We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Protesting protests

Lagwolf is also not too keen on demonstrations

It seems that every time I try to take the bus to Oxford Street here in London, some bunch of Islamo-fascist lovers is having another demo. The police were more prepared this time, so things did not come to a complete halt. I am sure it is deliberate that the degenerates (who don’t seem to know what a shower is) are holding this event during Passover. No doubt there was anti-semitic bile frothing from the mouths of all those on hand. Why is it that the left can so anti-semitic and get no flak, while anyone on the right criticises Israel is lynched? I wonder if any sympathy was uttered for those poor Israelis who have been killed by suicide bombers? They want the US/UK/Israel to stop the war, how about getting the Palestinian militants, so of whom were represented at this event, to stop killing civilians.

The amusing thing to me is that each time I see a protest of the sort my support for Israel goes up, not down as they intend. Any group that has that lot against them is good by me. I am sure that the Voice of Palestine (BBC) will have a report on it. There were fewer people there than last time, this time however there was a sit-down protest outside Downing Street.

Lagwolf

Sex, drugs, rock and roll…but no jail and no safety net

Blogger Susanna Cornett disagreed with my earlier post Free love or fight

Here’s the reality: Believing there are appropriate and inappropriate contexts for sexual activity that should be socially enforced is not inherently “anti-sexual”, and no more or less than what Amon does. Maybe conservatives and libertarians are more alike than he thinks.

If I want to go on the road with a rock band and over the course of 10 years sleep with 1000 women (like at least one heavy metal star claims), and if all were willing and if I have taken appropriate precautions against the negative outcomes, then it is my prerogative to live that lifestyle. I have used no force, I have coerced no one, and I’ve had a jolly good ten years.

If a well known gay blogger suddenly decided he wanted quantity and variety and went to gay orgies every night, but took precautions then that is his business.

It is true that I would call for the repeal of all laws of victimless crimes. I’d also call for the removal of all public assistance for those who partake of those life styles and get burnt. You are free to do it – but on your own shilling.

I have no problem with nonviolent social enforcement. If I live in your town and you absolutely hate my life style, you don’t have to talk to me or do business with me. If enough people agree with you, I might find it best to move elsewhere.

The government has no place whatever in sexual matters.

Samizdata slogan of the day

Why blog when you can snog?
- An un-named blogger

I hate demonstrating

There was a demonstration in London yesterday. It was described on the local London TV news as being “against the war on terrorism”.

I don’t hate demonstrations, because demonstrations are easily ignored or got around. But I do hate demonstrating, that is, taking part in the damned things. Occasionally someone sends me an e-mail begging me to be somewhere at such-and-such a time on behalf of this or that. Such e-mails usually involve the European Union. But I never go. And I don’t think I’m the only one. Many others with political opinions like mine are, I think, equally reluctant to demonstrate.

I hate the idea that instead of expressing the exact opinion that is my own, I must instead attach myself to a collectively expressed opinion which isn’t exactly my own. I see no virtue in collective agreement for its own sake.

I hate that demonstrations are, in addition to being an intellectual pretence of unanimity, also an emotional pretence. Demonstrations are not events. They are pseudo-events. Their purpose is to create the appearance of a spontaneous outburst of mass anger or enthusiasm, by planning this spontaneous outburst weeks or even months in advance.

Demonstrators are like movie extras. I wouldn’t mind being a real movie extra. That’s honest pretence, for which you are even paid a bob or two if you’re lucky. Neither the makers of movies with big crowd scenes in them nor the viewers of them are under any illusions about the illusions they are dealing in. But political demonstrations aren’t like that. They are dishonestly dishonest, really dishonest. The idea is to suggest that all those contrived emotions – all those frenzied emotional states that the demonstrators work themselves into – are the real thing.

I hate that the meaning of a demonstration will be decided not be those organising it, but by the news media. Take yesterday’s demonstration “against the war on terrorism”. How many of the demonstrators thought that this was what they were saying? Some maybe. But others were merely trying to say that declaring war on entire countries isn’t the right way to chase after terrorists, and that chasing after terrorists should be done differently and better. (Personally I think that chasing terrorists by declaring wars on entire countries makes a lot of sense, but that’s not my point here.) In my case, if I attended a demonstration against some aspect of the European Union, then in the unlikely event that the media deigned to notice it at all, I would almost certainly find myself described as “anti-European”, which I’m not.

Demonstrations can only enact melodramas that are already established in the minds of the news media and their customers. They don’t change thinking. They only take sides between thoughts that have already become established.

What interests me is changing how people think. For that, there is no substitute for my own exactly chosen words, words that I’ve thought about, words that I’ve written. Then, if they want to, media people can read these words and invite me to participate in indoor discussions about the exact rights and wrongs of it all, in conversation and in further writings. In these discussions I speak with my own individual voice.

Political partisanship used to be measured by the willingness to demonstrate. But the conventional political radar kits underestimated the size and strength of the libertarian movement. Like I say, I’m not the only one. I believe that libertarians in general are, because of and as an inseparable part of being libertarians, reluctant to demonstrate in great massed gobs of collectivised dishonesty.

But now the internet is registering what the TV news cameras missed, because the internet allows us each to speak with our own voice. That’s what we want. That’s a crowd we are willing to join, because we can each join it on our own exact terms.

Don’t

Don’t fry your food, don’t butter your bread
Don’t drink at work, don’t smoke in bed

Don’t try too hard, don’t fool around
Don’t hunt with guns, don’t hunt with hounds

Don’t be too fat, don’t be too lean
Don’t eat red meat, don’t eat fresh cream

Don’t drink and drive
Don’t smoke and drive
Don’t eat and drive
Don’t talk and drive
Don’t sneeze and drive
Don’t drive

Don’t mobile phone, don’t stare at screens
Don’t buy hot drinks, don’t wear tight jeans

Don’t play with knives, don’t make a fist
Don’t play with fire, don’t take a risk

Don’t have sex, don’t procreate
Don’t fantasise, don’t masturbate

Don’t stay up late, don’t exercise
Don’t innovate, don’t theorise

Don’t dare to dream, don’t raise your voice
Don’t make a fuss, don’t make a noise

Don’t climb mountains, don’t sail oceans
Don’t make sudden, jerking motions

Don’t play sports, don’t break sweat
Don’t play roulette, don’t make a bet

Don’t brave the storm, don’t ride the waves
Don’t get too cold and don’t sunbathe

Don’t ride a horse, don’t fly a plane
Don’t strain your heart, don’t use your brain

Don’t read a book, don’t get too tense
Don’t say a word, don’t cause offence

Don’t run, don’t jump, don’t stretch, don�t fly
And above all don’t do DIY

Don’t lust for life, don’t dance till dawn
Best of all, just don’t be born

The Palestinian Götterdämmerung: the irrelevance of Arafat

The way I see it, the Palestinian Götterdämmerung is at hand. Maybe this week, maybe this month, or maybe in a year from now, but it is coming. Israel will take the view that unless it either turns the West Bank into a vast concentration camp (literally not figuratively) on a pretty much permanent basis, or completely ‘ethnically cleanse’ it of its Muslim and Christian Arab population, because otherwise civil life within Israel will become completely intolerable.

Unlike many in the media and blogosphere who are gleefully baying for the streets of the occupied territories to run with Palestinian blood, I cannot add my voice to that ghastly chorus. Yet in fact I think that an apocalyptic end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not just inevitable now but perhaps the sooner Israel gets it over with the better. I can see no prospect for a political solution. Thirty years of criminally stupid Israeli policies towards the Palestinians, aided and abetted by the Palestinian’s own psychopathic, inept and suicidal leaders, have worked to ensure that the forcibly collectivised Palestinian people are ‘ruled’ by a dependably duplicitous pathological liar with not even the prospect of a rational alternative leader, and so there is now no solution other than the effective destruction of the Palestinian people as a coherent society.

Yet the fact I regard the Israeli state as being a huge contributor to the horrors being visited upon themselves, that actually changes nothing. The time for blame has passed. It will come again but not for a while. Regardless of who is responsible, Israeli society finds itself where it finds itself and no amount of finger pointing will change one iota of the reality of that. People are now dying on a pretty much daily basis and in increasing numbers. Israel will either do what it must to survive or it will gradually bleed to death as a seemingly endless supply of Palestinians demonstrate that they have been given nothing to live for except hatred and revenge, and thus blow themselves up in Israel’s supermarkets, pizza parlours and hotels. That is the terrible reality. The other terrible reality is that when the IDF finally gets the order to kill Arafat, it will make not the slightest bit of difference. The killings will go on, the bombings will go on, the murderous hatreds will continue unabated until Israel shrugs off the last political restraints and finally by sheer force of arms imposes the quiet of the graveyard over the occupied territories.

Israel must do terrible things to survive and be damned for doing them. Do them they must… and be damned they must. Israel will survive but there will be no winners in this ghastly inter Semitic madness. Now today Tel-Aviv has been subjected to the insane horrors and thus individual Palestinians move a day closer to the end of their identity as a member of a distinct identifiable society, regardless of their personal responsibility.

I would just love to be completely wrong about this.

Other libertarian perspectives

Dale Amon is someone with whom I actually have an unusually high degree of agreement on many many issues. In his article Free love or fight! however, I find myself agreeing with his conclusions only partly and even that for rather different reasons.

Whilst he is quite correct that there are elements of the Republican Party in the USA which are supportive of profoundly repressive actions by the state regarding sexual freedoms, I am not sure the issue of abortion comes under the category of ‘sexual freedoms’ at all. It is a contentious issue pertaining to definitions of life and death rather than sex, which whilst the proximate cause, is a separate issue.

Similarly I know many Republicans who are very libertarian regarding matters of sexual liberty… profoundly so in fact, taking the view that provided possible results of sex such as disease and pregnancy are treated responsibly and of accepted consequence, then the fact a person might like to have wild monkey sex is none of any one else’s business. The ‘Ashcroft’ faction does not define the entire Republican Party’s views on sex.

Of course there is indeed a certain paleo-conservative constituency within Republicanism in the USA which is inimical to libertarian values on many issues… but then I would argue they are just as inimical to neo-conservative values. Similarly there is a large and just as toxic ‘anti-sex’ element within the US Democratic Party, largely drawn from their still large number of paleo-feminist supporters. In reality I suspect the Democratic Party’s infection with Political Correctness is probably the greater threat to sexual freedoms (abortion is another issue entirely) than the Republican Puritan elements will ever be.

I am convinced that libertarians can indeed find significant elements within both the Democratic and Republican Party with whom to work, based on the inherent contradictions of these philosophically fuzzy groups that make a subversivist approach both practical and productive.

My worry about whether libertarians can actually find any common ground in the short term with mainstream Republicanism is more due to the fact it is becoming clear that George Bush is just another economically incoherent crypto-Keynsian. For all his talk about free trade, he has added not just steel tariffs but also wood tariffs against Canada, honey tariffs against Argentina, textile tariffs against Pakistan and sugar tariffs against Mexico… never mind that Mexico and Canada are NAFTA members.

I shall blog another article soon about the economic and political harm being done by the US government not just in their own country but also elsewhere, as they undermine the very people they should be supporting.

London Libertarians

The regular last Friday of the month get-together by London libertarians at Brian Micklethwait‘s place featured an interesting talk by Antoine Clarke about the reality of the introduction of the €uro, particularly how it occurred in France, and about the possible future of the EU from his well informed and rational libertarian perspective.

As usual after the formal talk was concluded, the assembled libertarian rabble had a forthright exchange of views in which hardly anyone actually got bitten…

Samizdata slogan of the day

In all your dealings with them you must always try pitching your voice an octave higher. Generalise as long as the words last. Don’t just defend yourself, your own narrow little sector; set out to shatter their whole system!
-Alexander Solzhenitsyn (The Oak and the Calf)

A Peace Plan

“Two important phenomena, of the same nature but opposed, are emerging at this moment in Asiatic Turkey. They are the awakening of the Arab nation and the latent effort of the Jews to reconstitute on a very large scale the ancient kingdom of Israel. These movements are destined to fight each other continually until one of them wins”

From ‘Le Reveil de la Nation Arabe’ by Najib Azouri, written in 1905

In Memoriam

In an age when we all too often confuse celebrity with achievement, let us mourn the passing of a true achiever, Billy Wilder

From Sunset Boulevard to Double Indemnity to The Apartment to Some Like It Hot, everything he touched turned to gold. Thankyou for your gifts, Mr.Wilder

Free love or fight!

In his Weekly Standard article Condi Crazy, Lee Bockthorn goes straight to the heart of why I never have and never, ever will vote for a Republican:

But no matter how much these pro-choice Republicans whine, the GOP will always be a pro-life party. Why? Because the abortion issue goes to the heart of what both major parties are about. For Democrats, it’s a proxy for their entire worldview regarding sexual freedom and unfettered moral autonomy. For Republicans, being pro-life is about remaining the party of Lincoln: Just like slavery, unlimited abortion on demand threatens equality (and thus liberty) by denying a class of human beings their inalienable rights and equal dignity merely because it is convenient to do so.

It is not even the abortion issue per-se that angers me. Libertarians are split across the issue. I’m solidly pro-choice: others are not. That’s fine so long as we all agree to keep the State out of it. What is key is Mr Bockhorn sees Republicans as inherently anti-sexual. I am profoundly pro-sexual freedom and unfettered moral autonomy… within the limits consensual activity and personal responsibility for the results. Some libertarians may prefer a more “traditional” family, but they would never consider ramming it down my throat.

The quote shows how fundamentally flawed it is to ever think we as Libertarians can accomplish anything at all with the Republicans.

We just don’t have all that much in common.