Libertarians, no matter how they may conduct themselves in private, are subjected to the blanket accusation of selfishness by their political opponents. Now-conventional thinking contrasts them unfavourably with left-liberals who "care" so very noisily when there is anyone about to take note. On this subject, in De Profundis, Oscar Wilde offered this interesting observation:-
Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes them to live. And unselfishness is letting other people's lives alone, not interfering with them. Selfishness always aims at creating around it an absolute uniformity of type. Unselfishness recognises infinite variety of type as a delightful thing, accepts it, acquiesces in it, enjoys it. It is not selfish to think for oneself. A man who does not think for himself does not think at all. It is grossly selfish to require of one's neighbour that he should think in the same way, and hold the same opinions. Why should he?
Quite. Nominations in the comments section please for the most selfish person in Britain judged by this wise standard*.
*Not Harriet Harman, please. There is nothing more tedious than the obvious.
The linked article is sad and touching. When will the minority groups in British society come to the same realisation? Their hopes and dreams have been ruthlessly exploited by the Left in exactly the same way - and with the same outcome. The racism industry is never going to declare victory, because that would be to make its hordes of parasites redundant. It is going to go on and on redefining itself. Racism is just too valuable a meal ticket (and an electoral dog whistle) ever to give it up. This, no matter how much it saps self-confidence, self-belief and self-reliance by giving certain groups (as capable of success as anyone else) a reason to fail - or at least a reason to stop trying.
At each election liberals say that blacks need protection from conservatives, but there are no conservatives anywhere near us. The only thing that all of the people who set the policies that affect us have in common is that they are all liberal. Our cities have been under liberal control for decades and they are also where the black economic and social indicators are the worst; and the mainstream civil rights movement, that claims to represent us, never questions whether or not liberalism is partially to blame.
Don't get me wrong. There were and are racists. They are stupid people, focussed on a trivial irrelevance. I can only pity people who have nothing more to be proud of than their ethnic origin. They should take up macramé or something; at least a well-crafted bedspread would be their own achievement. I first learned to pity them growing up among Welsh Nationalists; people focussed on a difference so trivial as to be laughable. People who admit they are defined only by their sense of cymreictod; a sense I once had, but abandoned when I realised I was expected to hate people I loved.
Such fools are not worth a second thought; to take them seriously is to make something of them they could never make themselves. Just look at the clowns in the BNP. What sane person can do more than laugh? To the extent such people can ever pose a threat (and we must of course be vigilant not to place them in positions of power) it is one to be triumphantly and contemptuously transcended. The way forward for "ethnic minorities" is the same way forward as for anyone else; self-reliance, family, friendship, kindness, education and effort.
No "liberal" or leftist can admit that, because it would be to expose themselves as the exploitative parasites they are.
A young man graduates from an Oxbridge college. Left-wing in outlook, he advises all his fellow-graduates that they should become teachers in state schools in order to "put something back into society" by way of compensation for their "privileged backgrounds." The young man himself comes from a family that owns a castle North of the Border and an elegant house in London. At his 21st birthday party, his parents supplied pheasant from the family estate. He is not going to become a teacher to "put something back." He is going into journalism, but will not be working his way up from any local rag. He begins work later this year for a national newspaper.
The local authority began this drama by apologising for its failings. This was both a political statement and an exoneration of every other human being who touched the lives of the young sadists' family. If the reliably incompetent state is responsible for their conduct, then no-one else is. Never mind that "the local community" is tough enough to run them out of town now. They were not tough enough to intervene in the horrors of the boys' upbringing. No, that was up to Social Services, as the council sadly confirms.
Enter David Cameron, stage right. Beneath the fresh, fabric softened woolliness of his lines is the muffled echo of a standard right-wing point. These boys were the inevitable products of welfarism. Bred merely to maximise state benefits, they were unwanted and unloved. No care was taken over their welfare or education nor even to screen them from their parents' vile lives. They grew up, poor creatures, looking on. And they learned, as children will, from their role models. Their outré, Tarantino-like violence is therefore really no surprise.
The left-wing characters in this drama have yet to make their entrances. But there are noises off. The BBC and Guardian accounts mention the horror movies and the pornography meaningfully, without yet seeking to blame them directly. One account (from the BBC) says;
"...the two brothers made their own horror movie..."
Ho hum. Perhaps the trendy QT, purveyor of amusing violence to the intelligentsia, will have a job for them on their release? Once the initial horror has abated, however, a dancing line of Guardianistas will take to the footlights for the finale. And the prescience of a slave in ancient Greece will be proved once again.
A great city was besieged and its inhabitants were called together to consider the best means of protecting it from the enemy. A bricklayer earnestly recommended bricks as affording the best material for an effective resistance. A carpenter, with equal enthusiasm, proposed timber... Upon which a currier stood up and said, "Sirs, I differ from you altogether; there is no material for resistance equal to a covering of hides; and nothing so good as leather.
The Tory solution will be less welfare. The Labour solution will be more. The Tories will tell us the social workers failed. Labour will tell us that if they were better paid, more expensively trained and more numerous, such horrors could be avoided. The puritans on both sides will blame the likes of Quentin Tarantino for de-sensitising children never sensitised in the first place. The right will seek to ban violent movies and the left (if intellectually consistent) will seek to set a minimum price for horror movie rentals so that only the rich (already lost to morality) can be exposed to their sickening influence.
Finally a chorus of legislators will tell us that new laws will prevent a recurrence. And the curtain will go down on the whole cast bowing before a backdrop of the gleaming city of our collective conscience. Encircled, of course, by a useless leather wall. The drama will have been satisfying though, and the political classes will conceal behind masks of impeccably concerned sadness, just how much they enjoyed their own performances.
Once again the oaf Milburn is lecturing the professions on elitism. Once again, I tell him there were more state educated lawyers in firms like mine when I first entered the legal profession than now, 26 years later. Once again, I tell him that it's Labour's fault. Labour introduced and has consistently championed non-selective education. Labour, for its own ideological reasons, destroyed the bottom rungs of the best educational ladder of social mobility this country ever knew. Labour corrupted the once-glorious profession of teaching into a dispirited, unionised rabble of second-class social workers, wasting their precious time on political indoctrination and bureaucracy.
Don't you dare tell us to lower our standards to accommodate yours. Don't you dare ask academic institutions to make allowance for the "contextual information" that you have trashed the educational opportunities of the majority of our young people. We have businesses to run and clients to satisfy. We do not exist to cover up your failings. Instead, why don't you act yourself on the "contextual information" that your apparatchiks in the Colleges of Education are training teachers to believe that achievement = elitism and that ambition is a social disease?
Fix state education. Fix it now or get out of the schools business entirely and let someone else do it. And until you have fixed it, shut up!
Another headline lusciously loaded with malevolent meaning. An "admission" carries the unspoken connotation of guilt, as in this headline we shall sadly never see;
"Labour Gordon Brown admits whole life warped by envy"
Labour has not learned from Crewe & Nantwich. How could it? It is a party founded on an ideology of class hatred. "New" Labour's only real political innovation has been to create new classes of people to hate. They have added spice and variety to the embittered vocabulary of Leftist hate speech, but they still relish attacking their traditional foes; the successful, the prudent and their heirs. Unless of course, like Tony Benn in his day and the Milliband brothers in ours, they are Labour too. Their family trusts and tax structuring (not to mention their dynastic tendencies) are perfectly fine, of course.
The quality of political debate in Britain drives me to despair. The blogosphere has not really helped in that respect. Given the regularity with which classical liberals are venomously smeared and ridiculed in the mainstream media, it's perhaps not surprising that, given an outlet by blogging, some sought to give as good as they get. Not surprising, but disappointing. It has escalated the war of insults, which increasingly alienates reasonable people from political life, leaving the field to bruisers and back-stabbers.
Much as I enjoy his blogging and recognise the wit behind his delicate use of foul language, I worry about the election of Chris Mounsey of Devil's Kitchen fame as the new leader of the Libertarian Party. I know, like and respect Chris, but I feel he has queered his political pitch with his blogging. Not only will we, his readers, now lose the original (and best) swearblog, but his past writings (of which he has every reason to be proud) will give his opponents every excuse selectively to lower the tone of debate even further.
A recent casualty of the declining standard of public discourse is Anna Raccoon, who has thrown in the towel at her popular blog. I enjoyed her writing very much, but I also enjoy the writing of the gentlemen who stand accused (not by her, but by some or her readers) of "bullying" her into silence. I always enjoyed (though I often disagreed with) both blogs; while always knowing I would prefer to have lunch with Anna.
In her parting post, she wrote;
It seems to me that the world of blogging is fuelled by petty
jealousies, vitriol, feuds, unsubstantiated allegations, apostrophe
police, and a whole host of people who in another age would have been
happy twitching their curtains and writing letters in green ink. I have
watched in horror as several new forums have descended into a cesspool
of hatred and nastiness, and you know what? I got up this morning and
decided that I just didn’t have the energy any more, or the thick skin,
to do it any longer.
Save as to the thinness of her skin, as to which she is best able to judge, she is quite wrong. There are many corners of the political blogosphere where civilised debate is attempted. Her bitter words will help mainstream politicians and journalists build their dismissive stereotype of bloggers. As if the professions that spawned Lord Mandelson and Alistair Campbell had any moral standing to criticise.
A sad week then. One more reasonable voice falls silent, enemies of libertarians are licensed by the party to call us all c***s, and the political charlatans mob the toff de jour as if it were still the 1950s. I have been both poor and prosperous in my life and I can't correlate the contents of my bank account to my wisdom or morality at the time. The only remarkable part of Zac Goldsmith's story is, though even better placed than Anna to kick back and enjoy life, he is prepared to give up his non-dom status to become an MP.
Even those who envy his wealth certainly can't fault the man's enthusiasm.
I understand all the concern about injunctions preventing the reporting of Parliament, but why are the lawyers at Carter-Ruck the villains (and partner Adam Tudor in particular?) There have been flash mobs outside their offices and they have been vilified across the British blogosphere.
Why is the headline to the linked article not "Trafigura in new move to stop debate in Parliament?" Lawyers do nothing without instructions. Those instructions come from their clients and whatever actions they take are on their clients' behalf and in their name. If Mr Tudor has been asked to block publication, then that is what he must try to do - whether he personally approves or not. You may say he is liable to criticism for failing to advise his clients that their actions would be counter-productive (as they certainly have been - who had heard of Trafigura before?). However, you don't even know whether the actions were on his advice or against it. He can't tell you without his client's permission, which is hardly likely to be forthcoming.
Perhaps Adam Tudor is the ass or the villain you think he is. A first class degree from Oxford doesn't speak to his morality or his common-sense. You should at least accept that he is the agent of his clients in these matters. If you want to be angry, be angry with them. Except maybe you shouldn't. At least not just yet.
These are the world's smartest legal brains with vast collective experience.
If the partners of Carter-Ruck have a collective sense of humour, they will use that quote on their website, to the irritation of the world's smartest legal brains. After all, they didn't go into defamation work to be loved. As I am sure they are reminding themselves today.
An independent legal profession, free to serve the interests of
(popular or unpopular) clients, is a pre-requisite of a free society. You may not like how much some lawyers earn for doing this important work, but if you want the big bucks what's stopping you? There's almost always a shortage of legal talent. Get the qualification, put in 20 years of hard work, and maybe you can nose through the flash mobs in your Porsche too.
Because that's really why the lawyers are the villains here, isn't it? The English Vice: Envy. I can understand "rich bastard" rhetoric from the envious left, but the rest of the blogosphere should really know better.
[I am a partner in a City law firm. I am not, and have never been, a partner or employee of Carter-Ruck]
Time and again, outgoing government employees criticise the administration that employed them. Jonathon Porritt has sucked at the public teat for nine years, without ever a word of criticism, but now he has come over all brave. If the government had taken his advice, presumably it would now have a strong record (as it claims) on environmental policies. If it was not taking his advice, why did he continue to take our money from it? Why was he not principled enough, this paragon of the green virtues, to resign?
Porritt is one of those who claims that green issues are of paramount concern; that the end is nigh for the world if they are not addressed. Yet, for taxpayers' money, he was prepared to keep silent for nine precious years when - as he would now have us believe - the government was failing to address them. When he sneers that Britain is a "...world leader in green rhetoric..." and accuses the government of hypocrisy, does he not see the irony of that?
In a mildly indignant tone, a government spokesman is quoted as saying;
Jonathan Porritt last week praised our Low Carbon Transition Plan
which is backed by active steps to make sure firms in the UK grab the
growth and job opportunities in nuclear, renewable, electric car and
other growth industries.
Ah but yes, dear boy, last week you were still paying him with money looted from us. Prime Minister Balladur of France once cynically observed;
In politics there is only gratitude for favours yet to be received
It seems the insufferable, holier-than-thou Greens are more like their political opponents than they pretend.