymous said...

This is completely bizarre! It has to be a joke of some kind, or libertarian black ops trying to make out that leftists are even crazier than they are.

Otherwise Paul is a very nasty piece of work, whose arguments are only slightly more flawed than the arguments used by those in government and journalism wishing to censor and regulate. The sad thing is, the voting public actually fall for it a lot of the time.

neil craig said...

Well Genghiz Khan, Napoleon & Long John Silver believed in the gold standard (#6). What more evidence do you need?

String 'em up I say & the global warming sceptics & the athiests & the people that vote for mingers & people who have sex for purposes other than procreation &.....

wh00ps said...

hey don't steal my thunder i'm only just getting used to being considered a crazy right-wing extremist ;-) i haven't even had to shave my head or anything. if he's taking the piss i'm gonna be all deflated...

Anonymous said...

I've been reading "Why is Libertarianism wrong?" - same author, it seems - and if he is trolling, then he's very committed to it.

What I find really weird is his belief that a free market isn't one of the most basic and universal forces that exists in a human society. He talks of Libertarianism being "forced" on people. This is rather like suggesting that gravity is unnatural and Governments should try to free non-gravitarians from its effects.

Anonymous said...

Stalin would be proud of him, he's on the same level of madness.
Perhaps he would like to feel what a state enforced police boot feels like! bloody hoon.

David Davis said...

Why don't all you buggers go and comment on his post, at his, like I have (tried to) do/done?


for what I sent him.

I have not been yet to see if it's been allowed on by him, but I will.

Let's all pay the blighter a visit, eh? I think we ought to re-institute the term "a rhubarb". You can all look up what that was if you did not already know.

Mitch said...

Ot but amusing

global warming you say.

wh00ps said...

I'm game david but i wouldn't bet on them being published.

wh00ps said...

I take it back, David Davis' was published. Maybe Paul wasn't at his desk since this morning?

Arjan said...

Though he 's just calling himself "Paul" on the blog, i'm pretty sure this is Paul Treanor. Previously he wanted the death penalty for millionaires. He is a well known nutcase in the Netherlands, but a pretty smart one.

Smidgeon said...

>the party openly advocates a "libertarian government" that would rule over non-libertarians, and subject them against their will to libertarian policies, using the powers of the state.

Objecting to libertarianism on *libertarian* grounds. Genius.

John Bull said...

In his piece about censoring Wiki is the immortal line:-

"They promote a right-wing view of the world, and censor and manipulate content, to deceive the reader."

So he wants to censor and manipulate the content of Wiki because it censors and manipulates content.

Leftism is all about hypocrisy and unintended irony.

neil craig said...

Anybody who reads any wiki article on flobal warming can see in which direction it censors. There are examples of sceptical scientists entering corrections about what they personally have said to see wiki immediately deleting them.

Anonymous said...

As has been said before, most leftists believe at heart that they have a right to enslave people, and that your claim to freedom denies them that right and so is totalitarian. This is the only way they can square the simultaneous belief that the community can impose upon the individual however it pleases with the belief that they are liberals who believe in free speech &c. and that liberty is good.

However mostly this is just an implicit assumption they're not consciously aware of. The vast majority of the time they either refuse to accept this is a necessary consequence of their views or else change their views when it's pointed out to them (usually the first one, disappointingly). To discover someone who realises this idiotic contradiction, embraces it and then bases their whole political philosophy around it is a rare find indeed.

That said, don't you think it gives this crazy little man rather more attention that he deserves to do an in-depth fisking rather than just posting a link to allow us to stare through the bars of his lunatic asylum/blog.

John Demetriou said...

Jesus. This is scary and depressing shit.

Well written mate and well flagged up.

It's alarming and fairly insulting to think that there are anti-freedom of speech tossers out there that blast the Libertarian party for being...'reactionary'. The tool needs either a thesaurus or a new brain.

regards to all

John Demetriou

Paul said...

The site referred to clearly is a spoof; the ridiculous leaps of (il)logic are just too obvious to be taken seriously.

Looking at a link posted earlier on this comment thread, it seems that it is indeed Paul Treanor, whoever that is.

I suspect that much of this spoof is aimed at readers of the anti-Islamic weblogs mentioned earlier.

Although I referred to that site as a spoof; I think the term 'cariacature' would be more appropriate, as there is a very real tendency towards seemingly contradictory authoritarianism in some hard-left 'thinkers'.

As somebody said earlier, it could well be someone on the sensible side conducting undercover operations for the purposes of satire.