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Count the vampires

Tiraspol, Transnistria. August 2010.
Tiraspol, Transnistria. August 2010.


Amusingly, these two billboards are in front of adjacent buildings. Both, alas, are some distance from the brandy distillery that appears on the Transnistrian five rouble banknote.

27 comments to Count the vampires

  • Nuke Gray

    Is the answer ‘five’? Do I get a prize? Anything but a bloody mary!

  • James Waterton

    I wonder if Medvedev would be happy with such a large poster of his likeness looking so grateful to be blessed with the beatific presence of such a lowly figure.

    Regarding the other matter, I have to say that by putting a picture of a distillery on their currency, this wannabe nation has risen several notches in my estimation – regardless of whether it’s run by a tinpot dictator or not.

  • Laird

    I had never heard of Transnistria before today. Thanks; the work day hasn’t even started here and already I’ve learned something!

  • Nuke: Jacob is a werewolf rather than a Vampire. As this poster is for Eclipse and Bella does not get turned into a vampire until Breaking Dawn (spoilers, sorry), I don’t think she can be considered a vampire either. Edward is definitely a vampire however.

    So the correct answer is three.

    Actually I am thinking at this point that the first picture is so far beyond raving bonkers and into something else entirely that it is weakened by the second.

    Or perhaps not.

  • Paul Marks

    No Michael – you are mistaken.

    There are clearly two vampires here – plus a poster with young people who play fictional characters in a film.

  • Laird

    Michael, you know way too much about those books/movies. I’m starting to worry about you. Here’s some help.

  • Kristopher

    Strange little country … they seceded from a country that seceded …

  • John K

    Surely you can’t photograph a real vampire?

  • Strange little country … they seceded from a country that seceded …

    I say the more the merrier. That way there will be a huge number of countries with one citizen each, or maybe two plus a few kids…

  • They they seceded from a country that seceded

    Yes, but with the help of the army of the country that they seceded from seceded from. The Russian army has never left Transnistria.

  • Paul Marks

    Alisa – that was Murry Rothbard’s ideal (secession down to the individual level). But, of course, he assumed that people would mostly respect and defend other people’s property rights – and he had no grasp of military matters whatever.

    For example Mickhael mentions the Soviet Army – Rothbard would argue they (and any other government army) could be defeated by a mixture of private protection companies (glorified security guards) and voluntary action by ordinary people.

    The problem with this view of military science is that it is wrong.

    In fact I am convinced that Rothbard never really understood that military science existed as a subject.

  • Paul, are you saying that the only way to maintain an army is to force people to pay for it? Because that is the only difference I can see between a state army and a private one.

  • Nuke Gray

    Paul, the Talibandits are a bunch of concerned citizens who are armed, and are able to do lots of damage, so they cannot be entirely discounted.
    As for vampires not being filmable- are you saying that all those Twilight films, and ‘Interview with a Vampire’ was FAKE?! Perhaps they can’t be photographed, but movie film might have different properties.
    In fact, if there were vampiric episodes, this would be attacks by astral bodies trying to regain sustainance for their physical bodies. Perhaps we will be able to photograph them one day, proving one mystery true!
    And aren’t these posters painting? I never heard you couldn’t paint vampires!
    As for the number, as they are joining the blood-sucking class of rich exploiters (rich = evil), all these people are metaphoric vampires, at least. So there are five vampires depicted, so there!

  • Nuke Gray

    Alisa and co., I think the name for your ideal is ProSecessionism, one who thinks we should all be the government of our own lands. Rothbard put this into a philosophy, which he called Anarcho-Capitalism. however, this name first makes me think of someone who sells bombs to anarchists, a capitalist who specialises in anarchic products.
    Prosecessionism-Let All Be Free!

  • James Waterton

    Imagine life without Samizdata. Michael Jennings is a case in point. He’s your go-to guy, regardless of whether it’s pure mathematics, amontillado, cricket or just about anything else you could name – to the point where he’ll even watch godawful teeny film franchises so you don’t have to! Perry should charge for this stuff.

  • And incidentally, I’ve now learned what ‘amontillado’ is (in addition to the fact that there even is such a word).

    Nuke, I don’t think they paint them these days, I think they are prints of blown-up photoshopped photographs. I could be wrong though.

  • And yes, Nuke, when forced to pigeonhole myself, I do identify myself as an anarcho-capitalist.

  • Alisa:

    You might enjoy Edgar Allan Poe’s short story The Cask of Amontillado.

  • I am trying to think when or whether I spoke to James about amontillado. (I do know a little about it, as a consequence of having once belonged to the Norman Henry society, but I don’t recall recently talking about it).

    And, thankfully, I have not actually sat through the Twilight films or read the books. I did, however, peruse a couple of relevant Wikipedia pages when I became curious as to what the fuss was about.

  • Paul is right. You can’t have an effective military force without organisation on a large scale. You seen the cost of this kit! Primarily that’s why I’m a minarchist. Anarcho-capitalism looks to me to be warlordism with a sheen of philosophy.

    My major concern with “Interview with the Vampire” was that it was utter shite.

  • The real vampire on the left looks rather like the villain in Dirty Harry.

  • fergie

    There’s only one vampire in the Twilight poster. The fella on the left. The guy on the right is a werewolf, and the girl is human. So, 3 vampires in total.

  • Ted: Ha!! I gave someone on here (not you Alisa) a nod to that story once but I wasn’t sure whether it was understood…

    As for Twilight: gay.

    As for Lenin: vampire.

  • Paul Marks


    War is about destroying the enemy (people who think, as modern Western government so often do, that war is about pushing a foe into “talks” need to be kept well away from command).

    And to do that one must do terrible things – things a lot WORSE than “forcing people to pay for an army”.

    By the way, this is one of the reasons I am normally (not always) AGAINST war.

    Murry Rothbard insisted that in war people must obey the nonaggression principle – not do things that would lead to destruction of private property, the deaths of civilians (and so on).

    That libertarian policy can be followed – but only if (unlike the character in “The Graduate”) one is prepared to accept the bit of paper with the two word “You Lose” on it.

    I repeat – in war one must often do terrible things to win. If one is so squeamish that one will not even “force people to pay for a miltary” one might as well surrender at the start.

    Practical example:

    An enemy unit is placed in such a way that if one fires upon them children (including babies) will be burned alive.

    Not prepared to fire?

    Then do not go to war.

    You might as well surrender at the start – because you are going to lose in the end anyway.

    “We will have a noble resistance campaign”.

    O.K. and the occupyer will not only kill a thousand (or ten thousand) civilians for every occupying soldier killed – the occupyer will also site his bases in children’s hospitals (and so on).

    You can have a “noble resistance campaign” or one that works – you can not have both.

    Again – do not start fighting unless you are prepared to do terrible things.

    Not terrible things for their own sake – such things as “area bombing” in Germany (Dresden and so on) were basically just sadism (burning vast numbers of civilians alive for no miliary purpose – basically just for kicks). But terrible things when there IS a military purpose.

    Say the Germans (or whoever) had sited an atomic bomb factory in Dresen or in Nuremberg (or some other city) then YES I would have bombed it flat if I had to.

    Even at the tactical level one faces such choices.

    For example is shooting a friend (or some innocent civilian) a bad thing?

    Yes it is.

    But what if such a person is tied on to the front of a tank in battle – and one has an anti tank gun? If one fires the person dies.

    Not an artificial example – such a thing was a tactic on the eastern front during the Second World War.

    Think about it – people (perhaps your personal friends) screaming for their lives, tied on to enemy tanks – and you have to take aim and kill them.

    Reading Rothbard (or so many other libertarian writers) I have the conviction they have no conception of the nature of war. Of what one must do to win.

    War is statist – it is (by its very nature) a violation of the nonaggression principle (of the respect for the lives and goods of the innocent) even on the goodie side. And the only alternative is defeat and becomming the toys of the victors.

    That is why “talks” are such a vile concept (as in “talks with moderate elements of the Taliban”).

    If one is going in for “talks” then FOR GOD’S SAKE DO NOT GO TO WAR IN THE FIRST PLACE.

    The only valid reason for war is that an enemy is a threat to one’s own existance or that of one’s allies – and in which case war must be continued till the enemy is destroyed, till they are BROKEN, so that they will never be threat again.

    If one stops “offensive operations” for talks (as happened in Vietnam so often) then one is not engaged in war, one is engaged in a blood soaked GAME (not war) and the only possible result of such a game is DEFEAT.

  • Paul Marks

    The above may be denounced as the “Roman way of war” – but in the end, against a serious opponent, there is only the “Roman way of war”.

    Of course, if one’s opponent is NOT serious (if they obey all sort of moral rules), then one can follow a less destructive (although there is no such thing as war that totally respects the lives and goods of the innocent) approach and still defeat – i.e. BREAK them.

    But war is still not a game – it must be waged (important word – “waged”) till the enemy is BROKEN, till they are destroyed, no longer a threat.

    If it is faught with the attitude “we may win this time – you may get to win next time” then one is dealing with a blood soaked GAME, not war.

    There is no justification for such games.

    Political and miliary leaders who engage in such blood soaked games (who go in for “war” with the idea of “making a deal” in their minds) should be hanged by the neck till they are dead.

    If it is not your intention to destroy the enemy (to BREAK them) then do not go to war.

    This is nothing like the competition between business enterprises in the selling of bread or the dealing in securities (or whatever).

    One is not out to reduce one’s competitors to blood soaked corpses.

    One will not kill innocent bystanders just to get at ones competitors – for in nonaggression principle respecting business one is not even trying to KILL ones competitors (let alone people who are in no way involved – other than being in the way).

    The confusion of war and commerce is fatal. They are different things.

    It is like confusing fire and ice.

  • Laird

    Paul, there’s a lot to detest in Thomas More’s Utopia (I certainly wouldn’t want to live there!), but I think their approach to war is the most rational (even humane) I have ever seen:

    “As soon as they declare war, they take care to have a great many schedules, that are sealed with their common seal, affixed in the most conspicuous places of their enemies’ country. This is carried secretly, and done in many places all at once. In these they promise great rewards to such as shall kill the prince, and lesser in proportion to such as shall kill any other persons who are those on whom, next to the prince
    himself, they cast the chief balance of the war. And they double the sum to him that, instead of killing the person so marked out, shall take him alive, and put him in their hands. They offer not only indemnity, but rewards, to such of the persons themselves that are so marked, if they will act against their countrymen. By this means those that are named in their schedules become not only distrustful of their fellow-citizens, but
    are jealous of one another, and are much distracted by fear and danger; for it has often fallen out that many of them, and even the prince himself, have been betrayed, by those in whom they have trusted most; for the rewards that the Utopians offer are so immeasurably great, that there is no sort of crime to which men cannot be drawn by them. They consider the risk that those run who undertake such services, and offer a recompense proportioned to the danger — not only a vast deal of gold, but great revenues in lands, that lie among other nations that are their
    friends, where they may go and enjoy them very securely; and they observe the promises they make of their kind most religiously. They very much approve of this way of corrupting their enemies, though it appears to others to be base and cruel; but they look on it as a wise course, to make an end of what would be otherwise a long war, without so much as hazarding one battle to decide it. They think it likewise an act of
    mercy and love to mankind to prevent the great slaughter of those that must otherwise be killed in the progress of the war, both on their own side and on that of their enemies, by the death of a few that are most guilty; and that in so doing they are kind even to their enemies, and pity them no less than their own people, as knowing that the greater part of them do not engage in the war of their own accord, but are driven into it by the passions of their prince.”