Monday, 18 July 2005

'A Rocky Coast by Moonlight,' by Paul Sandby Posted by Picasa

Poll shows species headed for extinction

If you're any sort of anthropologist or ecologist you should keep your eye on the last days of a particular human species about to beome extinct, Homo politicis Actus, otherwise known as the ACT Party.

The Herald's weekend poll make it clear if it wasn't already that ACT are dead. Polls are often suspect, but there is little now beyond suspicion in that verdict. Two percent at best in nationwide party vote polling (one percent in the weekend's TV1 poll), ACT needs an electorate to survive. Many of us have wondered why we haven't seen Rodney Hide campaigning in Epsom, and the poll tells us why: with only weeks to go, Rodney is third in Epsom behind National's Richard Worthless and Stuart Nash of Labour. With all the resources behind him and a once-sympathetic electorate, he can't even beat these hacks in a pre-election poll.

ACT are kept alive not by volunteers but by paid employees, and when they're not in parliament, the money stops. When the supporters stop donating and the taxpayers' money stops rolling in, where will ACT be then? Dead, is the answer. So in less than two months we'll see the end of ACT scandal-mongering and of politics before principle; of saying less than you mean and meaning less than you say; of unprincipled wimps who wear suits to bed, and perk-busting politicians who enjoy tax–paid trips around the lambada bars of South America.

As it happens, I predicted ACT's demise some years ago in 'The Free Radical.'

The essence of practical politics must surely be to expand the market share for your ideas. Let me tell you now, that unless you seek to change minds you will never expand your market share beyond those who already agree with you. That is what Act is now finding so difficult. Because in order to be heard you must have something to say; in order to change minds you need fundamental principles to promote. Act has none.

The last days of such a species would make an interesting anthropological study for someone.

[UPDATE: Apparently one behaviour exhibited by the pack-leader of such a species is severe delusion. Rodney Hide has told his blog readers the Herald poll has him "coming third in a straight poll but winning if achieving a centre-right government depends upon it." Winning? The poll shows that when asked 'Would you vote for Rodney Hide if his win ensured the ACT Party's return to Parliament?' 61% of respondents said Not Bloody Likely Mate, and only "38.8 percent say they would vote strategically for him if it provided a partner for a centre-right government." How he gets 'winning' out of that is beyond me.]

Hatred and mysticism behind the violence

As Christopher Hitchens says in a post below, "Random and 'senseless' though such violence may appear, we also all know it expresses a deadly ideology; indeed that in some ways it is that ideology. The preachers of this faith have taken care to warn us that they love death more than we love life."

Making that ideology concrete are some comments in today's Times. The first is from London-based cleric Hani Al-Siba’i, who says of the London killings,

“If Al-Qaeda indeed carried out this act, it is a great victory for it..." When asked about the killings of civilians by Islamists in Iraq, he denied that victims could be divided into combatants and non-combatants. “The term civilian does not exist in Islamic religious law. There is no such term as civilians in the western sense. People are either of Dar al Harb [literally, house of hostility, meaning any non-Islamic government] or not.”

When contacted yesterday, Al–Siba’i stood by most of his comments, although he said the remarks about the definition of civilians “may have been mistranslated”.

And The Times reports another cheerleader from murder is on his way to London.

Al-Qaradawi, 79, is banned from America for advocating child suicide bombers in the Middle East, although he has condemned the London bombings. He has reportedly said: “The Israelis might have nuclear bombs but we have the children bomb and these human bombs must continue until liberation.”

These people do mean it. The Times also has a series of interviews with suicide bomber volunteers in Gaza, and with one suicide bomber survivor. They concur with the venom above. "One member of al-Qassam said: “We do not have tanks or rockets, but we have something superior — our exploding Islamic bombs.”
“How did you feel when you heard that you’d been selected for martyrdom?” asked [The Times]. "It’s as if a very high, impenetrable wall separated you from Paradise or Hell,” he said. “Allah has promised one or the other to his creatures. So, by pressing the detonator, you can immediately open the door to Paradise — it is the shortest path to Heaven.”

The interviews makes clear the mysticism at the heart of all this:

“What is the attraction of martyrdom?” I asked. “The power of the spirit pulls us upward, while the power of material things pulls us downward,” he said. “Someone bent on martyrdom becomes immune to the material pull.

And in this religion, as in so much fundamentalism, the material world is seen as evil; the good can be reached only by shunning this world and seeking another through faith. Ayn Rand identifed the link between Faith and Force, in her article 'Faith and Force: The Destroyers of the Modern World.'
The real conflict, of course, is reason versus mysticism... The conflict of reason versus mysticism is the issue of life or death -- of freedom or slavery -- of progress or stagnant brutality...
Reason and freedom -- are corollaries, and their relationship is reciprocal: when men are rational, freedom wins; when men are free, reason wins. Their antagonists are: faith and force. These, also, are corollaries: every period of history dominated by mysticism, was a period of statism, of dictatorship, of tyranny.
Makes you think, doesn' t it.

Loving death, loving sacrifice

Christopher Hitchens has argued of the London murders "It is a big mistake to believe this is an assault on 'our' values or 'our' way of life. It is, rather, an assault on all civilisation."

"For a few moments [on July 7]," Londoners received a taste of what life is like for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, whose Muslim faith does not protect them from slaughter at the hands of those who think they are not Muslim enough, or are the wrong Muslim."

If you think this is hyperbole then remind yourself of the weekend's terror attack in Baghdad:
A suicide bomber detonated an explosive belt Saturday night inside a Shiite Muslim mosque in a town south of Baghdad, igniting cooking gas in a tanker parked outside and setting off a massive fireball that killed at least 98 people and destroyed or damaged homes more than a half-mile away, police said.
These murderers are not killing 'invaders,' or killing 'oppressors.' This is just killing because they can, and at the cost of their own lives. This is killing of innocents justified by faith, and an ideology that glorifies sacrifice and killing. Here's the school where at least one of the London killers learnt blind hate. As The Times reports, "There is no science, maths, literature or other languages and everything was by rote learning. 'Why do we need discussion?' asked my guide Rashid, the deputy director, when I questioned this. 'What is written is written.' "

I'll let Hitchens conclude for me:

Random and "senseless" though such violence may appear, we also all know it expresses a deadly ideology; indeed that in some ways it is that ideology. The preachers of this faith have taken care to warn us that they love death more than we love life. Their wager is that this makes them unstoppable. Well, we shall have to see. They certainly cannot prove their point unless we assist them in doing so....

We know very well what the "grievances" of the jihadists are.

The grievance of seeing unveiled women. The grievance of the existence, not of the State of Israel, but of the Jewish people. The grievance of the heresy of democracy, which impedes the imposition of sharia law. The grievance of a work of fiction written by an Indian living in London. The grievance of the existence of black African Muslim farmers, who won't abandon lands in Darfur. The grievance of the existence of homosexuals. The grievance of music, and of most representational art. The grievance of the existence of Hinduism. The grievance of East Timor's liberation from Indonesian rule. All of these have been proclaimed as a licence to kill infidels or apostates, or anyone who just gets in the way.

Found: The Smoking Gun


I've received a few e-mails asking: "Where the hell have you been this while?" and similar questions less politely phrased. And there's the answer above. That's me with the smoking gun at the Libz Guns and Fun Event in Northland over the weekend. A prize goes to anyone who can guess what we might have been shooting at.

Julian Pistorius has a short piece on the Event here, but in the name of public taste he says little of the aftermath, which involved a decent curry, a lot of alcohol, an awful lot of rain, and a cabin in the woods. And at that point memory fails me. :-)

The protection of law

Two quotes on and of the law here which set my wheels spinning. The first is from a decision handed down by Lord Denning, often derided for his 'unfashionable' opinions (reasons for this may be divined from Thomas Sowell's columns on ''Mainstream' Judges') ; the second from the superb Man For All Seasons:

"The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail - its roof may shake - the wind may blow through it - the storm may enter - the rain may enter - but the King of England cannot enter - all his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement.' So be it - unless he has justification by law.": Southam v Smout [1964] 1 QB 308 at 320

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Margaret: Father, that man’s bad.

Sir Thomas More: There is no law against that.

Roper: There is! God's law!

More: Then God can arrest him.

Roper: Sophistication upon sophistication.

More: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal.

Roper: Then you set man's law above God's!

More: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact - I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of the law, oh, there I'm a forrester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God....

Alice: While you talk, he's gone!

More: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law!

Roper: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law!

More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

Roper: I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you - where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast - man's laws, not God's - and if you cut them down - and you're just the man to do it - d'you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.

Friday, 15 July 2005

No Transmission

Sorry everyone, I've been offline and out of touch most of the morning with internet and other problems - Telecom tells me that apparently a 'shell' at their end is malfunctioning, so 120 ADSL users are down -- so I'm posting here from a net cafe on the way to an appointment.

And I'm off the 'Eye to Eye' show I mentioned below -- apparently back on at a later date for a different discussion. Instead if you do tune in you'll see Nevil Gibson, Rodney Hide, John Tamihere and John Mather, CEO of Maori Television, dissecting the channel.

So there you go.

Wanderer


'Wanderer Above a Sea of Fog' by Caspar David Friedrich

Not in their name

I don't remember seeing this in the mainstream media:

Monday, June 11
HUNDREDS of people paid tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks in London with a candlelit vigil staged outside the British Embassy, [Bahrain], last night.

The joint vigil was organised by Al Wefaq National Islamic Society and the National Democratic Action Society and involved the Islamic Action Society, Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and the Bahrain Society for Freedom and Support of Democracy.

The only write-up I can find of the Bahraini protest is in the Gulf Daily News. The photos are at the Chan'ad Bahraini blog.

And there was also this news from The Scotsman, that "sixty Jordanians held a vigil outside the British Embassy in Jordan's capital, Amman, to protest at the London terror attacks and express solidarity with the British people." Photos here.

In the current environment, I found it inspiring to see some Muslims at least genuinely and enthusiastically denouncing the evil supposedly committed in their name...

It's by no means a Reformation of the religion, as I argued for here, (and Irshad Manji argues for so much better than I here) but it certainly put a smile on my dial.

Thursday, 14 July 2005

Maori TV

It seems I'm to be on 'Eye to Eye' this week discussing the issue of Maori broadcasting, and specifically Maori TV. Feel free to suggest suitably reasoned lines of argument I might adopt. :-)

Who would commit mass murder?

The terrorists that murdered Londoners were home-grown and foreign-trained to make them ideologically equipped for their 'ultimate sacrifice.' Where were they trained, who would encourage such thinking, and just what in the name of hell did they think they were sacrificing for?

The answer to the first question, reports The Times, is that Hasib Hussain and Shehzad Tanweer were trained in Pakistan.

Tanweer’s uncle, Bashir Ahmed, has no doubts that it was faceless figures in Pakistan who radicalised his sports-mad nephew.

“He was such a calm, loving normal boy. Extremists must have got their hands on him,” the 65-year-old Leeds businessman said yesterday.

“We all thought he had gone to continue his education. I thought he just wanted to improve his pronunciation.

“It wasn’t him. It must have been forces behind him.

'Training' was not stripping down Kalashnikovs out in a desert training camp.

“Today the camps are more like youth hostels,” one young activist who attended a madrassa in southern Pakistan told The Times.

“Recruits don’t spend hours scrabbling about on outward bound courses. It is more like being in a school room.”

“Organisers don’t want to turn out warriors who can strip down a Kalashnikov rifle blindfolded. They want to shape the mind, not the body.

“They want their recruits to embrace the idea of giving their lives for their cause, and doing nothing more technical than triggering the bomb they carry.”

There are long periods of Koranic study but also what organisers call “the evolution of the jihad”, which teaches how wars are no longer a battle between rival armies.

The modern Islamic terrorist understands the concept of 'asymmetric warfare' (I'll say more on this shortly) and he understands the true nature of sacrifice -- or at least he does after he's been indoctrinated in a philosophy of hate. "They want to shape the mind, not the body" -- remember that phrase, because whatever else this struggle is, at root it is a battle of ideas we are engaged in.

So who encouraged these lads to blow themselves up in pursuit of mass-murder? What sort of person were they, and what sort of a philosophy were they peddling. The Times has an example here: Egyptian-born Professor Tariq Ramadan, described as "an Islamic academic who justifies suicide bombings," and booked to speak in the UK soon.

As
one of the good guys, Irfan Khawaja says, "draw your own conclusions about the nature of the moral and intellectual status of what passes for the Muslim intelligentsia, and the academic culture hospitable to it." Irfan has a go at the western apologists for the terror in a piece called Grievance Explanations and the Politics of Fantasy. It's good reading, and he poses a challenge to the apologists:
So which policy do you want? The one that led to London, the one that led to 9/11, the one that would have led to a nuclearized Iraq, or the one that might well have led to the Iraqi hijacking of the Saudi oil fields?

Or is it that you want the policy option that consists in the fantasy that you don't have to think about stuff like this?
And Robert Bidinotto attempts to explain the ideas behind both the terror, and the western apologists for the terrorists: Is it Islamic 'extremism' -- or is it Islam itself? he asks. He talks of a
moral inversion [in the West] fueled by toxic philosophy. Thanks to a long gray line of ideological dope-pushers, Western intellectuals, politicians and cultural leaders are addicted to the self-destructive hallucinations of moral relativism, altruistic self-sacrifice, cultural self-loathing and political appeasement of sworn enemies. Self-blame, along with cowardly calls for more 'understanding' and 'restraint,' are their only knee-jerk responses in the face of each new outrage.
And as for the argument that these are just extremist Islamic nutcases committing these horrors, like Bidinotto we've all been waiting to hear real, genuine repudiation from Muslims themselves. As he says,
I am by no means an expert on Islam. But since 9/11, and during the countless terrorist incidents that followed, I have been patiently awaiting evidence that the majority of Muslims worldwide repudiate the premises and tactics of Islamic terrorists.

Well, I'm still waiting. And there comes a time when one must finally draw conclusions, however painful, from the facts presented.

If there really is some sort of ongoing war between "extremists" and "moderates" for the soul of Islam, it appears to be one of the quietest contests in the history of ideological warfare.

More misunderstood killers

So who wants to defend this atrocity -- was the suicide bomber and those who encouraged and resourced him just 'misunderstood'?
BAGHDAD - A suicide car bomber killed 27 and wounded 67 people, mostly children, when he blew himself up beside a US patrol in east Baghdad ... Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, has made clear in internet statements - though their authenticity cannot be verified -- that he sees Shia Iraqis as apostates who deserve to be killed just as much as American soldiers.
Oh, so I suppose that's alright then. Anyone want to defend this sick fuck?

Wednesday, 13 July 2005

Guns and Fun!

The Herald have the news that there's to be some sort of event in Northland this weekend celebrating 'guns and fun,' at which there's reportedly a pretty unattractive-looking bloke talking "about issues affecting Northlanders, including 'the horror that is the RMA'." Outrageous. (And a truly awful photograph.)

More details here. Send complaints here.

They aren't terrorists, they're just misunderstood.


What many of us mean by the above and what the BBC mean by it differs considerably. The BBC take the above exhortation as in invitation to airbrush history.

The Times reports that

on Thursday night, as the weblog Harry’s Place has observed, the BBC website ran an article headlined “Bus man may have seen terrorist”. By the next morning the headline appeared as “Passenger believes he saw bomber”. Another page on the site referred to “the worst terrorist atrocity Britain has seen”. By Friday lunchtime these words became “the worst peacetime bomb attacks Britain has seen”.

And this wasn’t an accident. Editors were following Section 11 of the BBC’s editorial guidelines which read: “The word ‘terrorist’ itself can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding. We should try to avoid the term.”

The Telegraph reports that an un-named BBC spokesman said in response to these airbrushing accusations last night: "The word terrorist is not banned from the BBC." Bollocks, says the rest of us.

Won nothing

What is a combined smokescreen generator, mud thrower and bullshit dispenser? If you answered either Alastair Campbell or the benighted fool Clive Woodwhinge you get a point. Andrew has posted a hilarious Woodwhinger and a bunch of Lions jokes over at SOLO. Sure, even their wives must laugh at them when they're trying to score.
************************************************************

The Lions are making available a help-line for fans who are disappointed with their team's recent performance.

The help-line number is: 0800 10 10 10.

That's 0800 won nothing won nothing won nothing!!

************************************************************

Bloggers. Tragically hip.

So what's the collective noun for a group of bloggers?

How about a blowhard of blogs?
EXAMPLE: Stephen can't come out tonight -- he's got a whole blowhard of blogs to get through.

Or a contumescence of blogs:
EXAMPLE: There's a whole contumesence of blogs about that, and they all agree: you should wear the tinfoil inside your hat.

Or maybe a who-gives-a-fuck of blogs:
EXAMPLE: There is an entire who-gives-a-fuck of blogs that could answer your question, but I'm off to get laid. Have a nice life. Blowhard.

This guy reckons it should be a tragedy of blogs. He makes a good case ... for a blowhard with a Che icon on his site. He's also got lots of shitty words about the shitty words tragic bloggers use. For example:
Podcast: Someone had the revolutionary idea of taking a compressed audio file and putting it online. Yeah, doesn't sound so sexy when I describe it for what it is, does it you morons? It would have been a great idea if streaming audio wasn't already around for over a decade before the word "podcast" entered the lexicon. Man, I can't stand the word "lexicon." Talking about all these shitty words has made me start using shitty words. I'm so pissed, I just slammed the door shut on some kid's nuts.
And he's made up at least one new one of his own. "A female blogger with an itch? You guessed it: a BITCH." Not sure if I've ever met one like that. :-)

[Hat tip DPF]

Tuesday, 12 July 2005

Will Labour's tax greed destroy it?

I've just arrived back from a business trip to Rotorua, and excitedly flicking through my new Free Radical magazine, hot off the press and into my mailbox this morning.

Iit's chock-full of kick-arse activism, abstract theorising, and arse-grabbingly provocative commentary -- and that's just the cover! More on what's inside here.

Order your copy from your newsagent today, or subscribe here.

Transmission

Sorry everyone, illness in the family so expect transmission to be intermittent over the next while. Will catch up on posts and comments shortly. Apologies to anyone who has abused me while I've been away and was expecting a colourful reply, or who offered me something informative that it seems like I've spurned. I'll see what I can do as soon as I can. :-)

When sensitive flowers attack

The Humphreys have the story that silly old Lydon Hood at un-Fighting Talk has come out against the London bombers, still harbours a grudge against both the Humphreys and myself.

I haven't yet read Lyndon's piece, but apparently reading my blog raises his blood pressure. Poor chap. Maybe he should lie down and think about England.

[UPDATE: Ah. Seems I've been given a bit of a bum steer. Here's what Lyndon wrote: "Be aware that I'm about to do a lot of attributing the opinions of one author to the entire blog. I'm sort of sorry about that. I know I abused PC for it. But I don't want to look up who said what because reading that blog is bad for my blood pressure." Looks like the Humphreys have misattributed 'that blog.' There you go. Storm in a pantywaist.]

Monday, 11 July 2005

When bloggers have got reasons to hide

I'm still in two minds about anonymous or pseudonymous bloggers. Some are posting under cover because they've got something to hide -- Jim Peron for instance, seemingly posting as LiNZ (unintentional irony, surely) -- and some do so because of things like this: an American University professor who suggests that if you're a blogger then university search committees may hold that fact against you when considering whether or not to offer you employment. True story. [Hat tip, Noodle Food.]

Where is the Gandhi of Islam?

Thoughtful pieces this morning from The Sunday Times, The Telegraph and Capitalism Magazine.

The Telegraph has Charles Moore asking Where is the Gandhi of Islam? and is in a similar vein to my own Condemning a Culture, though with some important differences. I'd recommend an Aquinas, not a Gandhi.
... London is part of a great civilisation.Yet there seems to me to be a radical disjunction between our heroic capacity to deal with the immediate effects of terrorism and our collective refusal to confront what lies behind it. The effects of this disjunction are, literally, fatal. [Hat tip Samizdata]
And The Sunday Times has information on a Leaked No. 10 Dossier' showing the urgency of not letting our guard down in the meantime.
Al-Qaeda is secretly recruiting affluent, middle-class Muslims in British universities and colleges to carry out terrorist attacks in this country, leaked Whitehall documents reveal. A network of “extremist recruiters” is circulating on campuses targeting people with “technical and professional qualifications”, particularly engineering and IT degrees.
Yesterday it emerged that last week’s London bombings were a sophisticated attack with all the devices detonating on the Underground within 50 seconds of each other. The police believe those behind the outrage may be home-grown British terrorists with no criminal backgrounds and possessing technical expertise.

And Michael Hurd suggests a crucial lesson to be learned from the latest terror attacks is that "terrorists are not afraid."

President Bush keeps repeating that we're not going to ever give in. No matter what they do to us, we'll stay firm. Firm in what way? In Iraq? Terrorism isn't merely about Iraq. Terrorism happens because some people want to destroy life on earth while others want to live it. Notice how terrorists don't usually go after soldiers (although they do this). Their primary targets are working people, people on buses and people on subways. Or people in airplanes. They want to terrorize "regular people" so that regular people will, in turn, compel their leaders to cave in.

Therein lies the terrorist contradiction. If we give in to terrorism more and more, then what do we get in return? In the end, a society run by religious fanatics who choke any tiny ounce of joy out of living. Why would any remotely rational person ever give in to this? This is why sooner or later (and usually sooner, rather than later), people get back onto the airplanes, buses and highways. They always have and they always will because civilization, on its worst day, beats a typical day in the life of a terrorist (or a terrorist state, such as Iran) hands down.

Magic Wood


More photography by Yuri Bonder. 'Magic Wood.' Magic indeed. [Hat tip Illustrated Ideas]

Some of this week's best at Not PC

The last few days of posts here at Not PC have been mainly taken up with commentary on the London atrocities, and I should point out that Scoop and SOLO both have my column 'We are all Londoners today,' compiled largely from Friday morning's postings. Feel free to comment either here or at SOLO.

So here's the best of the week, plus art, comedy and music at the all-singing all-dancing Not PC:

Commentary on London:

Condemning a culture...
http://pc.blogspot.com/2005/07/condemning-culture.html
Responding to atrocity...
http://pc.blogspot.com/2005/07/responding-to-atrocity.html
One of those that caused it...
http://pc.blogspot.com/2005/07/one-of-those-that-caused-it.html
Business as usual...
http://pc.blogspot.com/2005/07/business-as-usual.html
We are all Londoners today...
http://pc.blogspot.com/2005/07/we-are-all-londoners-today.html
Bastards bomb the west again!
http://pc.blogspot.com/2005/07/bastards-bomb-west-again.html


Other posts:

July 4th: Celebrating revolution
On July 4th, Mark Steyn reminds us that criticisms of the US for being 'unilateralist' are ever so slightly amusing when you realise that a position of 'unilateralism' is simply a euphemism for one of 'independence,' the concept for which the July 4 celebration is putatively held. Why not abolish the holiday altogether, wonders Tibor Machan. A nation born in liberty now subjects itself to the very tyrannies and usurpations against which it once revolted...
http://pc.blogspot.com/2005/07/july-4th-celebrating-revolution.html

Property-siezing the beginning of Sovietisation?
Further commentary here from economist Richard Salsman on the Kelo et al v City of New London decision evicting people from their Connecticut homes to make way for a shopping mall...
http://pc.blogspot.com/2005/07/property-siezing-beginning-of.html

First Heat
'First Heat,' by Brian Larsen. One of the few great works of art celebrating industry...
http://pc.blogspot.com/2005/07/first-heat.html

A Saturday morning ramble: How do you judge success?
I was chatting with a friend over breakfast when Hello Sailor's 'Gutter Black' came on the radio. (Seems it's being used for a new local TV series, so there'll be a few well-deserved royalties going Dave McArtney's way.) My friend commented that he'd never heard the song before, which seemed incredible to me; that song, I said, was what turned me on to music...
http://pc.blogspot.com/2005/07/saturday-morning-ramble-how-do-you.html

Lifting your spirits
On such a day as this, what can you do to lift your spirits without forgetting the atrocities of last night?I recommend music, especially music that represents the best of the culture that is presently under attack. Listening to the best of the west is almost like an act of defiance, a reminder that this is what we're defending against the nihilists....
http://pc.blogspot.com/2005/07/lifting-your-spirits.html

Who is looking where?
So who exactly is the blogger 'Looking in NZ'? Well, here's a clue: My post two below this one on Peron's problems is almost exactly the same as the comment I posted on the comments board of 'Looking in NZ's apologia for Jim Peron, which just been removed. Is that a clue?
http://pc.blogspot.com/2005/07/who-is-looking-where.html

More liberty at the movies
Now for some more uplifting material. David Boaz has posted his personal list of his all-time favourite libertarian-themed movies here, to which I'd add at least three more...
http://pc.blogspot.com/2005/07/more-liberty-at-movies.html

Peron's problems are of his own making
Some bloggers have been feeling sympathy for the difficulties in which Jim Peron now finds himself. I'm not one of them.'Looking in NZ' has said a lot about Peron’s problems, about which he seems to know an unusual amount, but hasn't once mentioned the elephant in the middle of the room that’s the direct cause of those problems...
http://pc.blogspot.com/2005/07/perons-problems-are-of-his-own-making.html

Architect goes into liquidation
Aaron gave me the news that Auckland architect Richard Priest Architects Ltd have gone into liquidation. I don't know the sad details, but I'm not surprised since Richard was architect for one of the 'poster boy' projects of leaky homes...
http://pc.blogspot.com/2005/07/architect-goes-into-liquidation.html

Straight talk & spin
Helen Clark comes up with the straight talk on stoning, and Russell Brown with the spin...
http://pc.blogspot.com/2005/07/straight-talk-spin.html

Anti-capitalism in Edinburgh
Freedom and Whiskey is a libertarian from Edinburgh with pics and comments on the anti-capitalist nutters currently infesting his fair city...
http://pc.blogspot.com/2005/07/anti-capitalism-in-edinburgh.html

Mugabe begins confiscating guns ... what's next?
Robert Mugabe has begun confiscating guns. Why do you think that would be?
http://pc.blogspot.com/2005/07/mugabe-begins-confiscating-guns-whats.html

Stoning Ashraf Choudhary
The idiotic pronouncement by Labour MP Ashraf Choudhary that stoning gays and adulters is okay because it is in the Koran and "what the Koran says is correct" demonstrates once again that all cultures are not equal, and Islamic culture perhaps least equal than most...
http://pc.blogspot.com/2005/07/stoning-ashraf-choudhary.html

Meddling arseholes highlight system of a downer
Just as Shania Twain finally receives permission to build a house on her own land, news comes in that Serj Tankian (pictured right) "the singer of American band System of a Down has failed in his bid to buy a west coast beach property...
http://pc.blogspot.com/2005/07/meddling-arseholes-highlight-system-of.html

More Aid, Less Growth
Aid kills growth, that's the message of a report by the Globalization Institute.
http://pc.blogspot.com/2005/07/more-aid-less-growth.html

Compromisers and meddlers destroy Costa Rica's libertarians
Sad news from Costa Rica about the parliamentary libertarians there, who have apparently gone native. Former activist Jorge Codina reports that the Moviemento Libertario (ML) is no longer a movement, nor any longer libertarian...
http://pc.blogspot.com/2005/07/compromisers-and-meddlers-destroy.html

What do consent figures tell us about the property boom?
The number of Building Consent applications for new homes has plummeted (Bob Dey has figures here), prompting some speculation that the property boom is turning south...
http://pc.blogspot.com/2005/07/what-do-consent-figures-tell-us-about.html

Sunday, 10 July 2005

Condemning a culture

Berlin Bear and Mark have been disagreeing as to whether any Muslims have condemned the atrocities in London, and I have to note in response to both of them that the BBC World Service did speak to plenty of British Muslims who did so in no uncertain terms. I have no doubt at all that they were genuine condemnations, and good on them for doing so.

There are secular Muslims about who do condemn bombing innocent people, for sure, but I'd suggest however that just as there are few Muslims who actively campaign against clitorectomies or the compulsory wearing of veils, there are few who are active in seeking to remove the stain of violent jihad from their culture, and many -- including western intellectuals and commentators -- that apologise for it. (Irfan Khawaja points the finger at Tariq Ali, for example, over here. Sir Humphrey's posts Christopher Hitchens's response to Ron Reagan Jr over here.) And one of the imams who condemned violence yesterday on the BBC represented the mosque in which was recruited the British-born Muslim that tried two years ago to blow up a US passenger airline with explosives in his shoe. This is not condemnation so much as tacit acceptance of the evil in one's midst.

So, to answer another of Simon's questions, I don't by any means condemn 1.4 billion Muslims -- I don't even know most of them for goodness' sake. As Simon says (insert obvious punchlines here) , "much as I despise the bastards who did this, I despair when I hear comments that imply that the whole of Islam is responsible for this sort of thing." Clearly 'the whole of Islam' did not bomb London, or Madrid, or Istanbul, or Jakarta, or Bali, or New York. But there is a world-wide trend there, don't you think, that we should not ignore. One that needs to be taken seriously, and one that needs to be condemned.

In my opinion it is the culture of Islam fundamentalism that needs to be condemned, as I argued here briefly just the other day before all this happened, and here some weeks ago. And in answer to criticisms that this attitude is racist, or that cultures themselves are beyond criticism, nonsense. Culture and race are two different things. One can condemn a culture without necessarily condemning those within it :
The fact is that cultures are not beyond criticism (a point made last week by Wellington probation officer Josie Bullock), and nor should they be. We should judge Islamic culture, and indeed all cultures, according to how well they work for those within them. Thomas Sowell made exactly that point in his book Conquest and Cultures:
Cultures are not museum-pieces. They are the working machinery of everyday life. Unlike objects of aesthetic contemplation, working machinery is judged by how well it works, compared to the alternatives.
Islamic culture does not work for those dirt poor people scraping a living across the globe in Muslim theocracies, and it sure as hell ain't working for those killed by Islamic bombs in the cities across the world to which many of those dirt poor have themselves escaped in search of a better life. A culture that encourages murder and martyrdom and theocratic dictatorship is not a culture that reveres human life. It must be condemned and it must be defended against.
As long as the Islamic world harbours within it those have declared and carried out jihadic murder in the west, then the war of self-defence must be entered, both on the ground and in the battlefield of ideas.

It's not enough to just condemn it, however. Islam must be reformed, and the hate-success, clitorectomies-for-everybody, kill-the-west culture that has fomented nothing but hatred and poverty across the Muslim world firmly rejected. Witness the effect that the sisters of Robert McCartney (pictured left) had in speaking out against Irish violence -- in saying "NO MORE!" they brought the hope of an end to what once seemed unending. Only such a rejection from within is ever going to change the culture of Islam.

Second, Islam needs a Reformation. Urgently. As I pointed out here and here four years ago to noisy dissent, unlike the West, Islam never had a Reformation, and 1.4 billion Muslims and at least 750 Londoners are the poorer for that today. Islam never had a Renaissance. It never had an Aquinas to liberate science, thought and life from its religious shackles. Crikey, Islam doesn't even have a New Testament saying that all the God-awful and God-ordained killing in that earlier collection of papyrus is no longer necessary. Islamic culture needs to embrace Enlightenment values, and it needs to do so damn quickly.

It needs its own McCartney sisters and its own Aquinas. Until it gets them the culture stands condemned, with smoking ruins and a trail of corpses across the west as sad monuments to its destructive power.

Saturday, 9 July 2005

Responding to atrocity

Early yesterday morning I commented "at such times as these, isn't it a reminder that despite their mixed premises and many political differences between us -- and with significant low-life exceptions such as George Galloway and Keith Locke -- western people and politicians actually share more than we differ." The responses over the day confirmed that point; with the notable exception of Galloway the response world-wide and across New Zealand has been tremendous. If there has been some good news amidst the barbarity, that must surely be it.

So Simon asked me "What did [Keith] Locke say that you're unhappy with?" A fair question. In my defence, I called Keith a low-life not so much because of what he said yesterday (the offending post was published at 8:15am yesterday morning, before anyone had really said anything) but because of his post-September 11 actions around the country. I posted one such response of Locke's to the Frog Blog a few weeks ago.

[At a Rotorua public meeting] Keith sat there smiling and nodding his head in agreement [while Annette] Sykes told the audience: “I will never forget that morning turning on my TV and seeing those planes fly into those two towers, I jumped for joy, I was so excited to see that at long last capitalism was under attack. I was laughing, I was so happy, but then I saw those people jumping out of the windows and it suddenly hit me, oh those poor waiters, the poor cleaners, those poor lift operators, who the greedy capitalists had employed to do all the dirty jobs were probably the people jumping out of the windows.”

Keith neither challenged nor questioned Sykes’ rant, he sat there and smiled and nodded and then led the applause when she finished.

As it happens, when the Greens' response came out yesterday it was very good, unlike that of the Maori Party who expressed sympathy without condemnation, as if these barbaric multiple murders were some sort of natural disaster that had 'just happened' to tragically take people's lives. Bloggreen was similarly judgement-free:
Firstly all my thoughts are with the people of London. This tragic event will change your city I do not doubt. Be strong, look out for each other and know our thoughts are with you. ...

But I have to say this: Learn from New York. The question is not who did it, but why did they did it.
Actually, the question is this: who did it, who helped them, why did they do it ... and where do they live.

A Saturday morning ramble: How do you judge success?

I was chatting with a friend over breakfast when Hello Sailor's 'Gutter Black' came on the radio. (Seems it's being used for a new local TV series, so there'll be a few well-deserved royalties going Dave McArtney's way.) My friend commented that he'd never heard the song before, which seemed incredible to me; that song, I said, was what turned me on to music!

It's true. As a kid growing up there was no music in the house aside from the dross of early seventies government TV and radio -- and I'm sure many of you remember how bad that was -- so aside from the theme to 'The Thunderbirds,' music to me was just so much bland foreign territory with about as much interest as a week's holiday in Taihape. Until one day when we were sitting in the car outside the Westfield freezing works -- I can remember the moment IT happened, you see -- and THIS SOUND came on the radio.

"What's that?!" I said to my sister who was sitting fiddling with the car radio. "Turn it up!" I'd never heard anything like it. It was 'Gutter Black' in all its clever, punchy, pithy glory. If that was music, I wanted more.

I saved up my Newspaper-round money and bought the first Hello Sailor album, and I played it every afternoon for a year. After that copy wore out, I bought another one and played that every afternoon for another year. I was in love with music, and Hello Sailor was to blame. (Several thousand CDs and records later, maybe I should send Dave and Graham the bill?)

So after I'd told my friend all this, he confessed to an even sadder childhood: he'd never heard of Hello Sailor at all. Incredible. I talked and talked (as I do) but he'd never heard of them. He had however heard of Dragon, with whom Hello Sailor started playing back in their early days. In fact, when both bands were getting started they lived together in a rambling old house in Ponsonby, dubbed Mandrax Mansions due to the incessant and regular drug taking going on there.

So my friend and I then reflected on how history works, and how you judge success. You see, by 1975, Dragon had gone to Australia and achieved fame and fortune and $200-a-day heroin habits, while Hello Sailor were still in Ponsonby taking cheap drugs. By 1980, Hello Sailor had just acquired world-famous-in-NZ status before splitting (not for the first time); and Dragon were flying, in all senses of the word. Contrasting fortunes indeed.

But now, in 2005, the good fortune has turned around. Three of Dragon's original five members are dead, while Hello Sailor's line-up are all alive, kicking and in rude good health. And with new solo albums out to boot (Buy Graham's here, and Dave's here).

So how do you judge success?
=========================================================
If your interest has been piqued, you can buy The Sailor Story here.

Friday, 8 July 2005

Brains beats barbarity


'Theseus slays the Minotaur' --sculpture by Antoine-Louis Bayre.

Lifting your spirits

On such a day as this, what can you do to lift your spirits without forgetting the atrocities of last night?

I recommend music, especially music that represents the best of the culture that is presently under attack. Listening to the best of the west is almost like an act of defiance, a reminder that this is what we're defending against the nihilists.

So what works then? Jean Sibelius' 2nd Symphony is presently doing wonders for me. Ralph Vaughan Williams' 'Rhapsody on a Theme of Thomas Tallis' has also hit the spot, and I fully expect Jesse Norman's rendition of Richard Strauss' 'Four Last Songs' and Wagner's five 'Wesendonck' lieder to do it for me shortly. And I note Craig is listening to and enjoying Noel Coward's 'London Pride,' as I did earlier when I followed the link he posted.

And even Radio New Zealand have offered something to look forward to. Tomorrow afternoon they begin a two-part programme on, in my estimation, America's greatest composer: Duke Ellington. (Word has it that RNZ have their programming streamed somewhere, but I'm blowed if I can work out where.) And Duke perhaps should have the last word on rising above adversity: "I merely took the energy it would have taken to pout," he used to say, " and I wrote some blues." And such effortless-seeming blues they are too. I can't wait.

One of those that caused it ...

The Times has the story of a passenger who cheated death, and perhaps also of the one that might have tried to cause it:
Terence Mutasa, a staff nurse at University College hospital, treated two passengers, young women in their twenties, for minor injuries and shock. “They were saying some guy came and sat down on the bottom deck and that he exploded,” he said. “They said the guy sat down and the explosion happened. They thought it was a suicide bomber.”
A report from the Guardian corroborates the claims, which are still perhaps only speculation. Other reports have wondered whether it was a suicide bombing, or a bomb that exploded early, which fits with Guardian reports that the devices were not exactly reliable.
But a source told The Guardian that three controlled explosions had been carried out on "suspect devices". Furthermore Vincent Cannistraro, the former head of the CIA's counter-terrorism centre, told The Guardian that "two unexploded bombs" were recovered as well as "mechanical timing devices".

An earlier BBC-TV broadcast suggested one of those was apparently at Stockwell station; if so it suggests South London was also on the list of targets.

New blogs being added

New sites being added to my Blogroll, for obvious reasons: Jihad Watch and FaithFreedom.Org

Business as usual

More random thoughts, with appropriate hat tips:
  • Business as usual. That was the phrase of stoic courage made famous in the London blitz, and typified in the photo to the right. 'Business as usual' is the quiet bravery of offering two fingers to aggressors who simply do not understand what makes human life sacred, and human effort valuable.
  • I look forward to a combined declaration from the exended G8 this afternoon. Call it the 'London Declaration,' as Adam Reed has:
    From this point on, terrorists and their "political" and "spiritual" leaders shall have no sanctuary anywhere on Earth. Not in Saudi Arabia, not in Iran, not anywhere. Justice on Earth, and the survival of human civilization, demand no less. And we humans must demand nothing less from our leaders.
  • We should be clear that we are at war. It is not a war against terrorism per se, it is a war declared on us by Islamic jihadists. It is a war of self-defence against a culture that reviles the wealth and freedom of the west because neither are possible in a culture that values neither. In many ways it is the last hurrah of fundamentalist losers who know their cultural values have brought nothing but poverty, dictatorship and death, and have nothing more to offer. It's easy to kill; harder to offer the values that sustain life.

  • America and the allies reacted in self-defense, and against jihad, while the EU is appeasing Islam.

  • The Islamic terrorists who commit these atrocities are not the poor or downtrodden of the Muslim world, they are its best and brightest. What sort of culture has its best and brightest commit multiple murder, while its poor and downtrodden flee (when they can) to find a better life.

  • Freedom's enemies have many faces, but one fundamental evil: hatred of the good for being the good. The lietmotif of nihilist hatred is a "radical rejection of the good, absolutely and in principle; rejection of what is good by any standard and by all standards, rejection of good as such. The emotional expression of nihilism is 'hatred of the good for being the good.' 1.

    "Good guys can't believe nihilism. They can't imagine that anyone could accept nihilism, let alone try to practice nihilism, let alone cultivate in himself a hatred of the good. The good guys' naivete on this point is their main strategic weakness: how do you fight enemies you can't even believe exist?" [Hat tip, Michael Miller.]

We are all Londoners today

"We are all Londoners today." That was the response from Jenny Dervin of Atlanta to the Times Online,and doesn't it describe the way we all feel this morning. The vibrant, tolerant city of London is today's front line in the battle for those western values that makes cities across the west the great places they are. The smiling, celebrating faces that were in evidence in London yesterday celebrating their Olympic victorywill be back, and when they are it will be a victory for all of us.

Grace under pressure

This was not an accident, this was a planned, intentional act to take multiple human lives.

The concerted explosions across central London, ripping apart trains, a bus and the people who were in them should focus us all on realising that the people who do this are not like us. They are snivelling, crawling, anti-life scum that have nothing to offer the world and the people in it except violence, destruction and death. Let's take them at their word, and not accept any part of what they stand for.

Some random thoughts:
  • Like all of us, I'm sure, I'm still waiting to hear back from friends in London that they're okay. When I lived in London and IRA bombs went off, I would laugh at calls to see how I was; now I'm being laughed at in turn. I'm glad they're laughing.
  • What a great performance by the authorities -- by medical staff, transport staff, police and other services that have clearly had a response to this sort of outrage planned, and well-planned.
  • Londoners are so wonderfully calm under this sort of pressure. Grace under pressure.
  • 37 people killed. 700 injured. I hope some of those killed were the perpetrators. [UPDATED: Now 52 confirmed dead, 700 injured. ref Times]
  • London stock exchange down, and then straight back up again. Business as usual.
  • Given the planning that this attack displays, the good news is the relatively low loss of life. Despite the easy, soft targets they chose to rip apart with their explosives, it seems the cowardly, destructive fuckers were unable to acquire the materiel to kill and destroy at the level of Madrid, New York or Bali, or the coordination to kill on an even greater scale. Is that some sort of blessing? Are these people weaker in their destructive powere than we give them credit for?
  • At such times as these, isn't it a reminder that despite their mixed premises and many political differences between us -- and with significant low-life exceptions such as George Galloway and Keith Locke -- western people and politicians actually share more than we differ. Tony Blair's words at midday London time could not be bettered: "It is important, however, that those engaged in terrorism realise that our determination to defend our values and our way of life is greater than their determination to cause death and destruction to innocent people in a desire to impose extremism on the world. Whatever they do, it is our determination they will never succeed in destroying what we hold dear in this country and in other civilised nations around the world.”
  • The solidarity shown by western leaders at Gleneagles was something to see. Thirteen leaders including Jacques Chirac, George Bush, Kofi Annan and Vladimir Putin stood shoulder-to-shoulder on stage behind Tony Blair has he decried the outrage, and promised to defend our values. I hope they mean it.
  • Once again we see the lesson that you can not kill terrorism, you can only choke off its means of supply by hunting down those who support them and give them succour. At times such as these it becomes even more important that those who value human life and the ideas that support life do make a stand for the values of liberty and freedom.
  • Those people that commit these atrocities and those who support them have exactly nothing to offer us except bloodshed , tears and death. Nothing.

Thursday, 7 July 2005

Bastards bomb the west again!

The brutality in London is a continuation of the war against civilisation that was declared with the 9/11 attacks. Unable to write coherently, and still unclear who exactly commited this atrocity, I'll post fragments of the response I wrote then to try and make sense of that earlier attack, until it's possible to make sense of this one:

But whoever committed this outrage, and whatever they claim to stand for, it is clear enough what they are against: As former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak said soon after the disaster, this was an attack against civilisation itself...

What caused this was an act of piracy by everything that slithers against everything that stands - or stood - erect; by the very lowest, against the very highest that civilisation has to offer. And, as in the days of piracy on the high seas, this modern savagery must be stamped out by a fierce uncompromising commitment to the protection and sanctity of innocent human lives.

Civilisation has today been attacked by savages armed only with carpet knives, and it must learn how to defend itself against such an enemy. It has not yet armed itself with the weapons to do so - either philosophically, or militarily. Unfortunately, it must...

Civilisation is under threat, and each of us must ask ourselves: where do I stand with respect to the values that underpin civilisation, and that civilisation represents? What have I done to support those values - or to smear them? What have I done to uphold those values, or to spit on them?

As SOLO contributor Bill Grazier said: "Although those bastards can kill our citizens, they'll never kill the human spirit, never extinguish joy or love or friendship... as long as we maintain our strength and dignity, then these bastards will never defeat us."

View of Mt Fuji


Woodblock print by Hokusai, part of the 'Views of Mt Fuji' series.

Who is looking where?

So who exactly is the blogger 'Looking in NZ'?

Well, here's a clue: My post two below this one on Peron's problems is almost exactly the same as the comment I posted on the comments board of 'Looking in NZ's apologia for Jim Peron, which just been removed. Is that a clue?

Maybe you should ask?

More liberty at the movies

Now for some more uplifting material. David Boaz has posted his personal list of his all-time favourite libertarian-themed movies here, to which I'd add at least three more: 'Braveheart,' 'Breaker Morant,' and the entire TV series of 'The Prisoner.' (Okay, it's not a movie, but it is fabulously libertarian.) Perhaps the most topical of all libertarian movies at present is 'The Castle,' although not everyone agrees. I hope the good people of Kelo have a chance to watch it before they're thrown our of their homes by order of the US Supreme Court.

And while talking liberty and movies, Crypticity has noticed a certain liberty-flavoured ad played before a recent screening of 'Hotel Rwanda.' See what he's talking about here, and see the ad for yourself here. Reports have it that said ad was pulled fom the Bridgeway Northcote after fielding a "number" of complaints. As my informant says, "I think I hear the ruffling of feathers." :-)

Peron's problems are of his own making

Some bloggers have been feeling sympathy for the difficulties in which Jim Peron now finds himself. I'm not one of them.

'Looking in NZ' has said a lot about Peron’s problems, about which he seems to know an unusual amount, but hasn't once mentioned the elephant in the middle of the room that’s the direct cause of those problems: Peron was a professional advocate for sex with children, and a writer and publisher of material that advocated sex with children.

And not 'twenty years ago.' The copy of Unbound that Peron published was put about in the early nineties, not so long ago, and I understand there were even later editions. Uugh.

Ruth has wished "bad karma" on those who have "run him out of the country." Yet in my view it is Peron that has run himself out of the country by his own actions and his own lies.

Personally, I see no problems with barring from the country someone that advocates sex with children; someone that has stood up for, associated with and raised funds for those that practice criminal activity, and who has not resiled from having done so, but has intead denied it in the face of clear evidence and the many attestations of those who knew what was going on including collaborators, former owners of his shop, and those who observed his activities at events, meetings, and in his book shop back then.

It doesn't matter what Peters accused him of; what matters is what Peron did. And what he did was enthusiastically advocate sex with children. Does it disturb me then that his life has been made more difficult, then? No, it doesn’t. He deserves every difficulty put in his path.

IMHO, people that advocate criminal activity ~should~ be barred from entering the country – and I'm sure you agree with me that sex with children should be criminal. Frankly who, aside from Jim Peron and the members of NAMBLA and the Auckland Man-Boy Love Association, would disagree with that?

IMHO it's quite appropriate that such low-life scum are refused entry to New Zealand when their past is exposed. What would motivate such a person to think they should be welcomed in? Should Immigration overlook the past of such a person? Not in my moral universe. Such a person is the reason libertarians advovate immigration controls, so we can ensure that only peaceful people can pass freely. Will mistakes be made in the exercise of such controls? Sure, but this is not one.

'Looking In NZ' says it is wrong that Peron won't have access back here to sort out his business. So what. That's not their concern, and nor should it be. And frankly, it's not as if his business is a going concern in any case, and for the business category on which he entered it needs to be. Peron has been out of the country for the last few months by his own choice, and all that time his shop has been closed, presumably an admission that there’s no business going on anyway. And he does have a number of people available – albeit a dwindling number --- who still support him despite the way he’s used, abused and taken advantage of them. Surely between them they can organise his few possessions and send them on. Or they could sell them to cover some of his debts.

“What is happening is very disturbing. And it ought to disturb all of us,” says "Looking in NZ.' No, it ought to disturb Peron. Perhaps the experience will help him to ask of himself a few very serious questions. I wonder perhaps if ‘Looking in NZ’ will be asking any of those questions of himself?

New blog for Sir Humphrey's

The Humphreys are planning to change the look and function of their blog, and they've got a mockup here, which I have to say looks very sharp. As Sage said, very "newspaper."

I'm jealous. Is there a better looking NZ blog? I did like the look of Ruth's Artificial Intelligentsia blog -- although I'm not allowed to say that, and it's now gone anyway.

Well done guys.

Kelo, eminent domain, and guns

Two radio interviews for you this morning, neither of which I've yet listened to myself (I confess) but both of which come very highly recommended.

The first covers the Kelo vNew London land grab okayed by the US Supreme Court, an 'eminent domain' decision called by Property Rights activist, Erich Veyhl "the logic of destruction." Eminent domain? We call it economic fascism. Vehyl's interview with Prodos is here (and an earlier Prodos interview on the subject of eminent domain is here.)

The second interview is on something somewhat related -- I'll let you draw the link yourself: the right to keep and near arms in defence, on which subject British libertarian Sean Gabb is interviewed on Radio Lancashire. The link is here.

Wednesday, 6 July 2005

Rice Paddy


Photo by Yuri Bonder.

Straight talk & spin

Helen Clark comes up with the straight talk on stoning, and Russell Brown with the spin.

Discussing Ashraf Choudhary's agreement that homosexuals and adulterers should be stoned in accordance with the Koran's teachings, Russell declared:
I have to sympathise with him. He was not asked whether homosexuals and adulterers should be stoned to death; he was invited to declare that the Koran was incorrect in saying so. That was how the question was asked. For a Muslim leader to say the Koran is incorrect is, I gather, beyond serious.
So? As I said yesterday, it's quite appropriate to condemn a culture -- or aspects of a culture -- when it's clearly anti-life. Why be coy?

Helen Clark (unaffected by her dinner with spin-meister Alastair Campbell) was far more direct. Newstalk ZB reports:
Helen Clark says Mr Choudhary's comments on the show certainly do not fit with Labour values or her own. She says she does not care if it is in any religious tract, it is not something that is acceptable.
Bravo! Truth is there's nasty crap in both Bible and Koran, and it doesn't help anyone to pretend otherwise. Good on her for saying so.

Clark's direct approach mirrors the similarly direct Ewen McQueen, current CHP leader, who refused to defend the indefensible Graham Capill. Said McQueen: ""To have been saying the sort of statements that he made for the number of years he said them while at the same time committing these crimes, it really is the worst form of hypocrisy." Isn't it just.

I wonder why Rodney Hide hasn't been similarly direct about Jim Peron's banishment?

Anti-capitalism in Edinburgh

Freedom and Whiskey is a libertarian from Edinburgh with pics and comments on the anti-capitalist nutters currently infesting his fair city. My favourite:
Walking back from photographing yesterday's march in Edinburgh I was approached by an elderly gentleman wearing a Scottish Socialist Party badge. He asked if I would like to purchase a postcard of Che. I asked him why on earth would I want to buy a photo of a mass murderer who shot small boys. I enjoyed this confrontation so much that I had to go and celebrate with a beer.

Mugabe begins confiscating guns ... what's next?

Robert Mugabe has begun confiscating guns. Why do you think that would be?
Authorities in Zimbabwe have ordered civilians to surrender their firearms, with police sources saying the move was a precautionary measure following the government’s action against informal dwellers and hawkers.

The police said licences for certain categories of guns had been revoked in terms of the Firearms Act, reports ZimOnline. The government last cancelled firearm licences during the peak of its farm seizure programme in 2000. That move was targeted at white commercial farmers who at that time held a number of assault guns for self-protection.
And we know just what happened to those white farmers, don't we? It's worth remembering that the primary reason the US Founding Fathers wrote the right to bear arms into their Bill of Rights was to allow citizens to protect themselves against tyrannical government. This is precisely why. [Hat tip Gun Control]

And it seems the Guardian is now coming in behind Mugabe ... "The vilification of Mugabe is now out of control," it says. Nothing like a socialist rag to support Forced evictions, brutal land grabs, slum clearances and murder. [Hat tip Samizdata.net]

Auckland's trains fail rugby fans

Auckland's trains failed last night to get people to the game on time. Special game trains to Eden Park arrived late to the the game, punters who were delayed told the Herald. A Connex spokesmen said "heavy passenger numbers had delayed two trains by 15 minutes" but "as far as we are aware" people got there on time. Who do you believe?

It seems the problem is the rail system just couldn't cope when more than six people tried to ride the trains at once...

Our friend at Slow Train Coming predicted trouble yesterday morning. So how many do you think will now try and use the trains to get to Saturday's game? Or at all?

Labour's desktop toy

Forget making billboard parodies, Richard at BeNZylpiperazine has made a whole executive desktop toy out of Labour's new billboard. Wheee! As Craig says about this desktop toy, "So wrong and creepy - yet so deliciously fun..."

Tuesday, 5 July 2005

Peron out

News just in, as yet unconfirmed:
"Today Jim Peron, Auckland bookstore owner accused by MP Winston Peters of being a paedophile received a letter from NZ immigration informing him he was not to re-enter NZ from Germany where he is currently organising a conference."

[UPDATE: Stuff, Herald and TVNZ now have the news.]

Stoning Ashraf Choudhary

The idiotic pronouncement by Labour MP Ashraf Choudhary that stoning gays and adulters is okay because it is in the Koran and "what the Koran says is correct" demonstrates once again that all cultures are not equal, and Islamic culture perhaps least equal than most -- at least as long as Islamic culture refuses to change and continues to support evil nonsense such as this. As Ruth says: "I agree some stoning is OK - let's start with the Muslim clerics - I don't have a problem with that." Me either.

The fact is that cultures are not beyond criticism (a point made last week by Wellington probation officerJosie Bullock), and nor should they be. We should judge Islamic culture, and indeed all cultures, according to how well they work for those within them.

Thomas Sowell made exactly that point in his book Conquest and Cultures:
Cultures are not museum-pieces. They are the working machinery of everyday life. Unlike objects of aesthetic contemplation, working machinery is judged by how well it works, compared to the alternatives.
Now that's a point worth contemplating.

Meddling arseholes highlight system of a downer


Just as Shania Twain finally receives permission to build a house on her own land, news comes in that Serj Tankian (pictured right) "the singer of American band System of a Down has failed in his bid to buy a west coast beach property and develop a recording studio."

What sort of small, myopic, authoritarian, third-world shithole are we living in here? The Overseas Investment Commission decided between their taxpayer-funded lunch and morning tea that this chap couldn't move here, couldn't buy land here, couldn't "
identify local musicians to record demos, and then seek recording deals for them in the US" ... in short, they've told him to take his money and his life and just piss off somewhere else. Why couldn't these blowhard bureaurcratic retards just piss off themselves and mind their own fucking business?

It's been said that when tyranny knocks at your door it wiill be carrying a gun.
I disagree. When tyranny knocks at your door it will be carrying a clipboard. The one carrying the gun should be you. But to paraphrase Robert Heinlein, beware of strong drink; it can make you shoot at meddling areseholes, and miss.

Feel free to send all the meddling arseholes from the Overseas Obstruction Commission a message telling them what you think about them:
Stephen Dawe is the Chief Executive Officer and Secretary; Peter Hill, Assistant Secretary; Annelies McClure, Manager Applications; Pedro Morgan, Legal Analyst; David Turnbull, Applications Co-ordinator; Chris Miller, Data Analyst; Suzanne Conley, Executive Assistant; Olwyn Smith, Administrative Assistant; Wendy Russ, Filing Clerk.

Address:
Overseas Investment Commission

Level 9, 2 The Terrace
Phone: +64 4 471 3838
Reserve Bank Building
Fax: +64 4 471 3655
P. O. Box 2498

Wellington
email: oic@oic.govt.nz
New Zealand

Please address all written correspondence to "Meddling Arseholes."

More Aid, Less Growth

Aid kills growth, that's the message of a report by the Globalization Institute.
For every 1% increase in aid received by a developing country, there is a 3.65% drop in real GDP growth per person. Contrary to the conventional wisdom in the aid industry, the study finds that even where recipients have good governance, the effect is also negative.
The effect is negative because aid kills off fledgling businesses every time it undercuts what they themselves supply. It's negative because the aid gets funnelled through existing governments, cementing in the existing corrupt power structures that have made the African mess happen. I wonder if the Live-8 and 'Make Poverty History' enthusiasts have read the conclusions.

Enacting real free trade, ending subsidies to their own farmers, and bringing down the US and European tariff wall is something that western politicians could do to help Africans help themselves out of poverty. More sweatshops, real property rights and the rule of law, and an end to out-and-out corruption is something African politicians can do to help their own people. Good luck getting them to care. Try telling Robert Mugabe that his people's liberty and property matter.

[Hat tip Samizdata.net]