Anyone can do it better

 indolence  Comments Off on Anyone can do it better
Oct 302009
 

Including teenagers, it seems, though I’ve long suspected this so it comes as no surprise.

The Youth Parliament have more fiscal responsibility, common sense, and awareness than 99.9% of MPs:

Funmi Abari, a member of the Youth Parliament from London, opened the first debate – on scrapping university fees in England and Wales – with an appeal for financial rectitude and self-reliance of a passion rarely seen since Margaret Thatcher stood at the same despatch box, years before Miss Abari was born.

“There is no such thing, Mr Speaker, as a free lunch,” she thundered, arguing that free tuition would not widen access and that students should pay their way like everybody else, ending with a flourish: “Lowering fees to what they are actually worth? Hell yes, that’s fair.”

Of course, a university degree is so devalued these days that lowering fees to what it’s worth is practically the same thing as making it free.

Indeed, by the end of the morning session, quite a few MPs had slipped into the chamber to watch the next generation in action.

John Bercow introduced each one of them as they came in, not unlike a ringside announcer at a boxing match spotting celebrities in the crowd: “And here is the government chief whip, Nick Brown….”

Mr Brown gave an awkward little wave.

Perhaps he, like the other “grown-up” MPs in the chamber, was starting to feel more than little past his sell-by date.

And so he should. The wreckage of this country, and the West in general, can be laid entirely at the door of everybody over the age of 45. You fuckers wanted to be looked after, you voted for it, and you sold the liberty of your children and your grandchildren in return for…what? The right to pick each others’ pockets and the security of tagging everybody with a bar code? When the revolution comes, you’ll be lucky if you don’t get shot.

And pardon me whilst I’m cynical, but I can’t help feeling very little enthusiasm, in the end, for the members of the Youth Parliament. Presumably they want to be involved in politics someday. Unfortunately, it’s an unofficial law of physics that anybody who wants to be a politican re ipsa should never be allowed to be one. Alas.

Oct 302009
 

We highly recommend it to you.

Brains — Let’s face it, as a class medievalists are just plain smarter than other people. Academic medievalists can often read more dead languages than most people can read living languages. We know what happened between the fall of Rome and the discovery of the New World. We know art, philosophy, you name it. You’ll never find conversation with a medievalist dull.

Apocalypse — If civilization collapses, who would you rather be with: the National Guard, or the Society for Creative Anachronism? I’d go with the SCA, because as soon as the gasoline and ammo run out, you’ll need guys who can fletch their own arrows and pierce a zombie’s eye at 50 yards. Never again have a date go bad because of unexpected apocalypse.

Plenty of other good reasons there, too.

H/T A Commonplace Book.

Oct 302009
 

They really can’t help themselves. Every goddamn thing this government proves even further that they’re not only unfit for office, some of them are unfit to live.

Alan Johnson has sacked Prof. David Nutt, head of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.

This advisory body is supposed to provide the government with the scientific data it needs to inform its drugs policy. So why has Prof. Nutt been sacked? He hasn’t been providing data that matches what the Home Office wants its policy to be.

Earlier this week Prof Nutt used a lecture at King’s College, London, to attack what he called the “artificial” separation of alcohol and tobacco from illegal drugs.

The professor said smoking cannabis created only a “relatively small risk” of psychotic illness, and claimed those who advocated moving ecstasy into Class B had “won the intellectual argument”.

This didn’t jive with Alan Johnson’s policy-based evidence making*:

In a letter, the home secretary wrote: “I cannot have public confusion between scientific advice and policy and have therefore lost confidence in your ability to advise me as Chair of the ACMD.

“I would therefore ask you to step down from the Council with immediate effect.”

Prof. David Nutt: This is reality, minister. Let me show you it.
Alan Johnson: No! That’s not how I want reality to be! [throws toys out of pram]

Cunts.

*H/T the Heresiarch, where I read this term first. It’s great.

Oct 302009
 

Gangland Julius Caesar offers some advice to President Obama:

And believe me, nothing boosts an imperator’s public approval rating like turning the opposition into lion snausages. Your loyal plebes will love it, and after the games you can hand out free bread. And healthcare.

Shit, I dunno, maybe I’m being to hard on Obamacus. The big problem is that the punk don’t know how to pick a posse. Look at his Senators. Jupiter H. Cripes, I thought that crazyass Caligula was straightup psycho for appointing his horse to the Senate, but that thing had more brains than half these muthafuckers. Combined.

I know you be thinkin’ you’re some kind of stone cold Claudius, layin’ down some phat oratory at the Forum and plowing your enemies’ fields under with salt. But you still a teleprompter punk, and you gotta know what you don’t know…Lesson one: rule first, deification later.

Iowahawk has breathed new life into my Friday afternoon. Go read the whole thing; everybody knows regular blogging on a Friday snuffs out around 2 pm.

Oct 282009
 

UPDATE: Oh, the poor man – it gets worse.

Jorge Cham, an American cartoonist who also happens to have a doctorate, regularly travels around North America and, lately, Europe, giving talks about his online cartoon, PhD Comics, graduate school in general, and procrastination. Though I’ve been reading PhD Comics since he first put them online (they began as a strip in the university student newspaper at Stanford), I’ve never had the pleasure of attending one of his talks.

I was delighted when I heard he would be giving a series here in Blighty, even though I knew I wouldn’t be able to attend.

Imagine my mortification, then, when I read the latest update at his website. Those bastards at UKBA detained him at Heathrow, for no conceivable reason.

Funny – last time I came in through Heathrow, I was detained too, for no reason.

What the hell is going on with the Border Agency? Have they been given instructions to intimidate as far as possible any Americans entering the country, even if entirely legally, who do not fit the ‘tourist’ profile?

I don’t know what the legal niceties of being detained are, but having gone through it myself, I can assure you it is no picnic. Quite apart from the humiliation factor, it is actually detention, and whilst you wait to find out whether they’re going to stick you right back on another airplane, you have no access to communication whatsoever. You cannot phone a friend or a solicitor. You can’t do anything except sit there and hope that whatever arbitrary decision is made about you will be in your favour. You don’t even know whether the fact that you’ve done nothing illegal is enough to override the suspicion that you might one day do so.

People detained at borders have absolutely none of the civil protections granted to the lowest of the low criminals within those borders. The right to representation, the presumption of innocence, habeas corpus – they have none of these. They can be shipped off, against their will, without ever having done anything wrong. I was angry enough about it when I thought UKBA were just persecuting me because of my visa history. Now I see they’re doing it to other people like me, with even less justification.

What the fuck.

Oct 222009
 

I know Mr E said he was sick of hearing about it (sorry, dude), but since Nick Griffin’s forthcoming appearance is all over the internet, and my feed reader, and the newspapers, I feel compelled to write about it again, mainly because I suspect I don’t really understand the furore.

If you read this blog often, you’ll be aware that I’m one of them durty furriners, who despite years of ridicule and reminders, is still not fully emBritified.

And what I don’t understand, perhaps, is the significance of Question Time.

The BNP have been on the news, and on news commentary programs, even on the BBC, loads of times. Nick Griffin, as party leader and then as a candidate and now as an MEP, presumably goes to public meetings where regular people get to ask him about his views. He certainly gets plenty of interaction with the public in the form of protesters hurling abuse (and eggs) at his creepy face. His views, and those of his party, have been outlined and discussed and debated in newspapers. The BNP have a website detailing their policies. This man and his party have never not been given ‘a platform.’

So what’s the big deal about Question Time? It’s just another news program, right?

I mean, having Nick Griffin on the program is not exactly like pissing on a shrine, or taking shoes into a Mosque, or slipping bacon fat into the matzo-ball soup.

I get that Question Time is something of a big deal, what with it being a respected, once-a-week, publicly attended forum. But good grief, Griffin was interviewed on Newsnight. Surely that’s a respected (if more regular and less public) forum on the BBC, too. From my perspective, Question Time isn’t any more of a ‘platform’ than anything else the BNP have been featured on.

Is there outcry because QT is the country’s current-affairs Holy of Holies?

Or is there outcry because, as I suspect, it’s nothing to do with the program or the ‘platform’ – but because other ‘respected’ politicians don’t want to have to share oxygen, and thereby association, with a man who’s stealing their votes an unapologetic racist?

Only 5 hours to go, by the way. I’m getting really excited. Somebody had better end up looking like a jackass on QT tonight, otherwise I shall feel cheated.

UPDATE: Hurrah! Everybody looked like a jackass. They’re all shits. Yes, Nick Griffin got his ass handed to him on a platter, and that was great. I loved it. His hands were shaking by the end.

But the general hostility of the British people, as represented by many in that audience, was breathtaking. On the one hand, they hated Nick Griffin: they applauded when he was shown up, and booed when he said offensive things, and made it clear they had no love for his racism or his party’s policy of repatriation. On the other hand, they wanted to know what the government was going to do to stem the incoming tide of durty furriners.

‘Oh no, we’re not racists! We just think the population’s grown too huge and put too much of a strain on the public services!’

To be fair to him, Jack Straw was totally accurate when he said that recently the Labour government has made it much harder for immigrants to get work permits. When Baroness Warsi disputed that, I actually shouted ‘Fuck your mother’ at the television set. ‘Cause yeah – they have made it much harder. I’m the fucking proof. And every time I read or hear some sanctimonious twat going on about how there’s too much immigration, I want to punch him in the fucking face.

Right; that’s enough bitching for now. For the moment, the British people are dead to me. Here’s hoping I feel better about them in the morning.

QT drinking game

 hilarity  Comments Off on QT drinking game
Oct 222009
 

I’m so doing this. My favourite:

Drink Three Fingers If:

Nick Griffin moans about how television isn’t as good as it used to be. What happened to ‘The Black & White Minstrel Show’ and ‘Love Thy Neighbour’?

He breaks into a version of ‘I Will Survive’

Down All Drinks If:

He attempts a comedy foreign accent.

Oct 212009
 

A message from the Devil, whose blog has disappeared:

I’ve taken some steps to try to sort it out and I’ve also logged a call with Blogger. I hope to be back at some point this evening.

Mainly I am not dead.

DK

So you see, the rumours of his demise have been greatly exaggerated.

UPDATE: His blog is now back up.

Oct 212009
 

It seems I’m not the only one who understands Peter Hain’s reluctance to appear on Question Time with Nick Griffin. As I said moons ago, the only thing that differentiates the BNP from the ‘social justice’ platforms of the three main parties is its racism.

Richard Littlejohn agrees:

Interviewing the shifty and unsavoury Griffin was like trying to nail jelly to a wall. We went through his ‘manifesto’ point by point.

There was little in it which couldn’t have been espoused by any of the main parties.

His law and order policies, for instance, were straight out of the David Blunkett song book.

He was against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, just like the Liberals. The Tories and UKIP were both promising to repatriate powers from Brussels.

I put it to Griffin that what set the BNP apart was the large elephant not in the manifesto, namely that it is the ‘Wogs Out’ party.

Even when I confronted him with the incontrovertible evidence in chapter and verse, he shrugged and shuffled, mouthed a few platitudes and that was about it. I may have pressed him again on the overtly racist appeal of the BNP, but it didn’t achieve anything.

Needless to say, I shall be watching Question Time tomorrow night with great amusement. I’ve even stuck a reminder to myself on the television set so that I don’t forget.

H/T Obo the Clown.

Oct 202009
 

Unity, writing at Liberal Conspiracy, has written a pretty cool interpretation of the difference between liberals/libertarians and conservatives, mainly in response to the debate sparked by John Elledge’s post there a couple of weeks ago. He’s linked to my own response, for which I’m grateful, and pointed out some angles to the question that I, never having read Edmund Burke, hadn’t considered.

Nevertheless, as usual, there are still some commenters at LC who don’t get it, Will (no. 45) in particular displaying a total want of thoughtfulness. There’s the usual conjunction of libertarians and hippies (though strangely a comparison rather than contrast):

Libertarians are not a bad lot on the whole – much as hippies are fine and dandy until they want you to join their lifestyle and you see it really isn’t for you.

Accusations of self-absorption:

I just see them as a set of people who just want the world to revolve around them and fuck anyone else.

And weird misrepresentation of a libertarian position:

…a Libertarian is a person who would have the mindset of small towns folk who believe in local farmers and purveyors of goods who live locally.

I don’t know many libertarians who have that mindset, I must say, especially since the whole ‘buy local’ view is much more openly held by what we might call green progressives rather than supporters of the free market, which is what most libertarians tend to be. Or maybe I’ve misunderstood, and this is just a drawn-out way of calling libertarians parochial.

Whatever the case, Will is a fool, and a rude one, given that he manages to call Tim Worstall, one of my personal heroes, a fucker and a twat in the space of two sentences. I can only hope that’s an inside joke.

So let’s lay to rest, once and for all, this ‘libertarians want the world to revolve around them and fuck everyone else’ crap.*

Yes – libertarians are self-centred. I’ve said it, it’s true, amen brother. Of course we are concerned with the self. The self is the only entity over which we do have and should have control. A libertarian is not concerned with others, because it is not for us to say what is good for others, or what others should and shouldn’t do. Our comprehension of others is determined by how those others affect the self. A libertarian refrains from affecting others in ways he would not himself want to be affected. A libertarian respects others who hold this same principle, because he knows they too have selves with which they are concerned.

Is that selfish? Yes. Is it wrong? No, because the self is always the first point of reference. First, not only. I’m afraid there is no getting around that, however much others might wish there were. It is impossible to act without reference to the self.

Libertarians, in the main, have no objection to helping others, or directing their concern toward others, as long as it is done voluntarily, in the absence of third-party coercion. Libertarians give to charity, they help homeless people on the street, they advocate policies that they truly believe will be to others’ benefit. But they do not want to do any of those things because someone has forced them to, and they do not want to do it at a cost to the self. Why is that so wrong?

I would even go so far as to suggest that the goal of libertarian action and policy, the ultimate goal, is for the satisfaction of the world’s people to rise. There are as many varieties of ‘satisfaction’ as there are people, so people must be free to pursue their version as they see fit, provided they do not employ coercion or fraud to do so (if they did, of course, net satisfaction would not increase).

What libertarians object to, as Will doesn’t seem to understand, is that currently we have a system of what I might call, in my less objective moments, third-party slavery. For example:

Person A has resources. Person C does not. In a libertarian world, they would both be free to work out an exchange that is mutually beneficial. Person C might choose to help Person A increase his resources in exchange for some of that increase. Or Person C might choose to trade unrelated labour in exchange for resources. Thus is Person C’s situation improved, and Person A’s situation is improved, and there is a bond of mutual benefit between them.

Now let’s consider what actually happens. Person A has resources. Person C does not. Person B compels person A, under threat of harm or imprisonment, to give him some of those resources, which he then turns over to Person C. Person A does not know Person C, or the particular circumstances of his need. He only knows Person B, who has extorted from him his resources, ostensibly for the good of someone else. Person C does not know Person A, or anything about how those resources were acquired or intended to be used. He only knows Person B, who has given him a handout for which he did not give any benefit in return and for which his only qualification was that he needed it.

And not all of the resources have made it to Person C, because Person B has creamed a bit off the top to recompense him for the labour of extorting and handing out.

Person A does not hate Person C, or look down upon him for lacking resources. Person C does not hate Person A, because he does not even know him.

But it is in the interest of Person B that his two victims should hate each other, lest they realise that he is the one perpetrating the true evil, that of stealing from one and infantilising the other. He wants Person A to believe that Person C is a shiftless layabout, a useless human being whose utter lack of ability should be punished, not rewarded with free resources. He wants Person C to believe that Person A is an exploiter, a monopolist, who would keep all the resources for himself and let everyone else rot.

And somehow, in this world, Person B has achieved this. There are those who hate the feckless, because it is in their name that resources are extorted from the productive. And there are those who hate the productive, because they have to be forced to share their resources with those who have none.

Libertarians? We hate Person B. Call it the state, the welfare system, socialism, whatever – we hate whatever third party is interfering, to the detriment of Persons A and C, in what could otherwise be a peaceful and mutually beneficial exchange. Person B robs us all of our freedom and our dignity by imposing his ‘selfless’ concern for others into a relationship that would be much better conducted by the interested parties themselves.

And this hatred isn’t limited to economic exchanges. We hate anyone who would interfere in any way with mutually beneficial, voluntary relationships between human beings.

That’s what libertarian selfishness is. I think it’s a virtue. There’s nothing to me more abhorrent than the ‘selfless’ man who demands that I injure myself for the sake of someone else and then calls me an asshole when I say I’d rather not. As the Devil’s Kitchen has pointed out today, it’s war. But it’s not Person A against Person C; it’s all of us, together, against Person B.

*This insult usually manifests in outraged cries of ‘Solipsist!’ Libertarians are not solipsists in the (accurate) philosophical sense. We believe that things other than our own minds exist. Quite obviously, in fact, since we believe there are entities outside of the self that would impose their will on us. This view is logically inconsistent with solipsism. QED.