Patrick and I talk about the current state of libertarianism

I’ve had a busy day doing other things, but last Tuesday, Patrick Crozier and I recorded a conversation about the current state of the libertarian movement, and I can at least today report that Patrick has now done the editing and introductory blogging and linkage, and you can listen to it by going here. It lasts, after Patrick had sliced out the pauses (which we discuss at the end), almost exactly an hour.

As the title of Patrick’s posting alludes to, we speak in particular about how libertarians happen to have been divided about recent Big Issues of the Day, like Brexit, Trump and Lockdown. In each of these arguments, libertarians have been on both sides. However, we both express guarded optimism that libertarians will be more united in the argument that will soon be raging about how best to recover from Lockdown. Our voice may not win, but it will at least be more like one voice.

For further clues about the kinds of things we discussed, see the categories list below. Notice that “Education” is not in this list. For some reason we failed to even mention this.

Four of BrianMicklethwaitsNewBlog dot com’s greatest hits

Every so often, this blog attracts a flurry of attention from some mysterious other place that I am typically not clever enough to identify, and today this is happening again. The posting that is today attracting a stampede, by my very modest standards, of hits is one I did way back last October, about Jonathan the 188-year-old tortoise, whom I just happened to learn about from this Tweet, by “Anna Berserk”, which included the photo that I stuck up here. All I can tell you about this sudden interest in this old tortoise is that it appears to have happened because of something someone said on Facebook. Beyond that, I cannot even guess.

An earlier flurry of interest was provoked by a November 2019 posting here which featured a picture of what a Ripped piece of paper under the microscope (100x magnification) looks like. I came across this where I come across a lot of stuff I like, which is the Twitter feed of Steve Stewart-Williams.

Another little stampede was provoked by this photo of the damage a tiny speck of space debris can do at 15,000 mph. I came across that photo here.

My favourite of these little stampede-inducing postings was one that featured a lady, Lady Florence Norman, who was photoed riding an electric mechanical scooter in 1916. I first encountered her ladyship here.

All of these Greatest Hits of mine featured photos, none of which were photoed by me, and all of which were first seen by me on Twitter. The timing of these mini-stampedes was random, and they often happened, as today, long after I had thought my posting would have been completely forgotten. Make of all that what you will.

Writing about morality and consequences in a way that hasn’t dated

The latest addition to the Brian Micklethwait Archive is a piece by me called The Morality of Consequentialism and the Consequences of Morality, which was first published over two decades ago. I had completely forgotten ever writing this, and today read it again with much interest.

And with some satisfaction. It’s good stuff, though I say it myself. I say it myself because if I don’t, who will?

What I find so gratifying about how I mostly wrote about libertarianism back then is that because we didn’t need to be obsessed with current events and grabbing media attention (basically because we didn’t care if only a few people read our stuff (photocopier rather than printing blah blah)), I was able to concentrate on underlying principles, keeping mere current events at arms length. Which means that these pieces of mine mostly don’t date that much. If you thought they made sense when I wrote them, you’d still think that now.

Much the same also applies to a lot of the stuff I published by others, which you can find your way to here. (Apart from the Political Notes link, which for some reason seems not to work.)

The Brian Micklethwait Archive goes public

Just over a month ago I learned that I will die rather sooner than I had been supposing, and I asked, by way of being cheered up, for people to say nice things, preferably in public, about my various writings and doings over the years.

The most impressive consequence of this rather vulgar entreaty has so far been the Brian Micklethwait Archive.

It is in the nature of this Archive in my honour that if I had constructed it myself it would be an absurdity, which wouldn’t outlast me any more than this blog will. In contrast, the fact that Rob Fisher, a far younger man than me, has embarked upon this project is a source of profound gratitude and satisfaction to me. If I die soon, this will be a big reason for me nevertheless to die in a state of moderate contentment. Posthumous reputations, such as I now crave on a scale way beyond what I merely deserve, do not establish themselves. They have to be established. I want to be remembered as a writer, yet I do not have so much as one book to my name. This Archive that Rob is gathering up, by cherry picking from my many bits of writing over the years, will make a big difference to whatever continuing impact and influence I may have after I have died.

Rob is in charge of this Archive, not me. It needs to be something he is happy to go on polishing and adding to in the months and years to come, so it must be as he wishes it, rather than as I might have wished it. And I waited until he made it public before drawing attention to it, here, myself. Now I feel that I can without upsetting whatever announcements Rob had in mind to be doing.

Great Men don’t need to advertise themselves. Their achievements speak for themselves. Lesser men like me need to beat their own drums. And it makes all the difference when someone else joins in.

The greatest ever sport weekend

Seriously, I can’t remember a weekend when there’s ever been more sport of the sort that I pay attention to. This particular weekend towards the beginning of February is usually pretty good, but this year it really has been remarkable.

It began with the second day of the India v England cricket test match, in the small hours of Saturday morning, and continued on Saturday morning with the final of the Big Bash in Australia. The Vince Sixers defeated the Livingstone Scorchers, teams which I thus name because all I care about in that tournament is how well the Brits do, and Vince did very well indeed. There was Premier League soccer to get excited about, which I do, a bit, both Saturday afternoon and evening and today afternoon and evening.

This was also the first weekend of the Six Nations, which is rugby union. Scotland beat England on Saturday, which was not nice, but this wasn’t because England were rubbish. It was because Scotland were not rubbish, and England were caught by surprise. Scotland being not rubbish made a nice change from the last twenty years or so of Scotland vying with Italy for bottom spot. All the Six Nations needs now is for Italy also to become a serious threat, and this tournament could enter a golden age of total unpredictability. But first up on Saturday, Italy were smashed again, by France. So that doesn’t seem like it’ll be happening any time soon.

Sunday morning. Day three of the India v England test match. England, having batted big, manage to get six Indian wickets. Afternoon, another six Nations, Wales beating Ireland. Soccer, with Spurs winning. Harry Kane back with Spurs and Spurs were accordingly back winning a game, which was nice. Then Man City thrashed Liverpool, and are now favourites, insofar as such a thing can exist in this anyone-can-beat-anyone season. Man City have an England guy called Foden, who everyone says is going to be really good. His goal at the end against Liverpool was quite something.

And now, late on Sunday evening and into Monday morning, it’s only the Super Bowl. Number 55, or Super Bowl LV as nobody says. Live on British TV. I’m watching the beginning of that now. Brady beating Mahomes 2-0 in touchdowns so far.

And then when that’s done, it’ll be straight back to the cricket out in India, also live on British TV. Day 4. Because the BBC is not being allowed to even commentate, let alone show video, of the cricket in India, they are pretty much ignoring it other than at their website, and are instead trying to get excited about tennis. There is apparently a big tennis tournament, going on somewhere on the planet, but I do not know or care where. All of which means that if I want to know how England are doing in that game, I have to get up and watch TV. Which I can do. Piece of piss, and of course it makes sense to combine it with that.

Which is a lot of sport. No wonder, this weekend, I have accomplished nothing. When I was middle aged, wondered if I’d still be paying attention to, and more to the point caring about, sport, when I got old. Turns out I still do. Especially the cricket and the rugby.

I hope you don’t mind the absence of links in this. My thinking is: If you care about any of these contests, you’ll already be linked into them. If you don’t care, then any link to whatever it is you don’t care about won’t add anything to your life.

A link

Another rough day, I’m afraid, so not a lot here.

But something there, with a couple of quotes from a book about Beethoven. But quotes not about Beethoven. About war.

Piece at Samizdata about the diagnosis/treatment imbalance in the NHS

Not much here today, what with yesterday’s dramas, but I have just ripped off a Samizdata piece, based on my recent medical experiences, entitled On the British National Health Service imbalance between lethargic diagnosis and really rather good actual treatment of serious medical conditions.

It features a link to this mighty beast:

That’s “Brunel”. Brunel has been giving me my first actual doses of cancer treatment, the third dose having been this afternoon. Two more, tomorrow and on the 31st. These treatments have been merely defensive, to stop my spine being damaged by the lung cancer tumor. Next week, if all proceeds as I hope, the actual attack on the tumor and on its spreading consequences will get under way.

My piece on Democrat electoral cheating gets Quotulated

It always cheers me up when something I write gets Quotulated. So I am very happy to discover that the piece I did here entitled Why Democrat electoral cheating is no longer okay was thus recognised. This certainly did seem to get an above averagely healthy trickle of readers, and that would presumably be why. That one intelligent human being, not a robot at all, thought that something I wrote was worth going to that bit of trouble for is very good for the morale. Thank you Mr Quotulator. And sorry it took me so long to notice.

Colourful mural in Chelyabinsk

I get regular emails about new architecture, and trust me, there’s less of it happening now. And what there is now being done is mostly generic machines-for-living-in and machines-for-working-in. The age of starchitecture is pretty much over, for the time being. Covid? That hasn’t helped to be sure. But it felt like it was slowing down well before that.

So, to cause a stir and get noticed, what do “designers” now do? Answer: They paint eye-catching murals on the faces of all those regulation boxes.

Thus:

The official explanation of this mural is that it’s something to do with the environment, human impact on, blah blah. Like that’s a bad thing. But, as Mick Hartley (at whose blog I found this) says:

… you’d be forgiven for not quite grasping the ecological message.

Indeed. It looks more like a celebration of how humans are able to subjugate their environment and make it their own. I’ve never been to Russia, but my understanding is that their “environment” is a lot scarier than ours is, and that they consequently sentimentalise it a lot less than we do.

But whatever this Chelyabinsk mural may “mean”, it is yet another straw in the wind of colourful applied decoration that is now seriously blowing around the world. If you can’t do new buildings of note, you can still paint the buildings you have, old and new, in a newly colourful way.

Also, I suspect that paint for use outdoors is getting better, as in fading more slowly. I tried googling about this, but all I got was stuff about how to become a better painter of indoor pictures. Can anyone offer any pertinent links on that subject?

The greatest show on earth (but not always nice)

So, what creatures does SteveStuWill have for us today?

Mother bird refuses to abandon her eggs. || The amazing diversity of caterpillars. || Sarcasm alert: Nature is so delightful. || Some baby owls sleep face down. || Like humans, wild chimpanzees focus on fewer yet more meaningful friendships as they grow older – that’s me. || Things aren’t always what they seem – butterfly faking it. || This bizarre-looking creature is a long-wattled umbrellabird. || A hognose snake faking its own death. || Who hurt the little sea toad? || A great-backed gull swallowing a rabbit whole. || Cat’s tongue under a microscope. || Scary octopus. || Baby gorilla. || Feline civil disobedience.

Or, to sum it up, Evolution Is the Greatest Show on Earth.

LATER: This. Eat your heart out Peter Bonetti. Not one of SS-W’s, but worthy of being added to them.

LATER STILL: Albino squirrel, demonstrating white supremacy by the looks of it.