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David Cameron… still a complete waste of space

A few days ago I was asked why I hold Dave Cameron in such utter contempt and I am sure that person soon regretted provoking such a lengthy invective filled rant from me. Well here is another example why he is a complete waste of space. In an article titled Tories ‘would wipe slate clean’, Dave Cameron promptly precedes to explain that far from wiping the slate clean, he represents philosophical continuity with the people he wishes to replace:

Mr Cameron said he would increase government spending from £620bn this year to £645bn next year – rather than the £650bn proposed by ministers. He warned voters not to expect an incoming Tory administration to slash public spending and cut taxes, saying: “That’s not what they should be thinking…

If ever there was an example of John McCain style “I am the Lesser Evil” politics, this is it.

…”They should be thinking this would be a responsible government that would make government live within its means, that would relieve some of the debt burden being piled up on our children.”

…he says blithely immediately after having promised to increase spending by £25 BILLION at a time when the economy is actually contracting. What sort of mathematics is ‘Dave’ using in which an increase in spending by the state whilst a decrease in economic activity is under way does not add more god damn debt to ‘our children’? He wants to strip money from productive sectors at the worst possible time and pass the debt on to future generations but we should vote for him because he wants to do this slightly less than the other guy? Are you starting to understand my transcendent loathing of the man yet?

And he is not even a clever politician as he has the example of what happened to John “I support the bailout” McCain when the half-witted Republicans ran a Big Government Statist against an Even Bigger Government Statist. Truly a waste of space and a pox on the party who tolerates him as leader.

And the Labour party response?

His proposals are economic madness – cutting training budgets, housing and transport investment plans and help for people to get jobs just at a time when they need it most.

It is like listening to two madmen arguing over how full an invisible jar of jam is… and each insisting that as the other cannot see what they see, they must be insane. The lunatics have indeed taken over the asylum.

61 comments to David Cameron… still a complete waste of space

  • Dan Cona

    And yet Cameron continues to be viewed as the ‘sane’ alternative to Blair/Brown policitics. Just as I am rendered speechless by the latest idiocy of the Brown administration I am then rendered to a state of spluttering silence by the response of the Conservative party (I hesitate to use ‘Tory’, these are not Tories in any shape or form).

    In the movie ‘Pirates of Silicon Valley’ Bill Gates countered Steve Jobs’ allegations with the line “You and I are both like guys who had this rich neighbor—Xerox – who left the door open all the time. And you go sneakin’ in to steal a TV set, only when you get there, you realize I got there first. And you’re yelling? That’s not fair! I wanted to try and steal it first!”. I fell that describes David Cameron’s ever lamer responses to Gordon Brown very aptly.

  • Ian B

    The man’s a complete cant. We’re clearly far beyond the point of voting for lesser evils. For what it’s worth that’s what I say to friends, family and acquaintances when the subject comes up now. Nothing will be better by any reasonable measure, either in terms of economic or non-economic liberty, if the Tories win. Better by far to punish them for being what they are. There’s nothing to be gained from choosing between two handbaskets with identical destinations.

  • Those were pretty much my thoughts.

    Perhaps one day they’ll be arguing over whether state spending should be £650 billion or £649.999 billion and Labour will whine about the refurbishment that wouldn’t go ahead at St Hilda’s Primary School in Kettering if the Tories got in.

  • Paul Marks

    Sadly it is not just one party saying “we will increase government spending slower than the other lot” – I could defend that (sort of) against Perry.

    The Conservative party actually has some silly ideas of its own – such as the loan backing scheme (translation – lend money to people who will not pay you back, do not worry the taxpayer will pick up the tab).

    Although, doubtless, this idea is so insane the Labour party will copy it.

  • Dave

    Its easy to criticise but you don’t have any better ideas?
    Apart from let the poor people suffer while the bankers run off with all the corn.

    Seriously how can you dramatically cut public spending (therefore jobs) just at the moment so many other people are being put out of work? This will surely make finding alternative work even more difficult.

  • Its easy to criticise but you don’t have any better ideas?

    Yes a great many.

    Apart from let the poor people suffer while the bankers run off with all the corn.

    Then why are you statist fools bailing the fuckers out? Let the banks fail and more solvent institutions will pick up the good debts they owned and the worthless debts get eaten by the damn shareholders, as it bloody well should be!

    Seriously how can you dramatically cut public spending (therefore jobs) just at the moment so many other people are being put out of work?

    Where do you think the money for this ‘public spending’ comes from? A magic money tree? It comes from productive (i.e. non-public) enterprises that getting taxed and regulated out of existence. Stop taking so much from companies that actually create real jobs that actually create wealth rather than public sector jobs which are net consumers of wealth.

    But no, of course not, at the time when companies are going bust, rather than dramatically ease the tax burden to try and keep them in business, you guys want to ‘make jobs’ with the money you extract, and in doing so strangling the capitalist golden goose.

    Well 18 months from now, you will see unemployment hit double digits and lots of empty shops and the army of people on the public payroll will drive the recession deeper and longer. Lets talk politics then.

  • Dave

    Wasn’t the bank bail-out about protecting the UK from runs on all our major banks to stop the whole system from coming down?
    Would you not just let depositors lose their life savings?
    I know it can be argued that its their fault for not taking them out sooner but most people have no idea about how stable different banks are.

    I ofcourse agree that the public sector is way too big, but isn’t this a particularly bad time to be adding to unemployment when there are few jobs around as an alternative??
    They can still support a large public sector through a downturn by borrowing (from their children), as they are doing.

    I suspect in 18months the LibLabCon will be the same and Cameron still in charge of the Cons.
    So what can you say different then? There is no choice at elections.

  • Vercingetorix

    Seriously how can you dramatically cut public spending (therefore jobs) just at the moment so many other people are being put out of work?

    Slowly, now, slowly so you can follow this: in a recession, my young padawan learner, the economy grows smaller. Keeping the tax rate the same, when there is less activity in the economy, is a de facto tax increase; increasing spending with a recession is a double tax whammy.

    For every public sector employee you hire, you put another borderline profitable company into the red (like startups).

    Seriously, I totally cereal.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    They can still support a large public sector through a downturn by borrowing (from their children), as they are doing.

    In a nutshell, is the idiocy and complacency of current thinking in a nutshell. Thanks Dave.

    Seriously, the idea that we cannot cut spending during tough times as this will boost unemployment ignores the fact that as long as people are expected to shoulder a massive public spending burden, the chances of us ever having sustainable growth in living standards is nil; all that the government is now doing is prolonging the pain, not eliminating it. The public spending is growing while the private, wealth creating part is getting the shaft.

  • The thing that strikes me is how few people notice the resemblance between the platform of David Cameron when seeking election and the “compassionate conservatism(Link)” platform that George W Bush ran on in 2000.

    How successful was that in practice?

  • Ian B

    Johnathan- it seems to me that until we can effectively challenge the notions that the economy is driven by spending, and that measures of “employment” have some deep platonic meaning at the expense of measures of production, we’ll be stuck with constant voodoo economics. I find talking to ordinary folks, they’re quite willing to take on board the idea that it’s not whether people have a job, it’s what they’re doing in their job or business that matters economically. But with the MSM pumping out effectively Keynesian nonsense based on those aggregate statistics that are now considered fundamental, it’s impossible to win the argument on a societal scale. Hence my suggestion a few days ago that “we” need MSM style and scale media outlets.

  • Hence my suggestion a few days ago that “we” need MSM style and scale media outlets.

    I think this is the only way, Ian. I have no idea how to realize it, obviously, but if we keep banging on about it, someone just might come up with one. BTW, this (Link)seems to be a step in the right direction.

  • Gareth

    Mr Cameron said he would increase government spending from £620bn this year to £645bn next year – rather than the £650bn proposed by ministers. He warned voters not to expect an incoming Tory administration to slash public spending and cut taxes, saying: “That’s not what they should be thinking.

    I don’t need David Cameron to tell me what to think.

    Any party who would run on a policy of cutting taxes and making Government smaller would surely walk an election?(Or have too many people become too encultured into being supported by the state?) Counter any and all arguments that schools n ospitals would be under threat with the many examples of top heavy, target driven Government waste, nepotism, corruption and profligacy. Nurses are valuable, bin monitors are not. Soldiers are valuable, real nappy co-ordinators are not.

    A simple mantra – we are having to tighten our belts, so should Government. There is nothing new, dangerous, subversive or potty about this approach to testing times.

    If David Cameron sees the Government living within it’s means as reducing spending by less than 1%, he’s never had to live within his means.

  • Ian B

    Alisa, I’ve got a pretty good idea of how to realise it. What I haven’t got is any money with which to do it :)

    I think part of what drives my commenting on the internets (beyond the fascination of talking to fine people like what one meets at Samizdata, and sheer boredom, also) is the hope that somebody with the wherewithall to actually get something done will read something what I’ve wrote and run with it. The obvious flaw in this plan is that my ideas are all total bollocks, but luckily I’m too self-deluded to realise this.

  • Where do you think the money for this ‘public spending’ comes from? A magic money tree?

    Well, actually Perry… Given the plans for “quantitive easing” (aka – “Captain” Darling gets inky fingers) that is exactly where the money will be coming from.

    Ian B. Good point on the “production side”. I am sick to the wisdom teef of hearing that monocular git wittering on about the number of jobs being created. It seems some demented perversification of the Protestant work-ethic. The fuckers will have us painting the roses red next. Oh, they’re already planning it with this cockamammie graduate intern scheme… The utterly disingenous cuntological cunting cunts that they cunting-well are.

    I just hope Brown and his lackeys keep getting the evils at 4am* and waking-up drenched in a cold sweat. I doubt it though. There are main battle tanks with thinner skins than these rapscallions, vagabonds, and, yes, cunts.

    *I would love to break into Broon’s bedchamber with a white sheet, chains and glow in the dark paint and do Marley’s Ghost on the fucker…

  • Ian B,
    In the good old days of a democratically socialist Labour Party (before they became corporatist/fascist) your plan would work. The problem is all of the LibLabCon (thanks whoever said that above – I’m stealing it and you’re not getting it back) are now fighting over a “middle-ground” which has become a political Holy Grail. As Gareth states, iDave wants to cut public expenditure from GBP650bn to GBP645bn… Well fuck-a-doodle-doo! That’ll do it! See we’d be OK if we cut spending by 0.8%!!! The man’s a genius. Give him a tie!*

    They are all playing the same game. And the game, alas, involves “working in partnership” with (big) business. The whole system is bollocked to utter shitteration and it’s only getting worse… Wealth, major business and everything that could bank-roll ” The Gay Hobbit Porn Times” (ed. Ian B) is tied into a web-work of political connections.

    Basically society from business (which operates via the largess of the political class) to government, from charities (the biggies are basically Quangos now) to the media** have been engulfed in the poonami that is the “Turd Way”…

    Blair and Brown have achieved a more complete control over everything for a certain political class than any amount of Clause for posturing or Scargillian antics ever could. It isn’t so much that they’re in power but they have redefined what power is.

    *The idea that wearing a suit without a tie makes him look dynamic is patronising wank and not only gets my goat but has my goat gang-buggered by free-basing Yardies who then curry the poor ruminent.

    **Tom Stoppard’s line that it “sounds like a convention of spiritualists” has never been truer.

  • Ian, by “realizing” it I meant getting the money to do it, obviously. You haven’t followed the link I posted, have you?

  • Ian B

    I did follow the link, and I agree that it’s a step in the right direction. I didn’t properly appreciate what you meant by “realise”. Apologies :)

  • Well cheer up then:-)

  • Ian B

    Nick, I entirely agree with your analysis of the Turd Way Leviathan. That’s why I’ve previously mentioned in my “how to” suggestions that any breakthrough will require some libertarians becoming wealthy enough to fund these things. If memory serves that got me called an “arsehole”, lol.

    But that’s the long and the short of it. We need lots of wonga. Suggestions, anyone?

  • My point is I think it’s now very hard to get that sort of wonga unless you are bending-over and thinking of England while being turd-way burgled. The best you can hope for is the occasional reach-around…

    It’s almost like modern Russia. The oligarchs are now either rimming Doey the House Elf or they’re in chokey. We are a long way down that road already and the likes of Broon, iDave and the Millipedes et. al. are hell-bent on it. And everyone in any position of wealth or influence is conniving with them because otherwise they’re cast into the outer darkness…

    When was the last time you heard of a major business that didn’t munter on about climate change?

    Or social justice?

    Or how the EU is a good thing?

    Or inclusivity?

    Or whatever cock-waffle is current amongst the wanking classes?

    Not toeing the “liberal” line is social and economic suicide on a par with relieving oneself on the centrepiece at a royal garden party.

  • Dobey the House Elf – obviously.

    Hell, even J K Rowling is in the big-tent pissing out. She gave Broon a shed-load of cash. Presumably he got to have a go in her Chamber of Secrets in return…

  • Ian B

    Well that’s the thing I keep trying my little best to address, Nick, and your analysis demonstrates why I’ve often said we’re not fighting an invader, we’ve lost a war. It’s already over.

    And then people say I’m being too pessimistic and start on with their apocalyptic eschatology of the Left.-

    We have to appreciate how thorough their power is. They’ve destroyed the digestive biscuit for fuck’s sake. Anyone who has the power to do that has power undreamed of in human history.

  • Janine

    I’ve often said we’re not fighting an invader, we’ve lost a war. It’s already over.

    Then please go away and wait quietly for your prison uniform and let those of us who have not given up encourage each other to resist without your unhelpful drone of “all is lost”. The fuck it is.

  • Oddly enough Ian… Up until about 15 months ago I lived just down the road from the utterly enormous McVittie’s factory in Levenshulme, Manchester. You could actually predict the weather according to whether or not you could smell biccies. Seriously. Depending on atmospheric conditions it either went straight-up or spread out at low-level.

    I had a similar experience in Chesterfield once. The whole town reeks of Liquorice Allsorts.

    They are also trying to ban lightbulbs (I hate the light from CFLs but all-ahead and damn me and the photo-sensitive epileptics!) and big plasma tellies. “Red” Dawn Prim’n'Proper really is a deranged bitch.

    We can’t take ‘em on because we simply don’t have that hunger for absolute power over others. I take my tendency to lofty indifference as to the lives of others as a badge of honour. They don’t and therein lies their power. Or part of it.

  • Janine,
    I don’t think that’s Ian’s point. We have lost the war but there might be others in the future. My view is that this is Dunkirk…

  • Ian B

    Not given up? What, in the sense of continuing to talk about not giving up? Can somebody point out where our mighty force to evict the invaders is?

    Look. They can do what they like. They can control whatever they wish, proscript whatever they wish, they have control of every significant institution and every lever of power. I have not seen a single actual suggestion as to how we are supposed to change this state of affairs. Do we have a voice in government, the bureaucracy, education, academia, the NGOs, corporations or the media? No, we don’t.

    So while it may feel comforting to be talking about “not giving up” on a bunch of blogs, that isn’t actually in any sense meaningful, any more than the crushed losers of a war talk about not giving up, then stand sullenly by as the barbarians slaughter their women and rape their livestock.

    “The line is here,” we say, and then they just march across it. We should at least be honest about the situation. At least then if we try to think up ideas we are starting from a position of knowledge.

    If anyone can demonstrate some kind of evidence that we haven’t lost this war, I’ll revise my opinion. And no, “the Tories might win next time” is not that evidence.

  • Ian’s right. We did loose. At one point we had something close to a minimal state in England and in the US – so minimal that people like Spencer, Herbert, Molinari and Tucker could begin talking about how to get rid of the state altogether.

    Since then a gigantic extension in the state has taken place. Truly gigantic.

    Very few people have any belief or interest in economic or social freedom. The last bits and bobs like ID cards and the database state are just the final steps before we re-enter serfdom.

    The next phase will be structured impoverishment, de-industrialization and the return to a pre-technical feudal society. This will most likely be accomplished by banging the AGW, pollution and resource depletion drums – even though we can win each of these arguments at a rational level, the collectivists create a narrative that justifies each step and rational argument has no traction with the po-mo dolts.

    So here we are then. What now?

  • If anyone can demonstrate some kind of evidence that we haven’t lost this war, I’ll revise my opinion. And no, “the Tories might win next time” is not that evidence.

    If you cannot imagine things getting better then I am somewhat in agreement with the ever irascible Janine. Why bother even commenting if all is irretrievably lost? I do not mean it as an insult but to be honest the reason I rarely engage in discussion with you as I do not see the point. Yeah, things are bad and they will get worse. Try to make something useful of that but excuse me if I decline to beat my breast and sing dirges with you.

  • Paul Marks

    Dave

    Two things here – unemployment and prosperity.

    One can have full employment in a labour camp – not good.

    And one can have most people prosperious but some unemployed – also not good.

    Want to reduce unemployment?

    Then free up the labour market.

    “But that will mean low wages and poor conditions”

    Then reduce the size of government, lower taxes IF backed up with lower government spending will mean higher living standards in the longer term.

    “Did not work when Thatcher tried it” – accept the lady did not cut government spending Dave. Government spending went up after 1979 (mostly because the “public sector” pay deals agreed by the outgoing Labour party government were carried on with by the new government).

    As for the last American President to cut government spending in a recession.

    That would the evil corrupt Warren Harding – and unemployment did not go up, it went down.

    In fact the crash was countered by economic growth within six months (rather better than what happened after 1929).

    “We can not cut government spending because unemployment will go up and people will get poorer”

    Well we are trying your policy Dave – government spending is increasing so much it is going into outer space.

    If this policy fails (which it will), will you try our policy of cutting government spending?

    If not, it is you Dave (not us) who are the dogmatic bigot.

  • John K

    Let’s all agree that Green Dave is a posturing wanker. If he is elected, his NuLaborLite administration will not institute ID cards. It’s not great, but it’s just enough for me to vote for him. But he won’t disappoint me, because I won’t be expecting much.

  • Perry,
    I think Ian is a liitle bit more nuanced than you think. We have lost. but that doesn’t mean we can’t rise again but… We have to appreciate how fucked we truly our and quite how overwhelming the power of our enemies now is…

    It is almost paradoxical that too many freedom-loving folk see the minor injuries and usurpations of government as being mosquito bites and not shark bites. The mozzies are only getting “a go” because the sharks have already eviscerated us. Christ almighty! I’m self-employed and I just did it and lots of folks I talk to think I should have needed some sort of “permission” or gone through various governmental (accent on “mental”) hoops. The meta-context is shifted so dramatically that we don’t even realise it.

    Paul,
    Good comment (as ever). A free labour market would mean… Well, maye right now people earning less than they “should” but hell’s teeth that’s better than earning nothing!

  • Well, one thing that might help a little bit is if some of us could write short, accessible, modern and emotionally charged pro-freedom literature. Handing out “The Law” and “The road to serfdom” ain’t cutting it with the youf.

    I’ve re-read all or most of the canon over the last couple of years and it’s desperate stuff. Human Action is only readable because Henry Hazlitt turned it into idiomatic English. Hayek and Popper are terrible, convoluted writers.

    I’m so desperate for this that I’m thinking of trying – but I’m a dull technical sort. I say we make Nick M do it. There. Decided. When can you have it done Nick?

  • Ian B

    Perry, the point I have been consistently trying to make is that we are not (metaphorically) a resisting army but a resistance movement of the vanquished. These militarily are different things. It does not mean things are hopeless (though they may well be). It’s a basis from which to attempt to construct a strategy.

    It would have been no use the French Resistance during World War II pretending they were trying to stop the Germans winning. The Germans had already won.

    The Enemy control all the institutions of power. They are not in a debate with us. Our voice is not heard. They do not need to win the argument, because nobody can hear us arguing with them.

    One possible guidance we can learn from history is that in that situation, you build parallel institutions as a power base from which to mount an attack. This is something we might like to explore. It then comes down to the question of resources. Etc.

    I just don’t see the value of happy clappy stuff about “not letting them win”. It’s way past that point.

  • Sorry Ian but no, we have lost battles but until they stick us all in camps to shut us up, we have not lost the war.

  • Human Action is only readable because Henry Hazlitt turned it into idiomatic English. Hayek and Popper are terrible, convoluted writers.

    Virginia Postrel is pretty good.

  • Ian B

    That’s not a very useful criterion Perry. If you’re expecting arm-raised salutes, torchlit parades and death camps, you’ll be disappointed. They’re not that kind of bastards.

    A war isn’t lost when every defending soldier is dead. It is lost when the enemy have total control of their society. In our situation; the enemy control all the institutions, and can do whatever they wish to us. They have won.

  • M

    Human Action is only readable because Henry Hazlitt turned it into idiomatic English

    I find Murray Rothbard’s prose very easy to follow and enjoyable to read. Same goes for Hazlitt. Hazlitt’s writing style was praised by H.L. Mencken, who was a brilliant writer himself.

  • I do too M. But the American thing seems to focus on the Constitution, the Fed, New Deal and so on for the English taste.

    One of the best things I’ve ever read was Hazlitt’s “The Foundations of Morality”.

  • DavidNcl. Thanks… But I’m on hiatus for the mo because the blog I co-conspire on is in bits in both the physical and information theory sense of “bits”. In Australia.

    Perry,
    You ever read Vasiliy Grossmann? One insight of his which stayed with me is that true totalitarianism doesn’t really need camps because it has turned the whole country into a camp…

  • Sunfish

    Nick

    I’m self-employed and I just did it and lots of folks I talk to think I should have needed some sort of “permission” or gone through various governmental (accent on “mental”) hoops. The meta-context is shifted so dramatically that we don’t even realise it.

    Those same people live here too. And they want police sent to their home because “My child won’t eat his vegetables/do his homework” or “They have their dog in the backyard.”

    Well, is the dog escaping and threatening people? (no.) Is he barking and creating a disturbance? (No.) Does he have food, water, and shelter from the elements immediately available? (Yes.) Has he had his shots? (His tag was the exact shape/size/color as the shot tag that my vet gives Goldenretrieverfish and Catfish. I’m gonna call that a clue.) Then HOW the F*** is this a police matter?

    I’d rather deal with four porkchop domestics in one shift than have to go back and raise Little Jimmy because his Subaru-driving Colorado-version-of-GROLIES parents think it takes a vlillage.

    Without going into details (because this will convince everybody here who already thinks I’m a JBT, that I really am), she learned that, if she did not want THE MAN in her life she should not invite me in and should not keep inviting me in when I’m trying to stay out.

    Her neighbor called to complain about the man who had two cars in his driveway, one up on blocks. (The guy restores old muscle cars for a hobby. Unless they’re stolen or he’s dumping the fluids down the storm drains I’m not seeing where it becomes a police matter.)

    Ian-
    Dude. Remember what I said about a six-day bender with strange hippie chicks that has you waking up on a beach in Mexico asking “Who am I? Why am I here?”

    Do it. Trust me. Because right now, your posts all add up to the only answer being a stiff drink, some alone time, and a pistol. And I think drunken debauchery in a Tiajuana hotel room would probably be better for your long-term health than suck-starting a Glock.

    (But if you hear a strange guy say anything about “Burros,” leave. You’ll have added material for the cartoon but at what cost, sir? At what cost?)

  • Couple of points:

    The tax level discussion between the main parties reminds me of the presidential candiates in futurama (“I say your 5% titanium tax goes too far”, ” And I say your 5% titanium tax does not go far enough”)

    A point Jerry Pournelle often makes is that a Dark age is when you can’t remember what used to be possible, not juts when you lack the capability to do do. In this case we are heading into a dark age for freedom as all knowledge of civil society pre the welfare state is being forgotten (Friendly societies, etc).

    Finally, re the war against the statists: in my darker moods i do feel that a truely free society is a lost cause on this planet, therefore our best hope is to hold out long enough to estalish one elsewhere in the solar system (to paraphrase Firefly, the further the reach of the governement gets, we’ll just head a little further out).

    Andy

  • Otto

    I am not entirely pessimistic about the longterm. The seeds of the fall of the progressive hegemony are already planted.

    Firstly, they will keep raising taxes and regulation, and mucking up the economy till it is in complete crisis, and reality breaks in.

    Secondly, after decades in power their will be nobody left to blame and their ideology will lose all explanatory power.

    Thirdly, demographic change in some European countries will eventually lead to ethnic wars. The whole equalities suite will then probably be binned.

  • Ian is there any danger of you letting me know your email address.

    Mine follows this template X_Y_Z@yahoo.com

    Where X = David, Y = Thompson and Z = Contracts (the underscores are included. I’m not mental, honest).

  • Laird

    “Secondly, after decades in power their will be nobody left to blame and their ideology will lose all explanatory power.” – Otto

    The flaw in this argument is that unless there is something else around to which it can be compared, their ideology needs no “explanatory power.” It doesn’t matter how bad things get; no one will be able to point to a better model. The Societ Union collapsed because the West provided a better example (to say nothing of consumer goods, etc.). If the collectivists and statists succeed in gaining complete control of the US and the UK, what will be left?

    I see three distinct types of activities we freedom-loving, small-government advocates should be engaging in. The first is continuing to shout as loudly as we can about what is happening, in books, blogs, letters to the editor, etc. (Perry’s approach), in an attempt to keep the embers of liberty kindled in at least a few hearts. The second is to adopt Ian B’s model of a resistance movement (what I call “throwing sand in the gears” of government). Let’s find creative ways to hasten the Leviathan’s demise, or at least make life more difficult for its acolytes. Finally, for the long haul, we should be amassing libraries of books and writings on how true freedom works. That won’t help us much, but our descendants will certainly need it.

  • Sunfish. Sometime they shame edjits that phone 999 here. One daft nint phoned to complain about “two squirrels fighting in the garden”. If I’d been answering that call I’d be like, “We’re dispatching a SWAT team and a couple of helicopters”.

    No, Otto. You make a humongous assumption. How fucked can the economy get?. We (possibly) live in a rare bright patch where y’know I get to talk to you on my nice little Tosh lappy with the 32″ Samsung blazing in the background. If we assume the enlightenment and the industrial revolution and all that jazz are a permanent artifact of civilisation then we will lose it and it’s back to the fucking fields as serfs. You forget how survivable our species is and the shit it will put-up with.

    Don’t believe me. Don’t believe that the story of H sapiens sapiens is a monotonic rise to the stars… Look at the frescos from the Minoan civilisation in the Eastern Med (flush toilets 4500 years ago) or the scientific work of the Ionian Awakening and compare and contrast with the Dark Ages…

    We are fucked. This is not necessarily a permanent state of affairs but… we have lost this round. What we need to do is keep our knowledge. We need to keep at it. We must never give up because we might win in the end but it’s gonna be a hell of an up-hill slog.

    We are under the rulership of the nerds that couldn’t hack math at school. No social skills or charm, no techical skills or scientific talent so they stiffle everything down to their own dismal LCD. Look at them and despise them. We shall win if we keep the faith but it will be be a hell of a ride and the first milestone is the realisation of how fucked we really are…

  • Laird’s last comment is spot-on.

  • Gabriel

    Thirdly, demographic change in some European countries will eventually lead to ethnic wars.

    Great!

    No, I don’t mean great, I mean something more along the lines of ‘Fuck’.

    I wonder what the entirely pessimistic outlook looks like, ebola perhaps?

  • Rob

    “It is like listening to two madmen arguing over how full an invisible jar of jam is… and each insisting that as the other cannot see what they see, they must be insane.”

    Outstanding!

  • Ian B

    DavidNci, my email addy is jax@jaxtrawstudios with a dot com on the end. Are you going to suggest we form a British libertarian party? It might be a good idea, since it’s just become clear that the UK doesn’t have one, right? :)

    (To paraphrase Mark Wadsworth, “click link above to share in Ian B’s sense of hopelessness”).

  • Ian B

    Thirdly, demographic change in some European countries will eventually lead to ethnic wars.

    Great!

    No, I don’t mean great, I mean something more along the lines of ‘Fuck’.

    I wonder what the entirely pessimistic outlook looks like, ebola perhaps?

    I actually think that’s more pessimistic than need be. It’s wrong to look at any future conflict in “ethnic” terms; this is the kind of (IMV incorrect) thinking that goes on over at the “populist/nationalist right wing” side of things. In Britain, if it comes to some kind of conflict, we’re going to be looking at Islam and The Committed Left against everybody else. Looking at the variety of ehtnicities now resident in the UK- the nice hindus who run my local shop, and the chinese family who run the chippy, which side are they going to be on? Same as me. Jews? Same as me. (Most) afro-caribbeans, except those who’ve converted to slam… same. And so on.

    The truly racist right will be on the other side, since they’re more interested in killing Jews they’re natural allies of Islam… while in fact you have an interesting scenario going on in which parties like the BNP are rejecting anti-semtism and shifting towards a more western nationalist and inclusive perspective. The truly committed Left are a far smaller in numbers than we think; they look more powerful than they are due to hegemonic dominance, but if push comes to shove they’ll have surprisingly few boots on the ground. If that kind of fighting ever does break out, frankly it’ll be bloody, but rather brief. It won’t be white europeans against everybody else, it’ll be virtually everybody against ‘slam and the the hardline commies.

  • Laird

    I hope you’re right, Ian.

  • Bod

    Just to inject a tad more pessimism, the problem I see with IanB’s prediction would be that after the dust settles, there’s no guarantee that the West won’t end up with something just as bad as the turd-wayers.

    The re-establishment of freedom atop a pile of skulls doesn’t sound too likely; and unless the leading cadre are inhumanly JUST libertarians, I don’t see a new, free society replacing the multi-culti statists.

    Sunfish’s vacation suggestion beckons. *sigh*

  • Ian B

    I agree, Bod, which is why I keep futilely trying to think of ways to stop the train before we get there, and why I don’t support the idea that “statism will fall and then we will triumph”. We’re more likely to end up with either total chaos or a thugocracy of some kind, probably both simultaneously.

    Might be worth it to see Ed Balls swinging from a lamppost, though.

  • Bod

    Well, I’m on the left side of the pond, but Washington DC is endowed with plenty of solidly-built lamp posts that just cry out to be used for just such a purpose.

  • Otto

    Thirdly, demographic change in some European countries will eventually lead to ethnic wars.

    My apologies for being so imprecise. What I was thinking of was the probability of Islam against the rest type wars. I presume they’ll happen in different regions and countries at different times. Really nothing more than Mark Steyn has been predicting for years, although I would tend to agree with IanB about which side would win them – us rather than Islam.

    Part of why I am not entirely pessimistic is that if bottom up resistance doesn’t eventually do for the progressives then top down loss of nerve and self belief will do so.

    I am confident that in decades to come there will be economically more successful societies for the European and American people to compare their own polities failings against.

    Eventually the progressives will be forced by economic and / or military pressures to carry out their own version of perestroika. Once they start letting economic freedom in, freedom of expression and political freedom will follow. After all in the Anglosphere and some other Western countries these ideas have deep cultural roots. (eg I think it was Hayek who suggested that Cicero was the original authority for classical liberalism. – Apologies, but it’s twenty years since I read it.)

    Civilizations do re-invent themselves – Ours has done so before and will do so again.

  • Civilizations do re-invent themselves – Ours has done so before and will do so again.

    Indeed, which is why I have little time for the sentiments that all is irretrievably lost. It just ain’t so.

  • Ian B

    Western Europe took a thousand years to get from Rome to the Renaissance. Personally, I’m less than sanguine about discontinuities. We don’t live in the grand sweep of history, we live in the now. I wish the distant future well, but am more interested in the short term for selfish reasons, just as a 5th Century Briton would have been unmoved by the news that his distant descendents would again have decent sanitation.

  • If you cannot see the accelerating curve caused by technology in social tends over the last few centuries, and why that means things will not take centuries to turn things around, then I am inclined to write you off as a depressive troll. Sorry.

  • Ian B

    Perry, the term “troll” is used to refer to a mischievious troublemaker whose only reason for participation is to sow discord, and I don’t believe that the people here at samizdata with whom I’ve had many interesting discussions would consider me to be such. It’s also a dismissive insult, like “racist” or “sexist” which labels somebody as beyond acceptability and needful of exclusion. I feel rather insulted by that, I think deservedly.

    I’m not quite clear what you mean by “the accelerating curve caused by technology in social trends”, nor why “that means things will not take centuries to turn [things] around”. There are certainly many social trends to be observed, and a clear trend of technological progress, but I’m not sure what you’re trying to imply about their relationship. I think most people (at least on the free market liberal side of things) would agree that our civilisation’s unprecedentedly rapid advance has been due to the scientific method and a social organisation which has allowed considerable freedom of expression and action, including the development of the scientific method. There is no guarantee of continuity of either of those; indeed the trend for the past century has been against them.

    Consider the third world. Look at Africa, or South America, at the low standard of living and at the lack of things we take for granted. They aren’t too stupid to make themselves comfortable housing or plasma TVs- nor is the knowledge of how to do so denied them; neither are they short of natural resources, nor of manpower. And yet most of the population live in the dark ages. Why is that?

    Have a think about that, and then you’ll realise how critically dependent on the structure of liberal democracy we are, and how easily we could lose all we have, and how difficult it may be to ever get it back.

    After the collapse of western Rome, what is most striking in the archeological record is the disappearance of such everyday objects as wheel turned pottery, and roof tiles. How could such simple technologies be lost?

    They lost their economy and the stable political and social environment that allows somebody to run a roof tile factory or a pottery factory. That’s all. It wasn’t easy to get back, even that low level. We should not trust the collapse of our rulers to lead to a new golden age. It may just leave us in the dark.

    Which is why I’d prefer to think of ways to stop them before things go that far.

  • Laird

    Perry, I think you’re being unfair to Ian B, who makes some valid points. Also, I don’t think you’re necessarily on opposite ends of the spectrum here. If I understand it correctly, your position is that with the statists in almost complete domination of the western polity, their inherently irrational economic theories and social policies will eventually lead to their own downfall and the ultimate return to power of more enlightened leaders. Ian doesn’t disagree with the first part of that analysis, merely with the part about us being able to pick up the pieces quickly after the inevitable collapse. It’s a legitimate fear: witness the millenium-long Dark Ages after the fall of Rome. Whether our vaunted technology has reached some sort of “tipping point”, such that we won’t lose it all in the event of social breakdown, is the central question, and none of us knows the answer. It’s not unreasonable to prepare for Ian’s worst-case scenario, while hoping that yours is what actually happens. Personally, to use a sort of cost/benefit analysis. I think that his “downside” is more frightening than your “upside” is appealing.

    Otto, with regard to your statement: “Part of why I am not entirely pessimistic is that if bottom up resistance doesn’t eventually do for the progressives then top down loss of nerve and self belief will do so.” The problem that is the “progressives” never suffer from that sort of self-doubt. They know they are fundamentally correct, and if things aren’t working as expected it’s merely a failure of implementation, not theory. Witness the revisionist economic historians who are now claiming that FDR’s New Deal failed only because it didn’t go far enough; witness the current US Congress and nascent administration clamoring for the release of yet more bailout funds. The possibility that they could be wrong doesn’t ever enter their heads; it’s simply unthinkable because it’s not part of their “meta-context” (in Perry’s word). Bottom-up resistance is the only hope we have.