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]

God is a libertarian

The Lord God is a jealous God, and in his Christian form he is followed by hypocrites and fools. Or at least, that’s what I was thinking yesterday after a ‘debate’ with what polite British society calls a ‘Mad Christian Socialist’. I say debate, but what I really mean of course is a verbal fight to the death.

Much of socialism draws its strength from Christianity. Indeed, you could argue that socialism is simply late radical Christianity by another name. Instead of worshipping God, its followers worship the State. Instead of donating a tithe of their income to the Church, they donate a tithe of their income to the Socialist Worker ‘newspaper’ collective. Instead of blindly following the teachings of Jesus, they blindly follow the teachings of Marx, another heretical Jew with a beard.

Even the glorious European Union, that flowering of socialist omniscience, can be seen as the latest papal plot to castrate the protesting rabble in England, to bring them under the heel of Rome. Or should I say, the Treaty of Rome. But yes, I’m getting off-topic, and straying towards Godwin’s law, so let’s get back to the central thrust of my point. → Continue reading: God is a libertarian

Can competitive law work?

It’s no good. Every time I think about Jonny’s sun-kissed fringe. Every time I think about Dallaglio’s try-setting run. Every time I think about that little girl at the airport, at 4:30am, holding up a homemade picture of the England rugby team framed in red tinsel, I feel like blubbing. Even now, as I write this, I’m filling up again. What a game.

I think it’s something to do with having children. You just start becoming emotionally incontinent about everything. Or at least that’s what has happened to me. But enough of this nonsense. I shall ask Mr Micklethwait to try to cure me by email.

But his post below set me thinking about something else. Having waded through various anarcho-capitalist tomes, in the last few months, there’s something I’ve found particularly unsatisfying about them all, as they babble on about private courts, private arbitration, and private police. Where’s the beef!

You hear tantalising snippets about successful anarcho-capitalist societies in fourth century Germany, in eleventh century Ireland, and in fifteenth century Iceland, but rarely, if ever, do you actually get to see the beef. What would an anarcho-capitalist society actually be like? And if it’s such a good thing, why didn’t the German, Irish, and Icelandic experiments sweep the world? Yes, those with the biggest spears, swords, and addictive philosophies, imposed their coercive natures upon the rest of us, and their useless miserable parasitical states. But even anarcho-capitalists will admit that even the worst dictator needs the support of the broad mass of his state’s population, or at least their grudging acceptance, in order to survive. Otherwise, as revolutions like the recent one in Georgia have shown, the dictator is curtains. → Continue reading: Can competitive law work?

Jeremy Clarkson: Surely God in disguise

Jeremy Clarkson’s Top Gear program is, without any shadow of a doubt, the finest piece of current broadcasting on British television; I will brook no argument here. It is also the only place on the BBC where, except for the Hutton affair and the related war against Iraq, fierce dissent against the centralising thrust of New Labour’s Euro-loving socialism is both tolerated and welcomed.

I would love to see Jezzer’s contract, the one he signed a couple of years back, to revive the moribund Top Gear franchise. ‘I want a race track,’ he will have said. ‘I want a large garage-cum-showroom for a studio, and I want to make as many closet libertarian and anti-Tony Blair statements as I damn well please.’

The BBC won’t have liked it, but with one of their biggest money-spinners, the Top Gear Magazine, in a probable sales decline, without its matching TV series, and programs like the cunningly titled Fifth Gear picking up multi-million sized audiences on rival terrestrial channels, there was only one option for even the BBC, that car-hating, carrot munching, First Class train riding, pampered elite of Old West London town. Even with the compulsory tithe of the BBC license fee, even they, the chosen ones, have to sometimes make programs which Jonny Englander, at home with his shotguns and his bulldogs, might actually want to watch, to stop them turning off the BBC altogether in favour of such exotic delights as Men and Motors. → Continue reading: Jeremy Clarkson: Surely God in disguise

England: Rugby world cup champions

What an amazing game. What an amazing number of mistakes. What an amazing result. Jonny Wilkinson, can I have your babies, please? What a star. I’ve just aged about 300 years, watching the match, which went into overtime, and I’m just about to watch the post-match commentary, but what a sensational result. England. Rugby world cup champions. Fantastic.

Oh, and a few words for David Campese. No worries, mate.

And did those feeeeeet in ancient tiiiiimes...

David Friedman: Radical capitalist or utilitarian apologist? The Machinery of Freedom

Wandering into the back streets of anarcho-capitalism, for the first time recently, I started out with the naive idea that there would only be one form of it. Sort of like when you discover jazz, perhaps as a teenager, with the misguided impression that there’ll only be one musical format dominating all late-night jazz events. Well, Professor Hoppe steered me straight on that feeble notion, when he blasted his trumpet towards me in Democracy: The God that Failed. Staggering out into dawn’s clear light, after a full whiskey flagon of Hoppe’s invective, I needed a few days to recover from the mentally-induced hangover. Where before I’d been a happy-go-lucky wanderer, breezing through this vale of socialism we call the United Kingdom, Hoppe turned me into a paranoid Cassandra seeing the evils of the state under virtually every rock and anti-social nuisance order.

Is car parking costing too much in Henley town centre? The parasitical agents of the state in South Oxfordshire District Council are exploiting their monopoly position as coercive public roads owner and enforcers of parking law to rob honest individuals who wish merely to trade with one another in local shops. Is graffiti starting to cover the local road signs? This marks the disintegrating failure of state government, in the guise of that dangerous idiot David Blunkett, to provide decent law and security services thereby causing degenerative failure because of the hopeless government monopoly provision of both. Plus, the forced integration, into the great democratic vote bank, of hundreds of thousands of economic migrants in search of welfare has destabilised the UK’s fragile network of societal links. Arrrrggggghhhhh!!!! I can’t take it any more.

Hoppe’s book is enough to drive you towards Abba Gold albums, to lie in a darkened room with a wet flannel over your face thinking of bearded portly men strumming exotic star-shaped guitars, to briefly escape the logic of its conclusions about every decivilising aspect of modern state-dominated life. Is there an alternative? → Continue reading: David Friedman: Radical capitalist or utilitarian apologist? The Machinery of Freedom

The Big Read

I do not know whether it is the done thing on Samizdata to get involved in the statist plots of the BBC to stop us thinking, and to get us wasting our thoughts on irrelevant trivia, but after watching Ray Mears’ excellent Big Read program on ‘The Lord of the Rings’, I thought it might be interesting to work out which of the twenty-one books was the best from a libertarian point of view:

Birdsong: Shows the horror of the state in action, destroying human life for no real reason. But I look for entertainment in a book, not misery, as real libertarian novels entertain for the dollar price, rather than depress, or as Robert Heinlein said, ‘my books were written for entertainment to pay my grocery bills.’ So I can not comment further on this book as I will never be able to get beyond the first page. Unless someone tells me it’s full of Blackadder IV style jokes, of course.

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin: Come on, this book is only in this list because of the recent film. Just why are British people so shallow? However, being secretly in love with Penelope Cruz, as I am, I am as shallow as the rest so I won’t comment any further.

Catch-22:Yet another war story pointing out the futility of inter-state destruction, so quite libertarian. But I could never get past that part in the film where the bloke’s entrails fall out, so I ca not comment any further.

The Catcher in the Rye: Oh no, the usual socialist obsessions with teenage sex and do-gooding. Alas, I have never read the book. The cover page always puts me off. It is probably great. Shame I will never read it then, unless someone kicks my eyes open.

Great Expectations: The state education system in England always tries to stuff Dickens down the throats of its inmates, presumably because Mr Dickens encouraged the growth of do-goodery in Victorian England. However, aside from televised adaptations I have never been any further with Dickens than ‘The Tale of Two Cities’, which I was forced to study, I think, at English ‘O’ level. I can not remember the details, except it was a far nobler thing to fall asleep in English lessons than it was to fall asleep when my unrequited love goddesses read out their essays on it.

Gone with the Wind: We really are a bunch of bananas in Great Britain. How can ‘Gone with the Wind’ be in a top 21 of great all-time books? There’s obviously still ten million women in England in love with Clark Gable. And who can blame them, I suppose? Still the greatest moustache of all time.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Arrgggghhhhhhh!!!! “Oh come on,” he said, pathetically. It would need three hundred pages just to describe what I think of this book. Much like it took three hundred pages for J.K.Rowling to start this book. But she has made a lot of money, and got children back into book reading. So she can not be all bad.

His Dark Materials: Loved the armoured bear. Aside from that I felt the novels leant too much in the direction of Channel 4-style leftieness, though could not put my finger on why. Did not manage to finish the third one. Just could not see the point.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Fabulous. We vote for the lizard to stop the other lizard getting in. We make sure the President of the Galaxy is the man least likely to be any good at it. Douglas Adams, RIP, surely a closet libertarian, like most sci-fiers. Top quality. → Continue reading: The Big Read

Toot for the NHS

I was lying on a piece of blue tissue roll in one of Tony Blair’s world-class Accident and Emergency hospital departments, a few weeks ago, at around 3am on a Sunday morning. As you do, in such a situation, I was thinking about death, and Simon & Garfunkel albums. But being one who recently qualified as an NLP practitioner, under the tutelage of Californian shaman Richard Bandler, I thought to myself how can I turn this around into a positive experience? How can I come out the other side of this seemingly grim situation mentally refreshed rather than mentally battered? So I made a deal with myself. If I make it out the other side of this alive, I stipulated, I’ll turn the entire experience into a piece for Samizdata. You see, some of us mad-eyed libertarians really do care.

So I was going to bend your ears with a Theodore Dalrymple-style diatribe on the drunken street scum of Berkshire, around me, demanding to be allowed to smoke, and arguing with stoic nurses while dripping with blood from self-induced beer-night injuries. I was also going to mention, in passing, the unpleasant tone of the queue managers, the uncomfortable beds, and the reasons why I was waiting to be seen, after a MASH-style nurse triage, rather than why there wasn’t already a swarm of surgeons all over me instantly administering reassurance, sympathy, and curative scalpel blades. But then I thought, come on Andrew, stop being such a Victor Meldrew prima donna. You’re still breathing, you sad git.

You’ve got a problem, of that there was no doubt, but at least the nurse had seen me, and had determined that a glorious English sunrise would see my smiling face for at least one more happy time before Death sent Mort along to claim his latest victim. The scum of Berkshire may have been regretting picking fights with broken bottles, and the bed may have been uncomfortable, but the surgeon would be along in a minute, right after seeing that screaming baby that had just come in after me. Maybe I wasn’t in the best hospital in the world, and maybe the NHS is crawling with MRSA, and maybe I had been made to shout my medical predicament to the receptionist, behind her plexi-glass shield, so that the fifty other people waiting could hear every detail, but at least I was in the best hospital in the nearest 100 miles, and I would have refused to swap my current position, lying on this blue paper roll, with anything other than instantaneous transportation to Dr McCoy’s sick bay on the starship, Enterprise. → Continue reading: Toot for the NHS

Hans-Hermann Hoppe: Walking on the wild side

Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy fans will remember the ultimate cocktail drink; the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. Imbibing this infectious blend was like being hit in the head by a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick. But does the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster remain the ultimate cocktail? I think I may have stumbled across something even stronger.

Imagine a blowtorch. A really fierce one glowing bluely in the dark. Turn it up a little, hear that roar. Stuff a small lemon into the top of an Irish whiskey flagon. Lay the flagon on its side, perhaps propped up on some old hitchhiking towels, and place the blowtorch against the flagon’s newly exposed underside. Retire to an unsafe distance. When the flagon explodes, try to catch the whiskey-flavoured lemon between your teeth. Suck it and see what you think. Because that’s what it’s like reading Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s book, Democracy: The God That Failed, first published in 2001. As the latest professor of economics at the University of Nevada, and senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises institute, this book out-Rothbards Hoppe’s old Austrian mentor, Uncle Murray Rothbard. Did you even imagine this was possible? Check this:

The mass of people, as La Boetie and Mises recognised, always and everywhere consists of “brutes”, “dullards”, and “fools”, easily deluded and sunk into habitual submission. Thus today, inundated from early childhood with government propaganda in public schools and educational institutions by legions of publicly certified intellectuals, most people mindlessly accept and repeat nonsense such as that democracy is self-rule and government is of, by, and for the people.

Schwing, Baby. And that’s just the warm-up. Try this, if you like your lemon juice even sharper:

Hence, the decision by members of the [libertarian] elite to secede from and not cooperate with government must always include the resolve of engaging in, or contributing to, a continuous ideological struggle, for if the power of government rests on the widespread acceptance of false indeed absurd and foolish ideas, then the only genuine protection is the systematic attack of these ideas and the propagation and proliferation of true ones.

Sounds like a great idea for a web site.

And if you like it really rough, try this:

As a result of subsidizing the malingerers, the neurotics, the careless, the alcoholics, the drug addicts, the Aids-infected, and the physically and mentally challenged through insurance regulation and compulsory health insurance, there will be more illness, malingering, neuroticism, carelessness, alcoholism, drug addiction, Aids infection, and physical and mental retardation.

Crazy, dude. → Continue reading: Hans-Hermann Hoppe: Walking on the wild side

Revenge of the Child Catcher

One of my favourite films, when I was growing up, was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, that strange children’s classic written by James Bond creator, Ian Fleming. Every Christmas it came on the telly some teatime or other, which my memory recalls as being just after that year’s screening of The Great Escape, another all-time classic, or just before an omnibus edition of that year’s Doctor Who series.

Anyway, enough of nostalgia. The most disturbing character in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was the ski-slope nosed Child Catcher. He was nearly as bad as a Sea Devil for pure evil intent, rounding up children on behalf of a child-hating Baroness.

And now, in this wonderful sceptred isle of Tony Blair’s modern Britain, we have an equivalent, the school truancy protection officer. Not content with taking over private charity schools and ideologically convincing the majority of the docile British population that the one-size-fits-all state propaganda farms, also known as comprehensive schools, are far better than any alternative, the do-gooders just can’t rest.

Because, God forbid, children aren’t willingly attending these educational swamps, despite being able to get an A-grade Mathematics exam pass for knowing how many beans there are in a ten-bean bag. And what’s worse, their parents are often ‘colluding’ with them, by helping them with their truancy. Those nasty people! And apparently this is not good enough for ‘Society’, so we’re going to have slap £100 pound on-the-spot fines onto these sadistic child-destructive malcontents. → Continue reading: Revenge of the Child Catcher

Two plus two equals five

It would seem Tony Blair has finally been sold on David Blunkett’s plans to chain us into perpetual serfdom. Along with the clap-trap flummery, the knocking of the opposition, and the other accoutrements of a Big Government leader under fire, I’m still struggling to believe I heard the following:

It made sense to ask whether identity cards were no longer an affront to civil liberties but a way of protecting them

A ripple of comfortable applause accompanied this slogan, from the Blessed Leader, at today’s UK Labour Party conference. Welcome to Oceania.

Dr Who?

In these times of EU corruption, Blair government corruption, and generally just Prodeus Romanus, the ancient latin God of Corruption, having a whale of a time all over the place, I thought today I might have a day off from being Disgusted, of Henley-on-Thames. After all, it is Friday. That, and I’m on holiday next week, though only, I may hasten to add, stripping off bathroom wallpaper, organising children’s birthday parties, and wandering down to Henley library to re-invigorate my audio book collection. (Hey, I’ve paid the poll tax. I may as well get my money’s worth!) And just to lighten my mood even further, and to set the stall out on what is going to be a great weekend ahead, I saw this headline this morning in the Daily Torygraph:

Doctor Who ready to come out of the Tardis for Saturday TV series

Fantastic news! After having spent one of the most memorable moments of my childhood cowering in total abject fear literally half-behind the sofa at the sight of that Sea Devil, as it strode out from the surf, it’s about time too.

Doctor Who will be back in 2005, and I for one can’t wait. Let’s just hope the new scriptwriters can find room for Tom Baker to play some senior Time Lord, or other, maybe even a portly grey-haired version of The Master? Though I must warn these scriptwriters, in advance: if the first series isn’t about the Daleks, or the Cybermen, or some kind of evil giant arachnid, then there’ll be trouble. And not the kind of trouble you have when the plumbing goes wrong, but serious Davros-style trouble. Indeed, the fate of the Universe may hang on it.

Photo: D. Amon, all rights reserved

Secure that goldfish!

Please, prepare yourselves for a shock. Sit down on a comfortable chair and secure that goldfish. For I’m about to rock your world. Yes, friends, some EU corruption has been discovered within the gilded halls of Strasbourg.

I know, it beggers belief, but there it is. Millions of €uros have apparently been diverted into slush funds to pay for holidays, freebies, and extravagant dinners. So, who are the thieves? This money was allegedly stolen by the EU’s own number crunchers. Whisper it quietly to your friends, but apparently they left no audit trail, too! Quelle horreur! And some of the money stolen was used to form a volleyball team! Crikey.

I was sitting on the train, this morning, minding my own business, and this story hove into view. It was such a non-event, such a non-story, that at first it completely passed me by. For I was under the mistaken impression that the entire EU budget already was a giant slush fund, for useless bureaucrats such as Neil Kinnock to dip their greedy snouts into. But I was wrong. Apparently, it is just the EU number crunchers who are corrupt! Thank goodness for that. I’ve been labouring under a misapprehension, all this time.

Fortunately, EU officials have said a full judicial inquiry will establish whether senior number crunching staff have indeed stolen EU funds. No doubt the results from this inquiry will be swift, and the punishments severe. Let’s hope they make some of these naughty number crunchers fly business class, for a change, rather than first class. For at least a whole week. They deserve nothing less.