Libertarian meat eater, right wing in the sense of conservative with a small c.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Ethics

How to start this without sounding like a moaning old bastard despite still being in my twenties?

There is a severe problem with ethics in modern day western society. It's not people getting drunk and shagging, it's not even immigration, (the sincerest form of flattery), nor is it the gradual collapse of religion, (which if you've read some of the previous posts you would see I view as a positive). The problem is the pathetic loss of confidence in the values that we do have. There have been many causes of this but the one that has been most problematic for our code of ethics is the rise of moral and cultural relativism. Back in the day, (when this were all fields), we had no problems with saying "your system is crap, we're much better" but now you have to place everything in it's cultural context before making a judgement. You can see how this came about, you cannot have a true appreciation of history let alone the present day without being able to suspend your own judgement and view things through another's eyes. Perhaps we just got too good at this and found that when we tried to pull back we had lost the ability to have confidence in our own position.

This is not to say that we had a once flawless system that has become corrupted. Not only was it far from perfect but such systems should gradually evolve to take new ideas into account and hopefully work towards better views for the day in question. The problem now is that though there is the rump of a belief set remaining, it is not strong enough to be an effective challenge to the idiot systems out there. This is shameful because we have more to be proud of than ever and all of it based on respect for the individual and noninterference unless one person infringes on the rights of another.

What we have to stop is the creeping depression of apologist little shits like Trevor Phillips who's latest assertions are more than ably debunked by Not a Sheep. There is room for multiculturalism up to a point but that point was reached long ago, (have all the fun, frolics and festivals you like but don't turn violent if people take this piss).

We have to be able to stand up and say that Islam is a fucking horrible, oppressive religion, that Darfur is a genocide in action and that we value our culture above others. Why is this so difficult for so many people and particularly for our political parasites? There is the very British desire not to offend, there are the realities of realpolitic and then there's the need to wake up and stop being spineless. It is the last of these we need to concentrate on.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Australians, very sporting chaps

I'm sure there are nice Australians out there but this is the sort of thing that gives them a less than wonderful reputation.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Best simile of the year

Over at Slow Hole to China I found this gem:

"cocking wasps, which do nothing with their lives apart from ruin picnics, kill my mates and make me run around flapping my arms like a spastic stuck in a particle accelerator"

Psi Corps

I was thinking about why it is so hard to convince the majority of the population that asking the government "to do something!!!" is usually a bad idea and I stumbled over this post at Libertarian UK by Longrider:

"When I see and hear people talking of rights and bans I wait patiently and am usually rewarded by a demand that government should do something. I am reminded of Babylon 5. The phrase used by the Psi Corps rings eerily true—'the corps is mother, the corps is father.'"

Why do people have this attitude to government? How can there be people who don't understand that any government is bound to be a bit shit and therefore you should restrict it's activities to those areas where there's really no sensible alternative?

The only rational argument is that, rightly or wrongly, people believe that the benefits they get from handing power over exceed the loss. They seldom do but in the same way that people will turn to God for answers they will beg that "something be done" about the latest scare and damn the cost. It's not often important that what is done is remotely useful even when the cost is severe, holding people without charge thanks to TWAT for instance.

What we have to do is work out how to engage with these people and it's not going to be easy. Getting up and saying that you are "going to do something", (usually by putting a ban in place), is easy, attention grabbing and simplistic. Telling the public that you don't think the government should do anything about a problem is not just more difficult to get across, it goes against years of big government mentality. Few will care unless we can show how much repressive, illiberal, big government harms them. It not that it doesn't, many of the ills that we face are due to too much government from the vastly inefficient health service to the way we are sliding into a police state, from our over burdensome taxes to the smoking ban.

We need to make the battle cry "let us be" become as well known and evocative as "something must be done".

Friday, 21 September 2007

Guns

We are a nation obsessed with the damn things for two reasons. They are used by criminals to kill people and they are really, really fun to play with. This week's silly gun story is here which I am willing to bet was one of these.

I used to be very much in favour of radical gun control, hearing the stats on the US made me believe that you would have to be stark raving bonkers to believe otherwise. However, several things have changed my view on this:

1). We have some of the toughest anti gun laws in the world and they don't stop people getting shot.

2). If you really want to get a gun it's not that difficult, the law simply means that only those who are already criminal will find doing so worthwhile.

3). If you go somewhere that has not banned guns and give them a go you will find they are very fun. (One of my abiding memories from my stag do was going to a bar in Poland with a shooting gallery. Not only was firing the guns fun but watching the recoil from a Glock wobble down a friends slightly corpulent form was pure comedy.)

I think a good first step would be to allow shooting galleries and let people fire as many guns as they like but not be permitted to take them out of the range. I don't see any good reason to disallow this but if anyone has some arguments against I would be happy to hear them.

Schilling and Alisher Usmanov

I went to have a look at the Schilling web site and oddly enough they don't think Alisher is worthy of a place in their what we do section. I suppose putting "we close down websites for really dodgy people who feel threatened by the truth" just isn't going to fit with their corporate image.

It's not that I have a thing against lawyers, both my parents are and I understand that there is a necessary divorcing of the legal and personal views of a client so I can't blame them for taking him on. The tactics that they use is something that they are responsible for though. There's also another thing that bothers me:

"As well as practicing law, our partners are pivotal in creating it"

Is it just me or do the rest of you think that's a job for Parliament?

Martin Samuel

Go and check out this by Martin Samuel. A very funny article with a disturbing idea;

What if all policy originates with the Lib Dems?

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Arsenal His Ovum

This is deeply disturbing. Alisher Usmanov has managed to shut down the blogs of Clive, Craig Murray, Bob Piper, and Boris Johnson.

No laughs over this one.

Neil Harding is an idiot

Over at this post the mumbling idiot that is Niel Harding really outdoes himself. The Devil has made a decent fisk of this but I would like to add my tupennyworth on Neil's comments below the article:

"Sam, thanks for that. However I don't think it is very libertarian to say to people who want a smoke free environment - 'I'm sorry but if you want to drink in a pub you have to stink of smoke, or if you want to go to a concert or gig ditto.. get used to it'. That does not sound like their liberty is being taken seriously."

Yes Neil you fucking spacktard, it is being taken seriously. Before the smoking ban, if people wanted to have a non smoking event they were free to organise one. That was their liberty to do so as the owners of the event. If a group of smokers want to have a smoking event they are no longer allowed to do so.

Now you may think the above is proof enough of the power of Neil's cretinous, decayed excuse for a mind but it gets much worse:

"I really don't see how I am any less libertarian that anyone else on this - in fact I think the enhanced liberty of non-smokers is greater than the loss of liberty of smokers (who only have to step outside - it is only polite really) - so I am the one being MORE libertarian."

How much of fucking moron to you have to be to say that Neil? Taking away people's liberties makes you more Libertarian? The non smokers could always go to places that didn't allow smoking, it was their choice to make and many of them went to places that allowed smoking because they weren't that bothered by it. It was their CHOICE fuckhead.

How does the stupid, dog rimming cunt think this makes him "MORE libertarian"? (Takes deep breath). The twat continues:

"Nearly everything we do needs regulation of some sort. Getting rid of regulation does not necessarily improve anyone's liberty - sometimes quite the reverse. The 'fraud libertarians' out there think any reduction in regulation increases freedom of choice - it quite plainly does not - they have just fallen for cheap right-wing propaganda. The market is not always right - it is full of inbuilt imperfections and corruptions."

Now there are two possible interpretations for the above:

1). Neil really is so thick that he has no understanding of Libertarianism.

or

2). Neil is trying, poorly, to change the meaning of the word to fit what he would like to happen.

Most Libertarians recognise the need for some forms of regulation, a hell of a lot less than we have now but a few things would be required. Nor would many claim that the market is perfect, just that it is the most effective way we have and automatically deletes failures over time. Still, what the hell, I'll be charitable and assume that it's option 1.

So we reach the final part of Neil's blathering:

"I think one of the most powerful arguments for not having the smoking ban - was the inertia of the status quo or 'tradition'. Well, the tradition argument is the weapon of choice of the reactionary Tory (when frankly he hasn't got much else of an argument). That is all the pseudo libertarians are frankly - whether they understand this or not."

Hmm, we've got it all here. There's the crap argument, the straw man and even the "made up name to make people look bad"TM. Not to mention the old lefty connection of "it's what the Tories do so it's evil, EVIIIIILLL I tell you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" (Yes I know only the insane use more than three exclamation marks, that's the point.)

In conclusion the authoritarian felch dripping that is Neil Harding is, idiot or not, a total cunt.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Barnett, West Lothian, etc.

This has been rumbling on for some time now and is the result of the law of unintended consequences and some foolish moves by Labour.

Did they honestly think that in devolving power to the other countries of the UK that the English might not notice? The Barnett formula was supposed to go the way of all flesh with the establishment of the Scottish Parliament but it's vile, maggot ridden body still slouches on arm in arm with the rough beast of the West Lothian question. It is true that constitutional changes require careful consideration but the inequity of the current arrangement requires speedy repair.

It seems that our political leaders, both in the UK and the EU have little love for England with their ridiculous "regional assemblies", (washes mouth out with soap), that would have taken power not from the UK parliament down but from local councils up. This is hardly surprising, most of our executive has been Scottish for some time, (I have no issue with this other than with the current political set up they are in charge of England but with little motivation to look out for it), and being on average rather anti the EU, England can look for no assistance across the Channel.


So what is to be done? Firstly we should have equal representation in the UK Parliament per head of population, (see table below).

Country Average constituency population

England 92,890

Scotland 85,797

Wales 72,577

Northern Ireland 93,626

This shows Scotland and Wales are over represented despite having devolved powers.

The West Lothian question has a simple temporary solution: Stop non English MPs voting on England only matters.

However the whole thing is an imbalanced mess and I can only see it being resolved with either the break up of the Union or an English Parliament. The latter is the solution that I would prefer but if that never appears then we may end up with the second.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Spanky lesbian pixie wenches

I was having a think today about the joyfully untired subject of science vs religion. Now so far as I understand the two they can be described like this:

Science: Observation - theory - test of hypothesis - if it seems to work, keep testing and if it lasts a while regard theory as proven - if you have results that don't fit there is either something wrong with the theory or your test - check test and if it works you have something wrong with your theory and it needs to be altered / scrapped - observation - ......repeat ad nauseam.

Religion: We have all the answers because our book says so and that came from God - we know there is a God and that ours is the only one because our book says so - what do you mean that's circular logic? - La la la I can't hear you nasty logic people.

Of course this is not the whole story, to prevent accusations of bias I should point out that I am an atheist and that several religions tend to instruct believers to visit violence on non members because of shit in a book. Most of my exposure to religion has been in the form of Christianity which gets around the "for fucks sake this is bollocks" argument by creating a deity that one cannot argue for or against, (in the sense of existing), because it is neither rational nor irrational.
The Christian God is considered to be nonrational which is to say that you cannot, by evidence or argument show existence or lack of such. To illustrate this is where the "spanky lesbian pixie wenches", (note to self: there must be a manga in this somewhere), come in:

If I were to assert that every aspect of our lives was lived under the watchful eye of such pixies and that the reason you couldn't tell was because they were invisible and intangible but I knew what they wanted you to do so you'd better do it........well, if you were charitable you would see me off to the funny farm. However, bar the weight of tradition this is all the religions have to offer and while we're on it ATHEISM IS NOT A RELIGIOUS POSITION YOU CUNTS it is the denial of such. To say otherwise makes no more sense than that denying the existence of the far more interesting "spanky lesbian pixie wenches" would give you a religious position.

So now that we have destroyed religion, (but not the pixie wenches I hope), let's move back to science. When I was kid we knew science was cool because it was going to give us flying cars, hasn't happened yet but I'm still hopeful. Still, science as a discipline has taken a few knocks over the years what with "THE ICE AGE IS COMING" and "MMMR WILL FUCK UP YOUR CHILD" making great headlines but not very good science. We used to view scientists as being the ones with the answers, years of declaring dodgy theories as fact lost us that illusion.

The scientific method is still alive and well, the problem is that that is no longer enough, (if it ever was), to get by. If you want serious funding then you have to do one of two things; come up with a new horror story; or support a prevailing view that has lots of research going on. The above examples show the first very clearly and there's an obvious example of the second, Anthropogenic Climate Change, (ACC). With all the claims and counterclaims from "we're all going to boil to death at half past two" to "it's getting colder really" what can we say for certain?

I believe that all we can say is: We've put a lot of stuff into that atmosphere and it may well have an effect.

That's all we can do. The percentage concentrations of gasses in the atmosphere are not affected measurably because we are dealing with such a vast system and even if we were able to measure the Carbon Dioxide levels accurately over time that wouldn't help. This is for several reasons regarding other possible causes from solar activity to water vapour to sulphur compounds but they all boil down to one thing. The planet is far too complex for us to be able to model it with our current level of technology. There are positive and negative feedbacks that we cannot predict with particular accuracy and those are only the ones we know about. The "unknown unknowns" mean that any relationships we can show in this case are, at best, highly suspect.

So we can see that we cannot make sensible predictions about the future of the climate based on the science we have. All we can do is study a few aspects that we are unable to tell whether they will be important to the issue. Theories of man made climate change are therefore, whatever they are, not scientific. We have the observation and theory but no way, at present, to test these theories. ACC is not proven and to say that "there is a consensus" on the issue simply falls back into the nonrational category, it can't be falsified or verified. To take severe actions on this basis is no better than blindly following God's word.

What to do then? Well take my advice and start praying hard to the spanky lesbian pixie wenches, it will no less good and a lot less harm.

Friday, 14 September 2007

Idiocy twined with sanity

Norman Lamb has come up with some idiotic suggestions.

The first one is that Pubs should pay for treatment if they keep sending customers to A&E. Now, does anyone have half a brain out there and see the problem with this? Anyone?.....

.....Yes, that's right Mr. 1/10th of a brain. If pubs are going to be charged for this they wont send people who need treatment and they will at best, need more treatment than they otherwise would have and at worst die.


Norman has also suggested that people who are violent and abusive to NHS staff should have to pay for their treatment rather than getting it entirely free. Well fuck me sideways, if I'd known that by being sweary and violent I wouldn't have to stump up money towards the NHS from my wages I would have started being so years ago. The point being, Norman "shit for brains" Lamb, is that we already pay for the treatment that we receive. The NHS is not free, we just pay ahead from our taxes. So, unless what Norman really wants to do is withhold treatment from those who have never paid any taxes, (which will tend to be the sweary violent ones in A&E so maybe he has a point), he can sod off.

However, the above aside he does have a very good point to make;

"In today's highly centralised NHS there is a real 'democratic deficit', with too many decisions made in Whitehall."

They are also suggesting having a local health tax with a corresponding national reduction in income tax. Great, brilliant idea, give power to areas small enough to have some hope of providing a good service but this sounds too sane to be true. Know why? 'Cause it is:

"The Lib Dems are also proposing to create a "patient's contract" which will set down the entitlement of all patients, regardless of where they live."

What is the point of giving control to local areas with one hand and then taking it away completely with the other? The problem is that the NHS is a behemoth, funded inefficiently and too centrally controlled. Normans proposals entail breaking it up giving local control and then sticking it back together under central control. Why bother?

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Signs of stupidity

It's still the slow season for news then, however I have a certain sympathy for the Plain English campaign, (as long as they keep their noses out of the cookbooks).

Sure, notices such as "May Cause Drowsiness" on sleeping tablets and "May Contain Nuts" on a packet of nuts are very annoying as they assume you to be as thick as two short planks.

However, there is also the warning: "Do Not Iron Clothes On Body" on an iron. You would think this would be unnecessary or that only the mentally sub-normal would need it. That seems not to be the case as an acquaintance of mine, H, found out. While up at Cambridge she attended a house party at a place that six blokes were sharing and proceeded to get drunk and throw her drink all over her top. This being a student house full of blokes when she asked for a hairdryer to dry her top this was met with amusement. It having been gently explained to her that not everyone bothers with such devices they came up with an alternative method and set her up in a room that they assured her would be out of bounds while she iron her top with the iron and ironing board. Five minutes later a piercing scream was heard and H has burnt her nipple so badly in ironing the top still on that she has been branded for life.

The lesson to learn from this is not that warning signs are necessary because even Cambridge medical students, (now in H's case a doctor), need them. It is that there is nothing on earth that can stop people behaving like absolute fuckwits and it's best to let Darwin sort it out.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Tomorrow belongs to me

I was interested to note that the EU wants to talk to us and hear what we have to say, (via, Hat Tip, etc. The Englishman's Castle).

What also interested me was the method that they are going to use, Deliberative polling. This method involves getting a group of averagely ignorant citizens, giving them information and then asking their opinions after discussion. Deliberative polling is not very widely used at present, largely because it is inherently more expensive and difficult to do than simply asking people what they think.

What concerns me is that there are problems with the methodology itself. Group dynamics will tend to produce consensus opinions, either within the whole group or opposing factions within the group. This produces fewer results with more support but misses considerable information that is simply shouted down, if a few people have different opinions they will tend to give these up so as not to feel foolish, even if they are right. The worst case scenario, and most amusing form of groupthink is the Abeline Paradox. The Paradox results in everyone acting against their own and the group' interests but whatever happens your results will not simply be those of individuals but of a particular group under artificial circumstances.

The second problem that I have relates to the briefing materials. Considering how much propaganda the EU pumps out I suspect that even if they tried to make the material impartial they would fail dismally. As an admittedly partisan group I don't believe that Tomorrow's Europe will be impartial in doing the poll let alone reporting it. Any possible Anti EU sentiment will be buried and they will then present us with an "Impartial Poll" that massively supports the corrupt, lying, theiving shysters.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Some good news for once

Identity data in schools targeted

I'm pleased to see more movement from the Conservatives, (although I've no idea if central office were even aware of this), on the issue of Civil Liberties. However, (being a Libertarian nutter), I cannot see how these systems are justified in schools. They don't come for free and any benefits from the system could surely be obtained by having better discipline anyway. I know that discipline is easy to demand and hard to achieve but it is essential for the school as a whole, not just for the lunch queue.

The other disturbing aspect is that children will become accustomed to other people having access to their biometrics, (no I'm not referring to activities to the rear of bikesheds), and this I view as a very bad step. The more accustomed to something you become the less likely you are to challenge it.

Caveat Emptor

You'd think that this lot would know a bit of Latin, I know they're Anglicans but really:

Diocese contemplates legal action

Some people never learn to count

It's been a sad decline for the Royal Mail/Post Office/Silly Made Up Name they had for about 5 minutes and they are now up the legendary creek sans motive device.

Being opened up to competition across the board, including the lucrative bulk mail market, was always going to be a painful process for the RM. They do have the massive advantage of having almost all the market:

"During the 2005-06 accounting year, Royal Mail retained a 97% market share in the regulated addressed letters market."

However they also have two millstones round their necks. The first is the requirement to provide a universal postal service with none of that evil capitalist charging more if the destination is in the middle of nowhere. The second is,
of course, the Communication Workers' Union (CWU) who have decided that will probably be going on strike again. You can have a certain amount of sympathy for them, the prospect of losing your job is not a happy one but they fail to grasp how their situation has changed. While the RM is owned by the Government it is not part of it, it is a business in it's own right and unlike the Civil Service massively underfunded pension schemes are not an option for it.

It is ironic that if the CWU succeed in making the RM give in to their demands then they will sow the seeds of their own destruction. The RM will eventually go bust if they win, that would require either a Government bail out, (followed by the Government being taken to Court by the EU Competition Commissioner), or being sold to a private concern. The first is unlikely and temporary at best, the second will only happen if it is sold without the handicap of universal delivery and only someone with the resources to completely neuter the CWU would take it on.

Rugby

Well that wasn't the most inspiring game and it looks like England vs SA is going to be painful. On a more positive note it's always fun to see the French having trouble, even if it is against the Argies.

Christ, we can barely put a full side together at the moment:

England team to play South Africa in Stade de France, Friday 14 September:

Robinson, Lewsey, Noon, Catt, Sackey; Barkley, Perry; Sheridan, Regan, Vickery (capt); Shaw, Kay; Corry, Rees, Easter. Replacements: Chuter, Stevens, Borthwick, Moody, Gomarsall, Farrell, TBA.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Smirk gone

Dear God NOOOO!!

Is it so much to ask that Wilkinson might last a few games without injury?

Times


It's only the septics but if he doesn't make the SA game we've had it, even with him the 'boks would be odds on favourites, without it's going to be hell.

Slight smirk

Don't go thinking that I have any sympathy for these bastards who have clearly decided that now the weather has improved a bit they want a day or three in the sunshine. However, Red Ken calling for a strike to end just because there is no reason for it can't help but bring a cynical smile to my face.

As for the OEGK, it's going to interesting to see how he does against the Unions if they get further out of control. (Folding like a sissy is what I'm expecting)