http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/poundland-ruling-backtowork-schemes-in-disarray-as-nopay-placements-judged-unlawful-8491398.html I must admit that I’m on two minds about this scheme. On the one hand, as a taxpayer I’m in favour of the people I am funding the so-called safety-net for actually, you know, looking for work as opposed to the Jeremy Kyle And Special Brew option. In fact, I’m not even entirely opposed to those reticent safety-netees being forced to look for work, or forced to attend workplace schemes to make them more attractive to employers I’m also well aware that these schemes, well managed, can do a lot of good. The corner of Big Retail that I inhabit has had a constant supply of them since they started ruinning the scheme and quite a few have been given permanent jobs as a result, In fact, at our branch it has become almost a de facto recruitment process, allowing the store to take on people we’ve seen in action rather than who can bullshit best in an interview and giving employment opportunities to those who may, you know, be quite good at working in a shop, but not terribly good at bullshitting their way through interviews. On the other hand, It’s corporatism pure and simple isn’t it. I haven’t heard of much work-placement free labour being sent to sole traders and corner shops, the captive forced labour pool (and it IS forced labour, no matter what they claim) is at the disposal of Big Retail, Big Distribution and Big Whatever Else. It’s another government subsidy for big business.
Look at the trouble it’s causing. The gay “community” ( I always put ” community” in scare quotes nowadays ) want to call their partnerships marriages, and of course some people are all for it, and some are against it, but what they are all calling for without exception is for the all powerful state to change it’s mind about what a marriage is.
Well I’m sorry, but that’s bollocks.
A marriage is a contract between consenting adults. It is a promise to share lives and wealth until death, said in front of witnesses and associated paperwork signed and witnessed. The state has no business in dictating the terms of such a contract, dictating where it may be agreed to or dictating who may sign it. Full stop. (A libertarian may here interject that the State may have some role in enforcing contracts but I’m an anarchist, so they can bugger off).
This whole debate amounts to one side saying “please sir, please sir, those people want to say they’re married but I don’t WANT them to” and the other side saying “Oh, but SIR, you simply MUST agree that we can call it marriage too or it’s just so UNFAIR!” Grow the fuck up. You love each other so why do you care what sir thinks? Or the other crowd? Get the state OUT of marriage altogether and the whole debate simply fades away. Sign a contract, find somewhere to hire out to celebrate it (and somewhere else for a proper party afterwards ) and have done with it.
And don’t get me started on religious freedom. What about Muslims and Mormons and anyone else who fancies a bit of polygamy? I hear a lot about one man and one woman, two men or two women but what if you fancy two wives or three husbands? Or a wife, two bisexuals and a tranny? If they all agree then why shouldn’t they be able to enter into contract? And call it marriage or whatever else they want?
And “advertising standards” can kiss my arse as well. It’s a contradiction in terms anyway. Next time you see “x% of y women agreed” do the maths, see if it comes out to a real number of women. That’s just more corporatism, right there.
"The distinction between natural and artificial is an artificial distinction."
I forget who said that, possibly Benjamin Hoff, but equally possibly someone else. I’m firmly of the opinion than Man would be a lot happier on this planet if he somehow stopped thinking of himself as being somehow seperate from nature. I’ve been a Taoist for a long time now, since I read The Tao Of Pooh in my teens, actually, and it has no doubt had some effect on my ending up as an anarchist. This post was inspired by Mark Wadsworth‘s comment on this post at Obnoxio’s place:
Agreed. This island could easily cope with a population of a couple of hundred million, we’d just have to organise ourselves properly.
Which is probably true, but what if we didn’t? I don’t believe there is any need to ‘control ourselves properly,’ not actively in any case, or to be more precise to submit a couple of hundred million people to control by a few hundred or thousand in order to manage the food and space and presumably universal healthcare and welfare needs of them all. Nature, and by that I mean the decisions made by several billion organisms seeking survival and then comfort en masse, would do all the controlling necessary. Granted, the population of Britain probably wouldn’t reach several hundred million, but that’s actually the point. Several hundred million people probably wouldn’t want to live here all at once, for a start. People that were here and didn’t like it would leave, and people that were thinking of coming would probably revise their plans and go somewhere less crowded. If the society was working well at that high a population figure then all well and good, but if there were a large number of poor, starving people then nature would once again step in, as various pathogens, scavenger animals and opportunist vermin bred to uncontrollable levels and cut the human population through disease. If the island was stuffed with hard-working, dilligent people creating wealth and producing goods and services that people elsewhere wanted to buy then it wouldn’t matter if every inch of Britain was stuffed with high-rise apartment buildings and offices (and factories- remember Beneath A Steel Sky? (Play it! It’s freeware!)) as we could buy in enough food and pay people to take away our waste… In all likelihood some balance of these scenarios would be in existence.
As Hoppe is fond of saying, arguments against immigrants overloading the welfare system (or welching off hard working Brits/Americans/Germans) are properly arguments againsat the welfare system. With no welfare system and no border controls (and no minimum wage, natch) the population of Britain would regulate itself.
I was going to put in lots more examples and so on, but I’m sure you get the drift. Well, you beter be. I’m off to download SCUMMVM.rpm and play Monkey Island.
I love stumbling on things while looking for other things. I guess the Amiga can go back up into Mum’s loft ;0)
Ok, so sometimes I leave my RSS feeds unread- possibly unjustifiably in the case of Mr. Civil Libertarian, who I mentally classify as “posting videos” and therefore requiring some PC-time at a nebulous later date. Therefore, this rejoinder to his post This Post Contains Dinosaurs about the statist nature of large companies is largely out of date. Sorry about that.
Tesco, Wal-Mart, Kingfisher, Morrisons. Yes, they are all statist organisations, both in philosophy and in practice- in that they operate a highly authoritarian structure within themselves and also in that they support and benefit from the statist regulatory model. However, to attack these private organisations on the way that they conduct their private contracts (one-sided or otherwise) between themselves and the individuals who sell their labour to them is wrong-headed in my opinion.
By all means, to attack the companies on the relationships between themselves and national and supra-national govenrments- on W.E.E.E., the H.S.E., food hygiene licensing, mandatory battery recycling, the Minimum Wage and a host of other barriers to entry imposed in their favour by the Governments to which they cosy up. These arrangements are nothing more than Corporatism/Facism and deserve to be denounced as such. However, the internal structures of private companies are just that. Private- and of no concern to anybody but the signees of the employment contracts concerned. Employees of Tesco are not slaves- they have at any time the option to walk out of their job and attempt to gain employment elsewhere, or set up their own businesses, or join the “black economy” or even to go on Welfare. Nobody forces them at gunpoint to go to work in the morning- they are honouring a contract freely entered into by two Persons, the whole basis of Western Civilisation!
Despite all this enthusiasm for the authority of bosses and glorification of corporate power, I would argue that if the Right-Libertarians I refer to here were to actually advocate the the principles they claim they do, rather than continue to act in a knee-jerk, reactionary way to any policy or idea labelled “socialist” or “collectivist”, then they would quickly realize that freedom requires not just the removal of the State, but the active fight against those institutions that act like States too. To be a Libertarian, you must be against authority too; but there are those amongst us that fail to see those sources of authority that don’t stem directly from what we conventionally know as “The State”.
This being the section I most take issue with. Firstly, the removal of the State would in a large way go to stem the way these companies act- with fair competition both for customers and employees large companies would in no way be able to get away with the things they do. Secondly- to be a Libertarian is in no way to be against authority. Neither is to be an Anarchist. I am such, and yet I go to work every day, and for eight hours I do what my boss wants (he has authority over me in this respect) and in return I receive a princely sum for each of those eight hours. These were the terms I agreed to when I signed my contract, and I am free to terminate said contract at any time. I sell my submission to his authority for cash- I see no contradiction here. I also see no need to fight against such institutions. The root problem is the state- the state has created a situation and the market throws up the best setup for that situation. Change the situation, and change the market, it will evolve. That is what it does.
So, it’s really official this time, Bin Laden is really (no really! This time he really is!) dead. Again.
Although, judging by the MSM column inches and continual 24-hour scrolling coverage this isn’t a story they’ll be using again, any time soon…
At least, I don’t think they think we’re that stupid.
Whether you believe (officially former) CIA asset Tim Osman was working for the USG the whole time, or was just a barely-leashed wolf gone renegade there is no denying how very useful he has been to those who love to destroy freedom. The post 9/11 world has been one long turn of a ratchet, with terrorism (a wholly new phenomenon never seen before 2001) being the prime driver for humiliating searches at airports, ever-more-authoritarian legislation and endless wars and Bin Laden, bogeyman supreme has popped up here and there with video and audio releases reminding us all what is at stake.
None of this will end now, of course. Terrorism will not stop overnight and there are plenty of henchmen ready to fill the space. Al Quaida -if it can be said to exist at all- is a franchise at most and an ideology at least. You can remove Colonel Sanders, you can bomb every KFC even, but fried chicken restaraunts will nonetheless pop up in every vacant shop.
Even if terrorists to a man held their hands up and said “Ok lads. The Sheik is dead, let’s all wrap in now,” the assaults on our freedom would continue unabated. They have AGW, financial crises and natural disasters aplenty. Cars that track your every move and meters that can restrict your ‘excessive’ energy use are born not of terrorism but Green Issues.
A Very Bad Man is dead, and I’ll not shed a tear, but I’m not expecting any good to come of it.
According to Sky News, William Hague has “urged the Egyptian leaders to protect the right of people to carry out peaceful protests.”
Is this the right right?
It may be that “people” have “the right” to carry out peaceful protests… but this statement comes with the assumption that “rights” are something “allowed” by the government. The assumption being, therefore, that you are allowed to protest against the government, so long as you do it peacefully and therefore presumably agree that your protest, while being noted, is entirely within the gift of the very thing you protest against to decide whether your protest is valid or not. A bit like raising a grievance at work… it’s up to the bosses to decide whether they are being bastards, but with the vital difference that you are entirely free to tell work to stick their fucking job should you believe they aren’t taking you seriously.
Of course, as those settled on the liberty side of the axis, we may argue rather differently. Rights, not being something granted (with caveats) by the government but instead our birthright as human beings we may not accept that protests must be “peaceful.” Why should they? The government of the day, simply by levying taxes has violated the non-aggression axiom and has done so far more severely in the case of a government like Egypt’s. When the people of a place have decided that those who pretend to leadership must go, then upon refusal are they merely to say “Ok then”? Is this as far as their “rights” extend?
Try telling George Washington that.
First off, apologies for the lack of postings of late, I have been experiencing a malaise in creative thought and my leisure time has been mostly filled with what can best be described as dicking about, with the insides of my Android phone first of all, which re-kindled my love of dicking about in general… I’m now writing this from a Linux distro installed and running from the memory on my old phone… neatly by-passing the problem of deleting Windows from Mrs. Wh00ps’ old laptop.
I do intend to rectify this in the new year.
So where am I? Well, like Vladimir, the Coalition government took the wind out of my sails for a little while, acting almost completely as I expected (i.e. no different from Labour, just in nicer suits) and, like he I went into thought-experiment mode. The directions we took are somewhat different: his away from libertarianism and into Rule Of Law Statism and mine further away from statism and further into fully-fledged anarchism.
It has become apparent to me, that government -like a cancer or a parasite- needs to be entirely eradicated, rather than attempted to be contained as a minarchist would argue. You can’t have a minimal cancer or some constitutionally limited fleas and the idea of doing the same with the state will inevitably fail. The job of governance attracts bureaucrats, and bureaucrats like to expand their power and influence, and once the heady days of revolution fade and We The People stop paying attention (which is, after all, what they are supposedly paying the bureaucrats so that they can do) the slow-slow ratchet of increased governmental power will begin all over again. It may take a couple of centuries to progress from John Hancock to Barack Obama but the route is well-travelled.
Whether it is achievable is another question entirely. Certainly doing away with the state by method of revolution is a non-starter: the chaos and uncertainty inevitably attracts people to whoever promises stability, and that invariably will hand the reins to another kind of statist rather than doing away with the reins altogether. We’d end up in more or less the same place we are now (or worse) with the added disadvantages of thousands dead and massive destruction of infrastructure and property. How to get there is a question that still remains unanswered.
But where is “there?” Perhaps before we decide on our vehicle we should decide on our destination. My preferred place would be somewhere with no state whatsoever. No welfare, no NHS, no regulations and no police. I understand that this will be where I part company from many of the people I read and respect and while I understand why minimal-state people may wish to retain so-called “essential” functions such as courts, police and defence I am now firmly of the belief that even these functions put us firmly back on the road to total control by bureaucracies. How I envision society functioning in such a scenario will be the subject of my next post.