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]

A quick question

Are you optimistic about the future? Several months ago I was not, but I am now. From what I can see, governments are walking down the path of their complete moral and financial bankruptcy far more quickly than I ever imagined they would. I thought that it would take our overmighty governments several slow, demoralising decades of decline and eventual collapse to completely discredit their authority and control in the eyes of the people. However, our governments appear to be going supernova right now and I suspect they will burn themselves out over a few painful and tumultuous years – destroying a great deal of wealth in the process, no doubt. However, as worrying as that prospect is, it was always going to be that way. And in spite of that, I feel particularly upbeat about the longer term future. Those who know nothing more (and expect nothing less) than widespread government authority and control over all aspects of our lives will have their imbecile – sorry, umbilical – cords to the State cut sooner than expected, thanks to the overwhelmingly reckless (but entirely predictable) government response to the current financial crisis. I really do believe that future historians will pinpoint this crisis as marking the beginning of the end of the big-government era.

Do you agree?

45 comments to A quick question

  • Ray

    I’m not as optimistic as you, although I’m at least moderately encouraged by what appears to be a growing level of unrest in the UK. There are still, however, far too many institutions and individuals for whom the relationship between ‘citizen’ and ‘state’ is acceptably analogous to the one that prevails between ‘junkie’ and ‘dealer’.

  • no, I don’t agree.

    Any effect will be temporary. We will all be poorer than we would otherwise have been, but that won’t be noticed. What we never had we won’t miss. Otherwise? there may be a bit of an adjustment, but only within the paradym.

  • It’s possible but it’s also possible that we’ll end up turning our backs on capitalism and progress rather like the way the Sung (?) Dynasty did in China.

  • Seems much more likely to me that poor government performance will be taken as evidence that government doesn’t have enough power. We’re all fucked, I’m afraid.

  • James Waterton

    No, the government will not have the resources to grab significantly more power thanks to its recent forays.

  • I agree James. The opportunities the supernova presents will be limited only by our daring and imagination

  • Westerlyman

    Were the electorate made up only of people who were of voting age at the end of the last Labour government you may have been right in your prediction. Like me they would probably be saying “Oh God, not again”

    However there are too many voters who have never known high unemployment, high inflation (which will surely follow from the current policies) and all the other shit we had to live through in the 70’s. These people will be saying to themselves “Well the government’s policies sound like bollocks but they must know what they are doing really, mustn’t they?”

    We are doomed to keep repeating the mistakes of the past because most people know nothing of history, even very recent history.

    Libertarians will have to be a hell of a lot better at PR than they are at present if they really want to influence future government policies.

  • TomC

    History suggests that when there is a power vaccuum something way more dangerous often threatens to fill it, particularly where previous attempts by government to solve a particular set of problems have failed. Newer and more radical policies may be naively accepted and promoted.

    The trick will be to seize freedom from the jaws of tyranny. Can this be accomplished and if so how? That is the question that should be asked. Atlas WILL shrug.

    I would suggest not, in view of the difficulties in arriving at any kind of consensus among libertarians.

    For libertarians who believe in some kind of limited government, this is akin to agreeing that there should be only a limited amount of freedom.

    If you got out of the deep end of a swimming pool in order to get back into the shallow end, on the grounds that it is less deep and therefore less dangerous, it is still only a different part of the same. Reason suggests that holding this view, the whole pool should be drained, filled in and concreted over.

    Or, similarly, if we say “I just want to be left alone!”, do we mean what we say, or do we really mean “Just interfere with my life on a limited basis, that will be OK, thank you”? If we believe in freedom we should look for ways of obtaining all of it, not just some level of compromised freedom obtained by consensus.

    Well, what would I suggest? “The Market for Liberty” by the Tannehills addresses typical criticisms.

  • Needs must, and the need is for a much smaller state, how else are we going to pay the bills.

  • TDK

    Most of the right wing people I know (or read on the web) believe that the banking crisis was caused by insufficient regulation. To take two illustrative examples that people here might be aware of: Pub Philosopher and House of Dumb. Now they may not be to anyone here’s taste but the fact is they reflect a outlook shared by many on the right. It goes without saying that most on the left share that viewpoint.

    Therefore I predict that in the next few years the public belief in the ability to elect a government that can fix the problem will not change except in their willingness to allow an increase its powers to achieve that end.

    We are in a vicious circle. Every problem caused by central planning is successfully blamed upon the free market or even just freedom. It leads to an acceptance of the need for greater powers for the planners which in turn creates the next batch of problems. Therefore it is far to early to expect the demise of big government.

    I think the crisis caused by “green solutions” to global warming is far more likely to lead to a discrediting. When the power goes off because of the faith in windmills and people look to see a political class united in belief in that chimera then the illusion will be broken.

  • Corsair

    No, not at all optimistic. I think we’re about to move from the current smiley-coercive liberal fascism to the boot-in-the-face we-own-your-children variety, and I think it’ll be very popular: mass democracy is far more friendly to fascism than it is to liberty, as anyone can see from history. We will soon learn the truth of this (widely attributed) aphorism:

    A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.

    Now, I have two young sons (six and two). Thanks to Mr Brown they both owe the State a fortune; the welfare-addicted population of Britain is aging, so the State (or perhaps I should say ‘national community’) will certainly want to own their labour fifteen years down the line – how the hell else will they pay all those public sector pensions? So, I wonder if, when they reach adulthood, they’ll even be allowed to leave the country: ‘You can’t leave. You owe us. Don’t be so ungrateful. Now get back to work’.

    How did the people of Eastern Europe keep the candle burning during their socialist period? Perhaps I should be studying that.

  • TDK: exactly. Only problem with the Green angle is that it is seen as a pet issue of the Left, and so if anything, it will only discredit the statist Left, while at least in theory the statist Right might be allowed to carry on with their pet projects.

    Corsair: that is an excellent quote. Who said it?

  • TDK

    Only problem with the Green angle is that it is seen as a pet issue of the Left

    Bit more complicated than that.

    If we go back more than a 100 years the Environmental movement had people across the spectrum but the leftist rural socialists were decisively defeated by Marx’s scientific socialism which aimed for modernity and claimed to be even more productive (because less wasteful) than capitalism.

    The modern environmental movement was also more cross party. “People” (which became the Ecology Party) was formed by (or with) ex-Conservatives. And whilst I would not argue against the idea that it moved towards the left this only became accelerated in the late 1980s, no doubt partly because of the collapse of communism. This discredited the idea of socialism co-existing (and managing) a consumer society – see Steven Hicks et al.

    However, the Green movement is overwhelmingly one of the middle classes and thus the Conservatives see it as their natural territory. I don’t think this is mere opportunism. The Think Prince Charles and you can see the natural affinity of the patrician class for environmentalism.

  • Unless we, as libertarians, can get a message that we all agree on into the public consciousness then there is no hope. The kind of radical change that is necessary will not happen without bloodshed I fear. We are entering a period of great upheaval, destruction, and death. I am willing to ride it out for the long term benefits that will come (possibly not for me, but for my children and their children) but we have been living in a society of instant gratification and reactive politics for far too long. People will want the pain to stop, and they will want it to stop on demand. We need to show them that the suffering which will be inflicted is unavoidable and maybe even necessary for there to be a better world available to future generations.
    Freedom must be forged in fire and tempered in blood and tears. The fuel for the forge will be the sturctures and society of the old order. Like a wild beast the state must be put down, brutally and swiftly, and its death throes weathered, before we will ever know freedom. The damage that will be done to humanity will be terrible. Millions, possibly billions, will die, and many more will wish for it. There are dark days ahead, we must keep the light of freedom burning through them, and it will be hard.

    In short: No, I am not optimistic in the short term, things are going to get alot worse before there is even a chance of them getting better. And I fear that many of us will be first against the wall.

  • TDK

    bah!

    This event discredited…

  • Corsair

    Ailsa said

    that is an excellent quote. Who said it?

    Just about everybody, it seems ;-) see this(Link):

  • Thanks, Corsair. No matter who said it, it needs to be framed and hung on a wall everywhere.

    TDK: I know, that’s why I wrote “seen as”.

  • Kevin B

    As a Brit, I’m vaguely optimistic about America recovering to at least a semi Reaganite Conservatism.

    If things don’t pick up over the next eighteen months, I half expect a slaughter of the incumbents in the mid-term elections, and their replacments will be largely conservative.

    As far as Europe is concerned, I can only see a continuing descent into fascism. The EU owns us, lock, stock and stinking barrel, and I can’t see it going quietly.

    The US has it’s constitution to rally round and, as bent and battered as that document is, it still offers a rallying point for freedom lovers. Europe has no such tradition as a whole, and the various constitutions af the member states have been stomped flat by the ‘European dream’.

    America has only just begun it’s descent into a fascist/socialist state, led by the unholy alliance of Obama, Pelosi and Reid, and the performance of these worthies has so far been amateurish and incompetent. The Eurosocialists are so deeply entrenched that there isn’t a conservative party left in Europe.

    Then there’s that whole armed citizenry thing that the States has going for it. Gun manufacturers can’t keep up with demand at the moment.

    It won’t be easy for the US to turn back the tide, but I believe it is at least possible. Here, I can’t see anything on the horizon except violent overthrow, and that would leave a mess from which we might never recover.

    Australia and New Zealand have a decent chance to recover. Much will depend on how well the yanks do and whether the Anzacs can tie their fortunes to a Pacific recovery, with China as the wild card in the pack.

    When the history of the early twenty-first century is written, I expect that China and the USA will be the major players with Australasia and possibly India – depending how events in the sub-continent play out – in the supporting cast. The shattered remnants of Europe will be seen as an object lesson in how not to do things.

  • Frederick Davies

    Do you agree?

    No; on two accounts:

    First, the same way as those guilty of the “Broken windows” fallacy, you are trying to see a positive result out of the destruction of wealth. Destruction always injures us and makes us poorer, and poverty is no helper of freedom, but of authoritarianism.

    Second, the kind of change you think will come after governments “burn themselves out over a few painful and tumultuous years” has never come through peaceful means, but through revolutions and civil wars. So I ask you, where are the people who will fight those on behalf of Freedom? Where are they training and arming themselves in preparation for the coming test? Do not forget that the reason why Communism and Nazism succeeded in Russia and Germany was not for the philosophical correctness of their ideals, but for the paramilitary and organizational preparation of their followers.

  • Matt

    As others have noted, collapse is often followed by revolution. What will we get? Kerensky was followed by Lenin. Lafayette was followed by Robespierre, then Bonaparte. Americans addicted to the nanny state are likely to create a Christian theocratic military dictatorship after the (probably inevitable) collapse of the current government.

  • the last toryboy

    I think you are guilty of wishful thinking. The last crash of this magnitude resulted in Nazis, world war, mass conscription, the socialist postwar consensus. In short, the state grew hugely, not just thanks to the events of 1929-1932, but due to the aftermath.

  • nostalgic

    I dont feel at all optimistic either and toryboy in post above sums up very well how i feel about it.

  • I, too, agree with toryboy. When things go bad, governments are never in the practice of going gracefully into the night. There’s usually a good deal of kicking and screaming involved. Automatic weapons fire included at no extra charge.
    Secondly, when things go bad, the electorate is in the practice of looking to government, and demanding that the unpleasantness be addressed NOW, not later. In this environment, a self-proclaimed benevolent dictator looks very attractive, and we wind up with people like FDR and Mussolini.

  • mome

    Raivo Pommer
    raimo1@hot.ee

    Teuer Geld

    Er beruft sich hierbei auf ein Urteil des Landgerichts Coburg (Az.: 23 O 426/08). In dem Fall hatten der Beklagte und seine Ehefrau zusammen einen Kredit über 21 000 Euro aufgenommen. Als sie sich scheiden ließen, vereinbarten sie, dass die Frau den Kredit zurückzahlen werde. Im Gegenzug verpflichtete sich der Mann, zwei weitere Darlehen zu begleichen.

    Diese Absprache teilten sie auch der Bank mit. Als die Frau die Tilgungen nicht leistete, kündigte die Bank das Darlehen und verlangte vom früheren Ehemann den offenen Schuldbetrag von 16 400 Euro. Zu recht, urteilte das Gericht: Denn die Absprache zwischen den früheren Eheleuten schütze den Beklagten nicht. Maßgeblich sei allein das Vertragsverhältnis zwischen der Bank und dem Mann. Der Beklagte sei durch die Scheidung oder die Abmachung der Eheleute untereinander nicht von seiner Schuld gegenüber der Bank befreit.

  • Arty

    I’m afraid I don’t agree either. It is very difficult for even a homogenous people to oppose tyranny. There’s far too many things that divide us and too few that unite us right now. Politicians know this and how to exploit these divisions to their advantage. The only chance we have is for a leader to emerge who is believes in freedom (economic and social) and can unite people. That’s a pretty tall order these days. Look at the prize pig the Americans got when they needed leadership.

  • rc

    I think that is one possible outcome, but by no means is that assured or even likely. Human history tells a different story…that unique freedoms the western world have enjoyed over the past 200 years or so, are an anomaly. The default human condition is one of tyranny and oppression by governments. So, pessimistically, I think that will be the probable outcome of the destruction of capitalism and the prosperity and power of free people.

  • Paul Marks

    A lot of people mistake the SCALE of the crises.

    We will not be just “poorer than we would have otherwise have been” due to the binge of government spending and other interventionism.

    The British and American economies (and some others) are going to go down the drain.

    It is going to be very bad indeed. There is going to be no real recovery whilst we carry on this path.

    Getting off the path means making a PRINCIPLED case (based on clear knowledge of economic law) to a population misled (in a literal sense) by our Pragmatist enemies.

    I see little chance of that in Britain.

    But a slim (not a good) chance of that in the United States.

    The ideology that holds that the crises is caused by “unrestricted capitalism” (if that has ever existed it certainly has not existed in the United States since 1913) must be attacked head on.

    And we must be clear headed – the “mainstream media” (such as Time magazine from which I got that quote) are not people we can reach by rational argument – they are enemies (period).

    It is pointless for a anti statism candidate to speak to Time magazine or the New York Times – or to go on to most of the shows on the mainstream television networks (they would be, at best, just wasting their time – and everything they say will be edited to make them look stupid, evil or both).

    The people have to be reached directly – by the internet, by talk radio (if the left do not regulate it out of existance) and by cable and satellite television.

    “Not enough Paul” – we will have to make it enough.

  • Rob

    Freedom rarely prospers when societies and economies are in collapse. I can’t think of a single example, to be fair.

  • Paul Marks

    Depends what you mean by “collapse” Rob.

    If you mean people eating each other I agree.

    If you mean bankruptcy I do not agree.

    There are many examples of countries rolling back government spending and regulations in the face of bankruptcy.

    IF THE CASE IS CLEARLY MADE.

  • Laird

    It strikes me that yours is a very peculiar definition of “optimistic”, James. (You too, Perry.) I would suggest that it is more akin to “looking for a silver lining” in what is a very dark cloud.

    The sentiment on this site seems pretty universal that we’re in for some very bad times, and I agree. As has been noted, governments rarely die quietly; their death throes will be extremely unpleasant. The people who elected Obama are the intellectual heirs of those who elected Hitler and Mussolini. They were unhappy with the status quo and voted for change, any change, without giving sufficient thought to what that really meant. They have sown the wind, and we will all now reap the whirlwind.

    I think it’s far more likely that our governments (US and UK) will devolve into some form of tyranny than that either will evolve in the direction of greater freedom. And if that happens it will take generations, if not centuries, to work our way out of it. None of us will live to see it, and I doubt that any of our children will, either. So no, I’m not “optimistic” in any meaningful sense of that word.

  • IF THE CASE IS CLEARLY MADE.

    Who do we make it to? How?
    The internet is not the way. Not enough people take what is said on the internet seriously and don’t know that t is anything more than youtube, myspace, and shops. The fault of the MSM, where the majority still get their information from. To too many the internet is merely triva and will be dismissed as such.
    The MSM is also not the way, as you have stated above. So I ask again: How do we make our case?

  • LawhawkSF

    You Brits undoubtedly have a Winston Churchill hiding somewhere. You’ll pull out of this mess, even though I must admit you dug your hole a little earlier and a little deeper than we did.

    So I’ll stick to my side of the ocean. FDR said “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Ronald Reagan said “big government isn’t the solution, it’s the problem.” Barack Obama said “Uh, ummm, uh.” The former two threw out the government that had failed. Our more recent entrant, he of the oily word and perpetual teleprompter, is a temporary blip on the radar. He merely plans to continue the big government as solution to everything that Bush subscribed to, only Obama wants more, more, more. Those who voted for him as an antidote to Republican big government are already fleeing in horror at their mistake.

    And yes, economic crisis and war did indeed produce dictatorships. But we are Brits and Yanks, the same free people who defeated those who gave in to fear and despair on the Continent. We won’t solve our problems easily, but we will solve them peacefully. And in America, we have the one advantage that Brits currently lack. When the government comes to take everything from us, we can shoot back.

    Of course it would help if the UK withdrew from the EU so that as soon as we get rid of Obama we can restore the Anglo-American alliance.

  • wombat

    I disagree, many people are over-dramatising the crisis. Governments have been through worse crisis before and survived. In fact, the massive fiscal deficit policies are part of their plan to keep themselves in power at the cost of taxpayers, now and in the future. And I don’t see any revolutionaries ready to storm any Bastilles.

    In fact, China, the epitome of big government, is probably in the strongest position of the large economies. Sadly, the only cheer I hear is Long Live Big Government.

  • I disagree, many people are over-dramatising the crisis. Governments have been through worse crisis before and survived

    I wonder if you will think that in 18 months to 2 years when the impact of the moves to make things ‘better’ being taken now have really hit, everyone’s saving have been largely wiped out by inflating the currency and US T-Bills are seen as the junk bonds? Only time will tell of course but I fully expect unemployment at 20%+ by then in both the UK and USA (higher if you excude phony government jobs).

  • LawhawkSF, actually FDR made things massively worse. It would have been far far better if all he did was say “Uh, ummm, uh”.

  • LawhawkSF

    Perry de Havilland: Very funny, and absolutely correct. I wasn’t trying to defend FDR’s fiscal irresponsibility, I was trying to make a point about statesmen who understood how to prevent tyranny in their own lands at a time when tyranny was rearing its ugly head all over the world.

    I don’t think Obama has any appreciation whatsoever of the internal and external threats to freedom throughout the globe. Ronald Reagan himself believed in smaller government and free enterprise, but he kept FDR in his pantheon for the same reason I do.

    Unfortunately, Obama only hears “New Deal, WPA, NRA,” etc. ad nauseam, but has ignored “with confidence in our armed forces–with the unbounding determination of our people–we will gain the inevitable triumph–so help us God.”

  • Alice

    Optimism, pessimism — all depends on the time scale.

    Yes, mark me down with the concensus that things will get worse in the next few years, for lots & lots of us. But the wheel keeps on turning. Ancient Greece fell, and now we have more human beings living longer healthier lives — and no slave class. If it takes a couple of thousand years, so what? You got somewhere else to go?

    One of the really positive features of today’s world is the broad dissemination of technology. Smooth-looking Brazilian jets flitting in & out of European airports. Indian spacecraft on the Moon. Nuclear power plants in more countries than most people could name. If the West (or rather, its Political Class) commits suicide, the world will go on.

    The future for the human race is bright, once we get through the coming dark night. Our job is to figure out how to preserve & transmit to future generations the lessons that we are being forced to relearn today.

  • Hi Samizdata,
    Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to save the state systems of western Europe, and we have to find another way to organise ourselves.

    I deal with this, and the reasons why, and the possible remedy, at my little blog: http://freehal.blogspot.com/

    Welfare democracy will go the way of Sovietism. I think the primary reason will be the bankruptcy of the state authorities, but the breakdown will also be ushered along by the habit of dependence of its populations, and a deep and fast-growing separation between European-Islamic populations. (The idea of ethnic division is especially worrying given Europe’s history of vicious ethnic conflict.)

    Unlike James Waterton, I don’t think that collapse is imminent. I give it another 15 to 20 years at least before the boat starts going over the waterfall. The current financial crisis and bailout push the boat lower into the water and make it impossible to pull for the shore.

    If you want to find a remedy, you have to forget about remedies that involve the state: it will not be there, except in some areas that resort to dictatorship. And, given the welfare dependence of so much of Europe’s population, insofar as people want to revive the state it will be because they want to revive state welfare. It is unrealistic to expect people to react to this, or worse crises in future by agreeing to give up free pensions and healthcare.

    Cranky as it may seem, you have to consider ways of organising society that don’t involve the state. I deal with what seems to me to be the best method at my blog.

    Hal
    freehal@hotmail.co.uk

  • James Waterton

    I think many of you are overdoing the gloom a bit – certainly in respect to the USA.

    Someone above said that this past 200 years of human liberty is an aberration. Perhaps so, but the principles of liberty are durable, especially in a country blessed with these principles as its foundation. In my opinion, this period of overmighty government is an aberration in the USA. There are still many, many (well-armed) friends of liberty there, and I believe a clear line in the sand exists for such folk. Yes, it is difficult to ascertain exactly where that line is (we will only know it when it has been crossed), but I believe there will come a time when a large number of free citizens of the USA start fighting back against the encroaching state, in the spirit of the Founding Fathers. Such a showdown has the potential to re-popularise the principles those great and far-seeing men gifted to all Americans.

    Western Europe, on the other hand, is a different matter entirely. However, if the United States exists in a state of liberty, there is hope for Western Europe – and the rest of the world.

  • Brad

    We are certainly at a pivot point. It will either move toward a greater amount of individual freedom or we will move toward a true Command Economy (speaking for the US anyway). Review of the two major Command Economies of the last century points to what we can expect if we do.

    Unfortunately we are so beset with various forms of superstition, and people are disproportionately afraid, that I am leaning toward the idea that we are headed to a deeply Statist Command Economy and all the attendant misery that goes with it. Government might not be able to grab more of the economy but it will be able to eliminate bodies to meet the new economic output after the collapse their Command Economy policies bring.

  • Mrs. du Toit

    Do you agree?

    Yes: If the trend is to splinter.

    No: If SOD (“some other dude”) is thought to be the culprit and the masses decide to bring torches to steal more of his wealth.

    Other than a plague of Biblical proportions, I don’t see how the more than 50% who pay no taxes (but figured out how to vote in the last election), but still want all the services of the welfare state, will ever stand down.

    We all thought the guy who said (paraphrasing) “that now that his guy was in the White House he’d get a house and cable TV” was a fool.

  • Kim du Toit

    “However there are too many voters who have never known high unemployment, high inflation (which will surely follow from the current policies) and all the other shit we had to live through in the 70’s.”

    Actually, while this is quite true, it’s better stated in the converse:

    There are too many voters who have only known (and worked in) a period of low inflation, almost non-existent unemployment rates and economic growth.

    So they will be totally unprepared for a situation of plunging economies, high unemployment and (soon) soaring inflation.

    I heard about some corporate middle managers discussing how they were being “ripped off” by having all bonuses cancelled, and how angry they were as most capital projects were being shelved indefinitely. These are people for whom the Horn ‘O Plenty has never run dry, and amazingly, are unable to see their own jeopardy — for if some projects, even important ones, can be shelved, what does that say about their jobs?

    And needless to say, when the gravy train ends and they discover that their erstwhile skills are no longer in great demand, they’ll turn to Big Government for assistance instead of making the changes for themselves.

  • Subotai Bahadur

    I am not optimistic about the future. I hope that I can be placidly determined and calm for what is to come; but I do not view the future with optimism either politically or economically.

    Kevin B @ 8 March 2009, 1432 hrs. Part of your optimism; for my poor country rolling back the Marxists in the 2010 elections, may be misplaced. Many of us here have very little confidence in either the existence of said elections, or if they occur that the voting and counting will be truthful. We saw massive fraud in registrations and absentee voting, abetted openly by elected Democrat officials, in 2008. While that was not enough to swing the election, it was one hell of a test run. They got away with it totally. The supposed check on political corruption of a free press has failed us completely, and by 2010 those mainstream media outlets who have not gone bankrupt [they can lie to us with impunity, but they have not yet found a way to force us to pay for them. That is in the next bailout bill.] will be as firmly controlled as the press under the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda.

    Yes, we are armed here. That is the ultimate check in the check and balance system, along with the fealty of our military to the Oath. But if that is the last option we have to submission, it has to be noted that the ends of a revolution/civil war are frequently counter to the original intent. There are neither George Washington’s nor clones of Cincinnatus visible on our horizon.

    If it comes to that though, Stanza XXVII of Macaulay’s Horatius, substituting “homeland” for “ashes” and “God” for “Gods”, will serve well enough.

    As far as Europe in general, and in particular Humble Britain; there is not even that slender hope. You supinely await a final conquest; either by the overweening State in the form of the EU, or by Islam. The spirit that Macaulay evoked [more to inspire Britons than to teach history] simply is not there any more. Conservative [theory not your Tory party] opposition to either has been marginalized, as have any thoughts of pride in your heritage and ancient freedoms. If there is any resistance, it will have to come from the far margins of your political system with all the implications thereof; which makes your prospects of a successful reclamation of Liberty even worse than ours.

    Economically, you are about 6 months farther along the path to collapse than we are. Politically, the wolves are circling your sheep, and you have defanged your sheepdogs. I noted yesterday that an offshoot of the Provisional IRA attacked your forces in Northern Ireland. The “Settlement” may not be long for this world, because the Provos sense that you are weak, poor, distracted, and have no will to defend your homeland. You may, given the alliance between the IRA and HAMAS [your own military announced that the IRA are training HAMAS bombmakers], find yourselves on the receiving end of rockets in your cities like the Israelis in Sderot. What are the odds that your politicians will still call for a “proportional” response only?

    Long ago I [and others alongside me] learned a lesson in a very dangerous environment. When in a life-or-death situation; do not have hope of surviving. It just distracts you from doing the most damage possible to the enemy. Funny thing though, by giving up hope of surviving you end up hurting them so badly that you not only survive, you win. We may need that lesson again in both our countries. And we, or our children, may yet have Liberty.

    Subotai Bahadur

  • Nick E

    No.

    After 8 years of the Republican party’s power-drunk, suicidal wish list, we’re now entering at least 4 years of the Democratic party’s power-drunk, suicidal wish list. I live in about as “Democrat” a town as can be imagined, and even here the natives are very restless and unhappy. Already.

    Obama will finish the job of ripping American society apart that Bush began.

  • Paul Marks

    “How do we make our case?”

    Glenn Beck (now of Fox News and of the radio) has libertarians on his show every day.

    And he accepts what they say.

    Neil Cavuto (of Fox News and Fox Business News) opposed the bailout (against his own boss Rupert M.) and has libertarians on most days.

    The Wall Street Journal allows anti bailout writers (for all its faults the WSJ is NOTHING LIKE the establishment left Financial Times).

    We have access to the mainstream media – News International has given us access.

    Not just Glenn Beck but Neil Cavuto and others.

    If we fail to make our case – it is our failure.

    Do not like News International?

    Writers like Neil Woods (of “Meltdown”) do not use – but they still get access.

    To the bookstores, to the airwaves (EWTN – Catholic television) to the Internet.

    The Ludwig Von Mises Institute is a very big on the internet – and they were anti Bush and anti war.

    The United States has many faults – but libertarians DO have access (if you work with people who are prepared to work with you – if you add value to their shows and bring in viewers).

    Anyone who says “we do not have a chance” should try living in Britain.

    Then you would see what a closed society is like.