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]

Scoring goals and fighting symptoms

Ahn Jung Hwan, take a bow. He misses a penalty in the early minutes of the game, and then he scores the golden goal that ends it in extra time. What a story. South Korea 2 Italy 1. France, Argentina, Portugal, and now Italy. Who’s next in the cull of the Great Soccer Nations? Brazil? We wish. (Brazil play England in the next round, early in the morning on Friday.)

As for doing something about poverty, Antoine, maybe regular folks are better off giving the World Cup their undivided attention, but I think that we libertarians ought to be able to do better than that. In pursuit of such positivity I will tonight be attending a lecture organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs to be given by the great Hernando de Soto. Expect a report here, and hope also for a picture, of one of the truly great men of our time.

I did my best on the radio the other day, that is to say I tried to do my best. I pointed out that the Trade Justice campaigners were only fighting symptoms, and ignoring the “underlying causes” of why this nation (South Korea being a fine example) does well economically, while others do badly. (For a country that has done badly look no further than North Korea, who played with distinction in the 1966 World Cup Finals in England but who have since faded away football-wise, and done a hell – and I do mean hell – of a lot worse than that economically.) However I wasn’t persuaded by what I said. These trade justice campaigners are at least fighting some symptoms, even if not all or exactly the ones I would have liked.

I remember how Amnesty International used to be accused of the same thing. They too used to fight individual cases with individual faces, while carefully ignoring the ideologically divisive matter of what makes nasty governments nasty in the first place, and well done them. Amnesty went into decline, at any rate in my eyes, not because it “fought symptoms” and ignored the “causes” of tyranny, but because its literature switched from featuring photos of unjustly imprisoned poets and tortured opposition politicians from far away places to having photos of already much celebrated celebrity supporters from the world of showbiz, and because it branched out into the perhaps correct but in my opinion utterly unrelated matter of campaigning against the death penalty. Also, since the end of the Cold War, the enemy went from being Tyranny to being Chaos, and writing begging letters to Chaos asking it to be nicer doesn’t work so well.

Oh well, live and learn.

Also, British TV today is full of the video of a firefighting airplane in Colorado crashing after its wings had exploded and fallen off, killing all three on board. So no more jokes from me about people starting fires.

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