27 November 2005

An open letter to the apathetic

Many people do not so much disagree with the anarcho-capitalist analysis of the defects and injustices of the state, so much as care to little about it, contented as they are with their own lives. In a reply to one such person I wrote, roughly, the following and thought it was worth publishing here.

One of the problems with the 'I'm alright jack' attitude is that it may well be true now for some individuals, but as the financial services waivers warn; past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns. In less vague terms the trend for those past sixty years has been an ever increasing tax burden with the requisite bureaucracy and increasing intrusion into our lives. In the case of the UK, the tax burden in 1900 was around 13% of GDP, whilst by 2000 it was over 40% and has seen significant rises since. (I took these statistics from a parliamentary paper as it is always good to use the states own publications against it!).

As the state consumes more and more of a country's wealth that country becomes commensurately poorer. Furthermore I would suggest that there is a tipping point a little way over the 50% taxation mark where the private sector begins to collapse under the pressure. This is not merely a failure of whichever political party happens to be in control (although they certainly play their part), it is an inherent structural failure of any statist institution. This view is clearly born out by every conceivable statistic tracing our personal and economic liberty over the past hundred years.

I hope those of you apathetic about politics (in its wider sense) find that disturbing and at least worthy of some consideration and this is the least of it, but I have said plenty elsewhere about the lack of justification for the state or how the majority of people would be personally better off without it. Whether you are an anarcho-capitalist or not I find it naive to believe that the welfare-warfare state can just carry on its merry way, it is a dangerous if popular way to think.

23 November 2005

How depressing!

Apparently I am an insignificant microbe in the The Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem. Well, all I can say is microbes are an important part of any ecosystem, so there!

19 November 2005

More books to read

I was persuaded to go along to a reading by the author Neil Gaiman a week last Wednesday, and I was pleasantly surprised. Mr Gaiman is very funny and articulate, a good public speaker, which seems surprising in someone who pursues such a generally (at least I imagine) solitary career.

After he did a reading from his new book Anansi Boys I was convinced he was someone worth reading. Once I have had a chance to read some his books you can be sure will give my opinion here!

None of this has much to do with Anarcho-Capitalism (although maybe his books have hidden depths!), Mr Gaiman's only real reference to politics, an area he says he prefers not to get actively involved in, was to suggest (obviously humourously!) that governments should simply be selected at randomn from the population. I am not sure this is necessarily any worse a system than we have today, but would we really want people like this ruling the country?! I think I will stick to ancap, thanks.

03 November 2005

Blair needs a bit of education, education, education

When asked about the government's trampling of civil liberties in it's supposed pursuit of terrorists Mr Blair told today told the BBC that the

"...civil liberties of the majority who need protection should come first,"

Now, quite apart from the fact that this and previous governments have significantly contributed to the terrorist threat in this country and proved stupendously inept at doing anything sensible about such threats, Mr Blair has shown his complete inability to grasp even the most rudimentary political concepts. The arguments surrounding this so called 'anti-terror' legislation have nothing to do with the civil liberties of terrorists, why would anyone care about such things other than those addicted to human rights legislation. Obviously the arguments are about the liberties of innocent individuals. However, what is more important than even this willful misunderstanding is the implication of the above quote, namely, he is not talking about civil liberties at all with regard to the 'majority' if indeed he could be considered to be talking any sense what-so-ever.

I shall explain it slowly for Mr Blair, civil liberties are our protection from government. I can't put it any more bluntly than that, and since that is the case it makes Mr Blair's comments incoherent gibberish. For his further enlightenment:

One's freedom to exercise one's rights as guaranteed under the laws of the country.
Fundamental individual right protected by law and expressed as immunity from unwarranted governmental interference

(From Wordnet at Princeton)