While it’s still with us, and before the noisy and inconvenient midnight frolicking begins (making it almost impossible to write this later on), I thought I’d quickly offer a round-up of 2014. I must first make it clear that I do not watch the news; only since early December have I been paying the slightest bit of attention to it. If I have missed something, or if I am grossly misrepresenting some event, please jump in and correct me. Happy New Year!
2014: where to start? I won’t do it consecutively, since I can’t think of anything at the present moment that happened in the first months of the year.
In September, we had, or rather the Scots had, a plebiscite on whether or not to remain within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In the first polls on the issue, it seemed that the Scots wanted to leave. But, really, I don’t think any of us for a moment thought that they would.
And why was this? Because, on net, the Scots are tax-eaters and they have become accustomed to an relatively comfortable lifestyle. This was a big factor. That is, a large number of Scots knew from the outset that independence would mean tightening their belts and, men not being angels, when given the opportunity to enrich ourselves at the expense of others, we’ll usually do it.
But this was clearly not the only factor, otherwise the result would have been rather less ‘decisive’ than it indeed was. On Russia Today, Alec Salmond explained the main reason for the defeat of the independence bid was the last-minute promise of ‘devo to the max’ by the mainstream Westminster parties. The promise to the Scottish electorate was that they would be given a range of new powers over their own affairs even if they did not vote for independence. Naturally, presented with the choice between the same security, stability, and welfare payments which the SNP could not really guarantee, as well as more or less the same increase in freedom the SNP was in fact promising, the Scottish public chose the latter.
Of course, the Scottish public did not vote against independence; 55% of those who voted in the referendum voted against independence. The Westminster government, have not, however, brought forward any plans for further Scottish devolution. Again, this ought to have been anticipated: an ultimate decision-maker over a given area certainly will not be in favour of reducing the size of that given area and will only very grudgingly reduce the range of decision-making to be made by the central government. It is not in the nature of the state to push ahead with genuine devolution. It is even less in the nature of the state to allow secession.
Now, while I won’t go as far as Ron Paul and suggest foul play in the Scottish Referendum, i.e. by suggesting it was rigged in the proper sense of the term, libertarians ought not to have been surprised by the fear-mongering and the fraudulent promises made during the campaign by the Westminster parties. If the vote itself was not rigged, then the outcome was.
The Scottish Independence Referendum was a missed opportunity. The Scots, their society so socialistic as a result of generations of tax-eating and the moral, political, cultural, and economic rot that comes with it, had the choice between Socialism and independence, or social-democracy and dependence. That was no choice. And referenda come once in a lifetime.
From one rising star to another, I have suddenly thought of an event which happened earlier this year: the UKIP success in the local and victory in the European elections. What should libertarians make of this?
The question I am asking here is not what libertarians should make of UKIP or Nigel Farage, but what libertarians should make of the success of UKIP of late. What does it signify?
Put very plainly indeed, the rise of UKIP signifies two things: firstly, a dissatisfaction among the populace with the establishment, with the ruling class; secondly, an eagerness to talk about or see ‘resolved’, issues such as mass-immigration, national sovereignty, and the agenda neatly called political correctness. Both of these developments are to be welcomed: the ruling class is not libertarian, but is rather social-democratic and Marxist by nature, whereas it can be observed that those at the top of UKIP are fairly ordinary people; and immigration in the modern sense, as subsidized trespass rather than an invitation, can only be regarded as aggression against the property rights of the domestic population; and the subordination of national courts to foreign ones, and the national parliament to a foreign one, and the national executive to a foreign one, amounts only to the replacement of a smaller monopoly of ultimate decision making by a larger one making it relatively more difficult to escape state “justice” and thus only ever more expropriation and legislation can be expected; and political correctness, to the extent that it is an agenda which seeks to prohibit all discrimination, can only be realised through forcing unwanted persons onto private property owners.
Regardless of UKIP’s merits and demerits, the above concerns are valid. However, UKIP, to my mind, have wasted their chance of changing Britain. They have become part of the establishment. They are recruiting mainstream politicians. They are attracting socialists into their party qua socialists, not as ant-establishmentarians. UKIP will break up into smaller parties in 2015 as a result of their attempt to be both a broad church and have policies on issues where most of them don’t agree.
Next to be mentioned are the protests in Ferguson, USA, which have been ongoing since August. The protests are the result of very valid concerns that the police in America are racist bastards. What is sad is that the result has been ever more race-baiting. The liberals in America, on hearing of the shooting of young black Americans, have responded by telling the world how terrible it is to shoot black Americans, rather than shooting any innocent. These vile crimes ought to have been used, if used at all, for it is surely vulgar to use crimes such as these for political purposes, to concentrate solely on police brutality and the nature of the state as an aggressor against life and property. But, no, this was another missed opportunity.
Turning now to the events in the Ukraine and Crimea. It is indeed very sad to see that Ukraine has, rather like the Scots, a piss-poor choice to make. As the ‘international community’ – I can’t remember where I heard this phrase, but I hate it – won’t allow them to break up into smaller states, their choice is America, NATO, and the EU, or Russia. Both empires, the USSA and Russia, have behaved deplorably. But, on balance, perhaps because I am constantly told how beastly Mr Putin is, I think Russia’s position and actions are at least understandable and any reasonable man can at least sympathize with the Russians. As for the Ukranians, it is equally understandable that they will not be the least bit disposed, especially western Ukranians, to jumping into bed with the Russians any time soon.
Oddly enough, the fall in the price of oil ties in with this story very loosely. Simply put, the fall in oil prices will be good for the Americans and bad for the Russians. The question, then, is who is behind the fall in oil prices? The answer to that is the Saudis and the Americans. Saudi fiddling with the oil price for political purposes is not altogether unheard of, now, is it? One conspiracy theory circulating, which is vastly more plausible than anything else I’ve heard, is that the Saudis are using their influence in OPEC to keep oil prices falling in return for American intervention to destabilize Iraq, Iran, and Syria. The Saudis have apparently got their knickers in a twist with the Syrian regime over (what else?) Assad’s decision not to allow the Qatarians to construct an oil pipeline through Syria and his decision in 2011 to make a deal with the Iraqis and Iranians to allow them to do so instead. In return for this intervention, the Saudis will keep oil prices low to weaken the Russians, with whom the Americans seem to want to enter another Cold War. Oh, why can’t all conspiracy theories be so simple?!
As I am running out of steam and as I must be sociable very shortly, I will also mention very briefly that both Ebola and Islamic State are scaring the poor British people witless. In addition to the continuation of paedomania, I will have to predict at least three more manias by this time next year, along with the continuation of the Russel Brand madness, a Conservative election victory in May, and a collapse of the dollar hegemony once and for all. I also predict that the Libertarian Alliance will make it’s first few tentative steps into the world of podcasting, though via YouTube, which technically won’t make it’s broadcasts podcasts – just a prediction.