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]

Michael Howard: How to become a hero

It still remains unlikely, but I do feel that is at least possible that the Conservative Party may win the next General Election, here in the UK. With Blair increasingly going off the rails, behind in some polls, and trying to ramrod unpopular policies through Parliament, even against the wishes of his patrons and supporters in News International, there is some hope that we may yet be rid of him before he has his heart attack.

But what will replace him? Oliver I Love Socialism Letwin, perhaps, or David Two Welfare States Willets? It could almost be better, in some ways, if Blair stayed in power, as at least then we would still possess an enemy we could focus on properly.

So, this is a call to any Conservative politician out there, anyone who is active within the Conservative Party who stands any chance of a sniff of power should the Blessed Michael shock us and actually win electoral power. Now it may be too much to assume that the Blessed Michael, himself, is a regular Samizdata reader, but if you are with us, Mr H, I have the perfect plan of action for you to make England the wealthiest, the freest, and the happiest country in Europe, except for approximately one million Guardianistas who, basically, can just sod off.

Sean Gabb’s THE ENEMY CLASS AND HOW TO DESTROY IT: A MANIFESTO FOR THE RIGHT, which I read for the first time this morning, really is or should be the plan for your next government. Take time to read it. Then act upon it. Become a hero.

Hans-Hermann Hoppe: Defying Leviathan

I used to be a singer in a rock and roll band.

Well, okay, maybe not, but I was a lead guitarist in a punk rock band. I even had my Fender copy tuned so I could play the major rock chords with a single sliding finger, just like those anarcho-punk legends, Crass.

If only our band had possessed some luck, a good manager, a driving licence between us, some money, a van, and a small pet monkey named Brian, we might have made it big. Especially if the lead guitarist had actually possessed any talent.

But, alas, this punk dream faded, as it did for a million others, and my brush with anarchy submerged itself for another twenty years. However, much to my surprise it resurfaced again last year, a little rusty but largely unscathed, when it experienced a depth charge blast from Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s mental mind bomb, Democracy: The God That Failed.

There are few in the world who dare promote the dissolution of all forms of government, especially in the hostile spitting face of a billion state-supporting rent seekers. And of those few brave men, only a tiny handful, mostly Austro-libertarians, possess the requisite economic theory, moral strength, and political knowledge to really frighten all of those state-loving horses. Foremost amongst them is Professor Hoppe, a man in the proper Austrian tradition of being a German speaker by birth, though also a man at odds with many inside proper libertarian circles, as opposed to those Christmas-voting leftist libertarian turkeys who believe the state is the ultimate guarantor of individual rights. Which makes about as much sense as taxman with genuine friends. → Continue reading: Hans-Hermann Hoppe: Defying Leviathan

No more heroes anymore

If there were ever an annual Ayn Rand award, here in the UK, for Britain’s most outstanding business leader, then a recent contender could easily have been Tim Martin, the founder and chairman of the JD Wetherspoon chain of pubs. He created this chain from virtually nothing, in 1979, and built it into one of the largest leisure businesses in the country. Which is remarkable.

But being a former law student he has fallen into the trap of believing that if a law is passed by a legislature then this automatically makes it a good thing. Because he has just called for a smoking ban to be imposed upon all the privately owned pubs and bars in Britain, following Ireland’s recent heavy-handed example.

Now I have no problem with Mr Martin banning smoking in all of his own pubs. But like all the best hypocrites Mr Martin has no intention of doing this, because he realises he will lose too much business to his competition. But this hypocrisy has failed to prevent him from wishing to inflict his own intolerant views upon every other private bar owner and pub smoker in the country.

Which does beg the following question: Are there any truly successful business people here in Britain who we libertarians could actually hold up and respect as role models for the future? Or is it simply impossible in Nanny State Britain for any big business leader to be successful without being mentally flexible enough to accommodate the sinuous and relentless needs of our slave controllers in government?

I need a hero to worship. Does anybody have one?

Return of the undead

But for the grace of God, are there any loathsome politicians out there who you sometimes feel you may have ended up like? I have one. His name is Alan Milburn, a man who I sometimes look like and sound like, which for those of you who know the difference really is quite a cross to bear.

Mr Milburn used to be the Secretary of State for Health, here in the UK, until his shock resignation in 2003. We may never know the real reason why he resigned. But when Alan visited me in a nightmare recently, in the guise of my former Marxist Dark Half, he told me he flounced out of government because Tony Blair had become incapable of protecting him from Gordon Brown’s prime ministerial ambition.

But it seems Alan is regretting his flounce and is trying to worm his way back into Tony’s ministerial cash box. This morning, on Radio4′s Today programme, he spent a lengthy chat with James Naughtie banging on about the glorious work-life balance achievements of Scandinavian-style socialism. → Continue reading: Return of the undead

The private police state

For those who missed it, this morning, there was a fascinating article in the Daily Telegraph about the increasing failure of the British state to perform its most basic activity, that of providing personal security to its tax-paying citizens. It seems more and more people are simply withdrawing any hope they may have once held in the British police and are taking their own personal security matters directly into their own hands, with impressive crime reduction results to boot, through the creation and adoption of private police forces.

It seems the Individualist Revolution really is creeping up on us, unawares, as street by street, in Britain, the enfeebled state withers away and people take an ever-increasing amount of private control over their own private lives.

This is not what the state intended. But it is what is happening. Long may this withering process continue.

What are your kids watching?

In my usual stupor, this morning, before all the drugs in my constitutional cup of tea kick-started my ageing brain cells, I watched a snippet of the popular BBC children’s programme, Blue Peter.

This is a perennial of tax-funded British programming, imbibed with your mother’s milk, which delivers a twice-weekly compendium presented by a rotating set of three bright young things, who tour the world looking for informational opportunities for five to 15 year olds.

When I grew up with the programme these were the splendidly quirky John Noakes, the woodenly hip Peter Purves, and the prim but smouldering Lesley Judd. Ah, the things Lesley could do with a hot wet bucket of clay which would warm the confused cockles of a 12 year old boy.

So I watched this morning’s programme with interest. A fresh-faced pretty female presenter wandered around a cocoa plantation in Africa explaining the cocoa pod origins of chocolate production. ‘Fascinating,’ I thought. There was plenty of factual information and so far a distinct lack of anti-capitalist agitation. ‘What is wrong with the BBC, this morning?’ I wondered. → Continue reading: What are your kids watching?

Just another brick in the tax retention barrier?

There is little in life as popular as Terry Pratchett’s Discworld book series, about the adventures of Rincewind the Wizzard and all the other assorted folk of Discworld, including of course The Librarian, and The Luggage.

I am currently working my way through the Discworld canon, having started with The Colour of Magic a few months ago. At first, as I came across the odd libertarian-leaning comment, I thought it might be interesting to record them, as I found them, and publish them all on Samizdata once I had reached the last page of the last book. But there are just far too many for that. Once you have your eyes peeled, these covert anarchistic swipes pop up all over the place like magic mushrooms in a damp autumn wood.

But some still stand out as giant white-spotted red caps, just begging for hallucinogenic consumption. I am compelled, for instance, to broadcast this following comment from Cohen the Barbarian, which I discovered this morning in the book Interesting Times. → Continue reading: Just another brick in the tax retention barrier?

Monkey nuts

Tony Blair’s 10 Downing Street web site is claiming that some spurious target or other, for the National Health Service to recruit an extra 2,000 General Practitioners, has almost been reached. That is, according to some figures produced, and I use the word advisedly, by the UK government’s Department of Health.

However, I have just watched a hilarious piece on Channel4′s News programme where the Royal College of General Practitioners challenged how these good news figures had actually been arrived at? I felt like phoning the programme up and telling its producer about a civil service game called Hard Target, which involves a pack of marked cards, a set of rusty darts, and a small bag of pistachio nuts. But I relented and listened on.

With an increasing number of GP surgeries refusing new patients and an increasing shortage of GPs around the country, for instance in Barnsley, as mentioned by Channel4 tonight, and even in relatively well-funded towns in Scotland, the Royal College puts the alleged increase in GPs at something more like 200, rather than 2,000, and if you take into account the increasing number of GP retirements and the increase in part-time GP working, the full-time figure actually shrinks, in real world terms, to something more like 26.

So, well worth increasing the spend on the NHS then, to nearly one hundred billion pounds, from about sixty billion. I know that’s almost £1.54 billion pounds per extra GP, but hey, is it really possible for us heartless libertarians to put a monetary price on the sanctity of human life and its guardians in the general practitioner service? Shame on us.

Which leaves me in a dilemma? Do I believe the UK government figures or do I believe the ones from the Royal College of General Practitioners set at about 1% of the government’s own claims? It is a toughie, I will admit, but you know me. I always believe everything the government says on principle. For where would civilisation be if we ever lost trust in the government?

I am an Aardvark.

Croutons

As someone often accused of never having one word for a subject, where three hundred and fifty seven will do, I am afraid the following act of collectivized lunacy has simply left me stumped. Gazumped. And just plain flummoxed.

A National Health Service surgeon, from the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, has been suspended on full pay, for a week now, in a row over whether he took too many croutons to go with his lunchtime soup.

No, I am really not making this up.

I particularly like the comment from some idiot going under the name of Lord Warner:

I am reliably informed that there will be no detriment to patients, because the work that that doctor was due to perform will be covered by his colleagues

Tell you what, to save NHS costs let’s sack every surgeon in the entire country except one, who can cover all the rest. There will be no detriment to patients, obviously. We just better make sure we have a fleet of helicopters ready to whizz him about the country and a good supply of amphetamine pills to keep him awake.

Like I said, words fail me. Just pick your own croutons from the following word soup and gently flavour with Basil:

Parasites. Fools. Cretins. Croutons. Bananas. Idiots. The sooner the NHS is privatized the better. Monkey nuts. Lickspittles. Guardian-reading Enemy Class. Arse. Feck. And of course. Drink. Lots and Lots of Drink.

I particularly like Monkey nuts.

Niccolo Machiavelli: The Prince

If you were to read a book a week, between the ages of 10 and 70, taking two weeks off a year for Christmas, give or take, this would give you an achievable target of about 3000 books to read in an average lifetime, before you would have to take that train to meet your Maker. Assuming fifteen hundred of these are strictly entertainment by Tom Clancy, Stephen King, Ian Fleming, Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, Frank Herbert, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, and Isaac Asimov et al, to get you through the night, and five hundred are by Robert Heinlein, Ayn Rand, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn et al, to blend some serious education with some palatable fiction, this leaves you with about a thousand strictly educational books to educate yourself with, about life, the universe, and everything.

Not many.

Now we could discuss what nine hundred and ninety nine of these books could be, in a must-be-read anti-statist canon. Books by Von Mises perhaps, or Rothbard, or Pinker, or Popper, or Hitler, or Marx, or even Hans-Hermann Hoppe. But there is one book which should come ahead of all these others, in my humble opinion, particularly for those who wish to understand the origins of the modern state and its calamitous works. And that book is The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli.

A major Florentine diplomat and part-time militia general around the turn of the sixteenth century, Machiavelli lived in an age of turbulence and Renaissance-inspired change, and astonished the world of international politics with his study of classical, mediaeval, and from his point of view, modern government, which he formulated in ‘The Prince’. Its tenets became the substrate in which all of our own subsequent politicians have been swimming ever since, with its mixture of candour, violence, treachery, and skulduggery, a world in which a modern government can both mouth its belief in the rule of law and licence its agents to kill its enemies at will, wherever they may be, and however innocent they may be before this sanctified rule of law.

The book is simply astonishing. → Continue reading: Niccolo Machiavelli: The Prince

The cleverest man in the world

It would appear from yesterday’s UK budget, before my accountant gets through the smallprint, that Gordon Brown has decided one million small UK businesses hold just too many awkward voters to browbeat in one go. So he has only smacked us with a light tap rather than the full hammer of state retribution he was muttering about earlier in the month.

There is still a Section 660 court case, with a judgement due in June, where he may yet succeed in fully wrecking the small business sector, just as he managed to do recently with the UK film industry, and the IT contractor sector several years ago, with his IR35 measure, but I’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

What really puzzles me, however, is why whenever he deliberately introduces tax loopholes, to apparently encourage small businesses, instead of financial journalists just praising him in newspapers the damned small businesses actually take advantage of his faux largesse. Which means he has to get all moody and pompous before closing his own damned loopholes down again. → Continue reading: The cleverest man in the world

Entering Gordon’s black hole

It is a very nervous time for those of us in Britain stupid enough to be self-employed, in this age of grasping government. Because Gordon Brown is desperately short of cash and he is also desperately scared of raising any more income tax from voters employed by large organisations. So where does that leave him? It leaves him staring at me and a few other hardy self-employed souls standing out here in living-on-our-own-wits land, ready to take the hit to fill his £10 billion black hole of unfunded borrowing.

Gordon Brown is a great fat sweating thieving spurt of the devil and I hate him with every twisted fibre of my being. But I think I am going to hate him even more on Thursday morning, after his UK government budget statement on Wednesday, because the small print is almost certainly going to show me owing Her Majesty’s Government up to 70% of my direct ill-gotten income, which I currently exploit out of the oppressed banks and City corporations of England.

If he does do this, by making me pay all sorts of national insurances on dividend income, for benefits I am ineligible to claim, to try to effectively turn me into an employee of the state, he may be clever enough to remove all of the wheezes we use out here in self-employed land, to get ourselves off the hook.

→ Continue reading: Entering Gordon’s black hole