Time to take back our civilization from the parasites and pests
Part Two: History, large and small
By Neil Lock
(December 17th, 2022)
It isn’t my normal procedure to re-work and re-issue material I have already published. In this case, however, I have decided to withdraw the previously published Parts Two and Three of this series of essays. For two main reasons. First, I was not happy with the ordering of the material. Second, I became aware that events over the last year or so have moved at such a pace, that I found myself chasing after a moving target. This essay, therefore, replaces the Part Two, which I originally published in May 2022.
Warning: This is the longest essay I’ve written yet! I hope you will agree it’s worth the read.
In the first essay in this set, Indictments – which you can find at [[i]] – I was in scientific mode. I was seeking objective, verifiable evidence that the claimed problem of global “climate change” caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases was a real and significant one. And I found no such evidence. Climate alarmists have been proclaiming that “the end of the world is nigh” for half a century now. Yet there’s no objective evidence that the world actually has ended due to human emissions of greenhouse gases. Or, indeed, to suggest that it will end any time soon. Instead, there is plenty to suggest that most of the claimed “evidence” in this matter either has no substance, or has been doctored, spun or hyped.
I found much evidence, on the other hand, that those in positions of power in the current political system are treating us without any of the concern or respect which is due to all human beings worth the name. I related the “long train of abuses, prevarications and artifices, all pointing the same way” (as John Locke put it), that has brought human civilization, and civilization in the islands called Britain in particular, to this pass.
Over the environment, for example, successive UK governments have behaved dishonestly towards us. They have corrupted science, whitewashed wrongdoings by our accusers, and moved the goalposts again and again. These dishonesties have included re-writing the precautionary principle to “justify” government action to combat any perceived risk, even when the perception of risk is not supported by the facts. And to place the burden of proof on the accused to demonstrate “an acceptable level of risk.” Another dishonesty has been scrapping the use of the “social cost of carbon,” making it, in effect, impossible to do objective cost-benefit analysis on issues involving carbon dioxide emissions.
They have required us to prove a negative, yet they also seek to suppress our voices, including those of experts. They have violated our rights to the presumption of innocence, and to a fair and public hearing to enable us to defend ourselves against their accusations. They seek to impose on us policies that, far from bringing any gain to us, will cause us, or have already caused us, chaos, inconvenience, and loss of independence. As well as huge economic costs, that are already starting to force many of us down into poverty. And they have failed to do any objective and unbiased feasibility study or cost-benefit analysis on these policies, or to prototype their effects by testing them on volunteers.
The situation as of late 2021
I will begin by paraphrasing what I wrote in that first essay of the set about the state of the UK and the world in late 2021.
Taxation in the UK is at a historic high, and going ever higher. Those in power use tax laws to impoverish the people they are supposed to be serving. For example, my own right to free choice of employment, and thereby my career, has been destroyed by a bad tax law called IR35. They use tax money to enrich themselves. They also like to use tax money to reward their cronies with subsidies, and with lucrative contracts that are not done properly. Moreover, they will make any excuse to fine people huge sums of money for very minor indiscretions, or for things that cause no harm to anyone at all.
Meanwhile, our human rights and freedoms are being routinely violated. Our right of privacy is in tatters, with cameras trained on us all over the place, and our communications being monitored. Even basic rights like freedom of opinion and expression, and free speech on-line, are under serious threat. COVID lockdowns and related measures have violated our freedoms of movement, assembly and the right to work. They have also disrupted and damaged the lives and businesses of far too many innocent people, particularly small business people.
On top of all this, the UK and world political class are seeking to destroy the industrial civilization, which we have so laboriously built over centuries. For no better reason than unspecific, unproven and unlikely accusations that humans are causing some kind of problem with the Earth’s climate, or causing millions of species extinctions. The juggernaut of “nett zero” and other green policies, that have no justification in reality, and that go against the needs and the well-being of ordinary people, has rolled on unchecked. Even back in November 2021, these policies had already caused chaos in energy markets. Meanwhile, the media continue to bombard us with lies, scares, hype and propaganda.
In any case, even if human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases do cause several degrees of warming, wouldn’t a warmer world be a better world? Historically, human civilizations have tended to flourish in warmer times, such as the Roman and Mediaeval Warm Periods. What’s so bad about a bit of warming?
A look at history
Now, to this, the second essay in the set. Today, I shall look at how the situation we face has come about. This will require a different approach, with more emphasis on the so called “humanities.” In particular, I shall be looking at history, seeking to put today’s state of affairs into its large-scale context. I shall be looking at the grand sweep of the centuries, at the last 80 years in more detail, and at the last year or so (since the end of CoP26 in November 2021) in more detail yet.
My liberty journey
But first, I will look at history on the smallest scale possible. That is, at my own history as an individual. And, in particular, at how I came to be writing this missive. This is as near to an autobiography as you’re ever going to get; but it won’t be either very long or very prettified.
My upbringing and education
I was born in Surrey in 1953; in the same week as Tony Blair, begad. I was an only child. My father, assistant headmaster of a boys’ prep school, belonged to the middle-class poor. He was very good at his job, and well respected in the world of private schooling. But he wasn’t very well paid.
Due to an unfortunate incident involving the headmaster and a boy, the school could not continue as it was. It fell to my father, over the course of a term and a half, to wind up the school and to find alternative schools for all the boys. He ended up taking more than 30 boys to a school in Hampshire, out in the countryside and just over the border from Berkshire, which – despite the impeccable morals of this school’s headmaster – had started to reduce in pupil numbers, because the teaching wasn’t good enough. My father fixed that problem, in the French and German department at least.
Once our accommodation situation had been straightened out, we lived in the lodge at the school gates. It was a lovely place to grow up. In the holidays, I had the entire school grounds to myself! But it was a bit remote; a mile from the village shop, and more than three miles from the nearest town and proper shopping. And we couldn’t afford a car.
A few days before my fifth birthday, I started at the village school. It was a small primary school, with just over 100 pupils in the whole age range of 5 to 11. The headmistress, Mrs White, had made the school exemplary among its kind. And when I was 7, she contrived a major step change in my schooling. As my mother (who later became the school secretary) related, an inspector from the head office in Winchester had come to examine a particularly problematic boy. Noting his frustration after spending just an hour with this child, Mrs White played a practical joke on him, and sent me in to see him. I remember him giving me an IQ test, which I considered absurdly easy. I did the first page of the test in under 15 seconds!
One thing led to another. About a year later, I found myself packed off to a private boarding school, Twyford near Winchester, on a special scholarship paid for by the county council. The scholarship was planned to last 10 years, all the way up to university entrance level.
I found Twyford a bit of a curate’s egg of a school. It was fairly spartan. There were masters (classics, maths, science) I liked, and other masters (geography, history) I couldn’t stand (and with the history master, the feeling was mutual). There was also a very heavy atmosphere of Christianity – chapel twice a day on weekdays, and an hour-long service on Sunday. I found this a bit mentally oppressive. Still, Twyford in 1961 was a far more civilized place than it had been when its most famous son, Freeman Dyson, had arrived there in 1932.
There was a school maths prize, of which Freeman had been the first winner in 1936. Douglas Hurd, who later became foreign secretary, also won the prize in 1942. But in 1965 and 1966, I became the first person to win that prize twice!
I won a scholarship to Marlborough College, where I went in autumn 1966. It was a school in transition. “Fagging” and the like were things of the past. But still, not all the pupils were as civilized as I would have liked! There was still compulsory chapel, although this was abolished in 1968. And the school was still single-sex. Girls arrived for the first time in 1968, but there were far too few of them to make any difference, to me at least. But the teaching was, almost without exception, absolutely excellent. I was taught the “new maths” by the people who wrote the syllabus! And the chemistry and physics teaching weren’t far behind. Nor, indeed, were the French, Russian and English, which I took as far as O level standard.
But there were things I didn’t like, as well. I didn’t enjoy having to play rugby. Contact sports weren’t for me; though I could play cricket and hockey adequately enough. I absolutely hated the year of Wednesday afternoons in the Corps Cadet Force; I am the least military person you could ever imagine. And I learned, the first time I tried to shoot a rifle, that I was right-handed and left-eyed – not a good combination for accurate shooting!
And so, in autumn 1971 I arrived, with a scholarship, at Trinity College, Cambridge to study mathematics. I had been in no doubt about which subject I wanted to study and where, since my best friend’s father had been Rouse Ball professor and a fellow of Trinity. It proved to be a lot of hard work, but I kept up with the pace, and ended up scraping a First by 20 marks (one alpha). I was a perfect example of what Peter Swinnerton-Dyer liked to call “a run-of-the-mill First.” I was offered a place on the Cambridge maths institution called “Part III,” a fourth-year course which takes its students to the frontiers of research. But I was already aware I wasn’t going to be a world-beater as a mathematician, so I turned it down. (If I had accepted, I would have had Andrew Wiles as a fellow student!)
I had, as well, a deep sense that something was badly out of kilter somewhere. Trinity was a lovely place to be, but academe just didn’t feel right for me. I didn’t, at the time, understand why I felt that way. Now, with hindsight, I can say that my entire education, from the ages of 4 to 21, was not done with me as an individual primarily in mind. It was done with infinite gentleness, compared to what today’s youngsters suffer; but underneath, the purpose of the exercise had been to make me into what the system, and the state in particular, wanted. At that juncture, they wanted boffins; particularly those with the potential to become technocrats in the future. But I wasn’t naturally a boffin or technocrat. By my nature, I am a creative artist; as shown, for example, by the music I arrange and compose for the brass band I play in. And subconsciously, I deeply resented being “made into” anything I didn’t want to be.
My career and my induction into the liberty movement
So, I cleared my head by spending three months doing the old-fashioned grand tour of Europe on a bicycle. (A Raleigh 3-speed!) I rode from Calais as far as Paestum in southern Italy, and back as far as Marseille. The entire trip cost £280! Then, I started looking for work.
The job that I had tentatively agreed with IBM didn’t materialize; late 1974 was a time of recruitment freezes all around the world. What did come up was a job with Ferranti, programming on-board computer systems for the Royal Navy. I got quick promotions, but Ferranti wasn’t a very good payer, and some of the people weren’t very nice, either. After two and a half years, it was time to move on.
I took a job in the Netherlands, with Logica BV based in Rotterdam. I doubled my pay! I like to say, now, that by going there I was taking a leaf out of the book of my hero and almost-namesake, John Locke. At the time, though, it just seemed like a natural progression in my career. And I enjoyed exploring Holland, Belgium, and occasionally France or Germany.
But after three years, the Netherlands had ceased to excite. By then, Old Labour were gone, and Margaret Thatcher was in power. It seemed a sensible time to return to Blighty. Which I did, by transferring back to Logica in London. In total, I spent eight years with Logica.
During the 1980s, my work took me further afield. I spent periods of months at a time in Indonesia, the USA, Italy and Australia. And July 17th, 1988, was a red-letter day for me. I was on a business trip to Atlanta, and was there over the week-end. On the Sunday morning, I was wandering around down-town Atlanta. The Democratic party convention happened to be starting on the Monday, so there was a lot of political activity. As I walked through a park, someone pressed a little blue card into my hand. It was called the World’s Smallest Political Quiz. I took the test, and discovered that I was what they called a “libertarian”. From there, as with my education, one thing led to another. And, as I will recount below, I eventually became a writer and teacher in the cause of individual liberty.
In early 1989, I experienced a crisis. I had been promoted into a group management job. I could do it effectively enough; but only at the expense of my sanity. So, I took a sabbatical. Again, the bicycle was my weapon of choice for clearing my head. This time, I flew to Nova Scotia, Canada. I bought a touring bike in Halifax, and pedalled it to the Pacific about half-way between LA and San Diego. It was a great experience, if at times a daunting one. And the long days on the road gave me time to think. I started to put together, in my mind, the jig-saw puzzle of pieces which, when assembled, would constitute my personal philosophy.
Late that year, an opportunity came to work in the USA. I had the right visa to get a green card, if I had wanted to stay. I liked many things about the USA: the good pay, the go-getting attitude of many business people, the cheapness and quality of eating out, the “Have a nice day!” service mentality, the American Dream of a chicken in every pot and two big, comfortable cars in every garage. I thought about settling there. But there were also things I did not like; most of all, the attitude of the police. I had more brushes with police in my time in the USA than in the whole of the rest of my life put together! The “land of the free,” I discovered, was not free at all; it was an incipient police state. So, I returned to the UK, which at that point was about seven years behind the USA on the road to serfdom.
During this time, my attitude to governments and politics had hardened. I didn’t buy any of the crap talked by politicians any more. (Not, indeed, that I had ever really believed them). I didn’t buy ideas such as, for example, that what governments do is right just because they are governments. Instead, I looked at people as individuals. I asked questions like, what does this individual do for my benefit? How does he or she serve me, or otherwise make my life better? And what does this individual do for the benefit of human beings in general? How does he or she add to human capabilities and to the general jollity of life? I applied these questions to the politicians and their hangers-on – and didn’t like what I saw. So, I became, albeit slowly, more and more involved in the liberty movement, in both the USA and UK.
The job I had taken on my return to the UK lasted just two years. The company was doing poorly, and shedding staff – including my boss, who took early retirement. I could see that if I stayed, I was likely to get a half-promotion, into another group management job; not at all what I wanted. I decided to jump ship, and go independent. Fortunately, a project came up with the NHS in Edinburgh, which I was uniquely qualified to do; so, I did it on sub-contract.
I went independent at the start of 1993. The next six years were the most lucrative of my career. Notably, I did three and a half years’ work (increasingly part-time towards the end) on a major software system for Eurostar, which enabled them to sell their train tickets through all manner of networks throughout the UK.
But then, in 2000, New Labour brought in a bad tax law called IR35. At first, they simply tried to declare my livelihood as a one-man software consultant to be “illegal.” They couldn’t quite get away with that, but they made things very difficult for me. I managed to find ways around the problems, but I could only use them with people who already knew me, and what I could do, very well. I have been, in effect, barred from the general market for more than 20 years. And my income has been declining since 2013. To the extent, that I am now living primarily off savings; and those will not last for too much longer. I will never forgive Blair, or Brown, or any of their hangers-on, for what they did to my career and life.
My liberty work
If there has been a silver lining to my situation, it is that I have been able to devote far more time to my liberty work than I would have had if I had been earning for more of the time.
In 1990, I encountered an American thinker who calls himself Jason Alexander. He had been originally a follower of Ayn Rand, who is something of a cult figure among many US libertarians. Though in the 1960s, he had been expelled from the “Church of Objectivism.” I read Alexander’s books, notably one called “Philoscience” (which in 1992 had to be removed from the bookshelves!), and incorporated some of his ideas and terminology into my own philosophical framework.
In the mid-1990s, I started developing my philosophy further. I read up on history, without any preconceptions. Perhaps it was a good thing I didn’t learn any history at school! I started to write down my ideas on ethics, political philosophy, and even a little bit of economics.
Around 2000, I embarked on a major phase of study. I studied the major works of John Locke, including his Two Treatises of Government. (By 2015, I was well enough up on Locke to give a talk on his life, times and works at a liberty conference in Bali!) I started writing liberty papers, intended for publication. Hubert Jongen, my “liberty uncle,” published many of them on his Libertarian International website. My first publication by the Libertarian Alliance, the primary libertarian organization in the UK, took place in 2002.
In 2005, I took over the Libertarian International site as webmaster. I was now able to publish my own ideas, without having to wait for Hubert! I ran that site until 2016, when it had to be discontinued for technical reasons.
In 2007, I won the Chris Tame Memorial Prize in its second year, with an essay titled: “Does Britain Need a Libertarian Party?” My answer, as you might expect, was No. This was also the general wisdom within the liberty movement at the time. And I, for one, haven’t changed my view on this matter since!
2007 was also the year, in which I began to study the “global warming” or “climate change” issue, about which I now feel I have considerable knowledge. (I have also done some work in a side branch, that of air pollution and toxicology). My years of study in these areas have borne fruit. So much so, that between 2017 and 2020, I had several papers accepted for re-publication by WattsUpWithThat.com, whose website describes itself as “the world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change.” I will give links to some of these papers in the References section below.
At various times between 2008 and 2018, I have also been a teacher or visiting lecturer at Glenn Cripe’s “Language of Liberty Institute” Liberty Camps. I have tended to specialize in Eastern Europe, notably Poland and Ukraine.
Starting in late 2007, I tried my hand at writing a science fiction novel (with a very libertarian bent) called “Going Galactic.” I finished it in early 2010. It was accepted by a small publishing house, but they went bankrupt before they could publish it. So, I had to self-publish it in 2012. It wasn’t a commercial success; but I learned a lot about writing!
I never intended to become a philosopher. (Or, as I like to put it, Fillosopher, with a capital F.) But starting around 2011, I found myself more and more studying the works of great thinkers of the past. I read Aristotle’s Ethics and Politics, though in the former case I suffered from using an inferior translation. I read Franz Oppenheimer’s “The State.” I re-read John Locke’s Two Treatises. I put together the first version of my system, which I called “Honest Common Sense,” and published it as a short book in 2014. I suspect the copies I gave away may have had more effect on people’s thinking than the few I sold! But again, I learned a lot from the exercise.
I continued my studies. I found a seminal paper called “Concepts of Order,” written in 2006 by Belgian philosopher Frank van Dun, whom I have known since 1995. I read Aristotle’s Ethics again, this time using W.D. Ross’s excellent translation. I gained a good outline, at least, of Ayn Rand’s thought, through an Objectivist website not controlled by “church central.” I also read, though at rather more of a skim level, the works of some of the worst enemies of individual liberty: Plato (Republic), Niccolò Machiavelli (The Prince), Jean Bodin (Six Books of the Commonwealth), Thomas Hobbes (Leviathan), Jean-Jacques Rousseau (The Social Contract), G.W.F. Hegel (Philosophy of Right).
In August 2020, I set myself plans to bring my Honest Common Sense up to date, and to align it better with Jason Alexander’s system. The result was ten – almost eleven – months of hard mental slog, culminating in the publication of six papers, totalling 60,000 words, in June and July 2021. I will give the links in the References section below.
When I lay out my liberty journey in this way, it looks as if I have, for the most part unwittingly, spent my whole life moving towards where I am now. It has been a lot of hard work! But time and energy well spent, I like to think. At 69, my body and my finances are both now starting to fail. But my mind is as clear as ever. And I like to think that today we are coming up to a crux point, where finally we honest, naturally economically productive human beings can discredit, remove from power, and bring to justice all the enemies of human liberty and prosperity.
I am now seeking to move forward the ideas that I published in those six papers last year. I originally planned three essays in this series: Indictments, Diagnosis and Cure. But I realized that this was a far larger task than I had originally thought, and I had to re-structure the essays. On current plans, the next essay will discuss some of my philosophical ideas, which can help us to move forward into a better world. It will also sketch out a better governmental system than the one we suffer under today. The fourth will diagnose the problems we face, and the fifth will address strategy and tactics in order to bring about a cure for our ills.
History in the large
To wider matters. I will here give a brief summary of my view of human history on the large scale, and thus of the context in which today’s events are taking place. I treated this subject at some length in the second essay of my set of six. Here, I will repeat some summary points from that essay, and add some brief notes.
I view human history on the large scale as a series of forward-moving revolutions, in each of which we human beings open up, and start to explore, new levels or dimensions of our humanity. And we explore, and develop further, those dimensions which we had previously opened up. But each of these revolutions is followed by a regressive, anti-human counter-revolution from those that are hostile to our progress. In these views, I have been substantially influenced by the ideas of Jason Alexander.
To outline my view of history, I will give you the following diagram:
Figure 1 – Historical Timeline
It is as if there are two opposite tendencies at war with each other. On one side are we true human beings – the revolutionaries. We are naturally progressive, and we want to move forward into a better future. We want only the minimum of government, to enable us to live together peacefully and under justice. And we favour individual freedom and economic progress for all. On the other side are our reactionary enemies. They like “authority,” orthodoxy and oppressive government, and hate freedom, independence and earned prosperity. They seek to hold back the progress which is natural to us, and even to haul us back down towards where we started from.
The Neolithic revolution and the political state
From the starting point of the Neanderthal extinction, I see the Neolithic revolution in agriculture, about 12,500 years ago, as our first revolution, a revolution which turned us from mere predator animals into human beings capable of civilization. Its paradigm was Humanity. It made us human.
We learned to cultivate crops, and to domesticate animals. And we developed new ideas of how to relate to each other, such as the concept of private property. In my view, this was the point at which we differentiated from, and became superior to, other animals. And it started us on our journey towards taking control of, and leaving our mark on, our surroundings. Since then, we have continued to be the most developed species on our planet.
In contrast, the rise of the political state was our enemies’ first counter-revolution. And the state itself – a top-down system that enables an élite forcibly to rule over a, potentially large, group of people – was its counter-paradigm. The counter-revolution probably started with the first pharaohs in Egypt, around 3,200 BC; but it may have been a little earlier.
There are many theories on how the first states came about. One I find reasonably believable is Robert Carneiro’s. In bad times, groups that were short of food might seek to use force to take for themselves the product of the labours of other villages. Or, even in time of plenty, groups might plan attacks on other villages to secure valuable resources, such as more fertile land. This led to wars. Often, the losers could not flee. Or, they realized that they would be better off joining the winners, even as conquered subordinates, than if they tried to flee. In such cases, the conquerors subjected the conquered to taxation in the form of their produce. From there, it was not a huge step further to subject them to slavery, in whatever form.
Thus, the state arose out of wars, and out of the coercive measures taken by the winners of those wars against the losers. And the leaders of such a state were its most successful military leaders, along with a coterie of warriors personally loyal to them.
Ancient Greece, Rome, the dark ages and the church
Our second revolution was seeded in ancient Greece, beginning with Thales, who was born in 624 BC. Its paradigm was Reason, and the work of Aristotle was its high point. It taught us to think rationally and abstractly; for example, to do mathematics and philosophy. And it enabled us to build new and better kinds of civilization. Athenian democracy, for example, was a great advance on what had preceded it. And among the civilizations which grew out of our second revolution was Rome, which managed to incorporate, and to build on, some of the best of the Greek culture.
Our enemies’ second counter-revolution was initiated in 380 AD, when the emperor Theodosius declared Nicene Christianity to be the official religion of the Roman empire. It produced the dark ages, and a powerful church, to go with the state which had been the product of the first counter-revolution. Its counter-paradigm, I think, was institutional religion, and the church that embodied it. This church, a hierarchical system of institutionalized mental control and mumbo-jumbo, enabled an élite to control people mentally, just as the state empowered its élite to control them physically.
The Renaissance, sovereignty, the social contract and Machiavellian behaviours
Our third revolution began at the Renaissance, which I consider to have been triggered by the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Its paradigm was Discovery. Of ideas both old and new, of new places, of ourselves.
The Renaissance did not just revive the ancient learning from Greece and Rome. It brought about changes for the better in many aspects of human life in Europe. People began to emerge from the mind-numbing tyranny of the church and the top-down feudal political system. They felt renewed confidence in their own faculties. They felt a new sense of freedom for the human spirit, that had been for so long suppressed by orthodoxy. Inquiry, discovery and criticism became new norms; if not also satire. And the Renaissance laid the groundwork for the later development of science.
In response to our third revolution, our enemies made a counter-revolution with two components: a religious and a secular. The religious part produced a series of destructive wars. It also led to moral panics, including Inquisitions and witch-hunts. Even so, the power of the church, or at least of the papacy, was significantly reduced.
But the secular part was far more damaging to us. Jean Bodin (1530-1596) articulated a new theoretical basis for political states, sovereignty. This not only greatly increased the power of the state, but made it more tyrannical, too. His system, which was later to produce rulers like the “Sun King” Louis XIV, was rolled out across Europe as the Westphalian nation state. Since then, it has spread all over the world. And despite the “bags on the side” we have tried since then – like constitutions, bills of rights and democracy – we still suffer under it today.
I’ll summarize the basic principles of Bodin’s system, which you can find in Book I, Chapter X of his Six Books of the Commonwealth: [[ii]]. In Bodin’s scheme, the “sovereign” – the king or ruling élite – is fundamentally different from, and superior to, the rest of the population in its territory, the “subjects.” The sovereign is, in Bodin’s words, “in the image of God.” It has a divine right to rule. And the only laws which can bind it are “the laws of God and of nature.” If it even recognizes the existence of such laws, of course.
In particular, the sovereign has moral privileges. That is, it has rights to do certain things, which others don’t share. It can make laws to bind the subjects, and give privileges to those it chooses to. It can make war and peace. It appoints the top officials of the state. It is the final court of appeal. It can pardon guilty individuals if it so wishes. It can issue a currency. It can levy taxes and impositions, and exempt at will certain individuals or groups from payment. Furthermore, the sovereign isn’t bound by the laws it makes. And it isn’t responsible for the consequences to anyone of what it does (also known as “the king can do no wrong.”)
In the 17th century, there arose also the fiction of a “social contract,” seemingly invented by Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679). According to this fiction, at some time in the past, a group of people (or, at least, a majority of them) consented to be ruled over despotically by an absolute sovereign. They made a contract, in which they committed to each other, that they would authorize and approve whatever the sovereign chose to do. Moreover, once the system has been set up, there is no possibility of changing it, or of escape from it. This extremely dangerous fiction was, unfortunately, taken on board even by later revolutionary thinkers of the Enlightenment, including John Locke. And it still persists today.
Furthermore, the advice of Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) that rulers should be sly, deceitful and unscrupulous – not to mention cruel, oppressive and heartless – has been followed by the majority of the political class and their cronies ever since. Leading to the psychopathic behaviours, that seem to have become endemic in today’s political class.
The main thrusts of the third counter-revolution, then, were a push for religious orthodoxy, new “justifications” for the state, and encouragement of political dishonesty and the Machiavellian, tyrannical behaviours that go with it.
The Enlightenment and political -isms
Our fourth revolution was the Enlightenment. I date its start to John Locke’s writing of his Two Treatises of Government in the early 1680s. Its paradigm was Freedom. From it have flowed all the (relative) freedoms we have enjoyed in the West over the last three centuries.
In that second essay, I listed some Enlightenment values. “The use and celebration of human reason. Rational inquiry, and the pursuit of science. Greater tolerance in religion. Individual liberty and independence; freedom of thought and action. The pursuit of happiness. Natural rights, natural equality of all human beings, and human dignity. The idea that society exists for the individual, not the individual for society. Constitutional government, for the benefit of, and with the consent of, the governed. The rule of law; that is, the idea that those with government power, such as lawmakers, officials and judges, should have to obey the same rules as everyone else. An ideal of justice which, per Immanuel Kant, allows that ‘the freedom of the will of each can coexist together with the freedom of everyone in accordance with a universal law.’ A desire for human progress, and a rational optimism for the future.”
But our enemies responded with a counter-revolution of many strands. They brought the Enlightenment to a halt with the failure of the French Revolution. They promoted nationalism, with the state-worship and the wars that it brings. They promoted a slew of bad political ideologies: socialism, communism and fascism, to name but three. All these ideologies are collectivist. None of them shows any regard for the human individual. And all these ideologies inexorably increased the power of the state, and the scope of what it did. At its root, their counter-paradigm was collectivism.
Moreover, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, at heart a collectivist and not at all the Enlightenment thinker some like to make him out to be, posited that the population of an area has a “general will,” which makes them into a unity. “Each of us puts his person and all his power in common under the supreme direction of the general will, and, in our corporate capacity, we receive each member as an indivisible part of the whole.” And he demanded “the total alienation of each associate, together with all his rights, to the whole community.”
At a stroke, this ruse takes away our rights and our freedom to be ourselves, and makes us no more than cogs in a political machine. A machine which, like any purported “unity,” can only be driven and steered by a centralized ruling class. And such a centralized power will, inevitably, end up ruling without regard to the needs or desires of the ruled. Moreover, rather than lessen the power of the political state, Rousseau’s scam actually increased it, because it led to the (false) idea that the state is in some sense “us.” In reality, though, the political state as it is today is a creation of 16th-century monarchists. And it is the tool of preference that their modern successors use to drain us and oppress us.
The sham of “democracy”
Beyond this, the fourth counter-revolutionaries perverted “democracy” – the idea that ordinary people should have a full and fair say in how they are governed – into a system that delivers nothing of the kind. For first, it gives a false legitimacy to the policies of whatever faction is in power, even when those policies are objectively harmful or unjust. Second, democracy inexorably tends towards a situation as we have today, in which all the supposedly competing factions favour the same, bad policies, such as high taxes and green pipedreams. And third, a vote is completely useless, unless there is someone who both is worth voting for and has a decent chance of being elected into power. But almost no-one in any of the mainstream political parties is worth voting for. The main reason for this is that political power tends to attract exactly the kind of devious psychopaths that want to rule over others, and to evade accountability for the consequences. Far from democracy giving us our say, the current political party system produces kakistocracy – the rule of the worst.
At this point, I think it’s time to identify explicitly four major reasons why democracy as it is today doesn’t work, and never can work. I myself have only recently come to understand the full significance of these problems.
First, democracy is only a veneer on top of, or a “bag on the side” of, the state. Underneath, the state and the political government it supports are as vicious, as violent, as unjust, as corrupt as they ever were. Trying to build democracy on top of a state is akin to trying to put lipstick on a tyrannosaurus.
Second, the fact that state power attracts the worst means that, in time, all the political parties (or, at least, all those with any chance of power) will be filled with the worst kind of psychopathic, criminal scum. And the main thrust of the policies favoured by such scum will always be inclined to increase the power of the state. In the UK, the bunch of psychopaths currently in power call themselves Conservatives. They are more than bad enough. But the most obvious alternative, Labour, looks even worse. For example, they are shaping up to ban both private education and private health care! Not content with destroying my career, they now want to destroy the career of anyone who has followed in my father’s footsteps. Not to mention the careers of all those fine people, who want to use their medical skills to heal others, but are not comfortable about working for the NHS. Such policies are seeking to increase the power of the state, for the sake of increasing the power of the state.
Third, the idea of “one man one vote,” however well it may work within a voluntary society, is not appropriate when applied to the people who live in a particular geographical territory. For these people, in reality, have not voluntarily agreed to form a society, but are only a community. Thus, they cannot reasonably be expected to have common interests or desires, beyond wanting the community to be as good as possible a place to live for everyone in it. Rousseau’s idea that such a group of people has a “general will” is false. And since they are not all members of one voluntary society, the people in an area cannot reasonably be expected to keep to rules or policies imposed by any particular political tendency.
Fourth, the idea that those elected into power “represent” us ordinary people is not true in practice. In the UK system, “your” MP (the one who happens to have been elected where you live) is the only one you are allowed to talk to. If “your” MP is completely incapable of representing your views and wishes, or even supports policies actively hostile to you, you have no redress. This became very apparent to me two months ago, when “my” MP, Jeremy Hunt, became chancellor of the exchequer, or in my parlance “Chief Thief.” Far from freeing up the economy as Kwasi Kwarteng had tried to, Hunt has returned everything to Tory “business as usual,” where the state takes more and more, and ordinary people have less and less. Hunt even cancelled a minor relaxation of IR35, which Kwarteng had proposed!
The Industrial Revolution and the suppression of humanity
Our fifth revolution was the Industrial Revolution. From it has flowed the (relative) prosperity we have enjoyed in the West for much of the last three generations. Its paradigm was, and is, Creativity. And the environment it nurtured is the free market. In which everyone is free to ply their own particular industries, trades or professions for mutual benefit.
The Industrial Revolution has enabled us honest, productive human beings, at last, to start to take control over our surroundings. Moreover, it has enabled us to open up our creative abilities. And the technical progress it began has continued. We have had the “green revolution” in agriculture, which has brought greatly increased crop yields. We have had nuclear energy. We have had television. We in the West have had affordable travel, both by air and on land. We have had computers, and in recent decades the personal computer. We have had the Internet and the mobile phone. Artificial intelligence is, perhaps, on the horizon.
But our enemies, as always, have responded with a counter-revolution. It began in the 1940s and 1950s. The main thrust of our enemies’ fifth counter-revolution is a push to suppress our industrial civilization, to shut down the free market and to regulate economies, and to destroy prosperity and freedom for everyone but a clique of élites. Their primary tools today are the deep green and globalization agendas. But they have many other tools as well. Such as: Violating our human rights. Making bad, oppressive and restrictive laws. And arbitrary, unjust and ever-increasing taxation.
As to deep green environmentalism, I find myself thinking of it as a religion. An extremely intolerant one, at that; like the Catholic church from the late 15th century through the Counter-Reformation. And its leaders and acolytes behave like those that sought to subject innocent people to the Inquisitions. But it isn’t only in environmental matters that we are under attack. Enlightenment ideas, like government for the sake of the governed, the rule of law and justice, and the dignity and worth of the individual human being, are being trashed. Our human rights and freedoms are being trashed, too.
Meanwhile, the media keep up a torrent of hype, with lies, misrepresentations and “fake news” everywhere. They call those, who oppose their narratives, nasty names like “denier” or “far-right,” and seek to “cancel” their opponents’ views. Truth and justice become submerged in an ocean of propaganda and collectivist dogma, through which the political élites seek to force their particular view of the world on to ordinary people. And they accuse us of being the ones peddling fake news! Further, they seek to indoctrinate people with falsehoods and emotional manipulation, to create a mental atmosphere of unreasoning fear, and to silence all contrarian viewpoints.
And even our core humanity is under attack. The “humans are bad” brigade are having a field day, as shown by those that think the COVID virus has been a good thing, and by refrains like “we are trashing nature” and “there are too many of us human beings on the planet.” They hate and castigate us human beings. And yet, they consider themselves to be above reproach.
In summary, the counter-paradigm of our enemies’ fifth counter-revolution is suppression. Suppression of truth, suppression of rights, suppression of freedom, suppression of prosperity. Suppression of our humanity and our creativity. Suppression of us.
The last eight decades
I shall now look at history over the last 80 years or so. That is, the period during which our enemies have been pushing their fifth counter-revolution. Aspects of particular interest are: The rise and subsequent corruption of the United Nations. The network of élite, globalist organizations that go with it. The rise of the European project, which eventually became the European Union. And the welfare state, which has since evolved into the nanny state. These institutions mostly had their origins during, or shortly after, the second world war.
The United Nations
The United Nations is generally held to have been instituted in 1945. But its roots lie several years earlier. An “Atlantic Charter,” a 1941 joint statement between US president Franklin Roosevelt and UK prime minister Winston Churchill, set out a plan for policies to be implemented once the nazis had been defeated. These included “the fullest collaboration in the economic field between all nations,” “economic advancement and social security,” and that everyone “may live out their lives in freedom from fear and want.”
This was all good-sounding stuff. Recall how people in 1941 must have felt about the world political system. Twice in 25 years, an aggressive German state, backed up by powerful allies, had spread violent conflict over much of the world. People must have felt fed up and angry with the nation-state system, to say the least. So, it made sense for forward-thinking politicians to think about plans for a more peaceful future.
At the beginning of 1942, 26 governments, all of which had declared war on the nazis and their Axis allies, signed up to a “Declaration of United Nations,” affirming their support for the Atlantic Charter. The USA and the UK were joined by the Chinese, who had been fighting against Japanese invaders since 1937. They were joined also by the Russians, as soon as Hitler had reneged on the Ribbentrop non-aggression pact. These were the “Big Four” countries, to which France was added after its liberation in 1944.
The United Nations formally began in 1945, after the UN Charter was agreed. The Preamble to the Charter stated its three main goals affecting ordinary people as: “To save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” “To regain faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.” And “To promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.” And one of the ways it was to achieve those goals was “to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples.”
The four stated Purposes of the United Nations can be summarized as follows: To maintain international peace and security. To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples. To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all. And to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.
The UN has taken for itself many of the moral privileges of a sovereign political state. Its property is immune from search or confiscation by any of its member states. It is exempt from taxes, customs duties and import/export restrictions. Its employees, in effect, pay what taxes they pay to the UN itself. It has diplomatic immunity, and its officials also have “functional immunity” from prosecution when carrying out their duties. It even issues its own passports. It seems to me to be a state, and yet outside all other states.
What about the UN’s record? As a peacekeeper, it has been mixed. There is a basic problem; how can the UN be an effective peacekeeper, when so often individual member states have their own agendas on one side of a conflict or another? This was a particular issue during the cold war. Beyond this, the UN has been able to do very little about political de-stabilization caused in other countries by powerful world states, such as US meddling in Iran, Guatemala, Cuba or Panama. And one condemnatory resolution apart, it has been able to do nothing to halt or to cut short the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The UN’s record on human rights began reasonably well, with the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights, billed as “a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.” Though, particularly from article 22 onwards, some of the claimed rights seem to reflect a rather collectivist view of the world, and a few are simply misguided. Within the UN framework, the Declaration has been carried forward into the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Both came into force in 1976. Since then, progress in this area seems to have been limited to the advancement of groups to whom the UN is over-sympathetic, notably women and “indigenous” people. Indeed, the UN Commission on Human Rights, after years of internal squabbles and lack of effectiveness, had to be replaced in 2006.
Then there is the UN’s alphabet soup of agencies. Some of these have certainly done useful work in the past. For example, the ICAO did some good work on aviation standards, particularly in its early days. And I myself worked, in the 1980s, on a technology transfer project in Indonesia funded by the ITU. But for many of them, the more recent record has been, as for the peacekeepers, rather mixed.
The World Health Organization (WHO), in particular, was late to recognize human-to-human transmissibility of COVID-19, and wrongly deferred to the Chinese political stance of “lockdown at any cost.” And it seems over-keen to get countries to commit to a common pandemic strategy, regardless of individual countries’ cultures and situations.
But UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, is even worse. Despite high-sounding ideals, it seems to be a co-ordinating hub for most of the bad things the UN is doing to us. And it anticipated the “sustainable development” nonsense with a “Man and the Biosphere” project, started way back in 1971.
Moreover, to varying degrees, these organizations – and UNESCO in particular – have been infected in the last 15 years or so by the green agenda that is causing so many troubles today. In the first essay of this set, and in an essay on the “global warming” backstory which I referenced from there, I gave an overview of the history of this agenda. It’s a long and sordid story. Something I omitted to include in that overview was the development from “Agenda 21” in 1992, via the Millennium Development Goals (2000), into the “Sustainable Development Goals” agreed in 2015. Recently, though, I wrote specifically on those sustainable development goals and “targets,” and their consequences for us and our economies: [[iii]]. Here are the conclusions I drew from that exercise. They aren’t nice.
- The United Nations’ “Sustainable Development Goals” agenda is a blueprint for the destruction of human civilization as we know it, and for tyranny by a self-appointed global ruling class over every human being alive.
- For at least 30 years, the UK government has been a major leader in the stampede towards the “sustainable development” agenda. They have done this without allowing us, the people they are supposed to serve, any other choice, or any chance to object.
- The main thrust of the agenda is a global power grab by an international élite of the rich and powerful, at the expense of ordinary people. The world-view of its promoters, far from being “cultural Marxism” or anything like it, seems to be a globalist, feminist form of fascism.
- The promoters of this agenda use saccharine-coated words to disguise a raging desire to use us human beings as objects for their profit, and to hit and to hurt us if we step out of line in any way. The agenda is a charter for government meddling and centralized control.
- The negative effects of the agenda are now plain for all to see. For example, in food shortages and economic collapse in Sri Lanka. Energy shortages in the UK and Germany. And serious political disruption to farming in the Netherlands and in Canada.
- It is becoming clear that the “sustainable development” agenda, wherever implemented, will produce results that are quite the opposite of sustainable.
- The promoters and supporters of this agenda are traitors to human civilization. It is high time that we human beings started to push back against their agenda and against them.
It seems amazing that an organization, originally founded with goals of preventing future wars and promoting human rights, can have gone so far off the beam. Tyrannical policies rooted in the UN’s “sustainable development” nonsense have more and more violated the human rights of ordinary people. Such policies do nothing for economic or social advancement, or for world peace.
How could this have happened? The answer, I think, is one word… corruption. Factions and individuals within the UN have sought to move it away from what it was supposedly for, towards the kind of globalist tyranny that offers ordinary people, both in Western countries and in the third world, no hope of a future. One such individual is Gro Harlem Brundtland, inventor of the “sustainable development” concept. Another was Maurice Strong, the master networker whose goal was to set in motion policies designed to kill off human industrial civilization.
When, roughly, did the UN go wrong? If I had to put a date on it, it would be between 1968 and 1970. In 1968, UNESCO held in Paris a Biosphere Conference, which led to the “Man and the Biosphere” program. In 1969, the UN made the decision to hold the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. And in 1970, secretary-general U Thant appointed Maurice Strong as secretary-general of that conference. 1970 was also the year of the first “Earth Day,” which U Thant personally approved.
One thing the United Nations has not done, though, is take anything away from the sovereignty of its member states. Would you not have expected that an organization, formed to prevent war, ought to have done its very best to lessen the war-making powers of nation-states, that by their design are empowered to make wars in the first place? Should they not have promoted, and sought agreement on, the idea that “sovereign states may no longer make aggressive wars?” Or at the very least, could they not have persuaded their member states to cap military spending at, say, 1 per cent of GDP? But no. Political states can still make wars, and can get away with them if their military and economic strength is sufficient.
To sum up the UN’s sad story. Today, like moths around a candle, political parasites that seek gain for themselves, and pests that want to rule over people harshly and against their wills, seek to join together to use UN programs to further their aims. As I listed some of them in the essay on the sustainable development goals: Bankers and other “money men.” Big Academe and Green Tech. National politicians. “Stakeholders,” Big Business, Big Tech. Government bureaucracies, quangos, “public-private initiatives,” and quaintly named “civil society organizations.” And, of course, the mainstream media, their propaganda arm. With globalist organizations like the World Bank, World Economic Forum and International Monetary Fund in there too. And the UN and its agencies pulling the strings from the top.
As to its stated goals: Has the UN managed “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war?” Nyet; ask any Ukrainian. Has it helped us “to regain faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small?” Quite the opposite. Our rights and dignity are being violated on many fronts, even in supposed democracies; and aggressive feminists are seeking to make men into second-class citizens. And what has come of its goal “to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom?” Our freedoms, and our standards of living, are being trashed. In large part, by policies that have been driven by the UN.
I call “fail” on the UN. And “foul,” too. The UN must be abolished.
An élite network
Then there is a network of élite organizations, which seem to have two things in common. First, they are dedicated to a globalist political system, to be controlled by themselves and their mates. Second, UK politicians, both Tory and Labour, have played a significant role in building and steering these organizations. There are many such organizations, probably hundreds or thousands. But I’ll concentrate here on just a few of the most obvious.
There is Klaus Schwab’s World Economic Forum. Founded in 1971, it describes itself as “the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.” It “engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.” It takes extreme positions on the “anthropogenic climate change” issue and on “gender equality.” It has thousands of very influential members, including many high-ups in multi-national companies and political governments.
The WEF, as I described above, seeks a “Global Redesign” and a “Great Reset.” This “Great Reset” is described as: “a new equilibrium among political, economic, social and environmental systems toward common goals.” In which the future is: “a globalized world… best managed by a coalition of multinational corporations, governments (including through the UN system) and select civil society organizations.” Obviously, we honest, productive human beings have no place in such a world, except perhaps as slaves.
The WEF seems to have no respect for the participation of ordinary individuals in decision-making. It prefers, instead, that decisions should be taken on people’s behalf by a self-selected group of “stakeholders.” [[iv]]. It has also told the public that “by 2030, you’ll own nothing and be happy.” And it nominates a yearly cadre of “Young Global Leaders,” who have included Vladimir Putin.
In recent years, the WEF has become wedded more and more to big governments. Its key-note addresses have been given by presidents Xi of China, Modi of India, Bolsonaro of Brazil and Zelenskiy of Ukraine. Since the turn of the century, it has also become increasingly politically correct, and supportive of green and “sustainable development” idiocies. Prince (now king) Charles has been a major promoter of the “Great Reset.” Members of the board of trustees have included Kofi Annan (former UN general secretary), Tony Blair, Mark Carney (former governor of the Bank of England) and Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission. One of its “Agenda Contributors” is Mark Rutte, current prime minister of the Netherlands and bane of their farmers. The WEF also has tentacles into other organizations with similar kinds of views. One of its past CEOs, former Costa Rican president Jose Maria Figueres, is the brother of Cristiana Figueres, long-time UN climate change czarina.
Schwab himself is a former member of the steering group of the Bilderberg meetings. Those Bilderberg meetings, started in 1954, were designed to bring together European and North American leaders to foster co-operation on political, economic and military issues. Over the years, they have become an annual talk-shop for an invited in-group of global élites. Denis Healey, Labour politician, was a founder member, and in the steering group for 30 years. Healey once described the group as “striving for a one-world government.”
Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands chaired the meetings for their first 22 years. Subsequent steering committee chairmen have included Alec Douglas-Home, former UK prime minister; a UK economist and director of the Bank of England; and a former Tory minister, peer and secretary general of NATO. Participants at meetings have included: Princes Philip and Charles. Many senior politicians, such as post-war Belgian prime minister Paul-Henri Spaak. Ursula von der Leyen, Klaus Schwab, Mark Rutte, Mark Carney; all names I mentioned earlier. Antonio Guterres, now secretary-general of the UN. Margaret Thatcher, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, David Cameron. Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates. Senior managers from Shell and BP. Kenneth Clarke, pro-European Tory chancellor, attended many times, as did Henry Kissinger. Hillary Clinton and John Kerry have also attended. Oh, and Baroness Dido Harding.
More network links. Princes Bernhard and Philip were both presidents of the World Wildlife Fund, the organization which has probably been more strident in its green propaganda than any other (except perhaps the BBC). And has certainly been carrying on that propaganda for longest, first raising the spectre of “anthropogenic global warming” as far back as 1963. Yet back in those days, global cooling was seen as the likely problem, not warming!
The WWF, in its turn, was set up as an offshoot of the IUCN, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Itself founded in 1948 on the initiative of UNESCO, the IUCN had from the beginning a close association with the UN. It was heavily involved in setting up the UN’s 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, and it prepared the UN’s 1982 “World Charter for Nature.” More recently, it has partnered with the “World Business Council for Sustainable Development,” a corporate offshoot of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. The IUCN now describes itself as “the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.”
As I said, there is probably a whole lot more where that came from. But this should, I hope, be enough to give people an idea of how long, and how hard, the international élites have been pushing to impose all these destructive policies on us.
The European project
And then, there’s Europe. In the beginning, there was the Council of Europe. Originally the brainchild of Winston Churchill, it was founded by the Treaty of London in 1949. The treaty eulogizes “the pursuit of peace based upon justice and international co-operation.” And “the spiritual and moral values which are… the true source of individual freedom, political liberty and the rule of law, principles which form the basis of all genuine democracy.” Fine words!
Today, the Council of Europe describes itself as “the continent’s leading human rights organization.” And its best-known institution is the European Court of Human Rights. Some of whose rulings, at least, the UK government wants to allow ministers to ignore: [[v]].
The first president of the Council was Paul-Henri Spaak of Belgium. (In 1945, he had been chairman of the first session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.) But he eventually resigned from the Council, after it rejected his proposals for a politically united Europe. He then helped to found the institutions, that later became the European Union.
The Council of Europe is, formally, quite separate from the EU. Unlike almost all other internationalist organizations, at least into the 2000s, the Council of Europe seems to have remained relatively true to its founders’ stated intentions. However, more recently it has suffered scandals, which have dented public confidence in it.
Then there is the European Commission (EC). The EC is the executive of the EU. Its main architect was post-war French prime minister Robert Schuman. It started life in 1952, as the “High Authority” of the newly formed European Coal and Steel Community. Since at least the late 1950s, it has been telling member governments what they must do (regardless of what their people want). Democracy? Non. After the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC) and atomic agency (Euratom), it was merged in 1967 into the Commission of the European Communities.
The UK became a member of the EEC at the beginning of 1973. This was eventually confirmed by referendum in 1975. I didn’t myself vote that day; but I liked the idea of free movement of people, goods and services across borders. Even if I didn’t think much of the Common Agricultural Policy. And I didn’t even know about the existence, or the power, of the European Commission. Roy Jenkins, in 1975 UK home secretary and a supporter of the European project, in 1977 became president of the Commission! Hmmm…
The EEC proved to be a positive for me, enabling me to live and work in the Netherlands for three good years in the late 1970s. But in the run up to the Maastricht treaty (1992), it became clear that the European project was moving towards political union, not just economic co-operation. That caused a lot of people in the UK, including me, to turn against it. Surely, I thought, those that took the UK into the EEC must have known back then that the eventual goal was political union? So, why did they not tell us that at the time? Ultimately, this misleading of the UK public by the pro-Europe side in the 1970s was my primary reason for supporting Brexit more than thirty years later.
Further, EU officials have some state-like privileges. They are exempt from income tax in the countries they work in. Though, rather like UN staff, they do pay some taxes to the EU itself. Like the UN, the EU looks in many ways like a state outside all other states. But unlike the UN, it considers itself morally superior to its member states, and claims a right to impose its policies on the governments and the people in those states. Even if those people, and even the national governments, would far rather do something else.
Since the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, the European Commission and the EU have become steadily more and more tyrannical. “Directives” have flowed out like bullets from machine-guns. Moreover, the EU has perverted the precautionary principle, just as the UK government did back in 2002, to “justify” pre-emptive regulation against perceived risks, even though there is no proof at all that those risks pose any objectively real problem. They have then used this perversion to impose harsh, collective “limits” and “targets” on things like PM2.5 pollution and nitrogen emissions. And these are forever tightened, as a target morphs into a limit and is replaced by a new, more stringent target.
Such collective restrictions will not only inevitably become intolerable for those subjected to them, but are also sure to fail in the long run. That was another reason why I was desperate for Brexit. But I’m still waiting for all those limits and targets to be scrapped!
And so, here we are, with the ECJ’s 2018 ruling on the 1992 “habitat directive” threatening to kill off a large part of the Dutch farming industry, and to damage food security for everyone in Europe. So much for the stated ideals of the founders of the Council of Europe: justice, individual freedom, political liberty, the rule of law and democracy! So much, too, for “economic and social advancement,” “freedom from fear and want,” “faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person,” and “better standards of life in larger freedom.”
Oh, and this link might interest you: [[vi]]. The European Commission’s “Circular Economy Action Plan” of 2020, to implement the EU’s “Green New Deal.” “This Circular Economy Action Plan provides a future-oriented agenda for achieving a cleaner and more competitive Europe in co-creation with economic actors, consumers, citizens and civil society organisations.” Haven’t we heard bullshit like this from the UN, and from politicians too? Not to mention the WEF, a key supporter? It “aims at accelerating the transformational change required by the European Green Deal.” And it plans for “a global shift to a circular economy.” All this would be quite funny, if it wasn’t that they want to force it on to us all. In my opinion, there is only one place fit for such stuff: the “circular file.”
We’ve been had by the EU, as well as by the UN, haven’t we? The EU, too, must go.
The welfare state
Then there’s welfare. In 1942, in the depths of war, William Beveridge authored a report. There were already state schemes in Britain for pensions, health and unemployment insurance. What Beveridge proposed to do was bring these all together into one giant, all-encompassing combine – the welfare state.
Most politicians, of both main parties, supported this. Many ordinary people liked Beveridge’s ideas, too. They liked the idea of a safety net to prevent them becoming poor. They liked the idea of financial security in their old age. They must have thought they were getting something for nothing. But they didn’t stop to think about the long-term costs. They didn’t think about the burden they would be storing up for people in the future. By 1948, buoyed up by the interventionist economic theories of John Maynard Keynes, most of the proposals had been implemented. Although even Beveridge himself was already starting to worry what kind of monster he had sired.
The idea was that the state would provide a raft of services that people found necessary, including health care, unemployment insurance and pensions. Health care would be free of charge at the point of use, being paid for through general taxation. A big part of the thinking, I suspect, was a political marketing ploy, an attempt to fool people into thinking that the state was actually on their side.
But the most likely upshot of these programmes was state growth. Taking on these functions would vastly increase the size of the state, and the scope of what it did. And would enable it to take over the business of the organizations, such as friendly societies, which had previously performed these functions in the free market. It would also tend to politicize people’s lives, and give more and more scope for state functionaries to meddle.
All of these consequences have come about, in spades. And worse; a substantial fraction among the population have allowed themselves to become dependent on the state. Some of them only got into this situation by bad luck, or because deliberate state actions knocked them down; the state “broke their legs, then gave them crutches.” But too many took the bait, and accepted dependence eagerly. In a sham “democracy,” if the political élites can force enough people down into dependence on their state, they will be sitting pretty. No anti-élite group, goes the logic, will ever be able to muster enough support to get any kind of power.
Worse yet, people who have become dependent on the state tend to look to the state to solve all their problems. Even, and perhaps especially, when the state itself is the cause of those problems. This explains why so many are prone to clamour for government to “do something,” even when the best thing it could do for everyone is get itself out of the way.
To the economics of welfare. The amounts of money spent on the UK welfare state are truly eye-watering. I looked at a reasonably representative year (2017), in which total government spending was £772 billion. This was 38% of the UK’s gross domestic product for that year, and also amounted to £11,700 per head of the population, or just over £28,000 per household. Of this, £270 billion (35%) was spent on welfare and pensions, and £145 billion (19%) on health care. More than half of all UK government spending in that year came under these two headings, which together accounted for more than 20% of GDP! And all this excludes education, which might also be classified as a kind of welfare, and weighed in at £102 billion (5% of GDP).
I remember, back in 2009, listening to a respected economist bemoaning the lack of future planning for welfare spending. It seems that over decades no-one had actually bothered to run the numbers for the long term, taking into account the rising longevity of the population. And it was becoming plain, to those in the know, that the numbers didn’t add up. The welfare state was financially unsustainable. This is why both the scope and the rates of taxes to support welfare have, in the last decade or so, “gone through the roof.” Yet the problem still doesn’t seem to be anywhere near solved.
On top of this, the NHS health care system has been in a state of all but permanent “crisis” for at least 15 years. It cannot recruit enough qualified staff. And many of the staff it does have are complaining about inflexible rosters, overwork and exhaustion. This is nothing new; junior doctors’ long hours were a major problem as far back as the 1970s. Further, morale is low, and sickness rates are soaring. Low pay is a part of the issue; but there are other financial problems too, particularly with doctors’ pensions. And care homes have similar problems, particularly since the attempt to impose a COVID vaccine mandate on their staff.
Moreover, there is now a huge backlog of treatments, which had to be postponed because of the COVID pandemic. The proportion of accident and emergency cases seen within four hours has gone down from about 95 per cent in 2014 to close to 70 per cent. Even before the pandemic started, hospital bed occupancy rates were above their designed levels. That is not getting any better. And a shortage of intensive care unit beds was one of the main drivers that triggered COVID lockdowns.
Then there has been meddling with the education of doctors and nurses, and with the qualifications needed to work in UK health care. Training for doctors and nurses was reformed in the 1970s. It was reformed again in the 1990s with “Project 2000.” With, it seems, some success. But one of the effects was the development of an intensive culture of “achievement targets.” A further reform was undertaken in the 2000s, but this was a failure and led to mass protests by doctors. And now, they are meddling again with the assessment procedure for licensing doctors.
Perhaps such things may need to change from time to time, to reflect progress in medicine as a whole. But even so, this is not the way that any enterprise that wants to keep its skilled staff ought to treat people! Such meddling, and failure to take into account the views of the people impacted, seem to be characteristic of large, centralized organizations. And most of all of governments, where there is no, or at any rate far less, accountability when things go wrong compared to private enterprises.
Even more extreme is what New Labour did to NHS dentists in 2006, by attempting to impose on them a new contract and a new way of working. Previously, they had in essence been paid by piecework. This did lead to some problems, notably a degree of over-treating. But overall, it allowed dentists to provide the level of treatment they thought most appropriate for each patient, while working in a way they were comfortable with. The new contract, on the other hand, divorced the payments from the treatments done, in a way that brought advantages to some dentists, but disadvantaged many others. It was also described as a contract of “targets and treadmills.” The result was that many dentists simply left the NHS. In my area, NHS dentistry disappeared entirely for almost a decade. Here, again, is what happens when valuable people find themselves being ordered around, against their interests, by a top-down, command-and-control bureaucracy.
Considering the huge amounts of money already having been and being spent on welfare of various kinds, do people really get value for what they pay and have paid? I think not. I call “fail” on the politicized UK welfare system.
The nanny state
Then there’s the “nanny state,” which has grown and grown over the decades, and seeks to use every conceivable excuse to control people in as many aspects of their lives as possible.
For example, during the summer of 2022, I learned that the UK government had laid plans to ban smoking in public entirely in England by 2030: [[vii]]. That there were more restrictions on gambling on the way: [[viii]]. And that they wanted to take away the last vestiges of any right for parents to decide when their children ought to go to school: [[ix]]. “Public health” seems to be the excuse du jour. Though what it has to do with either of the last two, I cannot divine. And the impact of smoking on public (as opposed to individual) health has never been proven to be major. Then there are such things as the sugar tax on soft drinks, and meddling in where shops should be allowed to place what foods.
The on-line safety bill, too, is a power grab that facilitates unaccountable political control by bureaucrats over ordinary people’s lives. A maudlin obsession with “safety,” regardless of costs to the people, has been responsible for most of the rights violations we have suffered under the pretext of COVID-19. It has also driven the climate change fiasco. Then there are their assaults on our financial freedoms, supposedly “to help prevent financial crime,” and which they are requiring the banks to police.
The root of this obsession, and so of the constant and destructive “nannying” by government, lies, as far as I can determine, in the UK government’s perversion of the precautionary principle. I covered this perversion in the first essay of this set. In essence, it awards government a licence to act to control any perceived risk, even where there is no hard evidence that the risk is a real problem. And without taking any account at all of the costs and benefits of this government action to those affected by it.
If a child’s nanny did things like these, and her “precautionary” actions ended up causing harm to the child, she should be hauled up in court for cruelty, should she not? The maximum penalty for which has recently been increased from 10 years’ jail to 14. Yet the nanny state and its functionaries are never held accountable for the cruel, harmful things they do to people in the name of ruses like “public health,” “safety” and “preventing crime.” That’s because, from the point of view of those functionaries, “the king can do no wrong.”
I recently re-read George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” There is a school of thought, which says that today’s élites, instead of seeing his master-work as the warning against totalitarianism that he intended it to be, are using it as an instruction manual. To evaluate this claim, I thought I would compare his fictional world with today’s reality.
Orwell certainly got some of his predictions right. Government is spying on our every move. Electricity off, and heating running at half power, if at all; that’s what we could well be facing this winter, because of decades of bad energy policies driven by green nonsense. There are three- or perhaps five-year plans for things like carbon dioxide emissions. There are “adjustments” and “corrections” to the past, like temperature records. They want to punish us for crimethink, and make us into unpersons (at least, on the Internet or financially), if government bureaucrats think something we say on-line is “false communication,” or if we do something they don’t like with our own money. Doublethink is rife; for example, the notion that “sustainable development” policies can ever be sustainable, or the hypocrisy of those that fly by jet (and, most of all, by private jet) to or from conferences that seek to limit carbon dioxide emissions. And their philosophical outlook seeks to deny the existence of objective reality.
Moreover, Orwell, or at least Emmanuel Goldstein the author of his book-within-a-book, “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism,” made a decent shot at identifying some of the groups that would combine to form the new aristocracy. “Bureaucrats, scientists, technicians, trade-union organizers, publicity experts, sociologists, teachers, journalists, and professional politicians.”
On most of these, except perhaps for the trade unionists, he wasn’t so far off. One thing he failed to predict, though, was that the élitist big business bosses – the crony capitalists, or as I call them “the money men” – would join, and become a key part of, the new ruling class. But he was spot on about the political results they all wanted: oligarchy (theirs!) and collectivism. That they had “The conscious aim of perpetuating unfreedom and inequality.” And that they sought to “arrest progress and freeze history at a certain moment.”
Today’s élites treat us as if they were a superior species, and we an inferior. And just about everything they do to us reduces our freedoms yet further. Moreover, green extremists seek to arrest our progress, by demanding a halt to the use of the fossil fuels, that in the current state of technology are vitally necessary to human civilization. And to freeze history completely, by demanding that we humans should have no effect or “footprint” on our surroundings. They want a world, on which humans leave no mark.
Was Orwell really trying to predict the future? If so, he didn’t get all the details right. I have already mentioned the capitalists. Further, the élites have not managed to find a suitable Big Brother. They seem to be aiming to set up Mother Earth in his place. And, in place of the three superstates Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia, we face rather three levels of tyranny; global (the UN and its hangers-on), power blocs (like the EU) and the politicians of individual nation-states. But overall, I’d say that George Orwell got more right than wrong.
To sum up the last 80 years
For the last eight decades, the political class in the UK have been using the power and lack of accountability of the political state to treat us, the people government is supposed to serve, with callous disregard, while feathering their own nests. They have inexorably expanded government functions. They have raised existing taxes, and made new ones. They have increased the burden and cost of red tape. They have violated our rights and freedoms, spied on us in every way they can, and implemented disastrous economic, environmental and energy policies. They have lied to us, “nudged” us to comply with policies hostile to us, and evaded accountability for their actions. They have also subjected us to unnecessarily long and harsh COVID lockdowns, and used COVID as an excuse to put obstacles and formalities in our way. Similar things have been happening in other countries.
Meanwhile, the UK welfare state is breaking down. It is in crisis both financially, and in terms of delivering the services it is supposed to provide. It started out with good-sounding ideals. But its ulterior purpose was, I think, to try to fool people into believing that the state was on their side. Its main effects have been to increase the size of the state, and the scope of what it does; as well as hauling far too many people down into dependence. And for many employees and suppliers, working with it has become a nightmare of “targets and treadmills.”
Moreover, the welfare state has morphed into the nanny state, which constantly seeks to control more and more of our lives. It bases its policies on a perverted view of the precautionary principle, which it uses to “justify” pre-emptive regulation against perceived risks, even when those risks are minor or not even real. The result is not far away from the dystopian vision, which George Orwell presented in his “Nineteen Eighty-Four.”
But on top of overreach by nation-states and their politicians, we have suffered ever increasing meddling by globalist and internationalist actors. The United Nations has been primary among these. It was formed in the 1940s with laudable aims like maintaining peace, upholding human rights and freedoms, and promoting better standards of life. Yet its record, even from the start, has been mixed. It has made itself, in effect, into a state outside all other states. And over the course of 80 years, it has become seriously corrupted. Since around 1970, it has been the main driver of the green and “sustainability” agenda, that goes against the well-being and needs of ordinary people. And it has become one of the nuclei, around which a self-appointed élite has sought to form itself into a global ruling class.
The European Union has been another such internationalist actor. The European project, like the UN, started out with high-sounding ideals. But it, too, became corrupted. What was presented as a project of economic co-operation morphed, gradually but inexorably, into a project of political union. The EU behaves, in many ways, like a state. But in addition, it claims a superiority over its member states, and a right to tell them and their people what to do. Through the same perverted view of precaution that statists in the UK have taken, it has set out to impose on the people of Europe a régime of harsh, collective “limits” and “targets.” And it has taken, and is now taking, the green agenda to levels beyond the bounds of sanity.
The last year or so
Here are some of the things, that have happened to, or been done to, us human beings in the last year or so.
I began my year with the Conference of the Parties, CoP26, held in Glasgow in November 2021. As I said at the end of the first essay in this set, the green leviathan, at last, encountered a degree of resistance from a few countries that have worked out that it isn’t in their interests to stay on that bandwagon much longer. That was encouraging; but not nearly enough yet.
The weather in 2022
In my area, we had an unusually warm spring in 2022; and the wildlife loved it! I knew the spring would be warm, as soon as the tits who nest in the tree outside my bedroom window arrived in January, instead of their usual March. The wildlife know what the weather will do! It’s built into their natures. And for them, as for us, warmer is better. By May, there were more new goslings around my local lake than I’ve ever seen before. It was a beautiful summer, too. Probably the third best in my experience, behind only 1976 and 1959.
As I write this on a bitterly cold December morning with the temperature well below freezing, I allow myself a wry smile. Yes, warmer really is better!
(Post-script: When I went to the lake that afternoon, bread in hand, and with the temperature still below freezing, there were swans, ducks and pigeons, but no geese. The geese have all moved to the other side of the canal. Nevertheless, my contributions were gratefully, and noisily, received!).
In February 2022, the Russians started a war in Ukraine. This has aggravated the energy problems, and started a spiral of rising cost of living and inflation for us all. Not to mention raising the possibility of Europe-wide food shortages due to loss of Ukrainian grain and, further down the line, of fertilizers. And the spectre of nuclear war if the Americans choose to do something silly.
But Putin’s reckless war (for which, I find myself coming to call him “Rash Putin”) has already prompted some change in the “climate” of thought, in the UK at least. People are coming to see already unaffordable and yet still mounting energy prices as the threat to our civilization which they truly are. And then there’s the danger of millions of innocent people being annihilated in a nuclear war, about which governments appear to have no qualms at all.
Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil
Then there’s Extinction Rebellion. A group with rich backing from the international establishment, support from the UK government (as evidenced by Michael Gove meeting them in 2019), and tactics I can only describe as terrorist. They claim that humans today are causing a “sixth mass extinction.” I have asked environmentalists, several times, to name a species to whose extinction I have contributed. And to say what, and approximately when, I did to contribute to that extinction. I have never got even one species name, or any factual evidence. So, I conclude that the entire extinction scare must be a fraud.
Despite not having any objective evidence for their main accusation, in April 2022 Extinction Rebellion and another extremist group, Just Stop Oil, organized “mass protests” against human use of fossil fuels. They claimed they would mobilize three and a half per cent of the UK population (that’s more than 2 million people!), yet their actual protests were confined to central London and a few oil depots. And only a few hundred of them were arrested.
Since then, Just Stop Oil have continued to “protest,” by blocking roads and bridges, disrupting public events, and carrying out acts of vandalism.
In Sri Lanka, by early March 2022 a government-mandated transition to organic agriculture [[x]] had caused the production of rice (Sri Lankans’ staple food) and tea (their main export) to plummet by more than 20% in just a few months. The failure of the harvest in March led directly to the mass protests, that during July unseated from power Sri Lankan president Rajapaksa and several of his family. But this didn’t mean an end to the suffering for Sri Lankans.
As of late July, 22 per cent of Sri Lankans were in need of food aid. And prospects for the next harvest looked to be even worse: [[xi]], [[xii]].
What has happened in Sri Lanka shows that politicians’ green meddling costs, not only prosperity, but also peace and lives. Rajapaksa and his government committed crimes against humanity. But far from trying to rectify the problems, the Sri Lankan ruling class doubled down, and assaulted the protestors. Things do seem to have settled down somewhat since then. But the spectre of a major famine in Sri Lanka is still not far away.
In the Netherlands, the world’s second largest food exporter, farmers have been protesting since 2019 against regulations aiming to halve emissions of gaseous nitrogen compounds, particularly ammonia, by 2030. These regulations are part of the EU’s so-called “Green Deal.” At one of the protests on July 5th, 2022, Dutch police fired live ammunition at a tractor driving away from them. The protests [[xiii]] spread to other countries, notably Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland.
And yet, it is not at all clear that emissions of nitrogen compounds from farming have ever caused any measurable, significant, negative effects. This article [[xiv]] gives an introduction to what is going on. The claim seems to be that there is a loss of “biodiversity” in certain “protected areas” that are part of an EU project called “Natura 2000.” Yet, can anyone name even one species that has become extinct in the last 30 years, with that extinction proven beyond reasonable doubt to have been caused by modern Dutch farming practices?
All this trouble comes from a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in November 2018, which made the requirements for assessing the effects of farming “projects” much stricter, and did not allow any mitigation measures already in place to be counted. This ruling is based on a very harsh and, to this layman, unreasonable reading of a clause from the European Commission’s “Habitat Directive” dating from 1992: [[xv]].
But ask yourself: Which is more important? Some ill-defined, hard to measure thing called “biodiversity?” Or food for human beings? Shouldn’t human beings always take priority over other species? Would a lion, for example, ever put the welfare of the zebra it hunts ahead of the welfare of its own cubs? Surely not. And why should there ever have been such a thing as a “Habitat Directive” in the first place, unless it was designed to conserve the human habitat – that is, the peace, freedom and justice that we need in order to fulfil ourselves?
It looks as if Rajapaksa and Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte share a common goal: reducing the food supply for human beings. This has been confirmed in December 2022 by the Dutch “nitrogen minister” Christianne van der Wal: [[xvi]]. The following quote is chilling: “Export percentages are not a goal for us. Our goal is emission reduction and to restore nature.”
This is deliberate destruction of the most productive agricultural industry in the world. Furthermore, it will have knock-on effects on food security all over Europe. The nearest historical parallel I can think of is Stalin’s genocide against the kulaks, the most efficient among the peasant farmers in Soviet Ukraine. This genocide resulted in the Holodomor famine, causing the deaths of several million innocent people. Rutte and van der Wal seem to be aiming to murder a lot more people than that. They must be stopped.
The UK government
Meanwhile, the UK government have continued to act as if they were above the rule of law, and to violate our right of equality before the law. They have cynically broken rules they made themselves, while expecting us to keep to those same rules. As, for example, the “Partygate” scandal, in which government officials, and even the prime minister himself, held and attended parties in flagrant violation of COVID lockdown rules. And they sought to suppress publication of the details of their transgressions.
Many of the lockdown laws they made have been ethically very dubious. For example, they tried to force meeting places like cinemas and theatres, and organizers of events, to require vaccine passports for people attending. And in early 2022, they tried to force out of their jobs workers, both in the NHS and in care homes, who were unwilling to submit to vaccination. Without ever showing evidence that the people targeted were causing any harm, or even any unreasonable risk, to others. Around 40,000 care home workers were actually sacked for this reason. These were symptoms of a maudlin concern for something they call “safety,” regardless of human rights and of the costs to the people they are supposed to be serving.
I have already mentioned further controls planned in the UK on smoking, gambling and school attendance. During the summer, the government also attempted to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda without their applications even being considered. Yet these attempts do not seem to have had any effect at all on the flow of asylum seekers: [[xvii]]. And their response to being ordered by the European Court of Human Rights to stop the deportations? To seek to give themselves powers to ignore decisions made by that court!
I also discovered a bad law they slipped in last year, the so called “spy cops” act [[xviii]], which allows undercover police and other government agents to commit real crimes! So much for the rule of law. Moreover, the idea of requiring COVID vaccine passports for access to events within the UK has not gone away: [[xix]].
And banks are being encouraged, in order “to help prevent financial crime,” to restrict how much money you are allowed to deposit into your account: [[xx]]. Or to close the account of someone they suspect may be using it for business purposes or “unlawfully,” or who puts “abusive messages” in payment instructions. Or to put a limit on the amount of money you may have in your accounts, or to impose a charge on those accounts. It looks as if the political élites are limbering up to extend “financial sanctions” régimes, hitherto used primarily against such dubious figures as Russian oligarchs, to anyone they choose to make an example of. They are seeking to use the banks to police existing and planned assaults on our financial freedom, just as they are seeking to use Big Tech to police their assaults on freedom of speech. Such pre-emptive policies violate, not only the presumption of innocence, but also the rights to a fair trial and to due process of law.
Moreover, they continue to pursue schemes like “digital identity” and “central bank digital currencies,” which will create a platform to enable them to closely monitor even our smallest transactions, and so to tax us yet more and more harshly.
The “Truss Spring”
In September 2022, following on from Partygate and other scandals, we finally got rid of that lying, freedom-hating, economy-destroying, rule-of-law-trashing broken reed of a prime minister, Boris Johnson. Liz Truss took over. I confess that I didn’t expect anything from her but more of the same; it is not for nothing that she acquired the nickname “the iron weather-vane.” I had also predicted that she wouldn’t last six months. I expected the “Tory Blob,” the media and the rest of the establishment to do their best to stab her in the back. As it turned out, I was incorrect in my first prediction, but correct in my second.
Truss actually started fairly well. She announced some half way sane energy policies, including lifting the ban on fracking – an absolute essential for UK energy supply in the medium term. For these, she was castigated by the usual suspects. She announced (expensive) measures to shield ordinary people, to an extent, from inflated energy prices caused by the combination of Putin’s disruption of gas supply and decades of nonsensical green policies.
But perhaps more significantly, she showed a willingness to back-track on some of the worst of Johnson’s assaults on our rights and freedoms. The bill to allow ministers to ignore rulings from the European Court of Human Rights was shelved. And the on-line safety bill was to have some of its worst abuses against our right of free speech removed. Though that, of course, is not nearly enough. Truss even considered scrapping the sugar tax, and reviewing proposed changes with regard to smoking and gambling.
Two days after Truss took over, the queen died. As one who objects, on the grounds that all human beings must be ethically equal, to the very existence of the state and sovereignty, I am no fan of monarchy. I dismissed Lizzie as “a silly old woman, who lives in a castle and has never done a decent day’s productive work in her life.” And she took more than £80 million a year of our money to support herself and her family. Not, I will say, that Lizzie gave any impression of being a bad person. She certainly seemed far more honest than any of her last six prime ministers up to Johnson!
So now, we’ve got Charlie as king. A leading promoter of the WEF’s “Great Reset” and of the “sustainable development” fraud. And a hypocrite, who flies in helicopters and private planes, rides in limos, and drives nice cars; while, at the same time, telling ordinary people that we should stop flying in planes, and should walk or cycle instead of driving. Yeah, right.
Truss and her chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, actually tried to do some positive things for the people of the UK. For just a few weeks, they looked to be trying to bring back into the lives of ordinary people some hope of a better future. And cutting taxes is an important step on the way to getting the economy moving again! I don’t know whether they got their numbers wrong, or whether they were just naïve. But both of them were out on their political ears only six weeks after taking office. And “my” MP, one Jeremy Hunt, for whom I have no time or respect whatsoever, was installed as chancellor (or, as I like to say, Chief Thief).
The “Truss Spring” – I call it that in analogy to Alexander Dubcek’s Prague Spring of 1968 – is over. The Blob trussed her up, and took their revenge. Now we’re back to the Blob’s idea of “business as usual” – no fracking, even higher taxes, and lots more bad laws. Hope is off the menu, for now. Instead, the emotions I – and, it seems, many other good people – now feel most strongly are anger, contempt and hatred. At the political system, and at all the parasites that use it for their profit, and pests that use it to implement their agendas.
The CoP27 climate meeting took place in an Egyptian luxury resort. There were, as usual, many attendees arriving by private jet. Hypocrites! They agreed to a crazy idea called a “damage and loss fund.” This is intended to be paid into by Westerners, supposedly to compensate “vulnerable countries hit hard by climate disasters” for the (unproven and unlikely) bad effects on the climate, that are claimed to have been caused by industrialization in Western countries.
This is, as should be obvious to anyone, no more than a continuation and enlargement of the “foreign aid” scams already in place, that force poor people in rich countries (that’s us) to pay vast sums for the benefit of rich people in poor countries (like the Rajapaksa dynasty and their ilk). Any Western “representative” that has even been willing to contemplate such a scheme is a traitor to those they are supposed to “represent.”
If we in the West really want to help solve the problem of third world poverty (and we should), the solution is obvious. Spread the values of the Renaissance, Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution to all those who have not received them before. Encourage people to rise up, to get rid of bad rulers like the Rajapaksas and their kind, and to end all bad and nonsensical political policies, including the green agenda in all its forms. Encourage them to do as we tried to do all those years ago; to create a political climate of liberty, human rights, the rule of law and justice, and government which acts only in the interests of the governed, not of a ruling class. And, in that positive climate, to free up and to industrialize their economies in whatever ways they find most appropriate.
Where we are today
In Western countries today, if not also in places like Sri Lanka, we are suffering under the worst governments and ruling classes in living memory. They have, for several decades now, been making more and more political policies that are hostile to us human beings. Our economies are sputtering at best, and we are suffering the worst currency inflation in decades. We face looming, deliberately contrived, shortages of energy and food. They are treating us as lower than animals, whereas in reality we are the most developed species on our planet. They are taxing us all but out of existence. They are, quite deliberately, suppressing our rights and freedoms, and our chances of prosperity. They are suppressing truth, bombarding us with propaganda, and promoting lies and unfounded scares like the “climate change” and “species extinction” nonsenses. They are suppressing our humanity and our creativity. They are suppressing us, the honest, naturally productive human beings.
And these problems are not just at the level of national governments. An international and globalist élite, including the United Nations, the European Union, and a raft of organizations like the World Economic Forum, are trying to transform the world’s political systems into a single, top-down tyranny, with themselves and their élite cronies at the top, and us human beings at the bottom.
Moreover, extremists among the political élites – such as the Dutch nitrogen minister – are now, openly, promoting policies designed to bring Western civilization to its knees. And the possibility of these extremists trying to subject us honest, productive human beings to genocide is becoming increasingly credible.
Here are the links I promised. To the six essays which describe my philosophical system:
To some of my essays at WattsUpWithThat.com:
A brief post-script
This essay is about history, not about diagnosing our ills. Nevertheless, I feel that it is time to bring out one important conclusion from all the above. Namely, to identify the root cause of our troubles. That root cause can be encapsulated in two words: the state.
All these facets of the oppressions we suffer under today, at each level – global, regional, national – have one thing in common. The parasites and pests that oppress us think and act as if they are sovereigns over us. They claim moral privileges over us. They make bad laws to bind us. They levy taxes and impositions against us, most of which bring us no benefit at all. They give privileges to their cronies and fellow-travellers. They think they aren’t bound by the laws they make. They think they’re kings, and that “the king can do no wrong.”
You can see the privileges, that the state grants to its functionaries, being used by those in power to harm ordinary people. Unjust, harmful, constraining laws; but dispensations for friends. (IR35 for me, but £6,000 a man-day of government money for “approved” consultants.) Wars. Dishonest officials, and burgeoning bureaucracy. Innocent people being unjustly harmed, while buddies receive unearned titles and favours. Currency inflation. Heavy taxes on ordinary people, but lucrative contracts and subsidies for cronies. Disregard by those in power of rules they themselves made. (Think Johnson, Partygate). And more.
There, ladies and gentlemen, you have the cause of all our problems: the state à la Bodin, with the false sovereignty it claims, and the bad politics it engenders. The state is the problem.
Having just read through I am now starting to put together a response to your rant. It may take me some time!!
Some things I thoroughly agree with. I want rid of these greedy pests and parasites and rile at the corruption and hypocrisy I see around me. My view is slightly different though.
I’ll be back with a much more detailed response.
First, let me start by saying that I 100% agree with your aim of removing the greedy, corrupt parasites and pests from power.
I include all the wealthy elite who control politicians through donations, bribes, promises and threats – the wealthy elite who run the media and use it as a propaganda machine against the population thus completely undermining democracy.
I include all the greedy politicians who allow themselves to be bribed or threatened in their insane lust for power and wealth.
They are the parasites and pests I would remove.
I believe in freedom, tolerance, equality tempered with respect, responsibility and social justice.
I the whole of my life I have never seen such a corrupt bunch of greedy, lying politicians as we have had throughout this heinous Tory government. The sooner we are rid of this criminal bunch the better. They have robbed us blind while pandering to the wealthy elite. They have broken the public services with twelve years of cuts and created misery among working people with twelve years of needless austerity. At the same time they have been doshing out millions to Tory donors and wasting billions. The result is a broken Britain spawning millionaires, food banks, warm hubs, rough sleeping, zero hours contracts, superyachts, mansions and penthouses. The inequality they have created is staggering.
Now, to my first bone of contention. Why do you have to feature the Green Agenda as your biggest example of this leviathan of political corruption? Neil, this is you on your hobby horse and you are simply wrong on all counts. Why you choose to use this as your central plank is utterly beyond me. The environment is, as is quite clear from your education and life, an area way outside of your expertise and understanding.
Climate is not the crux of this issue. The wealthy elite are controlling a political system that is profoundly unfair. The politicians, their lackeys, are controlled and bought by them. The media is controlled by them and used to brainwash the population. That is the issue.
I think your stance, apart from not being the real issue and, as such, being a red herring, is also simply wrong.
I will explain.
First you need to understand where I am coming from.
A little biography.
I am foremost a naturalist in the same vein as Darwin, Gerald Durrell, Desmond Morris, Dian Fossey and Jane Goodall. I spent my childhood collecting slowworms, lizards, snakes, frogs, toads, caterpillars and sticklebacks. I had a menagerie of guinea pigs, mice, rats, rabbits, hamsters, crows and pigeons.
I love nature and I love animals.
I took all the sciences in school (chemistry, botany and zoology to A Level) and did a degree and further research in Zoology.
The environment is my area of expertise in the same way as maths is yours.
So I take great exception to some of the statements you glibly make about the environment and nature.
I find it incredible for you to say that you looked for evidence of global warming or species extinctions and could not find any.
That is absurd.
The evidence is abundant.
The earth is warming up. We are in the midst of a catastrophic collapse in all animal populations – invertebrates, fish, amphibia, reptiles, birds and mammals. The evidence is there and beyond dispute.
The science of the greenhouse gasses is also well established. There is little doubt that we are responsible and could, if we desired, alter this.
On a personal scale I have witnessed the tragic decline of animal populations in Britain – the slowworms, snakes, lizards, insects, frogs, newts, toads and butterflies have all declined radically in my lifetime. That is easily substantiated from numerous scientific studies.
I have, as a naturalist, also personally witnessed the massive destruction of habitats and decline in populations in numerous countries around the world – South America, Africa, Australia and Asia.
And no – I definitely do not believe we are superior to animals. We are animals. Our intelligence is maybe superior to most but that does not make us superior. It’s an attribute, that’s all. And it is an attribute that we have consistently misused to the detriment of most of us and all of the natural world. Intelligence has been used for making weapons and torturing people. That has scarred our whole history.
It is now being used to churn out trinkets for morons for profit at the expense of the planet. Every day is another buying opportunity. Greed and profit rule.
Instead of using our intelligence to solve problems like war and poverty we largely use it for mass destruction and for a tiny elite to have more wealth than they know what to do with.
That’s not intelligent.
You claim never to have personally made any animal extinct. But this is nonsense. You have.
You are putting forward the Bob Dylan ‘Who Killed Davey Moore?’ defence.
If the lethal dose of a poison is 100 units and one hundred people all deliver 1 unit. The person dies. It is no good all hundred people saying they weren’t guilty. None of them delivered a fatal dose but together they killed the person.
Thus it is with you and the other 8 billion people. Collectively, with your use of power, eating of food and purchase of goods (including a house) you are directly responsible for the clearing of forest, the spraying of crops, the mining, agriculture and commerce that is destroying nature at an alarming rate.
Your argument is fallacious.
Then, you have repeatedly claimed that A. there isn’t any global warming – which there obviously is. B. that is isn’t caused by us – as if the greenhouse effect is not correct or that it isn’t affecting climate – which it is. C. that some warming will not do us any harm – which it will.
You cite that back yonks ago it was warmer and everything prospered. Well yes and no. Times have changed.
Back then we did not have massive populations in cities by the sea dependent on huge areas of agricultural land.
When the seas rose it did not affect us. When the climate changed we moved.
The effects of climate change in the modern age will be catastrophic (not just for us but for the highly depleted populations of wildlife who are now nowhere near as resilient as they once were).
a. It will cause extremes of weather – heat waves, cold snaps, storms, floods, hurricanes.
b. It will cause some areas to become so hot that they are no longer habitable resulting in displacement of millions of people.
c. It will result in desertification.
d. Agriculture will be devastated in many regions.
e. Rising seas will flood cities.
f. Hurricanes will devastate countries.
g. Huge floods, droughts and snowstorms.
h. Forest fires
i. Air and water currents will be affected (Gulf Stream for instance – a deflection of the Gulf Stream would cause us to have Siberian winters).
In Britain we could be colder in winter, hotter in summer with seasonal droughts and floods, cities threatened with flooding and a mass of immigrants looking to come here to escape heat and starvation. Agriculture will be hard hit with the flooding and droughts. Foo production will be down.
We are already starting to experience this. It will get a lot, lot worse.
It’s bad enough when previous global warming or glaciation was caused by natural means – solar activity, volcanic eruptions, asteroids. Not a lot we could do about that. But, as an intelligent species, to bring about catastrophic global warming and species extinctions through our own indulgence and stupidity is inexcusable.
I do have the background and credentials on environmental issues.
By placing this personal vendetta of yours against green issues I think you greatly undermine your whole argument about freedom and control.
We need to come together as a world against this existential threat. We can provide technological solutions that are cheap and effective. It is already happening. Sustainable energy is cheaper than fossil fuels. It just required kick-starting.
So what society do I want to live in?
I want to live in a community that gives me a lot of personal freedom and provides quality services at a cheap, efficient rate.
I want fairness, justice and equality.
I want to live in a tolerant society.
I want a responsible society.
I want a responsible, caring government and a democracy that delivers.
Hence I want more equality – a fairer society in which workers receive a fair wage for a fair day’s work. Where the elite do not rob us and politicians do not lie and do work for the people. I want the press/internet monitored for bias and lies and not in the control of the elite. I want political accountability and scrutiny. I want proportional representation so that every vote counts.
I want an end to racism and sexism.
I believe that most things are more efficient when deliver at scale. I would abolish all the public schools and private health so that the elite have to use the same facilities as us and are not trained to be superior and arrogant. That way, I believe the public services will be properly funded.
I’ve had to use the US health system – it is a hugely expensive disaster.
I have taught in the US schools – they are hugely expensive and foster inequality.
I want a properly funded Health and Education system. The systems at the moment are run on the cheap. The percentage GDP spent on them is not enough. As the world’s 7th biggest economy we can certainly afford quality. Because the elite pay for a superior model they are content to allow the public services to be poor. It’s only for the plebs. That also fosters greater inequality. They afford better futures for their sons and daughters at our expense. Their horizons are further, their contacts greater and opportunities more.
I want to end the privilege that produces this obnoxious arrogant elite.
I would also nationalise transport, power, and water to make them cheaper and more efficient. That way the profits do not go into the pockets of rich people living abroad and stuffing those profits into tax havens. It goes back into improving services and into the public purse.
I would block the tax loopholes so the wealthy pay all their taxes. Otherwise our taxes have to go up to cover their cheating.
I don’t mind paying taxes, even high levels of taxation, it that results in quality services, quality infrastructure, quality of life and there are no loopholes for the wealthy to avoid paying their share.
I want a global perspective to deal with global issues:
Environmental issues – conservation, diversity etc.
These issues do not have national boundaries and cannot be dealt with by countries. They require global perspective.
I like the UN. It has lofty aims and ideals. It sets a tone and philosophy of fairness, tolerance and rights that I can identify with. I love its declaration of human rights.
Yes, like all institutions it has a level of corruption.
Yes, it is inefficient.
Yes, it hasn’t worked anywhere near as effectively enough.
Corruption is a problem in ALL systems. The only way of dealing with it is scrutiny, accountability, transparency and punishment.
I would like to see the UN made more accountable and effective and all corruption rooted out.
In terms of personal freedom I want to be informed of risks and left alone. I want to decide whether I want to drink, take drugs, smoke, have sex and eat healthily.
Having said that, I want unbiased information and quality product.
If I choose to take LSD I want it to be LSD not LSD with strychnine.
I want quality control and information – not propaganda and lies, and things left in the hands of unscrupulous criminals..
I want to know the risks.
I want my food clearly labelled and not full of pesticides, herbicides and poisons.
I want to know the health risks of poor diet and the calories so I can choose to live healthily.
In education, working with a lot of young kids, I have seen the effects of poor diets, poor exercise, paedophilia and sexual abuse.
I want guidance and controls to operate.
I do not want this to be down to the individual. Most people are stupid, gullible and easily led. By definition half the population have an IQ under 100. They need protecting from their own ignorance.
If sex was left without laws we’d have young girls and boys abused. They need protection.
We need age limits and laws regarding sex, drugs, alcohol, smoking and gambling and those have to be balanced against the freedoms of individuals in their own private spaces.
In my views the drug laws have been misused by the state to victimise and control. Drugs should be regulated but should be a health issue not a criminal one.
These are all areas for debate as regarding freedoms of the individual. It’s where you draw the line.
In public areas there is a difference. I am eternally grateful that smoking is banned. Quite apart from the health hazards, coming back from a gig stinking of smoke is no fun.
Having three sons who smoke due to advertising and peer pressure to look cool I can see the downside. Their addiction (from a young age) will have cost them a fortune and will ruin their health.
Walking through the city centre with bunches of aggressive, violent youths pissed out of their minds and girls tottering around paralytic, I am not enamoured with deregulation.
Gambling is another area that should be far better controlled. I’ve already had one of my son’s losing his flat because of gambling – losing thousands of pounds.
So I am not against The Nanny State. I do want alcohol, cigarettes, sex, food and gambling regulated.
They impinge directly or indirectly on my freedoms.
I was interested to read your history of the world and to realise that I don’t see these events in the same light as you Neil.
The start of the rot was, in my opinion, in the tribal system where it rapidly moved to a political structure with a superior chief and a religious shaman holding power and wealth.
Human beings have always been elitist and aggressive. As tribes we fought for territory. We followed leaders.
We further lost freedoms when we adopted agricultural. We gave up a fairly free and easy lifestyle as hunter gatherers for a life of worry and toil as farmers.
That meant we now had property to protect and we were at the mercy of thieves and brigands. So we banded together to develop defences against the freeloaders and murderers. That was the start of the supertribes that became states.
Out of that came war, taxes, bureaucracy and cities.
I don’t see that as a positive move.
The driver was an increase in population. Far too many to live as hunter-gatherers.
If I was to choose an ideal way of life it would be as a hunter-gatherer – certainly not a farmer or city/town dweller.
From there on in it has been a litany of control by a vicious elite – Kings and Religion.
We have been taxed for wars, taxed to keep an elite in luxury and taxed to preserve a superstitious bunch of mumbo-jumbo merchants in luxury. The church and state represent a wealthy elite who control us through laws, force and propaganda.
That’s where the thrust of your anger should be directed Neil.
Now we get to the nitty-gritty.
The Renaissance and Enlightenment freed us from a claustrophobic control by state and religion. But we still allowed that elite to get away with it.
The rise of democracy and trade unions brought some social justice and equality but we still allowed the elite to rule.
Freedom and justice has to be fought for. There’s a long bloody history for the right for social justice and rights.
The debate should be focussed on the ways in which we are being controlled – the algorithms, the use of propaganda, fake news, lies, the media and internet.
In terms of surveillance I’m undecided. I don’t care if people want to see what I’m looking at on the web. I don’t care if they film what I am doing. That can be good if it protects me from theft and violence. Indeed, one of my sons was acquitted from a crime of serious assault which could have put him in prison because of CCTV evidence.
The freedom aspect comes in with how this is being used, doesn’t it? Is the state watching us to protect us or control us? Do our algorithms enable political, religious propaganda to be directed specifically at us with fear and hate?
There’s the debate. Surveillance isn’t necessarily bad. The use of it might be.
I’m more concerned with the taking over of the BBC, Channel 4 and the tabloid press. That’s become a stream of Tory propaganda.
I’m more concerned with anti-union legislation and the laws against protest.
In my views the issues are not the environment or covid. These are the politicians and elite; inequality and injustice, control and freedom.
Covid was a global pandemic creating unique biological circumstances requiring isolation and vaccination. Fortunately it has mutated into a less lethal form. A future pandemic might be much more lethal. As a biologist I can see the necessary measures of masks, shutdowns and vaccination. The whole anti-lockdown movement was farcical. It wasn’t about freedom. It was based on ignorance and propaganda.
If the imposed restrictions were maintained after the epidemic then we have a freedom issue.
Another red herring.
In terms of the EU – I’m all in favour! I want freedom of movement and free trade without obstacles, tariffs or red tape.
I want to move freely, be able to work or study where I like. I want cheap easy trade.
Yes. I accept the EU is full of corruption and is undemocratic.
I go back to transparency, scrutiny and accountability.
That is where an unbiased decent media comes in. They should be investigating thoroughly and scrutinising what is going on – uncovering corruption. A decent legal system would lock up the corrupt.
In terms of the Welfare State I’m in favour.
I want people in need to be looked after. I want unemployment benefit, sickness benefit and those in need catered for. There is more than enough money it is just not distributed right.
I do not want to live in a society without compassion or empathy.
Having said that I want it all tightening up. Welfare is not there for scroungers. It is there for people in need. People able to work should be working or subsisting on their own. Unemployment should be short term.
Orwell was right. We now live in a world of propaganda, double-think and control run by a faceless elite. We have our hate hour, enemies and inequality.
We’re bought off with mobile phones, alcohol, soaps and strictly come dancing.
But Neil, I do wish you’d move the debate away from the red herrings of climate change and covid to the reality of this wealthy elite and how they are controlling us!
Opher, thanks for your comment. There is a lot there to answer, so I plan to answer bit by bit over a number of days.
I’m glad that you agree that the politicians and the rich elites are parasites on us, and many of them are pests too. But it’s not just those at the tops of the trees that are problematic. There are the bureaucrats – comfortably paid for doing jobs whose benefit to ordinary people is, to say the least, dubious. There are the academics and “advisors” that have the ear of government, and sway them towards policies that are bad for ordinary people. There are the subsidy-craving “business” men, out to rake in as much money as they can for as little effort as possible. There are the media figures and “journalists,” that are well (or very well) paid merely for regurgitating the party line. All told, these parasites are now a significant fraction of the population; and quite a few of them are pests as well.
I’ll pass over issues such as equality and social justice for now, since I’m planning those things to be among the subjects of my next essay in this series.
All the nasty things you say about the Tories are perfectly true, and I echo them. Where we differ is that you seem to think that changing the people in charge can fix our problems. I, on the other hand, think that it is the political system itself that is causing the problems – a system where a self-appointed elite clique can rule over people, draining us, damaging our lives, violating our rights and killing our freedoms, with little or no fear of comeback. “Democracy” is nothing but a stitch-up, when all the alternatives that are available want what are essentially slightly different variations on the same theme of draining us, damaging our lives, violating our rights and killing our freedoms. Putting different people in charge isn’t going to fix anything – and putting Labour, the Slob Dims or the Greens in charge will merely make things worse a bit quicker than the Tories have managed to.
That looks like a good point at which to end part 1.
Reply number two. You talk about humans not being superior to animals. In hindsight, I think I probably shouldn’t have used the word “superior” in reference to Neolithic man. I should, perhaps, have made instead the point that the Neolithic revolution enabled us to make use of animals, in ways well beyond just killing them and eating them. Cows and goats for milk, sheep for wool, and so on. That is something that is part of our nature; and so, it’s right for us to do. Of course, it’s wrong to cause unnecessary suffering to animals, and inelegant to cause them suffering at all. But overall, I think that most at least of the animal species, which have proved useful to humans, have probably done better out of the deal than they would have done if humans had not existed.
You also like to make out that the hunter-gatherer lifestyle was in some sense “better” than the agricultural one. I don’t deny that agriculture brought some problems; but then progress always generates problems, that need to be solved. In this case, property rights was indeed one of the solutions that we found, which enabled us to progress and, as you say, to increase the human population. I consider that at that state of our development that was a desirable end, not a bad thing.
The way I see matters, kings, states, wars and politics came later, some time after the Neolithic revolution. They were part of the counter-revolution that was opposed to our progress. And you’re quite right, they are very nasty things, and we’re still suffering under them today.
Cities are another thing that, at a later time, enabled us to live better. Ancient Athens, for example, enabled a sufficient concentration of good minds like Aristotle and the later Stoics, that we were able to move forward our abilities to think straight. The results were philosophy, mathematics, and prototypes of what would later become the sciences (including biology and zoology!)
Like you, I don’t have any time for big cities as they are today; most of them, indeed, are dumps. But that is because they have deteriorated due to bad government.
That looks like a good place to end part 2.
When you talk about “misusing our intelligence” and instead using it “to churn out trinkets for morons for profit” and to make every day “another buying opportunity,” I find myself strongly disagreeing.
As German Jewish philosopher Franz Oppenheimer told us, there are fundamentally two ways to get your needs and desires satisfied. One is “the economic means,” which he described as “one’s own labor and the equivalent exchange of one’s own labor for the labor of others.” The other is “the political means,” or “the unrequited appropriation of the labor of others.” In my view, the economic means is the natural way for human beings to relate to each other. Creating a product or service that others find valuable, and exchanging it for the satisfaction of your needs, are entirely natural and beneficial uses of our intelligence. And, while I might disagree with precisely what some people find valuable – one man’s perceived necessity can be another man’s trinket – I certainly won’t criticize anyone for using their spending power to reward those people who do something for them in return.
The users of the political means are the ones that misuse their intelligence. Wars, weapons of mass destruction, bad laws, an elite enjoying and controlling wealth out of all proportion to the value to others of what they do; all these are characteristic of a system controlled by the users of the political means – the parasites and pests. Oppenheimer hit the bullseye when he said, “The state is an organization of the political means.” Not only is the state the source of all warlike activity. But it also encourages parasites and pests to seek power, and to use it to unjustly make themselves rich, or to harm innocent people, or both. It is not our intelligence that is misused, but theirs.
End of part 3.
Today, I think I’ll pick up on one of the issues you mention, gambling.
First, some basics. You have a life. You have, religious nonsense notwithstanding, only one shot at it. It is your life, and it’s up to you to make the best shot you can at it. But if you do not have the right to make your decisions for yourself, then you are not in control of your life. And to the extent that you are prevented from making those decisions, you cannot be judged for what happens in your life.
This is why one of my basic social principles is what I call “maximum freedom consistent with living in a civilized community.” Broadly, unless you harm others, or act sufficiently recklessly to put others under significant risk of harm, you should be able to make your own decisions. It is not a function of government to stop you doing things which do not harm or endanger anyone else. If, as a result, you harm yourself, it is up to you to learn from the experience, and not to repeat it. Besides, what would government do if it had a right to stop you from doing harm to yourself? Put you in jail, and do you even more harm?
Gambling, for the most part, is an activity which harms only the person doing it. There are circumstances – for example, if you are gambling with money held in a joint account with someone else – in which you are doing harm to another, and they should have a right to stop you doing it. But gambling is something from which many people (not me, I will say) get quite a bit of pleasure. There are even some, who “gamble with life” and take chances that might not look to others to be the best, yet can often work for them. Entrepreneurial types, for example, often go through cycles of boom and bust, before eventually (some of them) getting it right and making themselves a fortune.
No-one should have a right to stop adult people from doing something, purely on the grounds that it might hurt them. To argue that government should be given such a right, is in essence to try to force your particular view of the world on others, which they may not agree with, and which may even be completely hostile to them and their interests. A far better approach is, if family or friends see someone harming themselves, to try to persuade them that what they are doing is not in their interests.
Activities such as gambling, done by those not yet sufficiently mature to make their own life decisions, are a different problem. The “easy out” is to say that the parents or guardians have the responsibility to decide what their children may do. In this particular case, the approach I would take would be to allow a child to try gambling in a limited way, with safeguards in place so they can’t lose a lot; and let them draw their own conclusions.
More generally, one of the big drawbacks of the “culture of over-precaution” to which we are subjected today is that people don’t learn how to learn from their own mistakes, or to make rational judgements of them. If people are constantly shooed away from making small mistakes, chances are that when they finally do come to make a mistake, it will be a big one. That won’t be good for anyone.
End of part 4.
Today’s “meat” will be smoking.
In some ways, smoking is like gambling. Some people suffer serious, or even very serious, effects from it. Indeed, I personally knew a chain-smoker, who died from lung cancer at the age of 62. (The maths professor I referred to in the essay). But this does not alter the fact that people must be allowed the right to do things that harm only themselves, if they want to. And many people smoke for their whole adult lifetimes, with no or little adverse effect. Both my parents were smokers, for example, and both lived to the age of 86. (Myself, I took a puff when I was 9, didn’t like it, and never felt inclined to try it again – so I don’t personally have a dog in the smoking race).
Where smoking differs from gambling is the claim that “second-hand smoking” is dangerous; so much so, that prohibiting smoking, in an ever widening series of places, is seen by many as justifiable. Including, of course, the control-freaks that take part in, and advise, government.
I have never believed the claim that the dangers of second-hand smoking are significant. It’s well known, of course, that smokers live on average significantly shorter lives than non-smokers. But as far as I know, the corresponding case against second-hand smoking has never been proved. I didn’t study the arguments in detail at the time, so I can’t quote chapter and verse; though I do remember seeing a paper that tested married couples consisting of one smoker and one non-smoker, and adverse life expectancy effects on the non-smokers only became statistically significant after about 30 years of marriage.
In hindsight, it all seems to have been too convenient for those wanting restrictions. A torrent of papers all touting the dangers of second-hand smoking, in the run-up to Labour’s 2007 ban on smoking in pubs and other such places. And then, nothing… except for one “review” paper, which merely states that the alarmists were right, without giving any facts or figures. I am reminded of a similar, but much larger, torrent of alarmist papers on the “global warming” issue, a subject which I have studied in detail. And from that, I know that “science” that is funded by political interests, and most of all by government, can never be fully trusted. I am the kind of person who, on any accusation (against me or anyone else) demands hard evidence that the problem is real, and proof beyond reasonable doubt that the targets of the accusation are indeed responsible for it.
I also recall that the UK was by no means the only country to bring in smoking bans at or around the same time. Even Italy, in which I spent many months in the 1970s and 1980s and in which virtually everyone among the locals smoked back then, banned smoking in a lot of places in 2005. Though they do, apparently, continue to allow people to smoke in designated smoking areas under quite strict conditions. New Labour, being the freedom-haters they were (and are), just brought in a blanket no-smoking restriction. Be all that as it may, there has to have been an international dimension to the clampdowns on smoking, too. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the humanity haters at UNESCO and/or the WHO had been the instigators of the whole thing.
That’s part 5.
As to species extinctions, if (as you say) there is lots of evidence that humans are causing extinctions, why don’t you provide some?
As I’ve said before, if an accusation is made against me, I demand not only hard, objective, independently checkable evidence of the problem, but also proof beyond reasonable doubt that I caused the problem (or a significant part of it). I will never accept guilt for anything without these two pre-conditions. Nor will I ever accept any kind of collective guilt. If I as an individual am not at least in part responsible for a claimed problem, it isn’t up to me to worry about it or to do anything about it. It’s SEP, as Douglas Adams would say.
It simply doesn’t cut it to say “the evidence is abundant” or “this is easily substantiated,” without providing any evidence or substance. Opher, I have asked you, many times, to name a species to whose extinction I have contributed, and you have never yet come up with a name. This time, I also asked for a species which has gone extinct, with the cause being proven to be modern Dutch farming practices. Again, no factual evidence, or even a species name.
One paper I did read about extinctions was Gregory Wrightstone’s 2019 study, which plotted the IUCN’s figures for extinctions per decade against time for the last 200 years or so. That showed extinction rates peaking around the 1890s, and going steadily downwards since then. That certainly doesn’t suggest to me that there is a human-caused extinctions problem now, even if there might have been one in the 19th century! Moreover, I remember finding a claimed “rebuttal” to that paper, which was mostly ad hominems – not in any way science. The only accurate, substantive criticism it made was that the IUCN’s figures were, perhaps, incomplete or out of date. But that is a criticism of the IUCN, not of Wrightstone.
Based on the lack of hard evidence provided, and the lack of any proof of human contribution, I think I am justified in maintaining my view that the whole accusation that humans today are causing species extinctions is no more than smoke and mirrors.
That’s part 6.
Part 7. The dreaded subject of climate, and alarmism in all its forms.
Let’s be clear about what the accusation against us is. (1) It’s warming, and on a global scale too. (2) At least a very significant part of the warming is due to the “greenhouse effect” acting on carbon dioxide gas, which has been emitted into the atmosphere by the actions of human beings. (3) This warming caused by human emissions of CO2 is large and unprecedented, and will have a significant or perhaps even catastrophic effect on the liveability of the planet. (4) It is necessary to take emergency measures to forestall such problems (mitigation), rather than just waiting until a problem becomes apparent, and fixing it (adaptation).
(1) is fairly clear. Yes, it’s warming globally, and has been warming gradually for about 350 years. But there have also been earlier periods of relative warmth, including the Roman and Mediaeval Warm Periods.
(2) is, to say the least, questionable. Since we don’t know what caused the earlier warm periods, we can’t judge how far the same causes are acting today, and how much effect they are having. Moreover, there are other human activities which warm the climate; land use changes (changing the albedo of the surface) and the urban heat island effect. Focusing on CO2 as if it was the “control knob” of the planet’s climate is, to say the least, myopic. Moreover, the organization that is ultimately driving that myopic agenda, the IPCC, is part of the UN. It’s a case of fox in charge of hen-house.
(3) is also very questionable. Computer models come up with large predicted warming, but only because they incorporate large scale “feedbacks.” Empirical attempts to measure the actual warming and predict likely future warming generally produce far less warming. Moreover, computer models can far too easily be tweaked (either intentionally or not) to reflect the agendas of the programmer, or the paymaster, or both. It is also far more than doubtful whether touted warmings of 1.5C, 2C, 3C or even 4-5C would have a significant negative effect on liveability. That is why I keep on making the point that warmer periods have been better in the past.
Moreover, the fact that the UK government, between 2007 and 2009, decided to stop using the “social cost of carbon” (SCC) calculations, replacing it by its own method which gives costs about 5x the costs calculated by SCC, is very revealing. And then there are different “integrated assessment models” for calculating the SCC itself, which can introduce an additional factor of 6 or more between highest and lowest estimates. So, there is a factor of 30 or more between the cost of carbon emissions numbers the UK government uses, and the low end of the SCC calculations. Not 30%, but 30x. These calculations are clearly not fit for purpose.
(4) is plain wrong. If the problem isn’t real, or is only minor, then a “mitigation” approach will waste huge amounts of resources for no gain, and the applied “solutions” may well end up doing more harm than good. All this is bound up with Blair and co’s 2002 re-writing, inversion and perversion of the precautionary principle, into what is in effect “if in doubt, government must act.” The alarmist agenda is driving the whole thing. They want excuses to do bad things to us, simply because they want to do bad things to us.
On top of all that, there’s a big long back-story to the whole thing. I wrote about it here: https://libertarianism.uk/2021/01/31/a-dark-green-background/. Opher, you ought to re-read that. You’ll even see that we had a conversation, rather similar to this one!
One thing I ought to add to the end of part 7 is that, whatever the BBC, the Met Office and others among the usual suspects may say, there is no hard, objective evidence of any “climate crisis” resulting from human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide. Anyone who thinks there is, either (1) hasn’t looked at and understood the full facts, or (2) is fooling themselves, or (3) is simply regurgitating establishment propaganda.
Part 8 is about a relatively easy subject, COVID. I think you should know that I was not among those who made objections to the initial lockdowns in March/April 2020. There was a real risk of running out of intensive care unit beds, and as the severity of the virus wasn’t fully understood at that point, the government deserved to be given the benefit of the doubt. Where things started to go seriously wrong, though, was in early 2021 when, having gone to all the trouble of creating a workable tiered lockdown system, the politicians let SAGE persuade them not to go back to it after the second big wave subsided in February 2021. As a result, we were all kept locked down for about 6 weeks longer than we need have been.
And then there were the problems associated with vaccines. We were told, initially, that they would be one jab for life. Then it became two jabs, then boosters were needed, then regular re-vaccinations. This looks to me like Big Pharma taking the maximum profit that they can out of every opportunity. The UK government also granted the vaccine manufacturers immunity from prosecution for negative effects of their vaccines. Not indemnity, which might have been sensible in the circumstances; but full immunity. That looks to me very much like a “Cabal” of government and Big Pharma working together.
We were also told, initially, that the vaccines would stop you getting and passing on the disease. But they didn’t. Then there were vaccine passport schemes – a clear case of government over-reach – and mandating vaccination of children, who were a low-risk group anyway. And the final nail, sacking tens of thousands of care home workers who refused the vaccines. Without also sacking the tens of thousands of NHS workers who were in the same position! There has, to my knowledge, never been any objective, unbiased analysis done of how much the vaccines have actually done to reduce the spread of the disease. I suspect that it is a lot less than people have been led to believe. Certainly, having had the disease is a far better protection against getting it again than any number of vaccinations! Even now, only about 5% of all UK infections since the start of the pandemic have been re-infections. (Before omicron, it was 0.1%).
Without an objective picture of how effective the vaccines were, it was impossible to make any factual “justification” for any kind of compulsion on anyone over vaccinations. I don’t often agree with feminists, but their slogan “My body, my choice” applies just as much to medical treatment – especially if that treatment is new and essentially untried – as it does to abortion and the like. That, combined with my experience at age 13 of a compulsory ‘flu jab that caused an epidemic of ‘flu in the school, is why I have been, and remain, a conscientious objector to COVID vaccination. I don’t object to other people taking the vaccines, but I sure as hell do object to anyone that wants to force me to take them.
That’s Part 8.
Part 9,and probably last.
When you say you believe that most things are more efficient when delivered at scale, that is only true up to a point. As soon as you get centralization, bureaucracy, political pull and the like, delivery starts to become less and less efficient. Look at the NHS, for example. The management of it has been so bad over decades, that almost no-one with the skills wants to work for it any more!
Another problem with big, centralized organizations is that they tend towards acquiring a single point of failure. A dynamic economy, with many different approaches being tried, is much less vulnerable than a single-approach system, because when there are multiple approaches, if the situation becomes difficult there is a much better chance that one or more of them will work.
And Opher, where do you think you get a “right” to abolish private education and private health care? You have no concern whatever for the people whose jobs you would kill off. You have no concern whatever for offering customers as much choice as possible, so they can pick the provider(s) which best suit them and/or their children. And what gain is there to anyone from forcing everyone to buy these services from a politicized provider? There is no gain at all to anyone, apart from the bureaucrats and the power-hungry that would get more power for themselves. The state of the NHS tells its own story – and it isn’t the fault of the doctors and nurses on the sharp end! And state education in the UK has been on the decline ever since Thatcher politicized it by bringing in a “national curriculum.”
As far as your list of “global problems” goes, I agree that some do need a perspective beyond single countries. Human rights issues, for example, demand a humanity-wide approach; particularly since most of the worst human rights violations are done by political governments! But a global super-state, or anything like it, is not any part of a solution to these problems. The UN, the EU and other international organizations are all pulling in exactly the wrong direction; as are all the mainstream political parties. We need less government, not more. We need smaller political units, not larger. And the root cause of all the problems, as I said at the end of the essay, is the political state.