January 2011

30 January 2011
How does freedom come about?

There was a comment on this posting by Brian Micklethwait that annoyed me.

Ian B had written:

...you rarely get liberty at the point of a bayonet.

To which Alisdair had replied:

Magna Carta - signed cuz of good-will on King John;‘s part ? Or at the pointy end of bayonet-equivalents ?

US getting out from under Lord North’s Privy Council ? Generosity on Lord North’s part ? Or at the pointy end of colonists’ weaponry (and rented mercenaries)?

Israeli democracy - Allah being the Compassionate and the Merciful ? Or at the pointy end of Irgun and Hagganah and other probably not kosher ‘persuaders’ ? (Numerous times since (and including) 1948)

European democracy post 1939 - inevitable voluntary stepping-down by Herr Schicklgruber ? Or at the pointy end of actual bayonets and other less-than-gentle persuasions ?

Are you detecting a pattern, yet ?

You see I ask the question how did particular freedoms come about?  For instance, how did freedom of speech come about in England?  Or, how did slavery end, again, in England?  Or the end of serfdom? Or freedom of religion?

The answer is that all these things came about slowly over a very long period of time.  Warfare had little to do with it.  I am not denying that warfare can be essential in defending an existing freedom but it seems to me that rarely does it extend them.

25 January 2011
An apology is an expression of sorrow

The news flash says that Sky sports anchorman, Richard Keys, has apologised to that female linesman for making all those remarks in an off-air conversation with the evil Andy Gray.


An apology - it seems to me - is an expression of sorrow.  How can you possibly feel sorrow for words spoken in private in the full belief that those words would remain private?  If the words were uttered in private then you bloody well meant them.  And how can you possibly apologise for things you mean?  “I believed it ten minutes ago but now I don’t.  I’m so sorry.”

It’s absurd.  And a lie.

I suppose it’s possible the words were uttered in jest but if so it just goes to show how deeply unfunny Keys and Gray are. 

They could apologise for that.

21 January 2011
Brian and I talk about the rise of Austrian Economics

I am hoping to get back into podcasting some time.  But this time round I want to do it using Skype. Recording a conversation down the line means that you can get into editing straight away and vastly increases the number of people you can talk to.

To that end I am phoning up friends on Skype and recording the conversations as a way to get some practice at this.  (So, be warned. Well, not really, I will tell you and nothing will be uploaded without your say so.)  It is a remarkably difficult thing to get right and up until recently I was beginning to think it was impossible - at least on a Mac.

But it isn’t and a couple of weeks ago I was recording a conversation with Brian Micklethwait.  Interesting conversation and Brian and I agree it deserves a wider audience.  So, here goes.

It started with us discussing Brian’s then talk-to-be on the rise of Austrian Economics before moving on to free states, the surprising resilience of Western democracy, greenery and Keynesianism. 

Sadly, it starts and ends rather abruptly.  Hope that doesn’t spoil things too much.

19 January 2011
"To make us decide to be less happy, Hugh is trying to make us feel guilty." Fisher on fish. Also "Nature isn’t something to be in-tune with. It’s something to conquer, before it conquers you." Heh. …link
04 January 2011
The Global Warming Conspiracy

I must thank Bishop Hill for posting a link to the 1990 Channel 4 documentary The Global Warming Conspiracy.  Watching this first time round all those years ago was the watershed moment for me on climate change.  Before I tended to believe, afterwards I never did.

It seems to me that despite being 20 years old now it is rather better than the more recent The Great Global Warming Swindle.  Have TV documentaries gone backwards in that time?

It is also annoying that (unless I am very much mistaken) the presenter, Hilary Lawson, is and was thick with the ex-Revolutionary Communist Party crowd.