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

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Balancing the crooks

Via the Britblog Roundup I found this post from Too Much To Say For Myself regarding the limitations of rape alarms:

"No, what I am suggesting is that while a rape alarm may make a woman feel safer, it won’t in fact actually make her any safer"

All too true, the normal reaction to hearing an alarm these days is "What twat set their alarm off?" and that's if anyone heard it in the first place. So what to do?

"it might be an idea to concentrate instead on trying to find ways to stop men from raping.

Because, and I realise this might sound obvious to some, if men didn’t rape then there’d be no need for rape alarms. Simple as that."

Which is perfectly true but only in the same way that if nobody committed crimes we wouldn't need prisons. However, just as there is no way to educate every pikey little toerag into not breaking windows after his quart of loopy juice there will always be some who want to commit rape. There is one possibility though. Given that rape is only possible because of the imbalance in strength between the parties, you need something to get rid of that advantage. I suggest one of these:

Here you have a tool that does redress the power imbalance and will therefore actually work but I doubt that this solution will find favour. This country is very much anti gun ownership and although I used to be as well I now cannot agree with the prohibitionist arguments. If everyone had the same ability to attack and defend then there would be no need for a leveler but they don't. Banning guns just means that instead of everyone being able to defend themselves, only those who happen to be stronger than their attacker are able to do so.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

The limitations of argument

I see that Tim Worstall has been having an argie with Richard Murphy, (AKA knobhead), who I have encountered before. The problem is that you can demonstrate arguments to knobhead and even "non ideological by any measure, honestly just showing a fact here" type arguments are met with disbelief, nonsense and sticking his fingers in his ears and going la la la la.

Knobhead cannot be excused for simply being too stupid to grasp ideas, he is a qualified tax accountant and dull as that job may be, it does require a working brain to qualify. He just doesn't want to hear anything that challenges his bonkers little worldview and short ofdeath there is no way to get him out of his rut. He's far from the only person to take this route but he is a shining example of the fact that there are some people you just can't reach and it's not a failure to communicate that we're dealing with here, it's a failure of reason. If a person is incapable of responding to a reasoned argument with more than "nasty logic people go away" then there is no point in talking to them.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

What is a Charity?....

....or how Labour may have shot themselves in the arse with the Charities Act 2006.

The recent wailing and gnashing of teeth from private schools do have some basic justifications.

The Public Benefit Test from the Act:

There are two key principles both of which must be met in order to show that a charity’s aims are for the public benefit.

Principle 1: There must be an identifiable benefit or benefits.

  1. It must be clear what the benefits are
  2. The benefits must be related to the aims
  3. Benefits must be balanced against any detriment or harm

Principle 2: The benefit must be to the public, or a section of the public.

  1. The beneficiaries must be appropriate to the aims
  2. Where the benefit is to a section of the public, the opportunity to benefit must not be unreasonably restricted by geographical or other restrictions, or by ability to pay any fees charged
  3. People in poverty must not be excluded from the opportunity to benefit
  4. Any private benefits must be incidental
2c and the last clause of 2b are clearly aimed straight at the knackers of private schools, you can almost smell the elite of the socialist movement creaming themselves as they add both clauses for certain overkill. That the inquisitorial commission is headed by a Labour party member of dubious qualification for the role is another ground for complaint as is the fact that the decisions reached have been made on a very narrow basis and no clear guidance on what is required has been forthcoming.

However, the first objection is the biggie because most people do not hold such a narrow definition of a "public benefit" and until trying to argue this out I would have agreed with them. However, I can find no compelling reason that a school should be a charity rather than a business if it requires fees and if no fee is required then it should meet the new tests anyway*.

The problem is that people have long looked on the charitable status of Private Schools as a quid pro quo for having to pay for useless shit that they don't want and aren't going to use.** It is not unreasonable to expect something back if you are forced to pay into a pot and have not taken anything out. Charitable status was that little something, (£280 per year per child in a case looked at by Mark Wadsworth).

The upshot from this is that private schools will divide between those with whacking great endowments that can satisfy the charity commission's box tickers and those that will have to become business'. This will hopefully lead to some positive changes; giving money to a charity so that little Johnny gets taught is one thing, there is a different mindset involved if you view education as just another commodity. Market entry will become easier once parents are used to the idea that there is nothing wrong with a school being a business, leading to greater competition. Parents are going to be more demanding and if they keep running up against the regulatory problems then they will pressurise politicians to change them***.

Not even the rabid rump of the left believes that public education is better than private, in fact it is this higher standard that they detest because it's unfair. With any luck, this attempt to kill off private schooling should make it better, cheaper, provide a wider range of options and help exterminate the comprehensive system with extreme prejudice****.

* Until our Lords and Masters decide that discriminating on ability is "unreasonable" at any rate.
** Or the Comprehensive System as it's otherwise known.
*** Or just fuck off, the greatest service most politicians are capable of.
**** No that doesn't mean "With a big fuck off axe" but I can see where you're coming from.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Fundamental Conflicts

Via The Englishman I have sound this recipe for the death of everything I hold dear from Obama's Science Czar, John Holdren:

"Perhaps those agencies, combined with UNEP and the United Nations population agencies, might eventually be developed into a Planetary Regime—sort of an international superagency for population, resources, and environment. Such a comprehensive Planetary Regime could control the development, administration, conservation, and distribution of all natural resources, renewable or nonrenewable, at least insofar as international implications exist. Thus the Regime could have the power to control pollution not only in the atmosphere and oceans, but also in such freshwater bodies as rivers and lakes that cross international boundaries or that discharge into the oceans. The Regime might also be a logical central agency for regulating all international trade, perhaps including assistance from DCs to LDCs, and including all food on the international market.
The Planetary Regime might be given responsibility for determining the optimum population for the world and for each region and for arbitrating various countries' shares within their regional limits. Control of population size might remain the responsibility of each government, but the Regime would have some power to enforce the agreed limits."

It is no exaggeration to say that this is the sort of twisted, evil thinking that lead to Mao's China or Stalin's USSR but this idea is even worse. Not only does this scum want to produce a totalitarian hell but he wants it to be impossible to escape. There's no point going into the detail of why Holdren's baneful plans are so appalling, they are another expression of the madness that has snuffed out the lives of so many. Nor would I, even given the very unlikely opportunity, bother trying to convince this degenerate sea louse of a man that his opinions are wrong; you cannot reason with the the utterly insane or the truly evil.

Those things that I value, the wonderful products of what can roughly be described as Liberal Humanism, are ever under attack from would be tyrants. It doesn't really matter what motivates those attackers, whether it is to bring us into the fold of their sky fairy or doing it for the planet or our supposed own good, the only difference is the colour of the shirt and hour of ritual obeisance. Those of us who treasure our civilization have a duty to resist the works of malignant cankers like Holdren and his ilk and that brings me to a practical matter that is often misunderstood by those on the well meaning left:

Libertarians and those who would tend to be classified as on the right of the political spectrum resist big government and particularly supra-national organisations, primarily for non petty reasons. Our objections arise because we know that if you give any structure too much power over people, then it will eventually try to bring about the kind of hell Holdren proposes. A big government always finds ways to fill its days and expand its duties and once all the sensible things are being done, the only place to expand into is the area that it has no business being in. We should not let these structures get too big or too powerful. Too powerful and they become oppressive, too big and there is no escape.