Friday, November 26, 2010

No promises...

... but—dear fucking god!—the rage is back with a vengeance. I leave for a few days, and the world goes batshit mad...

What are these cunts playing at...?

In the meantime, I can only recommend this article—written by someone called Jonathan David—at a site called Liberty Cabal (which seems to feature some old blogging chums of mine). It deals with the ludicrous "general wellbeing" crap that our massively fore-headed twat of a Prime Minister seems so keen on (although David does publish a correction to one point).

In the meantime, I am unlikely to return here, I think. But, frankly, you never know...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sound The Last Post...?

My last post notwithstanding, your humble Devil finds himself unable to comment on anything at present.

I simply don't have the will or inclination to write, or even care, about politics at the moment. And even if I did express myself in terms which would lead to some catharsis, I would probably find myself in court.*

In many ways, Al-Jahom has expressed my current feelings rather eloquently.
So what’s changed? Why the quiet? Wither the fury?

Well, rage, anger and fury spring from the tiny hope that things can get better.

And so these vigorous emotions have given way to abject despair. You can see for yourself in the archives that the cynic in me never really expected things to be any different under the new lot. But I had to hope that the end of the Blair/Brown era would be a watershed.

And now what hope there was, however silly it might have been, is all but extinguished.

Nothing has changed. Nor will it.

The Labour monster was cast out and the dying hydra’s heads are snapping at each other furiously. It’s an amusing sideshow, but it’s of little consequence.

I’m not expecting the burden of taxation to ever be reduced in real terms. We have already been shown what we suspected – that Cameron’s pledges on the EU are meaningless, because Lisbon trumps the need for further legislation or treaty changes. The lights will still be going out before the end of this parliament, thanks to the influence of the Lib Dems on energy policy. I don’t expect to walk into a pub where I can smoke ever again. I don’t expect the police to be reformed for the better. I don’t expect the CPS to be taken in hand. I don’t expect family justice, or the judicial and punitive bias against men to improve. I don’t expect appeasement of radical Islam to decline. I don’t expect the transport system to improve; overcrowding, no new roads, vainglorious rail projects, hellish airports, spiralling costs, penalties and delays.

And a million Prima Donnas are crying about some marginal cuts to their pet projects?

So you see, *sigh*… What’s the fucking point?


I want to stress that I am not a Tory, not—god forbid—a LibDem. I don't agree with most of the stuff that they are doing (or not doing): and in those areas in which I agree with in principle, I disagree with the way in which they are executing them.

I started blogging almost six years ago now: it's a long time in which to keep on writing about the same frustrations. But there were a couple of things that kept me going.
  • The first was the political and philosophical journey that was developing. I started off, roughly, as a Tory who disagreed with some Tory policies and actions; sometimes, what I read—on blogs, not in the MSM—made me reassess my allegiances, and to rethink my position on a number of things. And as I became exposed to more economic and political theory, I started to understand that there was a vocabulary for the things that I believed.

    This vocabulary belonged to a philosophy called "libertarianism"; it was a philosophy of hope, of faith in human nature, and a method that outlined how an individual's great potential might be realised. And it was a philosophical and political structure that I believed—believe—in utterly.

    That journey that I made, however, has stopped. I am a libertarian, and I will be a believer in libertarianism until I die. As Steve Baker MP said at the Libertarian Alliance Conference a couple of weeks ago (and I admit, I may paraphrase slightly), "we are The Good Guys. We are the only ones who do not believe in coercing people to live their lives as we deem fit."

  • The second reason to keep blogging was that there was some hope of change in the near(ish) future. Now, we have seen that change, and it is no change at all.

    We are ruled by same loathsome, lying, corrupt, venal bastards rule over us: they are simply wearing slightly different novelty masks. Indeed, the simple fact that I must write the words "we are ruled" is sign enough that nothing has changed.

    We are in for another five years of the same "dreadful, overbearing and untrustworthy" government as we have had for the past thirteen. And then? Well, either these same awful people will be returned to power or the Other Lot of awful shit-bags—the ones that we've only just got rid of—will be brought in instead. Again.

    And no matter which bunch of bastards we are forced to elect to Parliament will make little difference: the state will continue expanding, we will continue to pay more tax, society will become more atomised and dangerous, business will become more difficult, civil liberties will be removed, everyday pleasures will be ever more circumscribed and punished and our lives will continue to be a little bit harder and more miserable with every year that passes.

There seems to be little point in railing about anything because, with the politicians in power, nothing ever changes—no matter what the colour of the government's tie.

Take the whole Climate Change thing; we, the sceptics, are winning the scientific argument. The ClimateGate exposure of the shitty code and the dirty tricks employed by climate scientists sent waves around the world; now, the IPCC is threatened and the people, in general, believe that they have been deceived.

And yet the government carries merrily on, making our lives more expensive, curtaining energy and killing poor, brown people.

So what was the point—why did we bother fighting?

So, the main point is that I simply cannot bring myself to comment on the crap that is going on around us; I want to concentrate on making enough money to ensure that myself and my wife can, at the last, escape all of this shit. When the end of our great liberal civilisation finally comes, we can leave the stinking socialist hellhole that Britain is fast becoming.

Once I would have wished to take everyone with me, but the people of this country have shown that they don't care about freedom, they don't care about liberty—they would rather have their cotton wool prison. So now my considered opinion is, "you wanted this—you can go fuck yourselves."

Now, I'll admit that I have suffered from blog fatigue before and I have even previously announced my retirement. I will even admit that I found that doing so—being released from the need to write—actually returned to me the desire to do so. And it may be the same this time too.

But, the way I am feeling at present, it is looking a little unlikely.

I won't say that I am retiring, or that The Kitchen (or The Knife) is dead—as before, I may prove myself wrong. But what I will say is that—right now, at this moment—I feel no desire to write, and cannot see that desire returning. But, as I keep saying, it might do (do keep me on your Feedreaders).

Until that time—should it come—good luck to you all.

Ave atque vale.

* To be fair to Polly Toynbee (god, how I hate to write those words), despite the many brickbats thrown her way, she has never acted in the petty, vicious, pusillanimous way that the evil Yasmin Alibhai-Brown has done. So all credit to Pol.**

** I feel dirty just writing that sentence.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Not dead...

... only I've been on holiday, and have come back to piles of work.

Your humble Devil will be back in a couple of days, when I've had a chance to catch up on the news and views...

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Tapeworms and seals

Thanks to the ghost, dressed in a shabby Greek toga, who sent me this rather amusing story...
OLYMPIA -- James Vaughn of Orting doesn't think much of state government, judging from the initiative he filed with Secretary of State Sam Reed's office this week.

Vaughn's proposal consists mainly of a few pages of complaining about the many taxes businesses and individuals here have to pay.

In honor of those taxes, he proposes to change the Seal of the State of Washington - currently an image of George Washington - to "a tapeworm dressed in a three pieced suit attached to the taxpayer's rectum."

It won't get voted on, of course, but wouldn't it be nice if we had a similar, official mechanism?
As Reed spokesman David Ammons notes in the office's blog:
"For five bucks and an idea, anyone can file an Initiative to the People - and they do. Most are very serious, while others can be kooky or simply send a message."

And no, I don't think that sending a rude letter to your MP is really quite the same...

On leadership...

The wife has a post up in which she discusses some issues around leadership, Obama, politics and the general shit we inflict on ourselves (mainly, politicians' egos).
At least back in the day, those couple of dudes were honest about it: ‘I’m the best fighter, peasant, and if you don’t do what I say, I’ll do you.’

Now, the justifications are a lot more spurious. On the one hand, you have the politician, who starts with ‘I’ve consulted and studied and learned and listened, so vote for me,’ then moves to ‘Lots of people voted for me, so STFU,’ and ends with ‘I’ve got the bombs, motherfucker.’

Do go and read the whole thing...

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Will statists miss libertarian blogs? Unlikely

Via ChickenYoghurt (who used to be quite comfortable linking to libertarian blogs, once upon a time), I find this article on Comment Is Free which asks whether the decline of the angry libertarian blogosphere is something to mourn.

Inevitably, it mentions your humble Devil's less than impressive showing on The Daily Politics (to which the first blockquote refers) and, of course, the comments are a joy. When defending the libertarian blogosphere, I got increasingly carried away but also articulated a number of things which I have been vocalising for some time. As such, I thought that I would repost my comment here.
... when you knew how uncomfortable he was defending his stuff in public.

Except that I have defended my style in public a number of times.

What I was uncomfortable doing was defending my style whilst ostensibly representing other people.
That says a lot about UK libertarians because nothing affects your liberty as much as losing your job and having no money.

Um. Apart from being locked up without trial. But hey! the government's only doing that to brown people—it'll never happen to you, so who cares, eh?

Many of us were, indeed, very rude about statists—and many are still are. That is because we find ourselves simply unable to understand why they continue to advocate yet more statist intervention when it any empirical figures show that these interventions make the poor worse off; we also find it massively insulting when the Left maintain that they care about the poor when they are not only ignoring the fact that they are harming those who are worst off, but they are also just as privileged as we "fatuous old Etonian tossers".

It is also frustrating when Leftists attack us for being Tories who would bring Section 28 in again, and persecute gays or some other bunch of minority; this is based on a fundamental, blinkered and, frankly, ignorant view of what libertarianism is.

The Libertarian philosophy is very simple:
You can do whatever you like provided that you do not initiate force or fraud against someone's life, liberty or property.

And "whatever you like" includes giving to charity, helping out your local community and generally improving the lot of both yourself and your fellow human beings.

Now, some libertarians simply are not interested in doing so; they just want to live their lives in splendid isolation. Fine—they should be able to do so.

Others, like myself, have a fundamental belief in a libertarianism that is not isolationist—that does advocate voluntary collectivism. But the key word in that clause is "voluntary".

If you do not believe in voluntary actions, then you are an authoritarian: you believe in using violence in order to force others to support your aims.

And how can that be right, when there are 60 million people in this country with aims and desires that might not—indeed, probably do not—match yours? Who are you to use force to compel them to give up their dreams in order to fulfil yours?

This attitude is not only dangerous and arrogant but, to a libertarian, morally wrong.

Can you wonder that libertarians get so angry about the perpetration of violence and coercion on others? Can you not understand why we rage when those same dictators turn around and tell us that we are immoral and evil?

Fundamentally, libertarians are despised by statists—on all sides of the political spectrum—because we tell them that they cannot play with their toys any more. And we do so because those are not toys: they are real people—individuals, with individual lives and individual desires.

It is not we libertarians who are immature and immoral, for it is the statists who believe that they should be allowed to play with their toys—regardless of the actual lives that they might ruin.

Oh, but the other reason that I will miss many of the bloggers who have ceased to be is that they were funny; I suspect that the blogosphere is heading not for a more "mature" period, but a more po-faced period.

And perhaps Steven Baxter is right, and "the posts will become more nuanced and less aggressive"; but I suspect that the whole rigmarole will become far less fun.

Indeed, I suspect that it already has.

Quote of the Day...

... comes from a stirring article by James Delingpole—a piece which I heartily recommend that you read in full.
Wherever you go, even if it’s somewhere run by a notionally “conservative” administration, the malaise you will encounter is much the same: a system of governance predicated on the notion that the state’s function is not merely to uphold property rights, maintain equality before the law and defend borders, but perpetually to meddle with its citizens’ lives in order supposedly to make their existence more fair, more safe, more eco-friendly, more healthy.

And always the result is the same: more taxation, more regulation, less freedom. Less “fairness” too, of course.

The reason that I pick out that section, rather than any one of the other excellent paragraphs, is because it neatly sums up what I, as a minarchist libertarian, believe are the legitimate functions of the state: to...
... uphold property rights, maintain equality before the law and defend borders

And I believe that the state should do these things not because I am ideologically a minarchist—for I am not—but because I don't believe that humanity is yet ready for an anarchist state. And, as always, I am interested not in pure ideology (although it informs my practical advocacy) but in the best possible outcome.

I believe that a state that performs those three important functions, and only those three important functions, provides the best possible balance between freedom and security.

Like Tim Worstall, I believe that (in humanity's present state) there are some things that a government can do better than a group of individuals can: national defence is one of those things.

I do not think that the state should be providing healthcare or unemployment benefits or education or Child Benefit—and I strongly object to its National Insurance system that destroyed and continues to crowd out better, freer, more efficient, voluntary community solutions.

I certainly object to—and am horrified by—the way in which the provision of these services has enabled governments to justify quite disgusting intrusions into our private matters, our lifestyles and our day-to-day activities.

I am outraged by the way in which governments have seized control of our schools in order to brainwash generations of children with state propaganda, feeding them a one-sided story of civilisation—a story that includes the Welfare State as saviour and which mentions Friendly Societies not at all.

Dellers maintains that the Tea Party are the ones who will save us, but I am not so sure; although their grass-roots origins are laudable, they have foolishly lost the propaganda war—the Tea Partiers have allowed the leftist media to paint them as backwards, religious loons and, as such, said media has destroyed the movement's value as a motivational tool outwith the US itself.

Despite the slow-down in the libertarian blogosphere, those who are still going are now moving towards carrying out actions to minimise state intrusion. But, generally, they are doing so as a "don't tread on me", movement of their own lives off the state's books. We do not seem to have a general movement calling for the removal of the state from society as a whole.

It is the latter that I am interested in—and yet I find that this movement is no further forward under Our New Coalition Overlords™ than it was under NuLabour. As Delingpole observes, this struggle is carrying on almost all Developed Countries, and there seems to be no change in sight.
Sure there’s no comparison (well not that much) between Obama’s US and Stalin’s Soviet Union; Coalition Britain and Mao’s China; Julia Gillard’s Australia and Queen Ranavalona’s Madagascar; sure the war we’re currently fighting doesn’t involve mass destruction like that of World Wars I and II. But it’s precisely because the ideological struggle we’re currently engaged in is so seemingly democratic and innocuous that it is in fact so dangerous. With Hitler and Stalin it was easy: the enemy was plain in view. Today’s encroaching tyranny is an of altogether more subtle, slippery variety. It takes the form of the steady “engrenage” – ratcheting – of EU legislation; of the stealthy removal of property rights and personal liberty under the UN’s Agenda 21; of the eco-legislation created by democratically unaccountable bodies like America’s Environmental Protection Agency; of the stealthy encroachment of the Big Government into the most intimate recesses of our daily lives – not just under barely disguised socialist administrations like Obama’s even under notionally “Centre right” ones such as Cameron’s or Sarkozy’s. When the Enemy is as sly and insidious as that, it’s much much harder for the increasingly oppressed populace to rouse itself to the appropriate state of alarm and rebellion.

And that, I think, is the problem. And as I say, unlike James, I cannot see how the Tea Party will be of help to us in this increasingly benighted isle. After all, how can we possibly fight against the kind of attitude displayed by one of Snuffy's pupils?
She proudly announces that she’s been living in France. I’m impressed and secretly pleased because maybe I had something to do with that. I ask her what she’s been doing there. She has done a stint as an au pair and has spoken lots of French. There she is, all grown-up, all of twenty-two or -three, living abroad. So far from the little girl who thought I was hyper.

I smile. “So what are you doing now?”

“I’m going back to France, man! Can’t stay here! This country is S—!”

I’m slightly stunned by the force of her condemnation. “What do you mean? What’s so awful about it?”

Trendy hops from foot to foot. “This country is going just C–P, man! With these Tories, man, no one can afford to do anything here!”

“Is it that bad?” I wince, still somewhat baffled by her genuine anger at what Britain has to offer.

She taps her forehead to suggest I’m being silly. “Yeah, man! Look, even my mum said it, you know. She said, “Put my name down on the list, but it’s ‘long ting’, you know!” She throws her arm in the air. “Nah, man! Too long! I ain’t waiting!”

We chat briefly before Trendy leaps back into the van and disappears down the road.

I look at my friend as we trundle along. “The list?”

My friend nods. “Yeah… the housing list.”

I stop us in our tracks and grab hold of my friend’s arm. I want to scream. This country is s— because it isn’t giving out free flats? Have we all lost our minds?

No, not all of us have lost our minds—but our corrupt and ineffectual political system has meant that we have lost our voices.

Of course, those of you who have not lost your minds, but have lost your faith in our political masters, should join the Libertarian Party.

Monday, November 01, 2010

These people are morons

On Friday night, your humble Devil highlighted the fact that—as Wat Tyler pointed out—we do not actually calculate household income through the tax system and, as such, enforcing the cut in Child Benefit was going to be a bit damn difficult.

It seems that, belatedly, Our New Coalition Overlords™ have realised that they might have made a bit of a boo-boo and they are taking steps to remedy the problem.

Now, which route do you think that they have taken? Is it:
  1. the government has decided to approach it in a different way, or
  2. the government has decided to use the threat of violence in order to get its own way.

If you answered "2", then give yourself a pat on the back: the super Coalition has, indeed, decided to use the threat of violence to back up their stupid policy.
Higher rate taxpayers could be fined if they fail to declare they have a partner receiving child benefit, when cuts are introduced in 2013.

The Treasury has confirmed that "penalties" would be issued in cases of non-disclosure of earnings.

It follows reports that Treasury sources have said a plan to stop child benefit payments to couples with one higher rate taxpayer is unenforceable.

What the hell...?

Look, cutting benefits is the right policy. Cutting child benefit absolutely right: why the hell should I be taxed to pay for other people's lifestyle choices—especially when those people are earning multiples of my salary? And, apparently, Child Benefit is paid out for "children" up to 19! 19! For fuck's sake.

But, equally, the law in this country quite clearly states that any citizen has the right to organise their affairs in a way that minimises their tax liability; by extension, this also means that any citizen has the right to organise their affairs in such a way that they maximise their benefits receipts.

Whether you think that the withdrawal of Child Benefit is right or wrong is irrelevant: it should be done in such a way that citizens can comply with the law—this nebulous crap is stupid and wrong.

These people are idiots.

UPDATE: your humble Devil would like to apologise for the general incoherence of this post, but I find myself literally speechless at the crass stupidity of Our New Coalition Overlords™. Everything that they touch turns to shit.

NuLabour might have been incompetent, authoritarian bastards, but this lot are not much less authoritarian but, more pertinently, seem to be attempting to win an award for being stunningly, unbelievably incompetent.

NHS Fail Wail

I think that we can all agree that the UK's response to coronavirus has been somewhat lacking. In fact, many people asserted that our de...