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]

Because libertarians would totally have been up for that stuff

More up-to-the-second analysis from the fourth estate:

Dennis, a wealthy businessman and investor who says he’s been a Republican for more than 25 years, has a strong libertarian streak and supported Rep. Ron Paul in the 2008 presidential race. But ask him how he would have voted on the most important bills that came before the House in the last two years and you’ll get a pretty Republican answer. Obamacare? He would have voted against it. Stimulus? Against. Auto bailouts? Against. Cap and trade? Against. Wall Street reform? Against. He also favors making all the Bush tax cuts permanent.

Byron York apparently does not understand Libertarianism.

(H/t: Drudge)

39 comments to Because libertarians would totally have been up for that stuff

  • That has to be one of the ugliest buts I’ve ever seen.

  • James Waterton

    Too right. Remove the offending conjunction, and it’s completely innocuous. This is clearly a life-threatening case of conjunctivitis.

  • Sunfish

    I think I know how that happened.

    Some people have just enough knowledge to be dangerous.

    Ron Paul was a part of the delusional wing of the anti-war movement.[1] Therefore, so were his supporters. And if they were way the hell out in left field on the one issue, then they must be part of the goofy left on other issues as well. Which means that, to Mr. York, it makes perfect sense that it makes no sense for a Paul fan to have conservative (US definition) leanings.

    [1] “We gave them the gas.” Paulestinians, riddle me this: was he stupid or was he lying?

  • I’m genuinely puzzled by the capitalization of the word “libertarian” here. As much baggage as that word has, the capitalized version has even more, worst baggage thanks to the Libertarian Party in the US.

  • John B

    I think the important thing for all our well beings is not so much any purity of doctrine, but rather that, in view of the reality that the ship is being screwed, the wealth is being destroyed, the whole thing is being torn up – All the wealth that has been generated over the last 30 years is being trashed and we are being steered into collectivist poverty – Almost anything that un-does that and that allows wealth to flourish again is to be welcomed.
    But not so much that one would allow any monster in by the side door (as one might say Hitler took over Germany!)
    But any modest compromise with people of common sense is to be welcomed.
    That is how the Thatcher generation succeeded.
    We are in dire straits. Creative wealth is being destroyed.

  • Alasdair

    John B – are you sure you are allowed to put those 4 words together in the same post, never mind the same phrase ? ” the Thatcher generation succeeded”

    For some reason, as I read those words, it brought forth an image of Ian B’s head bursting … (which may or may not be accurate) …

  • John B

    Hey, Alasdair, why not?
    I am sure Ian would have no problem.
    Whatever.
    Absolutely. Yes.
    The Thatcher generation took a Britain headed for the slag heap and terminal 3 day weeks and returned it to prosperity, for 20, 30 years, or so.
    So much so that everyone wondered what the fuss had been all about.
    Until now.

  • Thatcher made a number of grievous errors; she inadvertently created the apparat that Blair took over and used against us. But the major error was that she fixed the big welfare state enough to keep it running, rather than closed it down. In effect, she accidentally taught the Left how to make Big Government work.

    Not her fault as such; she wasn’t a libertarian, she was a conservative and so, however much Hayek she’d read, when push came to shove she couldn’t imagine genuinely divesting the government of the powers it had acquired over the previous century. It’s the old problem. A conservative doesn’t want to abolish the BBC; they will dream of taking it back to some “good old days” when it was right wing (in their imagination, at least). A conservative won’t abolish the myriad social engineering institutions because a conservative wants to “fix” the proleteriat just as much as a socialist does; they just want to beat them with a nailed club rather than feed them carrots. Both sides need the big apparat to do that. So however libertarian a conservative’s rhetoric may be, once they get in power they won’t be able to bring themself to really swing the axe.

    There’s some interesting illustrative comments over at the linked article showing that; some Tea Party conservatives complaining that this chap is a “RINO” because he’s against the Patriot Act and isn’t anti-gay.

    It’ll be interesting to see what effect the Tea Party ultimately has, but right now it looks like it’s boosting various conservatives with axes to grind into office where they can start some good ol’ down home right wing social engineering. O’Donnell for instance has had several attempts to get into office already and is a fervent career religious social engineer; looks like the TP is the wind beneath her wings.

    Anyway, Thatcherism. Did it make things better? Yes it did. But sadly, by fixing socialism. It paved the way for Blair. Live and learn.

  • John B

    I agree with you, Ian.
    Except your words: “It paved the way for Blair.”
    In fact I might agree with you insofar as the alternative, or the hungry predator, is always out there, waiting for its break.

    But Blair would never have stood a chance if Margaret Thatcher´s policies had not been dismantled from the inside, and the Tories been left an impotent stupidity.

    And that after two decades of sorting out the impoverishment, bringing back the “feel good factor” – everyone had room to get a bit prosperous, and rolling back the wilful policies of destruction.

    Enabling the prosperity we have just left behind, yes, that was encouraged to commit greedy suicide.

    By 1997, my own feeling is that Blair was set up as a more credible alternative than the emasculated Tories. And that is why he won.
    Once “New Labour” was in it could slowly take us back to Old Labour disillusion. And from there, to New Tory lite.

    But, yes, I agree, Thatcher was not libertarian but rather the next best thing.

  • Bod

    The West has a problem – and if you want to get all fashionable and specific, ‘The Anglosphere’ does, but I’ll limit the scope of my observations to the septics.

    Up until 4 or 5 years ago, it was possible in the US to see that maybe, perhaps, a ‘more libertarian’ GOP might be possible. Dig out all those old slogans, ‘small government’ etc., yeah, nice! Repeat the old Reaganite dogmas, sounded so reasonable – comfortable, ‘libertarian lite’ on the fiscal front, for the most part – like a moderately dysfunctional family arguing over where to go for Easter, where you all agree that you aren’t going to Butlins, Skegness.

    Then, in the latter years of Bush (I know, for some, it was way back in 2000), the wheels started coming off the bus. Big problem; reconciling libertarian principles with ‘Compassonate Conservatism’ wasn’t going to happen, so we had a lot of ‘libertarians’ in the US got the hump and took their balls away. For some it was Greenspan’s lunacy, for some it was the Middle East. Whatever. W was easy to disrespect and he didn’t hit back, and as Bill Maher says, he was stupid, wasn’t he? A bit like some punk kid you know would never amount to much.

    Then Obama came along, and he detonated a shaped charge on the transmission, put sodium silicate in the cylinder block and stole the platinum from the catalytic converter. This isn’t simply poor policy, it’s deliberate vandalism – a different world. When your new neighbors turns out to be a local chapter of MS-13, you wish you had the juvenile delinquent back again.

    More metaphors – this is the forest fire where you’ll only contain it by aggressive development of fire brakes, and you use any and all methods on hand to do it. What tools are at hand?

    * Constitutionalists? Check.
    * Ron Paul Libertarians? Check (though he can leave
    Stormfront at home, kthx, Ron.)
    * Fiscal Conservatives? Check (as long as there’s not
    so many of them they develop some kind of creepy
    theocracy that bans
    gay hobbit porn)
    * US-Style Libertarians? Hell yeah.
    * US-Style ‘libertarians’? Of course.
    * Nutjob ‘Maverick’ Republicans? Check.
    * Rich Lowry? Maybe. After some re-education.
    * Sarah Palin? Yeah. Why the hell not.

    I’ve said before, that I’m generally well-disposed to the Tea Party movement here in the US, and the resurgence of the GOP, even if it does drag in all sorts of dubious personalities, because we don’t have the luxury of fixing the current situation with the swarm of evil numbskulls currently inhabiting the Capitol.

    A critical mass of lunatics in congress would at least increase the chance of gridlock, and I’d propose that at least some of the Tea Party/Alt Cons/GOP Heretics will turn out considerably better than the people they replace. And next time they’re up for election, they’ll be one-term encumbants, not six-termers should the people need to get rid of them.

    O’Donnell’s not going to turn the USA into “The Handmaid’s Tale” all on her lonesome, and if she can help in steering the USA out of “1984”, then I’m all for her – until her usefulness is over, at which time she’s replaced with someone better. Maybe we end up with another Anne Rice fan. Maybe we end up with Aleister Crowley. What the US can’t survive is more Nancy Pelosis and Harry Reids. In any case, a politician who’s done something in the past for which they can be ridiculed is a precious and vulnerable thing.

    I don’t expect any of these people to play Cincinnatus, fix the US and then retire to become citizen farmers (or witches, or whatever) again, although it would be nice if they did.

    Now’s certainly not the time for purity tests and polygraphs. Job #1 is to disrupt the current legislature and derail their agenda, and you could do that by just giving the job to a bunch of people from the Boston telephone directory.

    Job #2 is reconstructing America. Doing this is going to take a long time, and it may never happen. But what you won’t have is a pair of largely monolithic, almost identical blocs of politicos. For at least 3 or 4 election cycles (and maybe in perpetuity), you’re going to have at least some REAL ‘mavericks’, which is why the Tea Party is a boon. It’s not a business model for a monolithic political party, and that’s one of the reasons I think it’s a great thing.

    I’m prepared (and happy) for the Tea Party to include social cons, as long as they don’t get the upper hand.

    In conclusion, I’ll steal a side-bar quote from Counting Cats (and Terry Pratchett).

    “Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It’s the only way to make progress.” ~Lord Vetinari…

  • cjf

    ” inadvertently created the apparat ”
    Much inadvertency in the US, as unwell.
    Long arms can hold short leashes.
    The more things hope and change, the more they stay the same.

    Politicians prefer looking like anything but guilty.
    It is better to look misguided, misinformed, mistaken; or, even ignorant and stupid than guilty.

    Due to cutbacks in personnel in journalism and government, this is becoming difficult as more inside information is revealed, to make them looks as they are. Guilty.

    What amusements are in store, when austerity measures lead to unemployed hit men and assassins?

  • I agree entirely with Ian B.

    Let’s look at just one example. It was under Maggie we got the National Curriculum in schools. Now the alleged reason for that was that loony lefty teachers with beards and socks with sandals* (that’s just the wymyn) were poisoning our kiddy-winks by teaching them that same-sex relationships with goats was fine and as much a valid lifestyle choice as having a wank whilst thinking of giving Sophie Aldred’s Ace from McCoy era Dr Who a three minute scuttling from behind.

    What Maggie didn’t realize was that if and when her gang were out of power the structure would remain and the self same GROLIES would use it. We have all heard the old saw about how any technology can be used for good or evil. Whatever. I’m not convinced that is anything but a cute little argument signifying bugger-all but once a power structure exists whoever yanks the levers has control. A power structure can be used remarkably flexibly. It all depends on who yanks the levers.

    My point being not so much anything to do with the content of the NC but it’s existence.

    *The network manager at my undergrad uni affected that look. What puzzled me was I once saw him with a 386DX40 in bits on his desk in February with 3″ of snow in the car park yet his socks were still dry. I hated that man. He gave me a ripping for downloading shareware from Lancaster Uni (it had a good collection at the time). I was FTPing it from the good ol’ CLI. And it weren’t nothing iffy. It was like curve-fitting and astronomy ‘ware.

  • Just recalled. I was actually using gopher. Remember that!

    I recall trying to explain a Speccy to my wife’s adolescent cousin. He didn’t even know what an audio tape was!

  • Simon Jester

    Ace always struck me aas being a bit butch.

    Peri, on the other hand…

  • I’m thinking I might have to resign from Counting Cats. I’m not sure I can share a blog with somebody who has entertained erotic imaginings about Ace. It’s just, I mean

    I’m a social liberal and all

    a libertine

    but there are limits, you know. You have to draw a line somewhere.

  • John K

    Nick:

    I am old enough to remember Katy Manning fondly, but I take your point about Thatch. She was good, but not all that clever. Anyone who boats about only sleeping three hours a night is obviously getting bogged down in details and failing to see the big picture.

    One of the most shocking things I read about Thatch was that when the Argentines invaded the Falklands, she asked the First Sea Lord if we would be sending the Ark Royal, not realising that the ship had been decommissioned and scrapped in 1978. That’s hardly keeping an eye on the big picture. If we had kept the Ark, the Falklands war would never even have happened, as we are about to find out again (possibly).

  • Paul Marks

    The Tea Party movement contains many millions of people – it is impractical to interview them all.

    So the best thing is to check the opinion of the best known Tea Party person – Glenn Beck (he was NOT the person who started it off, oddly enough that was a CNBC journalist who started the ball rolling almost by accident – however when Beck calls half a million people show up, no one else can do that).

    Is Glenn Beck “anti Gay” – no. “Gay marriage” is of course a state thing, basically about “anti discrimination” law, a doctrine libertarianism OPPOSES.

    Is Glenn Beck in favour of the Patriot Act – no (he became disllusioned with Bushism about 2006).

    Still to go back to those tens of millions of people – in all their gatherings over the last couple of years.

    “Anti Gay” demands – just about zero.

    “Religious enginering” demands – again just about zero (although, I admit, I am not sure what that means – I am guessing it means Federal government support for religion).

    Protests concerning wild overspending by the government – every single gathering. In short this movement is primarily about fiscal matters (i.e. it would have been very UNPLEASED with Mrs Thatcher’s record – at least that of 1979 to 1982).

    Christine O’Donnell.

    Yes indeed – mainstream Christian (unlike Beck who is a Mormon). However, her campaign has been about economic issues (otherwise she would not have got the Primary support of Tea Party people).

    There is a big problem with lack of knowlege – it means an attack is made on the wrong things.

    For example, many libertarians (I am guessing Ian B.) are pro abortion, and I would be bold enough to say that if someone went around the average Tea Party event and asked the question – most (although far from all) people would be anti abortion (although one would have to ask the question – the protests are not about abortion).

    I know for a fact that both Glenn Beck and Christine O’Donnell are anti abortion.

    So if one wanted to make an attack one could type “most British libertarians are pro abortion – whereas most Tea Party people are anti abortion”.

    I hope I have been helpful – at least to people who want to attack the Tea Party movement in a fact based way.

    I also fully understand that such an attack could also be directed against me personally – I have no problem with that.

    P.S. If one defines being anti abortion as “religious engineering” then the thing to attack is not Tea Party events (which are nothing to do with abortion) – but the annual march-for-life (East Coast and West Coast).

  • Paul Marks

    The Financial “Reform” Act is an especially interesting one on this list – as it institutionalizes bailouts. No longer will Congress have to vote on them.

    It also, to some extent, spreads the system of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (once supposedly “private” institutions, but under de facto government control) to the rest of the financial sector.

    Private ownership is maintained – but government control (which was already very big) is extended, so it is at least close to the system that controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (both created by government of course) before they were officially nationalized.

    I know in the internet it is an old convention not to use the “Nazi comparison” – but the financial system the Financial “Reform” Act sets up is very close to the Nazi economic model (formal private ownership, mostly anyway, – but de facto government control).

    This is why the attack that “the Financial Reform Act does not cover Freddie and Fannie” is mistaken.

    It does not cover them because they are already under government control – indeed they are now under government ownership.

    The point of the new Act is not to “stop reckless lending” (or whatever) – on the contrary, the point of the new Act is to increase government power to make the rest of the banks (and so on) more like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the ulitimate reckless lenders).

    How the MSM managed to spin this Act into, somehow, a good thing is astonishing.

    P.S. – I know that a lot of the Fancial “Reform” Act is a vague “enabling” measure with the detailed regulations still to be created. But one does not have to have ESP to know what direction those regulations will go in.

    Give the government the power to take more power – and that is exactly what it will do.

  • Ian F4

    “386DX40″

    The Intel i386 was limited to 33 Mhz, so I’ll assume this was an AMD, an early fanboi no doubt, they’re all anal bastards.

    Ian F4 – AMD since Athlon, currently running a Phenom II.

  • Paul, as it happens I am more anti- than pro- bortion as I’ve discussed a number of times here at Samizdata.

    As to the rest of your argument, it shows your crippling blind spot in confusing libertarianism and conservatism, and thus puts you in the position of having to defend everything conservative.

    “But Ian, I haven’t said that.”

    I’m afraid you have, and that is the problem; because apparently conservatism is “westernism” and libertarianism is “westernism” and thus if A=B and B=C then A must equal C. In which case we are left puzzling why they have different names.

    You claim that O’Donnell is a “mainstream christian” because she isn’t a mormon. That would depend on your definition of mainstream, of course. But if we look at her, we see that she is an evangelical christian who has spent her entire post-college career as a member of various pressure groups and think tanks promoting extremist evangelicalism and her most famous moment is the promotion of a mad, supernaturalist conspiracy theory about witchcraft.

    “But isn’t she entitled to her private views?”

    No she isn’t, imaginary interlocutor Paul, because she may be going to Washington where she will be voting on every issue, not just the narrow TP remit, as I mentioned above. As such, it is very important to bear in mind that she is a devotee of the Santaic Conspiracy theory, which originated among the evangelical movement she is an activist for, and which- by forming an alliance with gender feminists, therapists, social workers etc has been used by the State in our nations to permanently distort and fracture the adult/child relationship and increasingly nationalise child-rearing to an enormous extent. If you wonder where our marvellous new Independent Safeguarding Authority developed from, it was the deranged fantasies of the evangelical cultists of whom she is one.

    So no, this is not something we can ignore. It is not something either that one can pretend is benign because it is supposedly “conservative” and A=C. Hence the importance of being wary of sending a professional religious engineer to Washington. If the Tea Party is genuinely just about economics, but if it sends to Washington a large cohort of rightist social engineers, then it may result in a significant burst of right-wing statist social engineering policies. Will they be as reluctant to fund a faith-based initiative as a leftist initiative? Or will they perhaps justify that as a way of correcting the balance? Will you get anti-government, or merely anti-left? They are different things. And indeed, what might they do about bortion, or censorship, or with regards to Temperance and “public health”; these are issues, as with the Santa Conspiracy, in which you often find surprising (if you confuse liberty with conservatism) alliances between “left” and “right”. These are issues that voters must consider.

    I hope I have been helpful, Paul.

  • I think the point I’m making- and attempt to make repeatedly- is that in my view we need to get our collective libertarian heads around the idea that the growth of the State in the Anglo nations has far less to do with Marxism and “economic socialism” than with the desire to make of society a “shining city on a hill”; and it is the exertions of both left and right in that search for a moral utopia that has led us to our current position.

    The argument with Communism is over. We won it. We won it three decades ago. We now need to wrestle with the native statism of the Anglosphere which has now resurged to prominence and indeed threatens to overwhelm the whole globe. It is a far more difficult, pernicious and successful enemy than the Communists ever were. And organised conservatism- even in the saintly form of Glenn Beck- is never going to grasp what that enemy is, because it is part of it, if unwittingly.

    Under Anglosphere statism, economic policy is just a means to an end, and that end is the moral reshaping of society. Left and Right in our nations are just two groups who disagree about specifically what should be done to create this moral utopia. The two of them crowded out (genuine) liberalism in the nineteenth century before it got a proper chance to establish itself. In order to get it back, we’re going to have to sweep away both those reformist movements.

    Waves of social reform characterise our history, not a march from liberal capitalism to marxism; more of a drunkard’s walk from feudalism to mercantilist aristocratism to nascent (but rapidly stifled) liberalism to statist reformism. There isn’t a year zero to return to, to set everything right again. We can’t go back. We have to go a different forwards.

  • John B

    Ian, I speak only for myself.
    Any Christian who does not accept the spiritual, what you might call the supernatural, does not believe what their Chief believed and believes.
    He went around casting out demons. They spoke to Him and said we know who You are. And trembled.
    Playing around silly games with witchy stuff is silly. I have no personal, detailed idea of what Christine O’Donnell thought or thinks.
    You will probably find a large number of people who have beneficially influenced the world believed in the supernatural.
    I don’t think she is likely to do worse for the US of A from believing in God, the supernatural, demons and how to defeat them. And all that.
    But as I said, I don’t really know what she thinks or believes but she might an improvement on Obama-style candidates.

    PS: If you need to get rid of a demon any time, don’t, please don’t try and do it in your own strength. The only Biblical way is to simply tell it, in the authority of Jesus, to go.
    No fancy rituals and stuff like that.
    No stress.
    Just faith.

  • I wouldn’t crawl over Amy Pond to get to Ace but…

    Any port in a storm. I assume she’s USB2.0 compliant.

    I just like girls who aren’t “girlie”. There isn’t a law against that is there?

    Yet.

    Anyway, what the fuck any of this has to do with abortion (please define) is completely beyond me.

    Christine O’Donnell is nuts mind. Absolutely barking mad. Down on wanking, down on abortion. What’s a guy meant to do? I’ll be buggered if I know.

    Ian F4,
    I don’t think it was an AMD. It wasn’t an Intel. It was the third one. What the devil were they called?

  • John, have you ever considered the possibility that these things you so earnestly believe might not actually be true? Can you prove them to me? If not, how can you prove them to yourself? If you cannot prove them to yourself, what logical justification do you have for believing them?

  • John B,
    We are now casting out demons? Well, I have the “Exorcist” on DVD so I figure I’ll work the problem. Never had demons mind but the cat did once get fleas but the vet sorted that one. I do deal with a lot of malware so obscure incantations and such like (up to and including the positively occult depths of the Windows Registry) hold no fears.

  • John B

    Ian. Hmmm. I think I believe rather than earnestly believe.
    Logical justification: I suppose the simplest/easiest is to go back to the question: Can order occur spontaneously in randomness?
    I have heard the comment that by chance concentration of matter can occur, that can then cause further concentration by gravity, and ultimately to life.
    However.
    In a situation of no order, of complete randomness, the tendency will be that of dispersal, of everything becoming universally mixed. Any concentration, any action or force is the result of something working against the natural, which is to dissipate. Never mind to start moving, or being, in the first place.
    Without some initial force at work the whole “thing” is effortless and formless.
    Any action whatsoever indicates the disruption of that which should naturally be, eternal sameness, and that there is some form or order at work.

    But that is not how I came to accept the reality of Jesus.
    That was a result of me questioning the whole thing, wanting to know what is really here, and for every answer it seemed there was another question.
    I looked in many different directions and everything just got worse. My inner anxiety increased until I was confronted by Jesus and accepted the possibility of Him
    being way to reality/truth. The peace I encountered was more than I can explain accurately.
    The last bit is not based on logic but personal experience!
    It all works, day by day.

  • John B

    Nick, I think you are taking it where I did not.
    Christine O’Donnell seems to have met with some disfavour because of witching something or other when she was younger?
    So I said, well, never mind if she is being silly or not (it is not a cause to doubt her sanity) actually, the founder of Christianity, Jesus, did actually deal with demons and the supernatural is real according to what He did, the way He lived, and what He dealt with while in this world.
    I did not say I am casting out demons.
    I did say that if Ian ever finds he needs to he shouldn’t go for any mumbo jumbo, but simply claim the authority that comes from the Lord Jesus to deal with it. Simplicity.

    Aleister Crowley used to play around with them from what I have read and I don’t think he did too well from it.
    Not to be recommended.
    However, should you encounter any such trouble, you know where to turn.

  • John B said: “Can order occur spontaneously in randomness?”- isn’t this effectively at the core of most libertarian thinking? The idea of spontaneous order as opposed to created or planned order?

    As to Christine O’Donnell, she seem to be simply another in a long series of religious barmpots who spring up in US politics with depressing regularity. I wouldn’t want to see her or anyone like her get even a minor toe hold on political power, but I don’t have a vote.

    I’m with Ian B, who seems increasingly like a doppelganger in more than name…

    Left and Right in our nations are just two groups who disagree about specifically what should be done to create this moral utopia. The two of them crowded out (genuine) liberalism in the nineteenth century before it got a proper chance to establish itself. In order to get it back, we’re going to have to sweep away both those reformist movements.

  • John B,
    Sorry. I don’t buy. Jesus did not deal with the supernatural. The supernatural simply does not exist. The natural is enough to put on the plate without the Woo Woo stuff as well. There are no demons but those of the mind.

    And I know where to turn. It is called the Feynman Lectures on Physics.

    There is stuff. There is information. There is nothing else. Well there sort of is but that is information of a sort.

    The greatest lie that religion ever told was this:

    “The Universe is essentially about morality”.

    This does not mean don’t strive towards morality (however you define it) but don’t expect a supernova to.

    Because it will not. This is not a morality play for the faithful. This is life which is a collection of atoms doing something rather more interesting than usual.

  • …and on the parallel topic of top Doctor Who totty, I’m old enough to remember episode 1, so I’ve seen most of them and have to say that Amy Pond is pretty close to the top of any list although Louise Jameson or Lalla Ward would be pretty close too. Of course with my advancing years I tend to notice characters like River Song or the actress who played Martha Jones’ mother in ‘The Lazarus Experiment’ too.

    We now return you to your previous programming…

  • Nick, I hate to ruin your fantasies but I just got my first virus in 16 years off a USB stick that I just shoved in without checking for cleanliness.

    Mmmm Romana II…

  • John B

    Nick, Religion is not about the truth, as far as I am concerned. It’s man trying to do God’s work.
    I wouldn´t know what to say about the universe being moral.
    Perhaps it even is, although I tend to agree it mainly is simply there.
    I don’t even know if morality is that important. Honesty is important.
    Jesus’ main problem with the hypocrites was not their morals but that they had no love of truth.

  • “What is truth?”

    – Pontius Pilate.

  • John B

    That which is. Reality.
    The stuff you love.
    Pontius was looking for an out. He didn’t want to do it but he was a serving politician.

  • Nuke Gray

    Perhaps the Americans are getting confused between the American version of Liberal, and Libertarian! We often shorten parties to the first three initials, after all. In Australia, Lib stands for Liberal, the pro-business party. It would not do so in America! They take Liberal to be someone who liberates by government, not from government.
    As for truth, wasn’t that the name of a russian newspaper? At last, we have an answer!

  • Man created god in His own image, as part of His eternal search for understanding. Now we have Science – which to be fair is sometimes treated with the same veneration, but is still infinitely better than the alternative.

  • Simon Jester

    Mmmm Romana II…

    Mmmm… currently married to Richard Dawkins, as I recall.

  • Paul Marks

    Ian B.

    I apologize for my error in thinking you were pro abortion (I did say I was guessing).

    On conservativism and libertarianism:

    The libertarian argument has tradtionally been that the Western tradition (conservatism) is basically libertarian – but is undermined by contradictions.

    For example, Saint Augustine starts off from the no force in religion position (libertarian) – but then comes up with complex reasons why force in religion is, in fact, O.K.

    Ditto Augustine starts off from the (Cicero like) position that force should only be used to counter force – but then (again by complex argument) comes out with justification for government (i.e. force financed) poor relief and so on.

    And so on with some other important thinkers (including John Locke).

    The libertarian position is that the logic of the Western tradition leads to libertarian conclusions – and only by departing from this logic (by falling into complex contradictions and other errors) is it perverted into anti libertarian condititions.

    What Frank Meyer and many others (even Murry Rothbard in his last years) tried to do was “keep the tradition honest”, make sure the conclusions (not just the starting point of the argument) were libertarian.

    To claim that there is no libertarian message in the Western tradition, indeed that there is no Western tradition at all is to “sell the pass” competely.

    It means there is nothing to defend, nothing to restore, nothing to correct.

    That is why, in response to your insults to me and to what I care about, I called you a “cunt” on another site. I regret that – as it does not express what I feel or believe.

    A better way of describing matters is that you do not just cut off all hope of liberty in the present or the future (by your position), you also destroy the memory of what liberty there was in the past (by claiming that the Western tradition was not corrupted by its contradictions and weaknessess – it never really existed at all).

    That is worse than being a “cunt” Ian B. – a lot worse.

    I repeat that the job of a libertarian is to keep tradition honest – to deal with contradictions and errors as best we can.

    We are fortunate that we stand on the basis of thousands of years of tradition – indeed three strands that have become interconnected.

    The religious tradition (in Jewish and then Christian thought).

    The Classical tradition (that of Greece and Rome).

    And the Germanic tradition.

    All of these things have their own contraditions and problems – for example Roman thought accepted that slavery was against “natural law”, but then held it was O.K. because it was “allowed by the law of all nations” – the idea that positive (state) law trumps, basic justice (does not work).

    The Germanic tradition (for example that of the Fresians and Saxons) rejected the de facto serfdom that the late Roman empire had collapsed into – and had (oddly enough) a more logical view of women than Roman law did.

    Yet it also contained elments of ethnic thinking (one law for one group of people – a tottally different law for people not of that ethnic group). And, yes, that was even carried to England.

    The relgious tradition (its starting points and its contradictions) I have already given examples of.

    It is an incredibly rich and complex heritage – all three stands that make up what we call “the West” or the “conservatism” of Whigs like Edmund Burke or Tory folk like M.J. Oakeshott.

    And libertarians have a big role, not in fully understanding the entire history of our civilzation (no one can do that – it is impossible), but in “keeping tradition honest”, in dealing with what contraditions and corruptions may come up. As we seek to restore liberty – and to build for the future (for all three stands were always “progressive” in one sense – they all held that the future could be better than the past or the present IF WE MAINTAINED OUR TRADITIONS AND DID NOT ALLOW THEM TO BE CRIPPLED BY CONTRADICTIONS).

    Does not libertarianism have a role OUTSIDE the Western tradition?

    That may well be Ian B’s point – and I think he is right.

    If the logic of the human mind is truly UNIVERSAL (as both the religious tradition and the Classical tradition claim) then there should be certain UNIVERSAL principles of liberty that are as valid in China as they are in Switzerland.

    This was Edmund Burke’s point in his prosecution of Warren Hastings – the details vary (they have to – the circumstances of time and place dictate it) but the basis PRINCIPLES of justice do not.

    However, this is a very strong claim – one that is not uncontested.

    For what it is worth I AGREE that there are certain fundemental principles of liberty that are UNIVERSALLY VALID because they are based on the very nature of humanity.

    In short that the Classical and religious tradition claim (the Germanic tradition makes no such claim) is correct.

    However, I would be very happy indeed even if greater liberty was restored to the Western world (so that moral and material progress could happen – for it can not happen without greater freedom) – spreading freedom to all humans seems a more difficult task.

  • Paul Marks

    Ian B.

    You are correct that if Christine O’Donnell was elected to the United States Senate she would be able to vote.

    And, yes, that would mean that she would vote against Federal funding for abortion – but as you have said that you are not abortion fan, WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM WITH O’DONNELL VOTING THAT WAY?

    On satanic consipiracy – one does not have to believe either in Satan or in a “consipracy”.

    Saul Alinsky openly dedicated his book “Rules for Radicals” to the evil one. For even if this being did not exist – Saul Alinsky wished that he did (for he was the great foe of the civilization that Mr Alinsky wished to destroy).

    Radical (i.e. collectivist) feminists are much the same – they may hold that infernal powers do not, in fact, exist. But they wish that they did – as aid against the “reactionary” “capitalist” society they wish to destroy.

    Again this is not some hole in the wall conspiracy – the left are quite open about it (if one reads their works).

    The “left hand path” is, well, the left hand path – the broad and easy road that leads to Hell (unlike the rocky and difficult right hand path). This remains true even if “Hell” only means a terrible situation on this Earth (rather than another metaphysical plain)

    Whether there really is a Devil (as an individual) or not does not alter this – either way.

    Randian Objectivists (who are strong ATHIESTS) understand all this just as well as Christine O’Donnell does.

    Does Christine O’Donnell believe that the power of the Federal govenrment should be used to fight these people?

    Actually NO.

    If you had seen a full detate (or speech) of O’Donnell (rather than media selected parts), you would know that.

    Saint Augustine may have convinced himself that the nonaggression principle can and should be violated to save souls, but theology has gone beyond (or gone back before) that.

    The words “you can not save souls by coercing bodies” are basic to people like O’Donnell.

    As Gladstone (a great conservative and a great liberal – both) put it.

    “Of one thing I am certain – it is not from the state that we can get moral improvement”.

    However, (before the cynics point it out) 20th century American history (seeing how easy it was for the left to take control of local, state and Federal institutions) may have been a big factor in leading many American Christians to an anti state position.

    Take perhaps the last religious statist to reach high office – the Methodist George Walker Bush (yes, contrary to what you might think, Bush is a Methodist – just like Hillary Clinton).

    Bush set up subsidies for Church groups to undertake what David Cameron would call “big society” work.

    Who got that money?

    Even before the comming of Obama – it was the most leftist churches in America.

    As for Christine O’Donnell – the sort of group she would belong to would not even apply for such money (because they have come to believe that money taken by FORCE is tainted).

    The Christian virture of charity can not be forced – for if it is forced it is not charity (not a virtue).

    No one should need me to tell them that this is the “nonaggression principle” and what political position it leads to.

    “But what is your own position Paul?”

    I personally believe that the when left call out for the help of the powers of evil to help them in their work of destroying “capitalist” or “patriarchal” (or whatever) West, they are doing something that is dangerious. Even if they just do it as a “joke” (which is what Saul Alinsky may have been doing).

    Let us say that there is really nothing in the dark but dark – no intelligence that can hear the left’s appeal for assistance. It is still dangerious – for if one holds (as Alinsky did) that “the ends justify the means” and that one must “free one’s self from the moral chains of good and evil” one goes to evil.

    A person does not need the Devil to turn himself to evil – because people are quite capable of doing that to themselves (indeed it is easy – very easy).

    The Devil may exist or he may not – but seeking to do his work is a bad idea (whether he exists or not).

    Almost needless to say – any organization or structure that violates that uses aggressive force quickly turns to evil (even if it was set up to do good).

    For example the Magdalane homes in Ireland were not always evil – in fact they started off GOOD, as place an pregnant women could turn when all other doors were closed to her (even their worse enemies admit they were founded by people filled with compassion).

    When did they turn evil?

    All the studies agree – the corruption of good (the turning to evil) hit the day they started LOCKING THE DOORS.

    “I will use the weapons of evil to fight evil” is spiritual sucide.

    The methods of evil (aggressive force, fear and lies) can only be used to achieve the objectivies of evil.