The contrast between the behaviour of the emergency services in both disasters (and note Hillsborough resulted in more immediate deaths than Chernobyl) is striking. The firefighters of the Ukraine are heroes in my book. To tackle a nuclear meltdown knowing this is probably “it” takes true grit. To stand on the half-way line whilst 96 people are crushed to death just a few tens of metres from you takes true cuntery.
The Hillsborough inquiry verdict and the anniversary of Chernobyl provide a very stark contrast in the human spirit.
Long before Chavez gained power in Caracas, Sanders expressed support for the suppression of dissent and censorship of the press implemented in his long-favored models of socialist Shangri-La: Cuba and Nicaragua. The Sandinista regime’s restrictions on the independent newspaper La Prensa “makes sense to me” he commented at the time, even as he sparred with Vermont’s Burlington Free Press over his Castro fanboy-ism.
Soon after the first Sears catalog was mailed in 1888, the catalog began to offer an astonishing array of goods to a population whose shopping had previously been limited to the local general store. Many such stores closed, unable to compete on price or selection. Yet, American prosperity increased.
The referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU has thrown many things into sharp relief. It has made more visible the fraying of the Tory Party that has been brewing for a few decades now. It has demonstrated that the politics of fear is everywhere, being peddled by both the Leave and Stay campaigns, and even being openly celebrated by one pro-EU columnist on the basis that ‘fear alone has a purity you can trust’. But most strikingly, the referendum campaign has confirmed the death, or at least utter exhaustion, of a left that believes in democracy, in change, in people. In throwing its weight behind the Stay campaign, having historically been suspicious of the EU, the left has completed its journey from demanding democracy to supporting technocracy.
Where did Mises stand on the issue of discrimination? He distinguished two kinds: that extending from choice and that imposed by law. He favored the former and opposed the latter. He went even further. He said that a policy that forces people against their will creates the very conditions that lead to legal discrimination. In his view, even speaking as someone victimized by invidious discrimination, it is better to retain freedom than build a bureaucracy that overrides human choice.
“In an unhampered market society there is no legal discrimination against anybody,” he wrote. “Everyone has the right to obtain the place within the social system in which he can successfully work and make a living. The consumer is free to discriminate, provided that he is ready to pay the cost.”
Well I heard a terrible April Fool’s trick today on BBC Radio 4, some economist chap talking about a hike in the UK’s minimum wage, saying that raising the minimum wage boosts the economy as there will be more money to spend in retail etc.
Did the rebels intend to take power in Ireland by force of arms, or was the entire exercise a form of sacrifice in which a small group of idealists offered themselves up to inspire a larger number? “What happened on Easter Monday in Dublin is open to interpretation,” writes Tóibín. “As a military event, it makes almost no sense. Taking St Stephen’s Green, rather than Dublin Castle, suggests poor planning and lack of strategic thinking.” Indeed. Instead of capturing the city’s arsenal or barracks, the rebels occupied a post office, a bakery and a public park. This was revolution as performance art.
It is manifestly clear that the idea that the EU equals security and Brexit equals isolation (splendid or otherwise) for Britain is complete bunkum. It should be perfectly possible for the major players to cooperate against ISIS as national governments, within or outwith the European Union, and to work together closely, without the need for an ever-expanding and self-serving EU superstructure.
I wrote this in the aftermath of the last Islamic outrage and it applies just as well to this outrage as that one. The only difference is that in the interim I have become rather disillusioned about immigration and have stripped out a rather idealistic paragraph on the subject; mainly because I don’t want it to dominate the comments.
I am posting this anonymously because, well, you just never know who might be reading and how they might react.
It seems obvious but there seems to be so much denial going around that it has to be said: there is a war. Islamists are seeking to impose their will upon us – libertarians, Westerners, call us what you may – by violent means.
There is much to fear from an Islamist victory. You only have to look at what Islamic rule means. It is bad news for anyone who likes alcohol, opposes animal cruelty, is gay, is a woman or thinks there’s no god, or there is a god but that his name is not Allah and that he didn’t write the Koran. Perhaps most important would be the loss of freedom of thought. Islam doesn’t do freedom of thought. It is also likely that as the Islamists tear down free-ish markets, mass starvation would ensue.
They are winning. People are becoming less and less willing to criticise Islam. This is particularly true in universities. More and more women are covering up in public. At the last UK general election, the leader of the opposition was calling for the introduction of blasphemy laws. Recently Douglas Murray, the anti-Islamist writer, has had to stop advertising his public appearances in advance.
The key front is not in the Middle East – I regard Western adventures in that part of the world as little more than displacement activity – but here, at home, in the West. Islamo-loons in the Middle East just can’t do that much harm. In the West they can and do. To that extent maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if the Islamic State became established. Let it rip. Give them all the rope they need to hang themselves. Let the world see that a state run on Islamic lines can’t work. A pity for the inhabitants but much the same was true for the Soviet Union.
There is a widespread belief that there is a trade-off between freedom and security. This may sometimes be true – wartime censorship comes to mind as a possible example – but not in this case. What we need is more freedom, not less.
The right to keep and bear arms. Owning a gun and knowing how to use it would make it much harder – although by no means impossible – for the Jihadi. It is worth bearing in mind that during the Troubles, off-duty security-force personnel were allowed to carry Personal Protection Weapons (PPWs). No, it didn’t defeat the IRA but (one assumes) it made them rather more cautious. This was at a time when gun laws on the mainland were becoming ever more restrictive. I find it amusing that in the British Bill of Rights there is a right for “His Majesty’s protestant subjects” – or some such – to possess firearms. Why? Because at the time they were involved in a religious war with Catholics being the enemy. It is worth reminding ourselves who won that one. It is also worth reminding ourselves that by the time of the Napoleonic wars Catholicism had become more or less innocuous.
Welfare State. We need much less of it. We need to make jihadism more of a part-time activity and less of a full-time one. So, less unemployment benefit, less housing benefit. It would do wonders for the deficit. As Paul Marks has pointed out from time to time, the corollary to this is that we need far fewer restrictions on employing people. So, an end to employment laws and fewer planning restrictions. Employers need to be able to build the workplaces of the future and people need to be able to live near them.
Religious Discrimination. It should be legal to discriminate on grounds of religion. At very least it might make it harder for the Jihadis to get jobs and with fewer jobs they’ll have less money for arms. It might also encourage the non-Jihadi Muslims to differentiate themselves from the lunatics. Might.
End Government air security. Privately-owned airports and airlines will make a much better job of security than the government. My guess is, that equipped with the right to discriminate many airlines will refuse to accept Muslims at all. Or maybe, only after they have gone through onerous security checks. Perhaps we will see the creation of Muslim Air – an airline that only takes muslims. It will, at least, be interesting to see what the jihadis’ attitude to bombing that will be.
An end to government involvement in universities. Although I am far from sure of the mechanism by which state involvement translates itself into the closing down of free speech on the campus – somehow the state manages the trick. Sever the link, allow universities to become diversities and watch as free speech reigns and Islamism withers.
Developers cannot build software that allows law enforcement to access encrypted communications but prevents malicious actors from exploiting that access. Cryptography cannot distinguish good people from bad, so a backdoor for one is a backdoor for all. Undermining the encryption used by U.S. companies would place the average consumer at risk of attack by malicious third parties, and merely motivate criminals and terrorists to use one of many alternative options. Powerful cryptography tools can easily be built outside the United States; as the self-declared Islamic State’s use of German messaging service Telegram demonstrates, software rarely respects borders.
The Samizdata people are a bunch of sinister and heavily armed globalist illuminati who seek to infect the entire world with the values of personal liberty and several property. Amongst our many crimes is a sense of humour and the intermittent use of British spelling.
We are also a varied group made up of social individualists, classical liberals, whigs, libertarians, extropians, futurists, ‘Porcupines’, Karl Popper fetishists, recovering neo-conservatives, crazed Ayn Rand worshipers, over-caffeinated Virginia Postrel devotees, witty Frédéric Bastiat wannabes, cypherpunks, minarchists, kritarchists and wild-eyed anarcho-capitalists from Britain, North America, Australia and Europe.