Actual capitalism is thin on the ground. We have democratic and undemocratic socialism, democratic and undemocratic fascism, and miscellaneous varieties of corrupt cronyism. But to the extent that capitalism currently exists, it’s not free-market capitalism but chained-market capitalism, weighted down with laws and regulations – and then criticized for its inability to function efficiently.
Of course, even if capitalism hadn’t been chained down, we still might not see lunar resources being exploited. Not because of “market failure” but because of the market correctly deciding that it would currently cost more than it’s worth. There’s an old quote I wish I could find the source for. It applied to “market failure” regarding insurance for flood or hurricane damage but the same principle might apply here. “That isn’t ‘market failure’ – that’s the market working. That’s the market saying ‘Don’t build there! Are you crazy?’”
- Samizdata commenter ‘Deep Lurker’
Equally annoying has been the whitewashing of [Mandela's] history. He was given a fair trial and a fair sentence, even Amnesty fucking International said so. He WAS a terrorist.
He was also a politician upon release, who had some good ideas and equally, some fucking insane ones. Ironically, he replaced a notionally democratic but really one party state with another notionally democratic but really one party state, although to be fair, this was hardly his fault.
- Obnoxio the Clown
The traditional political division into ‘left’ and ‘right’ must be used with caution. For much of Europe ‘right-wing’ refers to nationalist authoritarians seeking to impose traditional values on society at large. I would be uncomfortable in such company. No right-winger on the Continent and few in America would share my stance on what they would call ‘social issues’ and I would call ‘none of your damned business.’
The ‘good guys’ of Continental Europe are usually called Liberals. The bad guys of American politics have made that glorious name unusable in English. In their constant gee whizz quest for euphemism, our American cousins have made a cuss-word out of a formerly-useful term. They do that a lot. How little of a life would you have to have to keep up with American fashion on what to call a black man or a red indian, for example?
- ‘Tom Paine‘ @ The Last Ditch
The goal has been the same for over a decade: Total Information Awareness. The government seeks to have all the data it can possibly get, and keep tabs on every documented detail in your life. They will share this data with law enforcement agencies that have nothing to do with terrorism, which is itself a minuscule threat compared to what America faced during the Cold War.
The only way to stop this is a nationwide movement to restore the Fourth Amendment completely. No more warrantless searches—for any reason: drugs, guns, taxes, money laundering or terrorism. This system cannot be reformed, because the system, from top to bottom, is all aimed at abolishing every last bit of personal privacy.
We have been told it’s a balance between liberty and security, but look where that game has gotten us. The government wants total control. Only if we reject their entire agenda can we have any footing in restoring our liberties.
In George Orwell’s 1984, everything was monitored, except the protagonist Winston Smith did have a small corner he could hide in, where the cameras couldn’t see him. Where we’re heading, we won’t even have that corner.
- Anthony Gregory
If we had state regulation of the press, the BBC would be free to carry on recycling its establishment clichés. But newspapers would find themselves having to answer to the same sort of grandees that preside over the BBC. Is that really what we want to see?
- Douglas Carswell
There was a time — and it really wasn’t that long ago — when if you were a financial firm, you had to have an office in Lower Manhattan, when film studios had to have offices in Los Angeles, and high-tech firms really needed to be in Silicon Valley. If Travis Brown’s big data set shows us anything it is that those days are done. You can build very fine automobiles in the United States, but if you aren’t already in Detroit, you’d be a fool to set up shop there. For the feckless governors of high-tax, big-government states with Governor Perry and Governor Scott breathing down their necks, the only question is which Rick they’re going to get rolled by.
- Kevin Williamson
The BBC seem to have (by and large) ignored this case of another bomber Lib Dem – just as they did the other bomber Lib Dem.
I wonder if they would largely ignore the case of a UKIP councillor who planted bombs?
- Paul Marks
The House of Lords is also talking shale gas this morning. The Economic Affairs Committee is discussing the economic impacts and, like their colleagues in the lower house, decided that the right people to speak to are a group of people who oppose economic development on principle (they took evidence from the experts a couple of weeks ago).
I have no objection to their lordships listening to Swampy et al, but the point has to be made again and again: where is the voice of the taxpayer and the consumer, the voice of those campaigning for economic development and jobs? What is it that members of both houses of Parliament have against ordinary people?
- Bishop Hill
Enjoyable as it is to read Huhne’s opinions on law, order, liberty and privacy, funny he never felt so strongly about the activities of our security services while he was in power and could actually do something about it.
- Guido Fawkes
Politicians never accuse you of ‘greed’ for wanting other people’s money, only for wanting to keep your own money
- Joseph Sobran
There was no hope once the politicians and media were fully on board with the “default” meme. There was never any possibility of a debt default. The government has plenty of money to cover debt service, which requires less than 10% of average monthly tax revenues. It could also have rolled over any bonds which came due. The only thing it could not have done was issue new debt in excess of the limit. True default was never a risk (not that it would have been the end of the world, anyway; the US has defaulted before). But when even the Wall Street Journal adopted that language (their article today about the congressional deal on “reopening” the government and increasing the debt ceiling began with “A potentially crippling U.S. debt default was averted late Wednesday…” there was no hope left. We all knew that the Republicans would cave. They always do. But they were not able to extract a single concession from Obama and Reid. Truly pitiful.
Coincidentally, this afternoon I attended a speech given by Robert Guest, US editor for The Economist magazine. Before launching into what was actually a rather interesting talk he treated us to a diatribe about the pending “default”, comparing the Congress to a bunch of petulant teenagers (OK, that’s actually not too far off the mark). Nothing he said was correct. Quelle surprise.
- Samizdata commenter ‘Laird’
It’s not an energy crisis any more than our wrecked economies are the result of an actual economic crisis – these problems, and many more, are the intellectual and moral bankruptcies resulting from the fraudulent ponzi scheme the tranzi political class have been running for most of the last century. The progressive claim at end of the 19th century was that an expert ruling elite could manage the diverse elements of a modern society and construct a paradise of progress, equality, and freedom from want, both material and spiritual.
For the past century, we have endured one variation of “planned utopia” after another, and it has been a grotesque carnival of incompetence, corruption, repression, violence, and shattered dreams. We are now approaching the end game of this pathetic charade, and the desperation of the imploding elites is palpable, and ominous. They cannot admit, or accept any hint, that their ideas are irrational, their policies counter-productive, and that their promises are not only unfulfilled, but impossible to ever succeed.
Therefore, the venom and viciousness of their scapegoating and evasions of responsibility will only increase, and their urge to resort to extra-legal measures will become irresistible to them.
These are perilous times.
- Samizdata commenter ‘Very Retired’