THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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December 2012

Doctors out of their boxes

Velvet Glove, Iron Fist: The dictatorship of public health.

I am not quite sure how I missed the linked article back in September but I am glad I found it via Chris Snowdon's review of the year at his excellent blog, Velvet Glove, Iron Fist. The authoritarians of the medical establishment are in many ways our best hope for liberty. This may seem paradoxical, but bear with me.

The greater the State becomes, the more authoritarians it attracts. Wormtongue types are drawn, as so many of them already have been, by the chance to subvert legitimate authority to their own ends while living on the state's plunder. The more they succeed, the more arrogant they become. They see no legitimate boundaries to their control of their fellow men. Our corrupt political class will offer no defence against these parasites unless and until popular resistance threatens their own power. We cannot count on their principles, if indeed they have any. We can rely entirely, however, on their self-interest.

 Where, however, is this resistance to come from? State education, state broadcasting and the generally emasculating effect of the Welfare State have much weakened the yeoman spirit that made England, for most of its history, delightfully ungovernable. The unthinking majority of voters will never rebel - until it's far too late - against threats to freedom of thought. Attacks on their lifestyle however are another matter. Cromwell fell not because the Monarchy won a rematch of its debate with republicanism, but because, having weakened his appeal by forbidding dancing, aleing and Christmas, his hypocrisy in having his son succeed him (just like a King) tipped the scales of popular feeling.

The state can beat up as many anti-statist intellectuals as it likes and no-one will protest. Let it beat up the smokers, drinkers and pie-fans however and popular resistance can be expected - even from those usually too idle to move further than to the nearest Greggs. Doctors with God complexes may therefore be our best hope. Perhaps as we enter the final phase of end-of-year excess, we should be campaigning for votes to be proportionate to BMI, units of alcohol per week or fags per day?

Please tell me the Left is right...

LISTEN: Jobless Man Who Won't Get Up At 8am | LBC condemning this caller to LBC radio as a Tory plant. That would be far less depressing than it being real as it would suggest there is some guttering flame of entrepreneurship, initiative and political killer instinct in what I had written off as the work shy, policy-thieving ranks of the Blair-imitating "Conservatives."

The redemptive power of labour

What I Learned in the Poverty War by Peter Cove, City Journal Autumn 2012

The linked article is one of the most encouraging I have read for a while. It describes the experience of a former member of the "welfare industrial complex" (the author's splendid coinage) who founded a private company to profit from finding work for the dole-dependent. His work influenced Rudy Guiliani as Mayor of New York who is quoted as saying, sagely;

...all the incentives in the welfare programs run by the city, the state, and the federal government were wrong. All the incentives were to put people on welfare. People put more people on welfare, they got bigger offices, they got bigger titles, they got more money, so in essence, failure in the lives of the people and failure in society became success for the welfare worker...
Please read the whole thing. It's worth it to note how welfarists in the USA opposing his plans sound just like Polly screeching madly against IDS's reforms. Leftists everywhere despise interference with their self-satisfied schemes to exploit the poor.

Spending isn't good; what's good is producing

“Pure fallacy from beginning to end” at Catallaxy Files.
In this video, Milton Friedman deals with the left's eternal favourite, the broken window fallacy. When I was a student politician, there was a Trot called Andy on the NUS executive. After every conference motion, he screwed up the papers and threw them on the ground exclaiming "more jobs!" His stupidity was rather funny then, but when it dominates economic thinking it's less amusing.

Money is a token. It has no intrinsic value. It's only useful as a means of exchanging goods and services. The measure of our wealth is the quantity of goods and services available to be exchanged and therefore our ability to produce them. Money should, if properly managed, track the value of that wealth, but that doesn't mean it's the same thing - as witness the fact that making more of it simply reduces its purchasing power.

Government jobs are overhead. Almost every business has to have some overhead, but business people understand that it must be kept to the necessary minimum. All libertarians ask is that voters understand that at a national level as well as they do in their everyday dealings. 

h/t razor-sharp ozblog Catallaxy Files

What chance to our children have of hearing these arguments?

Follow-Up Letter to a Very Bright 11th-Grader

American state school teachers may, for all I know, be as consistently left-wing as ours. One needs no conspiracy theory to account for it. People who choose careers financed by force either have no scruples about it when they sign up, or soon learn all the excuses necessary to live with a clear conscience. Such careers are simply not attractive to those of an independent spirit - though many such are to be found teaching in private schools.

It's heartening however that - because so much of it is independently-financed - American higher education (though hardly pure) still has enough diversity to allow the linked exchange between an economics professor and an 11th grader.

Can anyone imagine such correspondence with a pupil in a British state school?

Le vice Britannique

I have been taken to task by readers here for over-generalising in my last post in which I referred to; 

...the depths of ignorance, prejudice and hate-addled envy that now characterise most of the British people...

I would love to agree with my critics but the only places I encounter any other kind of Brit are this blog and others like it. Envy-free Brits who applaud commercial success and desire more of it (for anyone other than themselves) do appear to be in a tiny - or at least uninfluential - minority. In newspapers, on television and radio and even most blogs my countrymen seem obsessed with having the state "do something" about this, that and the other; the "something" usually being to punish anyone who has more wealth than them. And their views are expressed so intemperately that it seems quite reasonable to me to infer that they are driven by hate.

I had the misfortune to hear some "talk radio" during a recent cab ride. Vox populi seemed so far from vox dei as to make me fear it had become vox diaboli. Everyone has an opinion about issues (such as lawful tax structuring) that they could not even adequately define. This does not prevent them from campaigning against it by harassing hapless employees of companies they have decided, with a confidence entirely untrammelled by knowledge or understanding, to condemn. Is that not ignorance? Is that not hatred?

Perhaps talk radio is unrepresentative? I suspect that it may be evidence only of the damage caused by educationalists who, under the banner of "self esteem" have drilled into the masses that all viewpoints, however barmy, are of equal value. Part of what I find most irritating about the England I have returned to after twenty years away is not that more people are stupid, but that they are now so confidently stupid. They don't even have enough intelligence to know that they are thick. They might not know what global warming or tax avoidance means, but by God they will have their say. Maybe, optimistically, my impressions are mistaken. Perhaps it's just that the ignorant are now more confident than others about expressing their views?

This might all be harmlessly amusing were the consequences not so serious. Even a Chancellor of the Exchequer who probably privately believes in a free society and free market is obliged to feed the envy-trolls from lack of electoral fortitude. Even his, supposedly, free-enterprise supporting party rabbits on about the moral degeneracy of those who lawfully structure their affairs so as to minimise the state's depredations. Clearly the Tory Party shares my dim view of the average Brit's capabilities. What else can it mean when it prefers to pander to stupid views rather than to persuade people they are wrong?

Gentle readers, I want to believe well of my fellow-men. I really do. But where - except among yourselves - can I find the evidence to support that belief?

These are entirely useless idiots - unless you are a politician

Britain could end these tax scams by hitting the big four | Polly Toynbee | Comment is free | The Guardian.
UK-Uncut-at-Vigo-Street-o-008Ignore Polly. She's just writing her usual hypocritical twaddle. Read the comments. They would be hilarious if they did not so clearly reveal the depths of ignorance, prejudice and hate-addled envy that now characterise most of the British people.

Any reference to tax structuring by Socialists (Margaret Hodge or the Guardian Media Group, say) is dismissed as Tory Propaganda while they rant on about taxing turnover, FFS.

Do they even know what turnover is? Do they understand it's perfectly possible (and indeed quite common at present) to suffer losses on substantial turnover? They either don't or more likely they don't care.

The sad fact is that they just hate (a) the productive and (b) the rule of law. They want their leaders to be able to grab any damn thing they want from anyone they dislike regardless of whether their victims obey they law or not. Due process of law is not the keystone of civilisation to them; it's a loathed obstacle to visiting their mindless hatred on their enemies. It's all (as they keep saying amusingly in demonstrating their entire ignorance of life's complexities) "very simple"

The companies they are attacking and others like them do all the innovating that makes our lives better (who really wants to live now without Amazon or Kindle?) and pay the wages taxed (directly and indirectly) to pay for all the "social goods" these retards lust over. I read recently that entrepreneurs take only about 3% of the value they deliver as their own reward. Their customers get 97%. Compare and contrast with the massive losses on "fiscal churn" involved in delivery of social goods by the retards' beloved state.

Corporate taxes are a joke anyway. The true economic cost falls on individuals (customers, employees and shareholders in varied combinations). There is no point at all in corporate taxation except to disguise the true level of personal taxation. These idiots are being taken for a ride by politicians, as usual. I predict, not a riot, but further punishment and demonisation of the productive in order to win votes from the envious, hate-ridden, feckless readers of that Cayman Island-based model of fiscal rectitude; The Guardian.

Political priorities

Gay marriage or economic Armageddon: which do you think matters more? – Telegraph Blogs.

Mr Delingpole has a point, but I am surprised he is surprised. Isn't fiddling while the city burns the classical recreation for political arsonists? One of the best practical arguments for libertarianism is that, given fewer things to take care of, politicians could take better care of them. Gay marriage would not be an issue for a libertarian state as it would not concern itself with ANY forms of marriage. After all, can any arrangement more properly be described as private?