I recommend this report by Danny Weston (guest writing at Bishop Hill) of a talk at the London School of Economics given by NASA’s James Hansen. Hansen is a manic climate alarmist, and the audience was almost entirely other manic climate alarmists. But Weston himself managed to get a question in edgeways.
To echo many of the Bishop Hill commenters, congratulations to Danny Weston for attending this event, for spoiling the party by actually expressing doubts out loud about what Hansen said, and above all for writing his report of the event, for an influential climate skeptic blog.
Opponents, however manic, need to be listened to, and argued against. The point is often made here by commenters that arguing against such people as Hansen and this LSE audience is a waste of time and effort, and there is a definite and entirely understandable trace of this feeling in Weston’s own report. Wrong, wrong, wrong. In among that audience were other doubters besides Weston, a few of whom identified themselves to Weston afterwards sotto voce, congratulating him for what he said. Genuine undecideds, and even some of the majority who flatly disagreed with Weston, may also have been impressed by Weston’s sheer guts, as well as by his arguments. And by writing it all up, Weston greatly reinforces this silent bystander effect.
Weston ends his report with these words:
All in all a thoroughly depressing experience.
I hope that responses like this, and like the many other positive comments at Bishop Hill likewise full of congratulation and admiration, will have cheered Weston up a bit, and maybe even a lot.
Everyone in America who cares knows that President Obama has for years been encouraging his supporters within the governmental machine to use their governmental powers to harass his political opponents. You have to be deaf, dumb, blind, and living a lot further away from America than I do, not to have known about this for a long time. When it comes to IRS harassment of those he objects to, President Obama has been behaving absolutely as transparently as he promised he would.
To talk now of a “smoking gun” is like witnessing the Battle of Waterloo and saying: “Hah! A smoking gun! Over there!” True, but daft.
A serious defence of President Obama in this matter, from him or from anyone else, cannot be based on the claim that he has not been behaving as he has been behaving. The serious argument is about whether it matters how he has been behaving, and if it does matter, whether it is a good or a bad thing. To defend Obama, as his wiser supporters already realise, must mean defending what he has quite obviously and publicly been doing.
Which might well work, because it is also clear that a great many Americans do agree with what President Obama has been doing. They want big government, and they want the big government they already have to silence anyone who doesn’t want big government.
Sad to say, the thing about which I know the most is the one about which I can say nothing except point you to what is public domain. Here is the video which XCOR released after we got a 67 second burn out of our LOX/Kerosene engine. That was about the max we could go with the tankage we had for that test series. It is also the first dual reciprocating pump fed rocket engine ever fired. Can you say “reliable” and “low maintenance”? Stay tuned for further developments this summer.
Although I was on the test stand crew, I was not assigned to console duties in the test bunker that day. If you look closely in the background, you will see me with an idiotic grin developing as it becomes obvious we are going all the way with the burn. Had I not known I was on camera I would probably have given a rebel yell at shutdown.
Sometime in the next year four of those engines, in a non-teststand form, will give our pet astronaut a kick in the seat which will put a similar smile on his face.
Perhaps I should call this Part II since I recently posted my photos of the first flight of Richard Branson’s SpaceShipTwo: I was even thinking of doing a series to update our readers when I posted that article. Unfortunately the rest of the stories had to wait for these few mostly free hours on a late Sunday afternoon.
There are really big things brewing in the world of NewSpace. This is no long the realm of a bunch of cash starved spacers of the wild eyed variety. The recognition that just maybe they were wrong and we were right has got to be scaring the bejesus out of their financial offices. In some senses there is nothing new under the sun. It the same curve of accelerating technological change that overturned the IT business over 20 years ago. It has just taken a couple more decades to smash into the somewhat more difficult realms of aerospace.
For my first exhibit: SpaceX. By now most of you have heard of them. In about a decade, from a cold start, they have brought 3 different enginesl 2 different expendable launch vehiclel, a two way cargo capsule that is already passenger capable in an emergency; a large production facility in California, launch facilities at Kwajelein Island and at Spaceport Florida, and an engine test stand and test pad in Texas. They have booked enough business in the satellite market to put a serious bite into the competition. I believe three of those fully commercial, non-test flights will be happening this year with the first of them next month in June. In the Falcon 9 a rocket in the lift class needed for many commercial or government jobs, one which has proven operationally that where other vehicles fail, it just keeps going, a regular Duracell bunny of a rocket. Even an engine shutdown and a dynamic pressure caused collapse and spitting out of an engine bell does not slow it down. No one else can turn a launch vehicle around from an a pad abort where engines have fired… within an hour or two. No one. And to top it off they did the entirety of it for less total cost than the big aero guys are spending on their cost-plus throw away escape system.
And as the commercial says… wait, there’s more! They are in the process of certifying their own spaceport at Brownsville, Texas, where they will be having rockets not only launch… but come back and land when done. If you watch the Grasshopper flight below, bear in mind this is a 10 story building that climbs to 263 feet in the air, balances on a pillar of fire, then sets itself down exactly on the intended spot as soft as you please. I have had far rougher landing in commercial airplanes.
If all goes to plan, we can expect them to flight test these on the three upcoming commercial launches. After the booster separates it is scrap metal just waiting to meet its oceanic junk yard. Elon is going to wring the squeel out of that pig and it is going to fire its engine to attempt a controlled re-entry and it will be brought to a temporary hover some feet over the water. Maybe they will accomplish it on the first flight, maybe not for many flights. However many it takes, they will beat it and the cost of the tests will be a very small marginal cost since they would be dumping it in the water and it is already paid for anyway.
Once they have a handle on that procedure, they will fly it back to Brownsville and land it on a pad, just like in the test video. Then they will check it out, gas up the tanks and fly her again. They will next do something similar with the second stage. This will be a bit more difficult but at the end of their development program is a very big pot of gold. They will be many years ahead of all the competition, even national governments. They will have a fully reusuable, heavy lift, ‘man rated’ launch system that will drop the cost to orbit by anywhere from a factor of 10 to 100.
At that point the rest of the launch vehicle suppliers might as well pack up and go home. SpaceX is going to dominate the commercial launch market.
And then they are going to Mars. After all, you didn’t think Elon was doing this just for the money did you?
This week, thanks to unprecedented levels of Congressional and mainstream media scrutiny of the actions of the Obama administration, the American people have been given a powerful insight into the way in which this presidency has operated. For far too long, the Obama administration has acted like an imperial court rather than a government that is accountable to the nation. The White House’s culture of arrogance and impunity, coupled with a deeply unpleasant vindictiveness, is increasingly there for all to see. Suppression of political dissent, a callous disregard for the loss of American life in Benghazi, and the relentless rise of big government – these will be three of the most of enduring images of Barack Obama’s imperial presidency.
In some ways, however, one could argue that the thuggery, deviousness and unpleasantness of this administration – and let’s not forget the Fast and Furious scandal, which is arguably the worst of all of them – in some ways shows that Barack Obama and his colleagues are not particularly crafty men (and women). If they were really as smart as some think, they would not have allowed some of these disasters to have seen the light of day. Perhaps what the stories suggest is that – as Brian Micklethwait suggested in a comment thread note the other day – that years of enjoying a placid, supine MSM meant that Obama and his colleagues got cocky. They probably thought that no matter how bad behaviour was, whether it was the ACORN episode, the blame-the-other-side nonsense over the budget impasse, Fast and Furious, Libya, insults to old friends (the UK, Poland), failure to shut down Gitmo (as promised), the IRS harassments, the AP phone record stories, etc, etc, that nothing would happen. Jon Stewart would continue to mock mostly Republicans. The MSM would, at most, treat these and other episodes as distractions. (At Reason magazine, here is an example, nicely dissected.) But I think what the administration failed to see is that even in a situation like this, cockiness will lead to a series of disasters and scandals so bad that even usual allies wake up. There is a certain inevitability. The passing of time means memories of how glamorous and appealing Obama seemed have faded.
Another point is that when Obama was elected, the expectation was enormous, although commentators at the time, such as Glenn Reynolds in the US and James Delingpole in Britain pointed out the gulf between the rhetoric, the image, and the reality. That gap has become so vast, and so difficult to ignore, that the media coverage of Obama is getting worse and worse. And all the while voters in the US are understanding that the sort of people who run the IRS will be running healthcare. Marvellous.
Rape, enslavement, child prostitution go unpunished for years. The victims’ complaints are dismissed by social services. The accusations are not seriously investigated by the police. With a few honourable exceptions the politicians and the media won’t even discuss the issue.
No one disputes that the crimes themselves are the responsibility of the criminals, but who is to blame for the conspiracy of silence?
Why, the first man to break it, of course!
In the comments to my earlier post, Jaded Voluntaryist pointed out an article by Sean Thomas in the Telegraph “…which blamed Nick Griffin for the events in Oxford, since by talking about this issue no-one wants to talk about way back in 2004, he made it impossible for anyone else to talk about it seriously. Yes, I’m sure if he had kept schtum it would have all been sorted out years ago…”
Mr Thomas has wisely opted not to allow comments. They would be radioactive.
As long ago as 2001, Nick Griffin, the leader of the BNP, was making claims about Asian grooming gangs. In 2004 he repeated these allegations in a speech clandestinely recorded by the BBC for a TV documentary, Secret Agent. He was arrested and charged with inciting racial hatred.
Which is exactly what he was doing, of course. He was making his allegations to stir up ethnic strife. Right-thinking people, aware of the BNP’s record as liars, presumed that these stories were just racist demagoguery. No doubt Griffin feels vindicated today: for telling the truth before anyone else. And yet it was thanks in part to his thuggish intervention that society felt able to ignore the scandal. And thus the abuse continued.
[UPDATE 17 MAY 09.45: As those viewing Samizdata on the morning of 17 May will have seen, I tried to edit a minor error in the post and somehow deleted the text from this point onwards. A kind person has emailed me the lost text, which now follows. I will gradually reinsert the links. Apologies for this interruption - NS]
…a jury at the Old Bailey convicted seven men responsible for running an underworld child sex abuse ring in the Cowley area of Oxford of 43 charges of rape, child prostitution, trafficking and procuring a backstreet abortion. Six victims gave harrowing evidence during the three-and-a-half month trial, but police believe the number of girls recruited by the gang and abused numbers more than 50.
The gang – who were of Asian and north African descent – targeted extremely vulnerable white girls as young as 11 on the streets of Cowley and sold them for £600 a time to be raped and violently abused over an eight-year period. Two other men were cleared by the jury.
A litany of failings by police and social services had allowed the men between 2004 and 2012 to groom young, vulnerable girls they met on the streets, outside schools and in cafes, entice them with the promise of alcohol and trinkets, and subject them over years to sexual atrocities and torture.
“Asian” generally means Pakistani background, although two of the perpetrators here were Eritrean. All the abusers were Muslim. None of their victims were. This was not coincidence. The men generally targeted girls from children’s homes and disrupted family backgrounds. The abusers saw their victims as promiscuous white trash, in an utterly different category from their own wives and daughters. This is the latest of a string of such cases, all following the same pattern, such that a report produced by the police-staffed Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre “found that more than a quarter (26 per cent) of suspects reported to Ceop were of Asian origin, and the majority of groups identified were Asian”. There have been other trials of similar “Asian” (specifically British Pakistani) grooming gangs in Rochdale, Rotherham, Derby, Telford and Keighley.
Keighley, as it happened, was where Nick Griffin made one of the speeches that got him prosecuted. In that speech, Griffin said,
“These 18, 19, and 25-year-old Asian Muslims who are seducing and raping white girls in this town right now are not particularly good Muslims, they drink and all the rest of it, but still part of what they are doing comes from what they are taught is acceptable.”
It will be a cold day in hell before I vote for the Holocaust denier Nick Griffin’s literally fascist party, but I rather think that if Griffin feels vindicated that is because he has been vindicated.
Thug he may be, but his “thuggish intervention” in this case consisted of stating the truth when almost nobody else would – and being prosecuted for it. The charges covered many things said by Griffin, but the opening speech by the prosecuting counsel specifically featured his claims of “paedophile drug rape” in Keighley. (The prosecution was unsuccessful. Two juries acquitted Griffin and another defendant in two separate trials.)
Society did not just “feel able to ignore the scandal”, society – in the form of police chiefs, social workers, and the media – actively, cravenly dodged saying anything about it. Why? Because they were all afraid of being branded racist. As one of the few exceptions to the media silence, the documentary-maker Anna Hall, wrote, “…a senior children’s services manager said: “The men are Asian, Anna, but you’ll never get anyone on the record to say that.”” Or as Tim Loughton, the former Children’s Minister admitted, “There are clear cultural sensitivities around these cases that too often meant the relevant agencies were reluctant to intervene properly”. Or as retired police Superintendent Mick Gradwell said, “There is a problem with some members of the Pakistani community targeting young women in this way [...] In the past there have been major fears of being seen as racist, especially after the Stephen Lawrence inquiry at the Met police said the force was institutionally racist.” (H/T: Laban Tall at UK Commentators, who has followed this story for years.) Note how Gradwell described the former Home Secretary Jack Straw as “brave” for speaking out as late as 2011. He was, too, even though his fellow Labour MP Ann Cryer had been much braver in speaking out back in 2004 when she was MP for Keighley. Bravery was required to speak out because bad things were likely to happen to the careers of those who did, particularly if they did not have Cryer’s or Straw’s Parliamentary privilege.
And thus the abuse continued, Mr Thomas.
Incidentally, the police “requested” that Anna Hall’s documentary “Edge of the City” be postponed until the 2004 local elections were over, for fear it would send votes to the BNP. I thought the police were meant to be politically impartial.
There is a grain of truth in what Sean Thomas has written. When I first saw reports that the BNP claimed that Asian gangs were grooming white girls, my eyes skated over them because claims that “their” men are seducing, corrupting and raping “our” girls have been a staple of racist propaganda through the ages. Thus far, Mr Thomas was right. But to attempt to shift the blame for even a fraction of years of sustained, repeated evasion of their duties on the part of every organ of the establishment onto Nick Griffin is… inventive. Were the social services departments of multiple British towns really listening that hard to Nick Griffin? Did the chief constables of several different police authorities check that the chairman of the British National Party hadn’t spoilt the atmosphere before giving the go-ahead to investigate? Should we assume that the fact that in the last couple of years the Crown Prosecution Service has finally started to actively prosecute these gangs (following the initiative taken by Chief Crown Prosecutor for North West England Nazir Afzal, himself of Pakistani heritage, please note) is because the CPS lawyers have finally got over their sulk at Griffin making them look bad?
A question for the mainstream media: aren’t you ashamed that the British National Party reported what you dared not?
A question for the politicians, the police and the Crown Prosecution Service: do you now regret the prosecution of Nick Griffin and Mark Collett on charges of using words or behaviour likely to stir up racial hatred, specifically including his claims about Keighley? Do you acknowledge that your action in attempting to curtail and punish his free speech, in part for saying this type of crime was happening at a time and a place when it was, will certainly have deterred others from speaking out?
The story is instead one of government power so great that, even in the hands of nonpolitical career civil servants, politically motivated abuse is inevitable. And the ultimate problem is that our tax code and campaign finance laws put the IRS in the business of policing political speech. Politics inevitably comes into play.
Many dedicated and professional civil servants serve the IRS. But the recent revelations still aren’t surprising. If you give people the terrifying power to tax and the right to police political speech, some partisans will abuse that power.
The list of scandals that this administration is building up is really quite impressive.
Taylor Dinerman, a long time member of the Samizdata Commentariat, who also on occasion writes for some minor paper called the Wall Street Journal, has just published a book of humor shorts written during his New York Subway travels. I suspect more than one of our regular readers will enjoy it… and besides which, he needs the money to pay for the subway tickets and bar tabs.
The End of the World Club (there seem to be quite a few – can’t find a link to the one I mean) is a bunch of Austrianist-inclined people who meet at London’s Institute of Economic Affairs every few weeks to talk about the state of the world, and than afterwards maybe drink and/or dine locally, to try to cheer themselves up again.
Simon Rose, the guy who runs the End of the World Club, has asked me to kick off the discussion on the evening of May 28th. The following is a hastily typed summary of what I have in mind to suggest that we all talk about. I emphasise the “hasty” bit. Under comment pressure I will surely want to modify or even abandon quite a few bits of what follows. My number one purpose here is not to be unchallengeably right about everything, although you never know your luck; my number one purpose is to provoke thought and talk, by looking at the world from a slightly different angle to the usual angles. It began as a mere email to Simon Rose, but as you can see, it got a bit out of hand. My email to Rose will now be the link to this.
Since it’s the “End of the World” Club, I thought it might make sense to think about optimism and pessimism. Is that title (“End of the World”) for real? Or is it playfully ironic? How optimistic or pessimistic are we End-of-the-Worlders about the near future, and the longer term future? How optimistic or pessimistic about the near and longer term future are our statist adversaries? How much difference does that make to anything?
In recent decades, it has been the Austrian School who have been most rationally and persuasively pessimistic about the short run (by which I mean the next few years and the next, say, couple of decades). And it has been the politically middle-of-the-road statists who have been most unthinkingly optimistic, first, that no sort of economic catastrophe was coming, and now, when they try to be as optimistic as they can about the catastrophe (that has happened despite their earlier unthinking optimism) not getting any worse. Austrianists, in contrast, regard the present turmoil as proof that they were and remain right about everything, and that their pessimism, now, about the short term (and actually not that short term) future will accordingly also be entirely justified. Austrianists are mostly pessimists now. (Think Detlev Schlichter.) But they are optimistic about their own thought processes, in which they have absolute confidence.
But when it comes to the bigger picture, it is the broader free marketeer tendency who are now the optimists.
Socialists used to be optimistic, about how their socialism would make humanity materially better off. They were only pessimistic in the sense that they feared that they might never be allowed to do socialism. But about half way through the twentieth century, socialists stopped saying that they would do affluence better than capitalism was doing it, because the claim that capitalism wasn’t doing affluence was becoming absurd. Instead they turned against affluence.
They became economic pessimists about their own policies, in other words. But they stuck with their policies and turned their backs on the idea of mass affluence being a good thing. The Green Movement, which is what socialism has mutated into, is a huge surrender on the economic policy front, and an attempt to engage with the world on a quite different front. Socialists have surrendered the happy future. You have to listen a bit carefully to hear this. It took the form of a huge change of subject, from making the future happier, to making it more virtuous and poverty-stricken. They used to like affluence. Now they trash it. (Have a listen, for instance, to this excellent Jeffrey Tucker talk.) They used to be leading us towards an imaginary heaven on earth. Now they claim merely to be saving us from an equally imaginary hell on earth (and thereby are actually trying to create a real one). I am optimistic that this imagined hell on earth is also now on the way to being abandoned (see, e.g., this blog posting by Pointman). (What will be their next Big Tyranny Excuse?)
Meanwhile, classical liberals (as opposed to the illiberal liberals of our own time) note how free market ideas have raised humanity from abject poverty to a standard of living that was formerly unimaginable even for kings and emperors. Some free marketeers are rationally optimistic (to echo Matt Ridley‘s recent book title) that life will continue to get better, despite everything the statists and socialists now try to throw at it. Other free marketeers are now supremely optimistic that free market policies will work superbly, provided those policies are followed. Think J. P. Floru (an earlier speaker to the End of the World Club – very eloquent, very confident, I was there). Conditional optimism, you might call this. This is the same optimism that the socialists had a hundred years ago or so. It is very potent. The future will be wonderful, but only if you join our cause and help us save this wonderful future from being trashed by our malevolent, idiotic adversaries.
In the first half of the twentieth century free marketeers were much more tentative and intellectually timid. They often agreed that material progress would only happen if big government (with or even without big business) made the running, but argued for freedom anyway, as something that should be sentimentally preserved despite its economic cost. No wonder they did so badly.
But free marketeers are now the optimists. In the long run this means we will win. Discuss. See also: optimism (even irrational optimism) as a technique for success, individually and collectively. See also: pessimism (even (especially?) rational pessimism) as a recipe for failure, individual and collective.
That is pretty much it, and is surely more than enough to keep us talking for however long is required. Email me (you surely know how by now) if the End of the World Club is of interest, and I’ll pass it on.
Another US state has legalised gay marriage. Am I supportive? Well I am happy the state is not prohibiting people from marrying whomsoever they wish but… no, I am not delighted because it just compounds an existing error by extending state sanctioning of marriage to even more people.
My problem is not that homosexual people can now get married but rather that another golden opportunity to get the state out of the marriage business completely has been missed. If two people get married, it is the businesses of those two people and NO ONE ELSE. For all I care people can ‘marry’ anyone who can reasonably bind themselves to a contractual relationship and say “I do” .
The only win-win solution is that people stop accepting the state has any right whatsoever to ‘sanction’ marriage between two consenting people. That means people can regard themselves as married if they both agree and to hell with what anyone else thinks… and if others choose not to accept that those two (or three or four) people are married, due to whatever prejudices they subscribe to, well that is purely their business too.
Within hours of the July 7 2005 bombings in London, the BBC stealth-edited its reports so that any references to “terrorists” that had initially appeared were changed to “bombers” or a similar purely descriptive, non-judgmental term. This was done in response to a memo from Helen Boaden, then Head of News. She did not want to offend World Service listeners. Given this reluctance to use the word “terrorist”, suspended for a few hours when terrorism came to its front door and then reimposed, I often wondered what it would take for the BBC to rediscover the ability to use words that imply a moral judgment.
But in general as the years have gone by the BBC stuck to what it knew best: obfuscation. For instance, this article from last December, describing how fifteen Christians had their throats slit in Nigeria described the perpetrators as the “Islamist militants Boko Haram”. In venturing to describe the murders as a massacre, that article went further than most; the bombings of churches in Nigeria by Boko Haram are routinely described in terms of “unrest”, or as “conflict” – as if there were two sides killing each other at a roughly equal rate.
However, on Sunday I observed something I had not seen before. An atrocity carried out by Muslims against Christians was described as an “atrocity”. It happened in 1480, but still.
The BBC report says,
Pope Francis has proclaimed the first saints of his pontificate in a ceremony at the Vatican – a list which includes 800 victims of an atrocity carried out by Ottoman soldiers in 1480.
They were beheaded in the southern Italian town of Otranto after refusing to convert to Islam.
A reminder that “martyr” used to mean someone who died for his faith rather than killed for it. A reminder also of a centuries-long struggle against invading Islam that has been edited out of our history. You can bet the Seige of Vienna, which proved to be the high water mark of the Ottoman tide, does not feature in any GCSE syllabus. Nor does the rematch one and a half centuries later. The epic Seige of Malta was once celebrated in song and story, but don’t expect to see a BBC mini-series about it any time soon. Damian Thompson recently said a lot of what I had been thinking when he wrote about the the mass canonisation of the martyrs of Otranto in the Telegraph (subscription may be required):
The cathedral of Otranto in southern Italy is decorated with the skulls of 800 Christian townsfolk beheaded by Ottoman soldiers in 1480. A week tomorrow, on Sunday May 12, they will become the skulls of saints, as Pope Francis canonises all of them. In doing so, he will instantly break the record for the pope who has created the most saints.
I wonder how he feels about that. Benedict XVI announced the planned canonisations just minutes before dropping the bombshell of his own resignation. You could view it as a parting gift to his successor. Or a booby trap.
The 800 men of Otranto – whose names are lost, except for that of Antonio Primaldo, an old tailor – were rounded up and killed because they refused to convert to Islam. In 2007, Pope Benedict recognised them as martyrs “killed out of hatred for the faith”. That is no exaggeration. Earlier, the Archbishop of Otranto had been cut to pieces with a scimitar.
There are, however, good secular reasons for welcoming this canonisation. Our history is distorted by a nagging emphasis on Christian atrocities during the Crusades combined with airbrushing of Muslim Andalusia, whose massacre of Jews in 1066 and exodus of Christians in 1126 are rarely mentioned. Otranto reminds us that Islam had its equivalent of crusaders – mighty forces who nearly captured Rome and Vienna.
The Muslim Brotherhood is still committed to a restored Caliphate; this week its supporters prophesied the return of a Muslim paradise to Andalusia. These are pipe dreams, it goes without saying. But they matter because they inspire freelance Islamists whose fascination with southern Europe has nothing to do with welfare payments. They think of it as theirs because they know bits of history that we’ve forgotten.
Our amnesia comes in handy in dialogue with Muslims: we grovel a few apologies for the Crusades, sing the praises of the Alhambra, and that’s it. But what does this self-laceration achieve? Arguably it’s counterproductive, because it shows Muslims that we’re ashamed of our heroes as well as our villains. Which is why the mass canonisation of 800 anonymous men is so welcome: it ensures that, even though the West has forgotten their names, it won’t be allowed to forget their deaths.
The Samizdata people are a bunch of sinister and heavily armed globalist illuminati who seek to infect the entire world with the values of personal liberty and several property. Amongst our many crimes is a sense of humour and the intermittent use of British spelling.
We are also a varied group made up of social individualists, classical liberals, whigs, libertarians, extropians, futurists, ‘Porcupines’, Karl Popper fetishists, recovering neo-conservatives, crazed Ayn Rand worshipers, over-caffeinated Virginia Postrel devotees, witty Frédéric Bastiat wannabes, cypherpunks, minarchists, kritarchists and wild-eyed anarcho-capitalists from Britain, North America, Australia and Europe.