Monday, 11 July 2005
The Telegraph has Charles Moore asking Where is the Gandhi of Islam? and is in a similar vein to my own Condemning a Culture, though with some important differences. I'd recommend an Aquinas, not a Gandhi.
... London is part of a great civilisation.Yet there seems to me to be a radical disjunction between our heroic capacity to deal with the immediate effects of terrorism and our collective refusal to confront what lies behind it. The effects of this disjunction are, literally, fatal. [Hat tip Samizdata]And The Sunday Times has information on a Leaked No. 10 Dossier' showing the urgency of not letting our guard down in the meantime.
Al-Qaeda is secretly recruiting affluent, middle-class Muslims in British universities and colleges to carry out terrorist attacks in this country, leaked Whitehall documents reveal. A network of “extremist recruiters” is circulating on campuses targeting people with “technical and professional qualifications”, particularly engineering and IT degrees.
Yesterday it emerged that last week’s London bombings were a sophisticated attack with all the devices detonating on the Underground within 50 seconds of each other. The police believe those behind the outrage may be home-grown British terrorists with no criminal backgrounds and possessing technical expertise.
And Michael Hurd suggests a crucial lesson to be learned from the latest terror attacks is that "terrorists are not afraid."
President Bush keeps repeating that we're not going to ever give in. No matter what they do to us, we'll stay firm. Firm in what way? In Iraq? Terrorism isn't merely about Iraq. Terrorism happens because some people want to destroy life on earth while others want to live it. Notice how terrorists don't usually go after soldiers (although they do this). Their primary targets are working people, people on buses and people on subways. Or people in airplanes. They want to terrorize "regular people" so that regular people will, in turn, compel their leaders to cave in.
Therein lies the terrorist contradiction. If we give in to terrorism more and more, then what do we get in return? In the end, a society run by religious fanatics who choke any tiny ounce of joy out of living. Why would any remotely rational person ever give in to this? This is why sooner or later (and usually sooner, rather than later), people get back onto the airplanes, buses and highways. They always have and they always will because civilization, on its worst day, beats a typical day in the life of a terrorist (or a terrorist state, such as Iran) hands down.
The last few days of posts here at Not PC have been mainly taken up with commentary on the London atrocities, and I should point out that Scoop and SOLO both have my column 'We are all Londoners today,' compiled largely from Friday morning's postings. Feel free to comment either here or at SOLO.
So here's the best of the week, plus art, comedy and music at the all-singing all-dancing Not PC:
Commentary on London:
Condemning a culture...
Responding to atrocity...
One of those that caused it...
Business as usual...
We are all Londoners today...
Bastards bomb the west again!
July 4th: Celebrating revolution
On July 4th, Mark Steyn reminds us that criticisms of the US for being 'unilateralist' are ever so slightly amusing when you realise that a position of 'unilateralism' is simply a euphemism for one of 'independence,' the concept for which the July 4 celebration is putatively held. Why not abolish the holiday altogether, wonders Tibor Machan. A nation born in liberty now subjects itself to the very tyrannies and usurpations against which it once revolted...
Property-siezing the beginning of Sovietisation?
Further commentary here from economist Richard Salsman on the Kelo et al v City of New London decision evicting people from their Connecticut homes to make way for a shopping mall...
'First Heat,' by Brian Larsen. One of the few great works of art celebrating industry...
A Saturday morning ramble: How do you judge success?
I was chatting with a friend over breakfast when Hello Sailor's 'Gutter Black' came on the radio. (Seems it's being used for a new local TV series, so there'll be a few well-deserved royalties going Dave McArtney's way.) My friend commented that he'd never heard the song before, which seemed incredible to me; that song, I said, was what turned me on to music...
Lifting your spirits
On such a day as this, what can you do to lift your spirits without forgetting the atrocities of last night?I recommend music, especially music that represents the best of the culture that is presently under attack. Listening to the best of the west is almost like an act of defiance, a reminder that this is what we're defending against the nihilists....
Who is looking where?
So who exactly is the blogger 'Looking in NZ'? Well, here's a clue: My post two below this one on Peron's problems is almost exactly the same as the comment I posted on the comments board of 'Looking in NZ's apologia for Jim Peron, which just been removed. Is that a clue?
More liberty at the movies
Now for some more uplifting material. David Boaz has posted his personal list of his all-time favourite libertarian-themed movies here, to which I'd add at least three more...
Peron's problems are of his own making
Some bloggers have been feeling sympathy for the difficulties in which Jim Peron now finds himself. I'm not one of them.'Looking in NZ' has said a lot about Peron’s problems, about which he seems to know an unusual amount, but hasn't once mentioned the elephant in the middle of the room that’s the direct cause of those problems...
Architect goes into liquidation
Aaron gave me the news that Auckland architect Richard Priest Architects Ltd have gone into liquidation. I don't know the sad details, but I'm not surprised since Richard was architect for one of the 'poster boy' projects of leaky homes...
Straight talk & spin
Helen Clark comes up with the straight talk on stoning, and Russell Brown with the spin...
Anti-capitalism in Edinburgh
Freedom and Whiskey is a libertarian from Edinburgh with pics and comments on the anti-capitalist nutters currently infesting his fair city...
Mugabe begins confiscating guns ... what's next?
Robert Mugabe has begun confiscating guns. Why do you think that would be?
Stoning Ashraf Choudhary
The idiotic pronouncement by Labour MP Ashraf Choudhary that stoning gays and adulters is okay because it is in the Koran and "what the Koran says is correct" demonstrates once again that all cultures are not equal, and Islamic culture perhaps least equal than most...
Meddling arseholes highlight system of a downer
Just as Shania Twain finally receives permission to build a house on her own land, news comes in that Serj Tankian (pictured right) "the singer of American band System of a Down has failed in his bid to buy a west coast beach property...
More Aid, Less Growth
Aid kills growth, that's the message of a report by the Globalization Institute.
Compromisers and meddlers destroy Costa Rica's libertarians
Sad news from Costa Rica about the parliamentary libertarians there, who have apparently gone native. Former activist Jorge Codina reports that the Moviemento Libertario (ML) is no longer a movement, nor any longer libertarian...
What do consent figures tell us about the property boom?
The number of Building Consent applications for new homes has plummeted (Bob Dey has figures here), prompting some speculation that the property boom is turning south...
Sunday, 10 July 2005
There are secular Muslims about who do condemn bombing innocent people, for sure, but I'd suggest however that just as there are few Muslims who actively campaign against clitorectomies or the compulsory wearing of veils, there are few who are active in seeking to remove the stain of violent jihad from their culture, and many -- including western intellectuals and commentators -- that apologise for it. (Irfan Khawaja points the finger at Tariq Ali, for example, over here. Sir Humphrey's posts Christopher Hitchens's response to Ron Reagan Jr over here.) And one of the imams who condemned violence yesterday on the BBC represented the mosque in which was recruited the British-born Muslim that tried two years ago to blow up a US passenger airline with explosives in his shoe. This is not condemnation so much as tacit acceptance of the evil in one's midst.
So, to answer another of Simon's questions, I don't by any means condemn 1.4 billion Muslims -- I don't even know most of them for goodness' sake. As Simon says (insert obvious punchlines here) , "much as I despise the bastards who did this, I despair when I hear comments that imply that the whole of Islam is responsible for this sort of thing." Clearly 'the whole of Islam' did not bomb London, or Madrid, or Istanbul, or Jakarta, or Bali, or New York. But there is a world-wide trend there, don't you think, that we should not ignore. One that needs to be taken seriously, and one that needs to be condemned.
In my opinion it is the culture of Islam fundamentalism that needs to be condemned, as I argued here briefly just the other day before all this happened, and here some weeks ago. And in answer to criticisms that this attitude is racist, or that cultures themselves are beyond criticism, nonsense. Culture and race are two different things. One can condemn a culture without necessarily condemning those within it :
The fact is that cultures are not beyond criticism (a point made last week by Wellington probation officer Josie Bullock), and nor should they be. We should judge Islamic culture, and indeed all cultures, according to how well they work for those within them. Thomas Sowell made exactly that point in his book Conquest and Cultures:Islamic culture does not work for those dirt poor people scraping a living across the globe in Muslim theocracies, and it sure as hell ain't working for those killed by Islamic bombs in the cities across the world to which many of those dirt poor have themselves escaped in search of a better life. A culture that encourages murder and martyrdom and theocratic dictatorship is not a culture that reveres human life. It must be condemned and it must be defended against.Cultures are not museum-pieces. They are the working machinery of everyday life. Unlike objects of aesthetic contemplation, working machinery is judged by how well it works, compared to the alternatives.
As long as the Islamic world harbours within it those have declared and carried out jihadic murder in the west, then the war of self-defence must be entered, both on the ground and in the battlefield of ideas.
It's not enough to just condemn it, however. Islam must be reformed, and the hate-success, clitorectomies-for-everybody, kill-the-west culture that has fomented nothing but hatred and poverty across the Muslim world firmly rejected. Witness the effect that the sisters of Robert McCartney (pictured left) had in speaking out against Irish violence -- in saying "NO MORE!" they brought the hope of an end to what once seemed unending. Only such a rejection from within is ever going to change the culture of Islam.
Second, Islam needs a Reformation. Urgently. As I pointed out here and here four years ago to noisy dissent, unlike the West, Islam never had a Reformation, and 1.4 billion Muslims and at least 750 Londoners are the poorer for that today. Islam never had a Renaissance. It never had an Aquinas to liberate science, thought and life from its religious shackles. Crikey, Islam doesn't even have a New Testament saying that all the God-awful and God-ordained killing in that earlier collection of papyrus is no longer necessary. Islamic culture needs to embrace Enlightenment values, and it needs to do so damn quickly.
It needs its own McCartney sisters and its own Aquinas. Until it gets them the culture stands condemned, with smoking ruins and a trail of corpses across the west as sad monuments to its destructive power.
Saturday, 9 July 2005
So Simon asked me "What did [Keith] Locke say that you're unhappy with?" A fair question. In my defence, I called Keith a low-life not so much because of what he said yesterday (the offending post was published at 8:15am yesterday morning, before anyone had really said anything) but because of his post-September 11 actions around the country. I posted one such response of Locke's to the Frog Blog a few weeks ago.
As it happens, when the Greens' response came out yesterday it was very good, unlike that of the Maori Party who expressed sympathy without condemnation, as if these barbaric multiple murders were some sort of natural disaster that had 'just happened' to tragically take people's lives. Bloggreen was similarly judgement-free:
[At a Rotorua public meeting] Keith sat there smiling and nodding his head in agreement [while Annette] Sykes told the audience: “I will never forget that morning turning on my TV and seeing those planes fly into those two towers, I jumped for joy, I was so excited to see that at long last capitalism was under attack. I was laughing, I was so happy, but then I saw those people jumping out of the windows and it suddenly hit me, oh those poor waiters, the poor cleaners, those poor lift operators, who the greedy capitalists had employed to do all the dirty jobs were probably the people jumping out of the windows.”
Keith neither challenged nor questioned Sykes’ rant, he sat there and smiled and nodded and then led the applause when she finished.
Firstly all my thoughts are with the people of London. This tragic event will change your city I do not doubt. Be strong, look out for each other and know our thoughts are with you. ...Actually, the question is this: who did it, who helped them, why did they do it ... and where do they live.
But I have to say this: Learn from New York. The question is not who did it, but why did they did it.
It's true. As a kid growing up there was no music in the house aside from the dross of early seventies government TV and radio -- and I'm sure many of you remember how bad that was -- so aside from the theme to 'The Thunderbirds,' music to me was just so much bland foreign territory with about as much interest as a week's holiday in Taihape. Until one day when we were sitting in the car outside the Westfield freezing works -- I can remember the moment IT happened, you see -- and THIS SOUND came on the radio.
"What's that?!" I said to my sister who was sitting fiddling with the car radio. "Turn it up!" I'd never heard anything like it. It was 'Gutter Black' in all its clever, punchy, pithy glory. If that was music, I wanted more.
I saved up my Newspaper-round money and bought the first Hello Sailor album, and I played it every afternoon for a year. After that copy wore out, I bought another one and played that every afternoon for another year. I was in love with music, and Hello Sailor was to blame. (Several thousand CDs and records later, maybe I should send Dave and Graham the bill?)
So after I'd told my friend all this, he confessed to an even sadder childhood: he'd never heard of Hello Sailor at all. Incredible. I talked and talked (as I do) but he'd never heard of them. He had however heard of Dragon, with whom Hello Sailor started playing back in their early days. In fact, when both bands were getting started they lived together in a rambling old house in Ponsonby, dubbed Mandrax Mansions due to the incessant and regular drug taking going on there.
So my friend and I then reflected on how history works, and how you judge success. You see, by 1975, Dragon had gone to Australia and achieved fame and fortune and $200-a-day heroin habits, while Hello Sailor were still in Ponsonby taking cheap drugs. By 1980, Hello Sailor had just acquired world-famous-in-NZ status before splitting (not for the first time); and Dragon were flying, in all senses of the word. Contrasting fortunes indeed.
But now, in 2005, the good fortune has turned around. Three of Dragon's original five members are dead, while Hello Sailor's line-up are all alive, kicking and in rude good health. And with new solo albums out to boot (Buy Graham's here, and Dave's here).
So how do you judge success?
If your interest has been piqued, you can buy The Sailor Story here.
Friday, 8 July 2005
I recommend music, especially music that represents the best of the culture that is presently under attack. Listening to the best of the west is almost like an act of defiance, a reminder that this is what we're defending against the nihilists.
So what works then? Jean Sibelius' 2nd Symphony is presently doing wonders for me. Ralph Vaughan Williams' 'Rhapsody on a Theme of Thomas Tallis' has also hit the spot, and I fully expect Jesse Norman's rendition of Richard Strauss' 'Four Last Songs' and Wagner's five 'Wesendonck' lieder to do it for me shortly. And I note Craig is listening to and enjoying Noel Coward's 'London Pride,' as I did earlier when I followed the link he posted.
And even Radio New Zealand have offered something to look forward to. Tomorrow afternoon they begin a two-part programme on, in my estimation, America's greatest composer: Duke Ellington. (Word has it that RNZ have their programming streamed somewhere, but I'm blowed if I can work out where.) And Duke perhaps should have the last word on rising above adversity: "I merely took the energy it would have taken to pout," he used to say, " and I wrote some blues." And such effortless-seeming blues they are too. I can't wait.
Terence Mutasa, a staff nurse at University College hospital, treated two passengers, young women in their twenties, for minor injuries and shock. “They were saying some guy came and sat down on the bottom deck and that he exploded,” he said. “They said the guy sat down and the explosion happened. They thought it was a suicide bomber.”A report from the Guardian corroborates the claims, which are still perhaps only speculation. Other reports have wondered whether it was a suicide bombing, or a bomb that exploded early, which fits with Guardian reports that the devices were not exactly reliable.
But a source told The Guardian that three controlled explosions had been carried out on "suspect devices". Furthermore Vincent Cannistraro, the former head of the CIA's counter-terrorism centre, told The Guardian that "two unexploded bombs" were recovered as well as "mechanical timing devices".
An earlier BBC-TV broadcast suggested one of those was apparently at Stockwell station; if so it suggests South London was also on the list of targets.
- Business as usual. That was the phrase of stoic courage made famous in the London blitz, and typified in the photo to the right. 'Business as usual' is the quiet bravery of offering two fingers to aggressors who simply do not understand what makes human life sacred, and human effort valuable.
- I look forward to a combined declaration from the exended G8 this afternoon. Call it the 'London Declaration,' as Adam Reed has:
From this point on, terrorists and their "political" and "spiritual" leaders shall have no sanctuary anywhere on Earth. Not in Saudi Arabia, not in Iran, not anywhere. Justice on Earth, and the survival of human civilization, demand no less. And we humans must demand nothing less from our leaders.
- We should be clear that we are at war. It is not a war against terrorism per se, it is a war declared on us by Islamic jihadists. It is a war of self-defence against a culture that reviles the wealth and freedom of the west because neither are possible in a culture that values neither. In many ways it is the last hurrah of fundamentalist losers who know their cultural values have brought nothing but poverty, dictatorship and death, and have nothing more to offer. It's easy to kill; harder to offer the values that sustain life.
- America and the allies reacted in self-defense, and against jihad, while the EU is appeasing Islam.
- The Islamic terrorists who commit these atrocities are not the poor or downtrodden of the Muslim world, they are its best and brightest. What sort of culture has its best and brightest commit multiple murder, while its poor and downtrodden flee (when they can) to find a better life.
- Freedom's enemies have many faces, but one fundamental evil: hatred of the good for being the good. The lietmotif of nihilist hatred is a "radical rejection of the good, absolutely and in principle; rejection of what is good by any standard and by all standards, rejection of good as such. The emotional expression of nihilism is 'hatred of the good for being the good.' 1.
"Good guys can't believe nihilism. They can't imagine that anyone could accept nihilism, let alone try to practice nihilism, let alone cultivate in himself a hatred of the good. The good guys' naivete on this point is their main strategic weakness: how do you fight enemies you can't even believe exist?" [Hat tip, Michael Miller.]
The concerted explosions across central London, ripping apart trains, a bus and the people who were in them should focus us all on realising that the people who do this are not like us. They are snivelling, crawling, anti-life scum that have nothing to offer the world and the people in it except violence, destruction and death. Let's take them at their word, and not accept any part of what they stand for.
Some random thoughts:
- Like all of us, I'm sure, I'm still waiting to hear back from friends in London that they're okay. When I lived in London and IRA bombs went off, I would laugh at calls to see how I was; now I'm being laughed at in turn. I'm glad they're laughing.
- What a great performance by the authorities -- by medical staff, transport staff, police and other services that have clearly had a response to this sort of outrage planned, and well-planned.
- Londoners are so wonderfully calm under this sort of pressure. Grace under pressure.
- 37 people killed. 700 injured. I hope some of those killed were the perpetrators. [UPDATED: Now 52 confirmed dead, 700 injured. ref Times]
- London stock exchange down, and then straight back up again. Business as usual.
- Given the planning that this attack displays, the good news is the relatively low loss of life. Despite the easy, soft targets they chose to rip apart with their explosives, it seems the cowardly, destructive fuckers were unable to acquire the materiel to kill and destroy at the level of Madrid, New York or Bali, or the coordination to kill on an even greater scale. Is that some sort of blessing? Are these people weaker in their destructive powere than we give them credit for?
- At such times as these, isn't it a reminder that despite their mixed premises and many political differences between us -- and with significant low-life exceptions such as George Galloway and Keith Locke -- western people and politicians actually share more than we differ. Tony Blair's words at midday London time could not be bettered: "It is important, however, that those engaged in terrorism realise that our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause death and destruction to innocent people in a desire to impose extremism on the world. Whatever they do, it is our determination they will never succeed in destroying what we hold dear in this country and in other civilised nations around the world.”
- The solidarity shown by western leaders at Gleneagles was something to see. Thirteen leaders including Jacques Chirac, George Bush, Kofi Annan and Vladimir Putin stood shoulder-to-shoulder on stage behind Tony Blair has he decried the outrage, and promised to defend our values. I hope they mean it.
- Once again we see the lesson that you can not kill terrorism, you can only choke off its means of supply by hunting down those who support them and give them succour. At times such as these it becomes even more important that those who value human life and the ideas that support life do make a stand for the values of liberty and freedom.
- Those people that commit these atrocities and those who support them have exactly nothing to offer us except bloodshed , tears and death. Nothing.
Thursday, 7 July 2005
But whoever committed this outrage, and whatever they claim to stand for, it is clear enough what they are against: As former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak said soon after the disaster, this was an attack against civilisation itself...
What caused this was an act of piracy by everything that slithers against everything that stands - or stood - erect; by the very lowest, against the very highest that civilisation has to offer. And, as in the days of piracy on the high seas, this modern savagery must be stamped out by a fierce uncompromising commitment to the protection and sanctity of innocent human lives.
Civilisation has today been attacked by savages armed only with carpet knives, and it must learn how to defend itself against such an enemy. It has not yet armed itself with the weapons to do so - either philosophically, or militarily. Unfortunately, it must...
Civilisation is under threat, and each of us must ask ourselves: where do I stand with respect to the values that underpin civilisation, and that civilisation represents? What have I done to support those values - or to smear them? What have I done to uphold those values, or to spit on them?
As SOLO contributor Bill Grazier said: "Although those bastards can kill our citizens, they'll never kill the human spirit, never extinguish joy or love or friendship... as long as we maintain our strength and dignity, then these bastards will never defeat us."
Well, here's a clue: My post two below this one on Peron's problems is almost exactly the same as the comment I posted on the comments board of 'Looking in NZ's apologia for Jim Peron, which just been removed. Is that a clue?
Maybe you should ask?
And while talking liberty and movies, Crypticity has noticed a certain liberty-flavoured ad played before a recent screening of 'Hotel Rwanda.' See what he's talking about here, and see the ad for yourself here. Reports have it that said ad was pulled fom the Bridgeway Northcote after fielding a "number" of complaints. As my informant says, "I think I hear the ruffling of feathers." :-)
'Looking in NZ' has said a lot about Peron’s problems, about which he seems to know an unusual amount, but hasn't once mentioned the elephant in the middle of the room that’s the direct cause of those problems: Peron was a professional advocate for sex with children, and a writer and publisher of material that advocated sex with children.
And not 'twenty years ago.' The copy of Unbound that Peron published was put about in the early nineties, not so long ago, and I understand there were even later editions. Uugh.
Ruth has wished "bad karma" on those who have "run him out of the country." Yet in my view it is Peron that has run himself out of the country by his own actions and his own lies.
Personally, I see no problems with barring from the country someone that advocates sex with children; someone that has stood up for, associated with and raised funds for those that practice criminal activity, and who has not resiled from having done so, but has intead denied it in the face of clear evidence and the many attestations of those who knew what was going on including collaborators, former owners of his shop, and those who observed his activities at events, meetings, and in his book shop back then.
It doesn't matter what Peters accused him of; what matters is what Peron did. And what he did was enthusiastically advocate sex with children. Does it disturb me then that his life has been made more difficult, then? No, it doesn’t. He deserves every difficulty put in his path.
IMHO, people that advocate criminal activity ~should~ be barred from entering the country – and I'm sure you agree with me that sex with children should be criminal. Frankly who, aside from Jim Peron and the members of NAMBLA and the Auckland Man-Boy Love Association, would disagree with that?
IMHO it's quite appropriate that such low-life scum are refused entry to New Zealand when their past is exposed. What would motivate such a person to think they should be welcomed in? Should Immigration overlook the past of such a person? Not in my moral universe. Such a person is the reason libertarians advovate immigration controls, so we can ensure that only peaceful people can pass freely. Will mistakes be made in the exercise of such controls? Sure, but this is not one.
'Looking In NZ' says it is wrong that Peron won't have access back here to sort out his business. So what. That's not their concern, and nor should it be. And frankly, it's not as if his business is a going concern in any case, and for the business category on which he entered it needs to be. Peron has been out of the country for the last few months by his own choice, and all that time his shop has been closed, presumably an admission that there’s no business going on anyway. And he does have a number of people available – albeit a dwindling number --- who still support him despite the way he’s used, abused and taken advantage of them. Surely between them they can organise his few possessions and send them on. Or they could sell them to cover some of his debts.
“What is happening is very disturbing. And it ought to disturb all of us,” says "Looking in NZ.' No, it ought to disturb Peron. Perhaps the experience will help him to ask of himself a few very serious questions. I wonder perhaps if ‘Looking in NZ’ will be asking any of those questions of himself?
I'm jealous. Is there a better looking NZ blog? I did like the look of Ruth's Artificial Intelligentsia blog -- although I'm not allowed to say that, and it's now gone anyway.
Well done guys.
The first covers the Kelo vNew London land grab okayed by the US Supreme Court, an 'eminent domain' decision called by Property Rights activist, Erich Veyhl "the logic of destruction." Eminent domain? We call it economic fascism. Vehyl's interview with Prodos is here (and an earlier Prodos interview on the subject of eminent domain is here.)
The second interview is on something somewhat related -- I'll let you draw the link yourself: the right to keep and near arms in defence, on which subject British libertarian Sean Gabb is interviewed on Radio Lancashire. The link is here.
Wednesday, 6 July 2005
Discussing Ashraf Choudhary's agreement that homosexuals and adulterers should be stoned in accordance with the Koran's teachings, Russell declared:
I have to sympathise with him. He was not asked whether homosexuals and adulterers should be stoned to death; he was invited to declare that the Koran was incorrect in saying so. That was how the question was asked. For a Muslim leader to say the Koran is incorrect is, I gather, beyond serious.So? As I said yesterday, it's quite appropriate to condemn a culture -- or aspects of a culture -- when it's clearly anti-life. Why be coy?
Helen Clark (unaffected by her dinner with spin-meister Alastair Campbell) was far more direct. Newstalk ZB reports:
Helen Clark says Mr Choudhary's comments on the show certainly do not fit with Labour values or her own. She says she does not care if it is in any religious tract, it is not something that is acceptable.Bravo! Truth is there's nasty crap in both Bible and Koran, and it doesn't help anyone to pretend otherwise. Good on her for saying so.
Clark's direct approach mirrors the similarly direct Ewen McQueen, current CHP leader, who refused to defend the indefensible Graham Capill. Said McQueen: ""To have been saying the sort of statements that he made for the number of years he said them while at the same time committing these crimes, it really is the worst form of hypocrisy." Isn't it just.
I wonder why Rodney Hide hasn't been similarly direct about Jim Peron's banishment?
Walking back from photographing yesterday's march in Edinburgh I was approached by an elderly gentleman wearing a Scottish Socialist Party badge. He asked if I would like to purchase a postcard of Che. I asked him why on earth would I want to buy a photo of a mass murderer who shot small boys. I enjoyed this confrontation so much that I had to go and celebrate with a beer.
Authorities in Zimbabwe have ordered civilians to surrender their firearms, with police sources saying the move was a precautionary measure following the government’s action against informal dwellers and hawkers.And we know just what happened to those white farmers, don't we? It's worth remembering that the primary reason the US Founding Fathers wrote the right to bear arms into their Bill of Rights was to allow citizens to protect themselves against tyrannical government. This is precisely why. [Hat tip Gun Control]
The police said licences for certain categories of guns had been revoked in terms of the Firearms Act, reports ZimOnline. The government last cancelled firearm licences during the peak of its farm seizure programme in 2000. That move was targeted at white commercial farmers who at that time held a number of assault guns for self-protection.
And it seems the Guardian is now coming in behind Mugabe ... "The vilification of Mugabe is now out of control," it says. Nothing like a socialist rag to support Forced evictions, brutal land grabs, slum clearances and murder. [Hat tip Samizdata.net]
It seems the problem is the rail system just couldn't cope when more than six people tried to ride the trains at once...
Our friend at Slow Train Coming predicted trouble yesterday morning. So how many do you think will now try and use the trains to get to Saturday's game? Or at all?
Tuesday, 5 July 2005
"Today Jim Peron, Auckland bookstore owner accused by MP Winston Peters of being a paedophile received a letter from NZ immigration informing him he was not to re-enter NZ from Germany where he is currently organising a conference."
[UPDATE: Stuff, Herald and TVNZ now have the news.]
The fact is that cultures are not beyond criticism (a point made last week by Wellington probation officerJosie Bullock), and nor should they be. We should judge Islamic culture, and indeed all cultures, according to how well they work for those within them.
Thomas Sowell made exactly that point in his book Conquest and Cultures:
Cultures are not museum-pieces. They are the working machinery of everyday life. Unlike objects of aesthetic contemplation, working machinery is judged by how well it works, compared to the alternatives.Now that's a point worth contemplating.
Just as Shania Twain finally receives permission to build a house on her own land, news comes in that Serj Tankian (pictured right) "the singer of American band System of a Down has failed in his bid to buy a west coast beach property and develop a recording studio."
What sort of small, myopic, authoritarian, third-world shithole are we living in here? The Overseas Investment Commission decided between their taxpayer-funded lunch and morning tea that this chap couldn't move here, couldn't buy land here, couldn't "identify local musicians to record demos, and then seek recording deals for them in the US" ... in short, they've told him to take his money and his life and just piss off somewhere else. Why couldn't these blowhard bureaurcratic retards just piss off themselves and mind their own fucking business?
It's been said that when tyranny knocks at your door it wiill be carrying a gun. I disagree. When tyranny knocks at your door it will be carrying a clipboard. The one carrying the gun should be you. But to paraphrase Robert Heinlein, beware of strong drink; it can make you shoot at meddling areseholes, and miss.
Feel free to send all the meddling arseholes from the Overseas Obstruction Commission a message telling them what you think about them:
Stephen Dawe is the Chief Executive Officer and Secretary; Peter Hill, Assistant Secretary; Annelies McClure, Manager Applications; Pedro Morgan, Legal Analyst; David Turnbull, Applications Co-ordinator; Chris Miller, Data Analyst; Suzanne Conley, Executive Assistant; Olwyn Smith, Administrative Assistant; Wendy Russ, Filing Clerk.
|Overseas Investment Commission|
|Level 9, 2 The Terrace||Phone: +64 4 471 3838 |
|Reserve Bank Building||Fax: +64 4 471 3655|
|P. O. Box 2498|
For every 1% increase in aid received by a developing country, there is a 3.65% drop in real GDP growth per person. Contrary to the conventional wisdom in the aid industry, the study finds that even where recipients have good governance, the effect is also negative.The effect is negative because aid kills off fledgling businesses every time it undercuts what they themselves supply. It's negative because the aid gets funnelled through existing governments, cementing in the existing corrupt power structures that have made the African mess happen. I wonder if the Live-8 and 'Make Poverty History' enthusiasts have read the conclusions.
Enacting real free trade, ending subsidies to their own farmers, and bringing down the US and European tariff wall is something that western politicians could do to help Africans help themselves out of poverty. More sweatshops, real property rights and the rule of law, and an end to out-and-out corruption is something African politicians can do to help their own people. Good luck getting them to care. Try telling Robert Mugabe that his people's liberty and property matter.
[Hat tip Samizdata.net]
Deep Impact smashes all expectations New Scientist’s post-event coverage of the spectacular Deep Impact strike is a good and useful review. The NASA and Space.com websites are also supurb.
She's right. It's amazing what human beings can do when they put their minds to it -- the websites demonstrate the extent of the achievement.
So here's three thoughtful pieces. Lindsay Perigo resolves on this day to reconvert to socialism; Ed Hudgins makes clear what it is to be independent; and James Kilbourne calls Jefferson's ringing Declaration of Independence "America's Anthem" and also "freedom's anthem heard around the world":
Whenever you hear news of people fighting for democracy, pause and give thanks for the Declaration of Independence. I am thankful every day that by blind luck I was born in this country. I want the whole world to have the comforts and the opportunities that have so enriched my life. When they tear down a wall in Berlin, when an oppressed group is granted a right in Latin America, when a business is allowed to exist in China, a protest is allowed in a former Soviet satellite, a woman attends a school in Afghanistan or a purple forefinger is raised in Iraq, I think to myself, “the world may not know all the lyrics, but they are definitely singing our song.”And he's right. America was the nation of the Enlightenment, and her Declaration crystallised the political achievement of the Enlightenment: the development of the concept of rights. With the exceptions of God's creation of rights and their self-evidence, the words could not be bettered today (although some of us have tried):
A wonderful, wonderful anthem to freedom that rings down through the years. If only the real meaning of those words could be heard and undeerstood.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness...
Monday, 4 July 2005
He puts the blame for the corruption of a fomerly principled parliamentary libertarian party firmly at the door of the 'classical liberal' Friedrich Naumann Foundation, an organisation whose lietmotif is compromise -- "you have to dump the ideology to get elected" said the unelected FNF to the already elected MLers, a message picked up by the pragmatists seduced by their proximity to power who have become politicians instead of libertarians, praising "good government" instead of freedom, and "efficiencies" over rights. Sound familiar?
As compromise replaces principle, the very reason for the existence of the Moviemento Libertario disapears, as the party is also now predicted to do. If politics has replaced principles, then how does ML fundamentally differ from any other bunch of power-lusters? Sad news indeed, and not without parallels here in NZ.
As Lord Acton once presciently pointed out, power corrupts ...
Fact is, there are a lot of other reasons for consent figures to plummet, most of them involved with out of control red tape flowing on from the leaky homes hysteria:
- the many, many changes to the building code, which taken together have delayed the preparation of plans to be submitted for consent ;
- the legion of associated uncertainties with these code changes, particularly as to who shoulders the risk should the prescribed methods, materials and details fail;
- the long, long, loooong delays in getting consents processed;
- the lengthy lead-times just to get an appointment to submit your consent application;
- the number of builders and developers who have chosen to leave the industry because of much of this nonsense, a number which anecdotal evidence suggests is high.
Why not abolish the holiday altogether, wonders Tibor Machan. A nation born in liberty now subjects itself to the very tyrannies and usurpations against which it once revolted, he says, so what is there to celebrate.
The Fourth of July ... is supposed to celebrate the Declaration of Independence and its revolutionary idea that it’s not governments, states, monarchs, kings, tsars, and the like who possess sovereignty. Rather we, individual human beings, are the sovereign ones. That idea was revolutionary then and, let me assure you, it is revolutionary now.He calls for a recovery of the revolution in order to make the holiday meaningful. A first step might be an understanding of that revolution -- what it brought, and how it happened. What better time to learn (or re-learn) the history than today: constitutional scholar David Mayer has just the posts to help: he reminds us that the Founding Fathers brought about 'A Republic, not a Democracy'; he explains here how they went about doing it. And he reflects here on the 'Meaning of Independence Day.' Wonderful stuff.
[Hat tip to Stephen Hicks for the Mayer links.]
[UPDATE: I notice that on this July 4 No Right Turn is also celebrating the ideas that gave birth to the United States, and like Tibor he decries the present state of American liberty. Oddly enough, his reasons for thinking America needs a 'get well card' are rather different to those of Tibor.]
Salsman discusses the taking in the wider context both of planning and zoning laws, and he draws an even wider bow, arguing that Soviet-type five-year planning is the ultimate endpoint of the court's ruling.
It's worth understanding two other perverse aspects of the Court's majority opinion yesterday: 1) it justified the taking on the grounds that the municipality (the City of New London, Connecticut) had a "comprehensive plan" and 2) it held that the government not need even argue or guarantee that a taking will foster net economic benefits or greater tax-revenues. Now, what "plans" could be more "comprehensive" than, say 5-year plans for an entire nation, like those contrived by central planners in the former Soviet Union? According to the Court, the bigger, more comprehensive and more audacious the government plan, the more likely it will pass judicial muster in the future and the more it can entail unjust takings. Thus the Court only now condones unjust takings at the municipal level; it positively invites still-wider planning and takings at the state and federal levels. Worse, such central planning need not even pretend to engender net economic benefits. Take note, would-be central planners and ex-Soviet commissars: for there's now a welcome place for you -- in America.He concludes by quoting two of the most cogent short arguments for upholding the right to property, those made by Atn Rand and by Jean-Baptiste Say, both worthy of your attention.
My recent arguments with Richard at Philosophy et cetera (see below) might have put some of you off Robert Nozick altogether, which would be a little unfortunate. In the way of young philosophy students, Richard has taken Nozick's case for libertarianism to be the only case for libertarianism, and he's ended up criticising a caricature instead of the real thing; I spent some time pointing that out to no avail. (He subsequently decided that I'm "intellectually dishonest" because I don't fall into one of his favourite pigeon-holes, which is a pity, but at that point our discussion ended.)
Nonetheless, there is much of value in Nozick, as Jason Kuznicki at Positive Liberty has found:
I'm reading Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia right now, an my first impression is... "Holy Jesus this is good!"That varies a little with the views of Sean Kimpton, who argued "while advocating a libertarian political philosophy [Nozick] is doing more harm than good." Feel free to form your own opinions. :-)
* If you're interested in the arguments, the following posts give my side, which each link to those of Richard's to which they are responding:
Linked Posts : Why libertarians don't own their own bodies
The ‘problem’ of initial acquisition
Freedom, through thick and thin
Sunday, 3 July 2005
Because really there was only one team out there playing well; despite coach Woodward calling the Lions performance "great," it wasn't. It was great only by comparision with their pathetic performance last weekend, but compared with some of the truly great performances of previous Lions teams -- and of course by last night's All Black team -- it only passes muster in the space between Clive Woodward's ears. "Best prepared Lions team ever" my arse.
Despite the enjoyment of last night however, the series has frustratingly not lived up to the expectations we had of it; it hasn't been anything like that truly competitive contest the 2001 Lions had with Australia. The Lions players aren't up to it -- not one would make a First XV picked from those on display last night -- and Clive Woodward is now exposed as not being a coach's arsehole, and ungracious with it.
So perhaps for the last test we can help the Lions out in order to make it a contest to remember. To even it up we could lend them a few players and let them play with seventeen on the park. Marty Holah and Nick Evans might like the run, and Joe Rocoko could also do with a gallop, and he does know Eden Park. Could be fun for everyone.
And lending them a real coach might help them. Getting the Lions 0ut from under Woodward's tangled web would be a bonus for everyone.
Saturday, 2 July 2005
Apparently antibiotics can't cure it, which is the case with all viruses, so homeopathic catharsis is the only thing for it. The 'Respectful Disagreement Meme' requires of me that I name three people with whom I frequently disagree, and say something nice about them. Hmmm.
1) First cab of the block is a Sicilian from Brooklyn. Chris Sciabarra PhD, PhD, PhD favours extensive footnotes over forceful prose and chairs over buildings, and while his musical taste is generally excecrable -- current 'Song of the Day' on his site is 'Boogie Nights' for Freud's sake!! -- he can write the hind leg off a very big donkey.
2) Second cab off the rank, which in my estimation should be moving very fast in a direction away from me, is Doctor Fred Seddon, a man whose project to reconcile David Hume, Plato, Ayn Rand and Immanuel Kant sets me off like finger nails down a blackboard, but who ... sheesh .. do I really have to say something nice about all three people here?
3) I don't think I've ever heard Tony Benn say anything with which I've agreed, although I did admire him stepping down from being Lord Tony Benn several years ago, and he does have a black belt in boring, but now that he's like a sort of more statesmanlike JimAnderton -- relatively harmless, utterly ineffectual, and almost the last representative of an extinct species -- he's like a household pet you quite like having around just to feel sorry for.
So who am I going to tag with this virus? Anyone that wants to pick up the infection and run with it, that's who. Pick up thy pens and write. Or use a keyboard if you must. :-P
[UPDATE: Chris Sciabarra has tried to say nice things about me here. Great footnotes too. Dr Fred tried to say nice things about me in an e-mail. I doubt however that I'm on Tony Benn's mailing list, and I know I'm not on Jim Anderton's.]
- 'Liberty and Reason,' a blog by a German libertarian. He's talking today about Climate Change and its Consequences.
- The Thoughtful Libertarian, by American libertarian Stephen Druckenmiller -- and I can just hear many of you laughing that Americans understand neither irony nor oxymorons. He has a surprising libertarian conclusion this morning on the issue of gay marriage.
- The Walrus, a blog from musician and American Objectivist Tom Rowland.
Friday, 1 July 2005
Best of the week on Not PC. All this and great art and cartoons too!
Nothing 'great' about Tax Debate
I saw nothing great at all about last night's Great Tax Debate on TVNZ. A lot of people bickering about how they would spend someone else's money…
Lions win the spin
Hostage hunts down arseholes
News in of the Swede held hostage in
I'm not a fan of Batman, but I do like a good camp movie review. Quoth a Boston Indymedia reviewer of the new Batman movie: "What if Ayn Rand and Mussolini got together to write a
Brian O'Driscoll: Whinging Pom
When the test match finished on Saturday night my friends and I turned to each other and said, "What could Tony Blair's spin doctor possibly do to explain away that comprehensive thrashing?"--or words to that effect…. What he apparently decided to do was to turn Brian O'Driscoll from a felled Paddy into a whinging Pom…
Like Live Aid, Bob Geldof’s Live-8 is more to do with making you and Bob Geldof and Bono feel better about themselves than it is about effecting real help...
Bulldozing homes--and this is not
The Supreme Court's agreement that people can be thrown out of their homes so that a shopping mall and a research centre for Pfizer can be built in
Fed Farmers win property rights battle. War still ongoing
I was just going to blog on Jim Sutton's temporary, pre-election backdown on screwing farmers' property rights over the access issue when I found that Julian Pistorius had already said what I wanted to say…
Evicting the Justices opposed to property rights
News that one US libertarian is seeking to use the Supreme Court's new anti-property-rights ruling-- which allows the eviction of people from their own houses so that other people can build shopping malls and marinas over them -- to evict one of the Supreme Court justices that handed down the decision in order to build a hotel…
African debt relief on bFM, and elsewhere
Just got back from bFM and a very enjoyable interview with Simon Pound covering the counter-intuitiveness of African debt relief and Bob Geldof's Live Aid and Live-8 phenomena. Where did the "fooking money" go from the first Bob-Fest, and how is the latest feel-good frolic any different?
Tibor Machan wonders why so many kids at so many schools seem so sick:
“The varieties of Attention Deficit Disorders in records boggle the mind, even as many of us have managed to pass through the system reasonably unscathed. Or have we? There are those who do not buy into this medical approach to assessing the problems with contemporary education. I am one of them…”
Education: £1 billion. "No impact."
Does just throwing money at education buy success? Um, no it doesn't…
Govt bullying another school
The Ministry of Education has a new victim…
Cue Card Libertarianism -- Population
Rises most rapidly in areas least able to sustain it –- unfree, pre-industrial, semi-feudal, collectivist societies hostile to capital formulation and investment, where children are treated as a substitute for it…
Frank Lloyd Wright’s
- frank lloyd wright mile high tower sketch (8th)
- brandens valliant (not on front page)
- mile high tower wright (1st on Yahoo)
- from libertarianism to welfarism (1st on Yahoo)
- tim wikiriwhi (7th)
- “violent overthrow” penn & teller (4th)
- big mac index 2005 (2nd on Yahoo)
- bishop brian tamaki (10th)
- lord denning elephant definition (not on front page)
- brian o'driscoll (10th on Yahoo)
Other searches of note include "rush limbaugh owen mcshane