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]

A poor welcome to Tony Millard…

…to disagree with two of his first three posts, but I can’t help that. Here on Libertarian Samizdata I samizdate in a Libertarian way, and that involves criticizing what I see as ideas opposed to Liberty. You were kidding about the proposed sixfold increase in petrol prices, right? That’s called a tax. Taxes take people’s money by force and spend it on projects that meet with the approval of the taxers. Wrong in itself, and anyway the taxing powers always dribble the money away or spend it on rubbish, as is likely to happen to anyone who gets a pile of money they didn’t work for. Switching around different taxes as you propose would not affect that in the slightest.

I don’t know if there is anything artificially low about the price of red diesel. If it’s low because of subsidy, sure, junk the subsidy. But I suspect what you mean is that it is at is natural price and only looks odd compared to the absurdly hiked price of non-farm diesel. The natural price of a commodity is a package of information telling us all sorts of useful facts about its availability and usefulness. Censoring that information is like censoring speech. For a little while it seems to work, but under the surface all sorts of resentments will build up at pressure points, and now the censors themselves cannot judge where the pressures are. Your proposal, which I hope was facetious, would have effects quite different from your list. I don’t claim to know in any detail what they would be (although the idea that it would augment the status of the musclebound is absurd: when ten men come in to do badly the work of the cool machine you used to have, you aren’t going to love those men), but I don’t have to know. I just have to look at how rich and successful India became from its determined attempted to protect hand-loom weaving. Not.

As for Britain versus New Zealand, the problem for us is not that we have a large population but that we have an ageing population. Eventually the ratio of bedpans to nurses is going to get out of hand. Immigration is one possible solution, although it strikes me that it does not so much solve the problem as put it off for thirty years. As an alternative I’ll bang on once more about one of my favourite themes, namely what a good thing all round it would be if welfare would stop killing all the humble jobs. In this case, servants.

The Pim Fortuyn quote hit the button, though.

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