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The hand of history

You know, I’m beginning to suspect that Rod Liddle is on the same journey I took, albeit in a higher plane, from New Labour placard-waver, to semi-rabid libertarian back-street raver. There have been several excellent articles in The Spectator, recently, topped off I think by his latest piece on the travails of the Reverend Tony.

I did have Rod pegged as being a straightforward leading member of the liberal elite, with his column in The Guardian, and his editorship of the Today program. But ever since the BBC let him go I’ve really begun to welcome his regular appearances on Channel4 News, his pieces on the stupidity of over-regulation, and his devastating broadsides against the Spin-Meisters of the champagne socialist lie machine.

So is the end in sight for Boris’s demise as editor of the Speccy? As a South Oxfordshire resident, an occasional bag-man for Boris, and a one-time writer for his magazine, my opinion is torn in two opposing directions. But if Boris is happy to give up the mantle, to concentrate better on his task of becoming a serious politician in the mould of Lord Salisbury, then is there a better potential editor around than Rod Liddle? I’m becoming ever more confident that Lord Black doesn’t think so.

And following Jonathan Pearce’s earlier article, on the matter, would a change be a good thing anyway, for one of my favourite magazines?

One thing though, Rod, if you’re reading. Gonna have to give up that Guardian column. Sorry.

19 comments to The hand of history

  • Guy Herbert

    What’s wrong with him doing a Guardian column?

    Guardian readers could do with something sensible to read once in a while, and the cause of liberty is entirely lost if we may only preach to the converted. One of the bigger obstacles to coherent debate is that the various bits of the media simply won’t risk supporting one another when they agree lest they lose readers/viewers to the competition. When the Guardian printed this for example, they trimmed the original. It had read “… of left and right, Guardian and Telegraph readers, ….”

  • Yes, Liddel is good as are Matthew Parris, Ross Clark, Christopher Fildes and others. I have been reading the Spectator now for about 16 years, initially attracted by such writers as Auberon Waugh and Paul Johnson, sadly Waugh is now gone. Johnson is still writng for the magazine but I don’t know why, his articles now are invariably dull dull, dull. I usually give up on them after the second paragraph. He used to be amazing, hugely entertaining pouring scorn on all and sundry, changing his opinions from one week to the next, indulging in the most outrageous self contradictions. A few yers ago he made an oath that he wouldn’t indulge in any more invective, I took no notice at the time, not really believing it, but he seems to have stuck to his vow and now his column is entirely pointless, failing to live up to its impish title ‘and another thing’. A new editor should sack Johnson and put him out to grass.

  • Charles Copeland

    The problem, unless you are an aficionado of the Kelly-Hutton-Gilligan case, is that this article by Liddle will convince you of only one thing: The Spectator gets boringer and boringer from week to week.

    Sure, Blair must go. But there are more convincing ways of putting the case than boring the pants of the readers with endless anecdotal trivia of the he-said then I said then he-said variety. This is gossip, not politics.

    Critics should stick to the big issues and forget the personal garbage about Kelly and co.

    The big issues are, of course: the National Health Service, Immigration, the Demographic Disaster, the dumbing down of education ….

  • Andy Duncan


    Nicely done! 🙂

    Next week, in his onward journey, Rod will take over the control of the Von Mises institute, and debunk Rothbard for being too socialist! 😉

    Guy Herbert writes:

    What’s wrong with him doing a Guardian column?

    Good point, on the lines of Andrew Marr writing for the Telegraph.

    But with the Guardian I just have this bitter, vitriolic, intense, inherent, instinctive, subliminal, incredible distaste for its mantra, its politics, its raison d’aitre, its fascism, its moronic slavishness to the New Left, its wrong-thinkingness, its hypocrisy, its whining-ness, its willingness to try to tax me to death, its willingness to try to regulate me to death, its willingness, nay eagerness, to try to wrap me into chains of servitude to spend my entire life slaving for the ruling aristocratic nepotistic liberal elite, its juxtaposition of articles on starvation in the ‘developing’ world alongside articles on weekend dinner parties, its hatred of private education and its sections on how to choose private schools, and its continual failure to provide enough coverage of Sheffield Wednesday, a former football team in the 2nd division.

    Can free-thinking folk actually write for the Guardian? Are they not shouted down inside its hideous pages by violent, IRA-supporting, aggressive bone-heads? Are its readers beyond the pale, and only worth saving once they’ve voluntarily given up reading it? Is it only possible to save them once enough of their brain cells have sparked up to make them give up reading it?

    I don’t know.

    You’re probably right, and my intensity of feeling towards the Guardian is possibly because of my anti-smoking-ex-smoker-like feelings caused by my having wasted so many years of my life reading the damn rag. And a cooler head is required, perhaps your own.

    But if Rod, or anyone else, was to write a more free-thinking anti-Big-State column, I think they’d only do it once anyway, until it was pulled by the socialist idiots in charge of its daily nausea. I suspect that if I’m right, and Rod is moving our way, he probably felt this too and decided to work for the almost peerless Mr Gove, before he was pushed out anyway.

    Though this is just the wildest supposition on my own part.

    How Mr Carr can stomach reading the Grauniad, even to shoot Cuba-loving fish in a barrel, is beyond me.

    But point taken. Our message should penetrate everywhere, even in such hostile territory as the pages of the Guardian, where it might winkle out a few who can be saved.

    Good job Mr Liddle has moved on anyway, to make this a moot point! 🙂

  • Charles,

    What on Earth is the “Demographic Disaster”? From your comments here and elsewhere you appear to be obsessed with questions of population, IQ, genetics and such like. This obsession with these irrelevant notions is preventing you from understanding the true case for liberty and the true causes of wealth and social success. Clear your mind of all this rubbish about genetics and you may begin to become an effective advocate for liberty instead of a deluded crank.

  • Tim Haas

    I think by “demographic disaster” he means the coming collapse of the welfare state due to an insufficient number of taxpaying workers to support (at current benefit levels) a retired generation twice their number.

  • Rob Read

    He means the state run but illegal under their own rules ponzi scheme for funding pensions…

    And theirs far less people in the UK ponzi scheme than in the rest of the EUSSR! Wait for the popping sound in a few years.

  • Charles Copeland

    re Paul Coulham.

    Remember the present tense:
    I am interested
    You are engrossed
    He/She is obsessed.

    Well, Paul, perhaps I am obsessed — but when you believe your society to be facing a demographic calamity that may well be a more appropriate state of mind than just lying back and enjoying the fun.

    And presumably it is possible to be a true believer in Ludwig Von Mises and at the same time to reflect on the long-term adverse effects BOTH of the welfare state AND of the hedonistic mindset of Western intellectuals of all ideological persuasions (when it comes to sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll libertarians seem to be just as naive as the Left).

    Implementing libertarian policy won’t, on its own, guarantee the survival of our society. People also have to do rather boring and humdrum things, like getting married and having children rather than just getting laid and having no children at all. Boring old crap, but if you can refute my reasoning, I’d be delighted to hear from you.

  • Rob Read

    There’s no such thing as society…

  • Charles,

    If I could detect any reasoning I might be able to mount a refutation, I wonder if even you know what you’re talking about. Do you really imagine that people need state encouragement to reproduce or they will just descend into a miasma of drug raddled lunacy brought on by too much ‘rock ‘n roll? The only catastrophe that you need to worry about is the one confined to your own head. Perhaps you might begin to cure yourself by reading some good economics books and throwing your science fiction comics in the bin.

  • CRL


    Andy, can I quote that paragraph please! 🙂 A most excellent nutshell.

  • CRL

    Sorry, I did something wrong there. I wanted to borrow the ‘graph that begins: “But with the Guardian I just have this bitter, vitriolic, intense, inherent, instinctive, subliminal, incredible distaste for its mantra…”

  • Charles Copeland

    re Paul Coulham

    Paul writes:

    “If I could detect any reasoning I might be able to mount a refutation, I wonder if even you know what you’re talking about. Do you really imagine that people need state encouragement to reproduce or they will just descend into a miasma of drug raddled lunacy brought on by too much ‘rock ‘n roll? The only catastrophe that you need to worry about is the one confined to your own head….”

    I’d always believed that libertarians were a bit above the level of ad hominem attacks — above suggesting that anybody who doesn’t see eye to eye with them on everything is a suitable case for treatment, etc. Alas! How alike they are – ideologues of all parties, unite! Well, perhaps Paul is an exception and just gets a kick out of declaring his mental superiority. So apologies to other libertarians.

    On the other hand, perhaps I didn’t explain my point clearly enough. Clearly, the fact that something appears obvious to me doesn’t mean that it appears obvious to everyone else. So I’ll try again.

    Re the question:
    “Do you really imagine that people need state encouragement to reproduce?”

    I suppose it depends on the people. As long as old-time-religion holds sway, no state encouragement is needed at all. Just look at the Moslems.

    As to the secular age we live in, all I can say is that the state SHOULDN’T encourage the bottom end of society to reproduce but SHOULD encourage the top end, or at least not discourage them by discriminating against married couples via punitive taxation. Of course, it may be barmy to believe that anything like that can be translated into practical policy. But if Paul has a better idea, I’d like to hear it. Eugenics may have a bad name — but does that mean that dysgenics is preferable?

    Let me sum up:

    1. Libertarians believe that a minimum state will lead to greater prosperity (true enough).

    2. Libertarians are, by and large, totally clueless about evolutionary psychology, about the tribalistic nature of man, and about what makes normal people tick. That’s probably why they only get 1% of the popular vote. If we’re so smart, why can’t we convince other people and win elections?

    I’m not saying that all libertarians are like that — but many of them seem to think that way. Just minimise the role of the state and most human problems will be resolved, hey presto.

    I wish it were as simple as that. But wishful thinking isn’t enough. Cutting back the role of the state is a good thing — but getting intelligent women to reproduce is far more important for the survival of civilised societies. People who aren’t obsessed by that problem are truly the ones who need treatment.

  • Andy Duncan

    CRL writes:

    can I quote that paragraph please!

    Hey, if you want to, go for it. You might want to change the bit about Sheffield Wednesday though and insert A.N.Another team?

    Also, you must promise to buy my first novel when it comes out! $-)

  • Abby

    At last!

    I have remembered the name of Charles’ repugnant ideology. I thought it died out at the end of the 19th century, but then, Charles does seem like the old-fashioned type.

    Our Charles ascribes to a particularly vile ideology known as Social Darwinism. It applies “survival of the fittest” to races and individuals. Fortunately for Charles, it regards white Anglo-Saxon Protestants as having evolved much farther and faster than other races.

    Society’s “fittest,” those who make the most money, are chosen to dominate. The poor are inferior because they have proven they cannot compete.

    To allow the great Anglo-Saxon race to further evolve, Charles believes an enlightened society ought to weed out its unfit and permit them to die off so as not to weaken the racial stock.

    The ideas of Hurbert Spencer (the genius behind the whole thing) lead to Nazi Nordic racism and, of course, to the Final Solution.

    They also influenced eugenics, which teaches that the unfit transmit their undesirable characteristics, thus a government breeding program for humans is in order.

    Finially, Charles believes that any efforts to help the poor are a profound mistake. Feeding or housing them would permit them to survive and pass on their undesirable traits–polluting the gene pool. The best result is for the poor to die: Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    Well, I do hope Charles is racking up the wealth in his translating position. If he doesn’t strike it rich, I’m sure his highly evolved sense of duty would prevent him from taking the chance of passing his genes along.

    Best solution? Jerk off and think of England.

  • Charles Copeland

    Abby writes:

    “Our Charles ascribes to a particularly vile ideology known as Social Darwinism. It applies “survival of the fittest” to races and individuals. Fortunately for Charles, it regards white Anglo-Saxon Protestants as having evolved much farther and faster than other races.”

    Just for the record: despite my ‘planter’ surname, I’m Southern Irish, a birth Catholic, brought up in the West of Ireland. I pronounce ‘Third World’ as ‘Turd World’ — not because that is what it is, but because like most Oirish people I substitute ‘d’ or ‘t’ for the diphthong ‘th’. Dat’s de way de cookie crumbles. Now I wanna free elocution course from the Department of Education.

    Now to get serious.

    Firstly, I do not ‘ascribe’ to any ‘vile ideology’. At any rate the ‘survival of the fittest’ is a somewhat tautological concept and is not necessarily related to high intelligence. In Darwinian terms, Muslims are currently ‘fitter’ than non-Muslims, BECAUSE they are on average less intelligent. So their dumbed-down womenfolk have lots and lots of kids ‘cos that’s what Allah recommends. You can be too smart for your own ‘racial’ good.

    Secondly, if you believe IQ to be the be-all and the end-all, remember that Whites don’t score all that well. They’re pretty much in the middle. Here are the average IQ figures: Ashkenasi Jews – 115; Orientals – 105; Whites – 100; African-Americans – 85; Sub-Saharan Africans – 70. So White Supremacists tend to be VERY opposed to IQ tests these days, for obvious reasons.

    BTW, at national level, according to the latest scientific study, average IQs throughout the world range from 107 in Hong Kong to 59 in Equatorial Guinea (and, within the EU, from 102 in Germany/Austria/Italy/Netherlands to 92 in Greece). While one may consider the EU differentials cum grano salis, the gap between Hong Kong and Equatorial Guinea is huge.

    Thirdly, I’m not a ‘racist’ and certainly don’t hate people because of the color of their skin. I’m a ‘race realist’. Race realists claim:

    (a) that races exist and are not purely a social construction;

    (b) that there are personality differences between races in respect of such attributes as intelligence, conscientiousness and aggressiveness;

    (c) that these differences are not purely due to environmental causes but are partly genetic in origin.

    These are empirical claims. They may be true or false but they are not ‘immoral’ — a statement about the world (an ‘is’ statement) cannot be right or wrong in moral terms (moral statements are ‘ought’ statements). It might of course be immoral or at least impolite to make certain statements, hovever true, in certain circumstances — for example, it would be unkind to start sending emails to all your black acquaintances drawing their attention to Equatorial Guinea’s IQ of 59, no matter how true the figure is. Similarly, civilised people do not approach homely women on the street and tell then they’re ugly.

    Fourthly, as regards eugenics. While I think Abby unfairly or unwittingly caricaturised my views, I admit it’s a very hot potato area — far more so than the race and IQ debate as such.

    I don’t believe poor people should be allowed to die of starvation. But I believe that very low-IQ people who can’t afford to bring up children shouldn’t be
    incentivised to do so by income transfer from the rich or the middle classes. They should be encouraged to practice birth control. Of course, I have no objection to charitable contributions.

    The problem isn’t so much that low-IQ people in the West are having too many children. The problem is that high IQ people are having very few. There IS a real demographic and dysgenic disaster facing us. And libertarians seem to have very little to say on the subject. Abby, with some justification, criticises the idea of a ‘government breeding programme for humans’. I admit – it sounds pretty sinister to me too — perhaps there’s a nicer way of putting it that is less reminiscent of the Nazi era; or perhaps the government should do nothing at all one way or the other (my gut reaction viewpoint). But the irony is that in all Western countries we DO have a government breeding programme for humans — a de facto breeding programme for LESS intelligent people, known as the welfare state. It’s chiefly the dumbos who are having the kids these days, not the girls with academic qualifications. No wonder there are more and more people who, instead of entering a Socratic dialogue, just call names when they disagree with somebody’s argument.

  • Rob Read

    Charles I agree with your last post totally, however your most recent post disagrees with you own conclusion to your next previous post…

    Namely “Libertarians believe that a minimum state will lead to greater prosperity”,

    “Libertarians are, by and large, totally clueless about evolutionary psychology”

    And then you (correctly IMHO) identify the problem as “a de facto breeding programme for LESS intelligent people, known as the welfare state”

    So it’s just the state is too big what’s that got to do with evolutionary psychology?