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A rather fine tie – and a question

Well, things seem a bit quiet around here today, so here is something I photoed earlier:


I encountered the tie at an IEA event about road pricing. The tie proclaims the fact of and the principles espoused by the Mont Pelerin Society. It was being worn by Dr Eamonn Butler, Director and co-founder of the Adam Smith Institute, and, among many other distinguished things, the author of many fine books explicating and popularising the ideas of freedom and of the free market.

One thing puzzles me, though, and my limited googling abilities were unable to solve the puzzle for me. What was so special about the year 1824? That’s an Italian flag, right? So what happened in Italy that the Mont Pelerin Society regards as so worthy of commendation?

I would have asked Eamonn Butler, but my camera has better eyesight than me, and I only saw the 1824 references when I got home.

29 comments to A rather fine tie – and a question

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    So 1824 could be connected to the Alamo battle, and thus linked to Texas- but is that the old flag of Texas?

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    I googled the answer myself, and it was a real flag, complete with 1824 sewn onto it! When did Texas become the lone star state?

  • RRS

    The point of the Texas Revolution was to restore the Mexican Constitution of 1824, hence the mexican tricolor with the date.

    Mexico had become a military dictatorship under Santa Anna.

    Once done Texas became independent.

  • Scooby

    The “1824” was a show of support of the Mexican Federal Constitution of 1824, which the Texians supported (and which had been set aside in favor of a centralist gov’t in 1835). Texas declared and won independence from Mexico in 1836 and wasn’t annexed to the US until 1845.

  • the other rob

    Yes, Texas was its own country for several years. Somewhere in St. James is the site of the old Texas Consulate, with a blue plaque and everything.

  • Scooby

    You mean it wasn’t where that Texas Embassy restaurant is (or was- been 10+ years since I’ve been there), near Trafalgar Square?

  • the other rob

    Nope. That confused me too, at first, but it’s just a mildly sub-par restaurant and nothing to do with the old Republic of Texas.

    Incidentally, there used to be a much better Tex-Mex place by Camden Lock, called The Camden Cantina, but it closed years ago.

    Never did find out why – it was always busy, so I’m tempted to suspect foul play of the governmental variety, like what put paid to Le Petit Prince in Kentish Town.

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    The tie looks like a yellow rocket, with sponsors’ flags on it! Which is my way of asking- when will Dale Amon discuss the new Sabre news? Full credit to a British team- which Briton will be first on the moon?

  • PaulM

    Interesting that all those signposts to freedom are backed by a gold coloured tie.

  • tomfiglio

    The plaque marking the site of the Texan embassy is in an alleyway next to Berry Bros. & Rudd’s wine merchants on St James’s St. Incidentally, the alleyway leads into a courtyard that was the venue for London’s last duel.

  • llamas

    Can I get this as a bow tie?



  • Laird

    Interesting that a SCot attending an event in London would be wearing a tie festooned with purely American iconography (well, except for the Mont Pelerin part). I wonder how many people there recognized the Fort Moultrie flag or the Gadsden flag?

  • Russ in Texas

    As a Texan who’s taught history, had zero problems with the 1824 flag recognition issue. My issue is: where can I **get** one?

  • RRS

    Laird –

    Research needed, but as i recall the funding for the original gathering that founded Mt Pelerin Soc came from a U S source.

    It was, of course, a follow-on to the 1938 convocation in Paris.

  • RRS


    Hayek on Hayek [U Chicago Press 1994] p.133

    Probably The Volker Fund

  • Paul Marks

    Officially the name of Mexico is still “The United States of Mexico” – as with the Constitution of 1824.

    Of course even the Constitutionb of 1917 is subverted – for example the right to keep arms is subverted by the only legal place to buy firearms being a military base in Mexico City (go in past the angry looks of the armed guards – fill in detailed paperwork, bend over and touch your toes…..).

    So, in reality, the Mexican Constitutional right of weapons for self defence is worthless – only criminals and the government (often the same people) are likely to have firearms in Mexico.

    Which is why the same urban areas (on both sides of the Texan-Mexican border) are likely the have a murder rate TEN TIME HIGHER on the Mexican side (by the way – bother sides of the border are hispanic).

    If you attack a home (to rob, rape and murder) in Mexico – nothing bad is going to happen to you. If you try and do the same thing in Texas the people in the home are likely to shoot you – so best to stay home yourself.

    Anyway the Constitition.

    Yes Texas seceded from Mexico when the regime broke the Contitution.

    The Republic of Texas did not join the United State OF AMERICA (establishment historians and Hollywoodheads seem incapable of understanding that there was not one “United States”) till 1845.

    The American regime has de facto ripped up the United States of America Constitution – so, logically, Texas should again leave a Union.

    However, the Eonomist magazine says it is “illegal” because the GOVERNMENT APPOINTED United State Supreme Court says Texas (indeed no State) can leave the Union.

    Of course!

    It is perefectly sane to join a Closed Shop Union – which you are never, under any circumstances, leave. And which not only enslaves you – but your children and their children.

    All generations (for ever) ensalved – with no right to leave this Union, whatever the circumstances. Unlimited Central government spending and regulations? Go right ahead, we will just use the Constitution for toilet paper (the only thing it appears to be good for). Just like the Mexican Consititution of 1824.

    No sane person would sign any such agreement.

    The establishment case simply makes no sense.

    “You evil neoConfederate! You just want to whip your slaves!”

    I have not mentioned any Confederation – I have only mentioned an invidual State leaving the Union (not joining any Conferation, treaty, or alliance).

    And errrr……. what slaves?

    Even if the war of 1861-1865 was a great moral crusade – that does not apply to a State WITHOUT SLAVERY leaving the Union (for example as the New England States almost did in reaction the War of 1812).

    And Barack Obama is no Christian Crusader out to destroy slavery.

    He is more like President Santa Anna.

  • Paul Marks

    Talking of Constitutions…….

    The establishment try and explain them away – but the opening words of the Texas Consitution of 1876 should be read.

    And courts in Texas still have some interest in what the Constitution says.

    The Harvard-Law-School degenerates in Washington D.C. long ago stopped being interested in the Constitution of the United States of America.

  • Laird

    No doubt, RRS. But as I recall most of the participants in the original Mont Pelerin meeting were Europeans. In any event, it was not strictly as US event as were the others, which was my only point.

    Paul, I’m not sure what you’re referring to. The Preamble? All is says is “Humbly invoking the blessings of Almighty God, the people of the State of Texas, do ordain and establish this Constitution.” Not much of substance there. Did you mean some other section?

    As to the right of secession, I agree with you. The question turns on whether the Constitution is a “compact” among sovereign entities, or something more akin to a corporate merger which cannot be undone. The issue arose numerous times in the early years of the nation’s history, in such events as the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 , the Hartford Convention of 1814 and the Nullification Crisis of 1828-32. Most legal scholars, then and now, have rejected the compact theory, concluding that the Constitution was established directly by the people and is therefore the supreme law of the land; upon entry into the union the states irrevocably subjected themselves to the jurisdiction of the federal government and surrendered their ability to withdraw from it. The question has never really been properly resolved (although the Civil War certainly forced one answer*), and the Supreme Court has never formally ruled on it (although I have little doubt how they would come out on it today). Still, for a variety of reasons I believe it is the correct interpretation; states should be free to leave the union just as a marriage can end in divorce. Not a step to be taken lightly, but an ultimate option if all else fails.

    * Although I note that even Abraham Lincoln’s position on this issue changed over time. In 1848 he wrote “Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better. . . . Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can may revolutionize and make their own of so much of the territory as they inhabit.” That, of course, was in support of the Texas secession from Mexico. Funny how opinions can change, isn’t it?

  • Paul Marks

    Well the God bit is fine – as it annoys the ACLU and annoying the ACLU is something that all pro liberty people (atheists included) should be in favour of.

    However, what I am actually pointing to is the right of people of Texas to get rid of any system of govermment they do not like. Not by “leaving the country” (the Economist magazine view of freedom) but by TAKING THE POWER BACK.

    Of course the New Hampshire Consitution (1784 older than the United States Constitution) says much the same – right of Revolution. But most people in New Hampshire now would be horrified if they read their own Constitution.

    “Yes Sir Mr Judge Sir – want us to spend more money on State education, we will right away! Want us to bend over and touch our toes whilst you ……. us Mr Judge Sir? We will do that as well Mr Judge Sir”.

    That sort of modern New Egnland attitude does not really fit with a right to Revoltution.

    Most Texans (even now) could read their Consitution and actually AGREE with it.

    And that is what is important – not the words on the paper, but whether most people still believe in the principles they express.

    The people of Texas have the right to reject any form of government that the majority of them oppose.

    Not by leaving the country – but getting the government to leave them.

  • Paul Marks

    Texas Bill of Rights – Article Two.

    The people have the right to alter or abolish any form of government.

    And, Article One, the perpetual nature of the Union (the United States of Amerca) depends on the freedom and independence of Texas being maintained.

    The Federal government violated that contract decades ago.

    The contract (compact) is now void.

    If it is not binding on the Feds – it is not binding on the people of Texas (or any other State) either.

    Take the case of South Carolina .

    And forget slavery – there are no slaves, and the Governor of South Carolina is a “women of color”.

    Does it seem even vaguely plausible that South Carolina would have joined a Union that it was not allowed, under any circumstances, to leave?

    The “Swamp Fox” faught against Lord North and George III for that?

    Such an idea does not pass the smell test.

    It is absurd.

    The Federal government has grown beyond all limits – and is continuing to grow.

    It is vastly more of a threat to the liberties of the people of South Carolina than George III and the British government ever were.

    I repeat…..

    There are no slaves.

    And the Governor of South Carolina is a “women of color”.

    There is no moral (let alone legal) justification for using force to keep South Carolina in the Union.

    As for the “national debt”.

    It is over 16 TRILLION Dollars – and incresing at over a TRILLION Dollars a year.

    It is totally unpayable.

    As are the unfunded liabilities (Medicare, Social Security, with all those worthless government “I.O.Us” in its “trust fund, and so on).

    The one good thing about totally hopeless situation of the national debt and the unfunded liabilities is…….

    One no longer needs to think about them.

    They do not need to be divided up – because they are toally unpayable.

    De facto default is inevitable – whatever happens.

  • RRS

    If there are (please note the IF) in our social order recognized and accepted obligations on the part of all, or a sufficient majority, competent to do so, to care for the welfare of the aged, the sick and infirm, and to mitigate the impact of exogenous misfortune on others, then the social order, as it evolves through the defaults in the misuse of the mechanisms of governments to meet those obligations, will develop facilities (not institutions) of a civil nature reflecting the actual nature of the human interrelationships within the resulting society.

    Paul marks is quite correct when he refers to the coming default. That will be a default in the erroneous attempt to devolve into the mechanisms of governments the obligations of individuals to one another and their responsibilities for themselves. It will represent the default of the concept that all obligations and responsibilities are collective, communal and replace the responsibilities and sentiments of individuals.

    The initial defaults probably will be in those functions of governments which require the greatest degree of coercive measures for the relief of individual responsibilities and obligations.

    This is unlikely to occur within the actuarial projection of my lifetime, or perhaps even in the lifetimes of the majority of those who comment here. Still, there is evidence in the reactions of individuals in large sectors of the Western Hemisphere and parts of Europe that indicate the possibility of the restoration of civil society. However, it will likely require the default in the use of the mechanisms of government to supplant individual obligations and responsibilities.

  • Paul Marks

    De facto financial default – and also CULTURAL default.

    The first is inevitable (the iron tyranny of mathematics). The second? I just do not know.

    It is true that cultural damage has been done. Vast cultural damage.

    But has Western culture really been fatally undermined?

    Again – I just do not know.

  • RRS

    P M

    The term CULTURAL default is troublesome.

    While the individuals within a culture may have requirements that they fail to meet, or the institutions that formed from the facilities that evolved amongst the members of a social order may fail to meet the requirements – as is clearly observable in the failure of the use of mechanisms of governments to meet certain requirements of the social order.

    Perhaps the observation of the broad failure of the members of a culture to meet the requirements necessary to sustain that culture can be seen as a cultural default. But it is really the members and their interactions that generate a default and thus alter the culture.

    Whether the cultures of Western civilization have been “damaged,” or simply altered by the changes in the mix of the membership and the alterations in the relationships among them is still an open question; and, I, too, just do not know. Further, I do not know where to look for answers.

  • Dale Amon

    I presume you were talking about the ‘Golden Spike’ lunar colonization venture… I will perhaps write something when there is something that can be written. There is very little info outside of a few names at present. http://www.parabolicarc.com/2012/12/01/golden-spike-to-unveil-plans-next-thursday/

  • Paul Marks


    Yes – methodological individualism.

    A culture is made up the beliefs and PRACTICES of the individuals who make up that culture.

    However, it is rather clear that they have changed – and not in a good way.

    Take a small example.

    The late A. Cook (of “Letter From America”) remarked how he was astonished on entering a major place of business in New York City two days running to find that the entire interior layout had changed.

    The inside of the major buiding had been “gutted” and rebuilt overnight – so that not a single day’s business was lost.

    We both know that could not happen now.

    And not because this or that technology has been lost.

    The PEOPLE have changed.

    They do not match (they do not even approach) their fathers and grandfathers.

    That is a small example of cultural default.

  • RRS

    P M

    If a default is the failure to meet a requirement (commitment, obligation, or what have you), you find, as I also observe, that the members of the social groupings that make up a culture have failed, or are failing, to meet some specific requirement or requirements.

    In trying to look for answers to the question of what are the requirements that have not been and are not being met – how “the PEOPLE have changed,” thus, the culture (or certainly some major aspects of it) have changed as the “beliefs and PRACTICES” of the individuals comprising it have changed, we are faced with what beliefs and what PRACTICES have changed; and in what way; further, to what detriment of what requirements that would be necessary to preserve the benefits or conditions of preceding culture.

    Your comments have caused me to try to recover some clues that may have been contained in Toward a Theory of the Rent-Seeking Society (1980), which, as I recall dealt mainly with economic effects rather than cultural aspects.

    But the economic goals, and methods elected to seek them certainly reflect PRACTICES, if not changes in ideologies, that in turn reflect changes in beliefs of what individuals consider the requirements they must meet in life.

    Rent-seeking in our largest developed economies tend to be concentrated in the uses made of the functions and mechanisms of governments. That comes back pretty close to PdeH’s favorite Bastiat quote.

    What you have noted in the connection between the two forms of default is largely overlooked as people attempt to shift the responsibility for meeting requirements to the mechanisms of governments that are rapidly moving into default. The tragedy for Western civilization is that the requirements will not disappear, but will become more intense.

  • Rich Rostrom

    It is a perpetual mystery to me why professed libertarians believe that the legal authority of a subjurisdiction of a sovereignty should be invested with the absolute right to coerce its inhabitants, merely by being labeleld a “state”.

    A libertarian anarchist might consistently deny the coercive authority of any government.

    But that person would have no more interest in the dispute between the United States and South Carolina than in a dispute between two Mafia clans over a protection racket.

    Some claim that 50.001% of voters in an election or referendum in a subjurisdiction such as a state have an absolute right to control the national status of all of that territory. But they don’t, as a rule, concede the right of a similar majority in any part of such a territory to control the national status of that part.

    Why? What is magical about the borders of a state that confers such power on “it”, but denies them to any part of it? (“It” in quotes, because except in extremely rare situations, the political authority in a territory acts only for those residents who support it, not for all of them. A government claims to be the country it rules, but we all know this is a convenient myth.)

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    Dale, if you are referring to my comment, I meant the new engine called Sabre, announced last week by a private company in Britain. If the engine works as expected, then London to Sydney might only take 4 hours.
    Have you heard anything about this?