If Samizdata has been a bit quiet of late, you can blame it on the fact that so many of the contributors have been in Brussels for the Centre for the New Europe‘s 2005 Capitalist Ball. (Some of you may remember David Carr’s eye-pleasing entry about last year’s soiree.) Many of last year’s attendees were present this year – including the tall, glamourous Texan from David’s 2004 entry – and the whole event was nothing short of splendid. To be in a room with hundreds of people who broke into enthusiastic applause when one of the speakers quoted Father Juan de Mariana‘s assertion that any individual citizen can justly assassinate a king who imposes taxes without the consent of the people, seizes the property of individuals and squanders it, or prevents a meeting of a democratic parliament was, to put it mildly, very refreshing.
Brussels itself is a somewhat drab – if not totally miserable – town. Upon arrival, I was surprised to see a workman on a ladder in the train station, doing a bit of welding – without a properly fitted protective mask, and with sparks raining down mere inches from passersby. This total disregard for the cult of ‘health and safety’ was an oddly pleasing sight.
We took it as a good sign when the two flags flying right outside our hotel room window were the Union Jack and the American stars and stripes. Even more cheering was this sticker on a lampost near – I kid you not – Rue du Gouvernement Provisoire (Provisional Government Street):
It is the “as much as possible” that made us smile. Keep trying, scumbags.
And speaking of scumbags, it seems the local communists know they have a bit of a PR problem, to say the least:
Roughly translated, they are trying to sell the line that being against capitalism does not necessarily mean being in favour of the gulag. I suppose that may be true, in much the same way that being against breathing does not necessarily mean that one is in favour of a horrific death, but…Again, keep trying, scumbags. The pro-liberty contingent that gathered in Brussels this weekend are not the only people around who know you are full of crap. From the looks of the city’s Grand Place, a European stronghold of capitalism since the 17th century, it would appear that the denizens of Brussels have had that one figured out for quite a while. With any luck, and exposure to the free market principles celebrated at the CNE’s Capitalist Ball, the young communists of Belgium will get on the winning side of things any day now.