What I now feel able to say about Prince Philip

Nothing at all remarkable, just so you now know. Don’t read this posting for dazzling insights. It’s just that the last couple of days and the next few days are an example of a common thing, which is that everyone who is in the habit of expressing public opinions about this or that public thing feels obliged to hold back his or her regular opinions and instead to express an appropriately gracious and portentous opinion about whatever just happened.

For instance, BBC Radio Three, the classical music radio channel I listen to quite a lot, especially on Saturdays, was going to spend this Saturday concentrating on the life and works of Igor Stravinsky, no doubt emphasising what a fine composer the BBC thinks he was. But they scrapped this plan, and instead today merely played a succession of suitably profound and solemn classical selections, and also, I believe, a church service with lots of profound and solemn singing.

“Inappropriate” is typically now just a way of saying “wicked” without sounding like your great grandmother. But for once, this word is now, well, appropriate. Communicators suddenly fear saying anything “inappropriate”. Given that Prince Philip just died, will it make sense for us to be banging on about Stravinsky, or whatever it was were thinking of banging on about? Typically, it does not feel … appropriate.

Sporting events continue, because nothing can be allowed to interrupt that. But black armbands are liable to be worn and long silences endured by all present, during which all rebellious thoughts along the lines of “So bloody what?” are kept under heavy wraps of silence.

Above all, anyone who thinks that Prince Philip was, I don’t know, a horrid old racist, tends to keep quiet about that, for the duration of this strange public moment, or at least to be careful about who they say such things to. Or they do if they are wise, and if they do not want a storm of critical attention on social media, as some presumably do. We must not “speak ill of the dead”. Instead we say things like: “My thoughts are with his family”.

Which some of our thoughts probably are. I can’t be the only one now thinking that maybe the Queen will soon give up the ghost, having lost a husband she has been sharing her life with for so long, and by most public accounts very happily.

As it happens, the opinion I now find I want to express about Prince Philip, in carefully selected company, is a complaint although not that severe a complaint. I don’t think he was a racist; more like an equal opportunities tease, if only to get people to relax in his company and to stop trying to be so damn appropriate. But I definitely have one very particular and personal objection to this man, and by extension to his entire family. (It’s not a big enough objection for me to want them all denationalised, so to speak. As to that argument, I go along with the title of this posting at Quotulatiousness. If they got dumped, the likely alternative would be someone like John Berkow.)

But for now, in the event that you care what I think about Prince Philip and want to learn the particular way in which I objected to him, you will just have to wait.

For me to tell you today would be inappropriate.

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.

A list of Libertarian Alliance publications by Chris Tame

I’ve been reflecting on the career and achievements of Chris Tame:

Those being three more photos of Chris that I recently exhumed from my “filing system”.

Below is a list of the pieces of writing by him that were published (in some cases republished) by the Libertarian Alliance.

Political Notes 27
The Bankruptcy of the New Socialists
1987, 2pp.

Political Notes 40
On The Side of the Angels: A View of Private Policing
1989, 2pp.

Political Notes 41
Conservatives and the Closed Shop
1984, 4pp.

Political Notes 44
Taxation Is Theft
1989, 2pp.

Political Notes 148
The Case Against a Bill of Rights
1989, 7pp.

Philosophical Notes 1
The Moral Case For Private Enterprise

1985, 4pp.
Not available

Philosophical Notes 2
Is Freedom Selfish?: A Debate
(with Michael Ivens)
1985, 4pp.

Legal Notes 20
Why Sado-Masochism Should Not Be Criminalised (Evidence to the Law Commission on Consent and Offences Against the Person)
1994, 4pp.

Legal Notes 30
Freedom, Responsibility and Justice: The Criminology of the ‘New Right’
1998, 7pp.

Cultural Notes 1
Ernest Hemingway and the Failure of Nihilism
1983, 2pp.

Historical Notes 6
An Economic Misinterpretation of History: A Critique of J. K. Galbraith’s Account of American Capitalism
1989, 6pp.

Historical Notes 8
Power, Class and the State in Twentieth Century America
1989, 7pp.

Sociological Notes 1
Man, Concepts and Society
1987, 4pp.

Sociological Notes 2
Change and Pseudo-Change in Sociology
1986, 4pp.

Foreign Policy Perspectives 5
Hong Kong: Another British Betrayal
1988, 2pp.

Foreign Policy Perspectives 16
Hypocrisy in the ‘Peace’ Movement: A Case Study
1990, 2pp.

Libertarian Pamphlets 1
Against the New Mercantilism: The Relevance of Adam Smith
1979, 4pp.

Libertarian Pamphlets 2
Prostitution, The Free Market and Libertarianism
(Includes LA Evidence to the Criminal Law Revision Committee of the Home Office on Sexual Offences)
File currently unavailable

Libertarian Pamphlets 8
Environmentalism and Totalitarianism: An Obituary for Modern ‘Liberalism’
1987, 4pp.

Libertarian Pamphlets 9
The Politics of Whim: A Critique of the `Situationist’ Version of Marxism
1989, 4pp.

Libertarian Pamphlets 14
Libertarianism versus Conservatism: A Debate
(with Gerry Frost)
1989, 11pp.

Libertarian Reprints 1
Different Values: An Analysis of Patrick McGoohan’s The Prisoner, 1984, 6pp.

Libertarian Reprints 7
Sanitising Marx
1984, 2pp.

Libertarian Reprints 8
The Chicago School: Lessons From The Thirties For The Eighties

1984, 2pp.
File currently unavailable

Libertarian Reprints 9
Stirner in Context: The Profanization of Hegelianism and the Genesis of Marx’s Historical Materialism

1984, 2pp.
File currently unavailable

Libertarian Heritage 7
The Revolution of Reason: Peter Gay, The Enlightenment and the Ambiguities of Classical Liberalism
1992, 7pp.

Libertarian Heritage 12
Guy Aldred (1886-1963): The Socialist As Libertarian
1994, 2pp.

Libertarian Heritage 19
The Critical Liberalism of J. M. Robertson (1856-1933)
1998, 19pp.

This list didn’t take me long to contrive, but it did take longer than I thought it would. There were more than I had been expecting. They were mostly written and published towards the beginning of the LA publications surge that I presided over. I know for sure that Chris had plenty more that he wanted to write, but then his bone cancer got him.

Engine issue

Via Instapundit, this:

Police in Broomfield stated on Twitter that they received reports of dropped debris in several neighborhoods …

One of the engines on a passing United Airlines plane exploded. The plane flew back to Denver and landed safely. Nobody was hurt either by falling debris or in the plane.

CNN reported that there was an engine issue. I’ll say. A Boeing 777 apparently.

Lots more social media photos, including passenger videos of what remained of the engine, at the other end of the “this” link above. No way anyone could pretend this didn’t happen.

Quite a story. The Guardian agrees.

The hope of progress

Having recently received a life sentence of quite advanced lung cancer, I find myself noticing reports like this one entitled Ultra-precise lasers remove cancer cells without damaging nearby tissue. Cancer treatment is progressing fast, in all manner of directions, and I am now seeing stories of this sort every few days. Will it progress fast enough to prolong my life in a significant way? Knowing what I do of how long it takes for an innovation to go from a recent observation or discovery to a routine service, my guess now would be: not. But I can’t help hoping that it might.

In another context, I have described this sort of feeling as the torture of hope.

I came upon this above report at the Twitter feed of Steve Stewart-Williams. There being a lot more to that guy than cute animal videos.

The trouble with cultured meat progress is that too much of it is happening in Israel

Maybe media people would make more fuss about the progress of “cultured” meat, the sort of meat that doesn’t involve killing animals, if so much of that progress was not now being made in Israel.

My attitude towards Israel is one of unconditional positive regard. If Israelis do something good, which they frequently do, well done them, as in this cultured meat matter. But if Israelis do something that seems bad, well, I am sure they have their reasons, probably to do with the kind of neighbourhood they inhabit.

However, the typical journo/commentator these days has an attitude towards Israel of unconditional negative disregard. Only when they can explain how Israeli progress in cultured meat is really all about oppressing Israel’s Muslim neighbours will these sorts of reporters report on this, I think, epoch-defining story.

I think this about sums it up

This:

I now swither between thinking all the locking down is better than the alternative, and: not. That the reckoning will be huge, I do not doubt.

The Wodge?

The Wodge. That’s what the Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright is calling 22 Bishopsgate, London’s biggest Big Thing. Will “wodge” catch on? My guess: no. Everyone knows what a gherkin looks like, or a scalpel. But wodge? What is a wodge?

Maybe 22 Bishopsgate will end up being called the “Big Thing”.

Guido before Guido

In among other more tedious tasks like fixing Power-of-Attorney for my Senior Coordinating Friend, for if I stop functioning properly before all the other tedious tasks are done, I am trying to get my writings in something more like order. To that end I have been trawling through old “Libertarian Alliance” (Tame, Micklethwait, Gabb tendency) pamphlets that I published in the 80s and 90s. Picking out mine, of course, but also making sure to grab the sadly few by Chris Tame, to whom I am now determined to pay further posthumous tribute even if it’s one of the very last things I do.

And, I came across a pamphlet with this at the top:

It’s Guido before Guido, first published in 1991.

Read any or all of it here.

My experience of Guido divides neatly into two chunks of time. There was the Why Don’t You phase, when he would beg us to do clever and more eye-catching things than we could be bothered with or had the propaganda talents to be doing. (He later has a spell doing a few Blog Posts for Samizdata, where he bent Perry de Havilland’s ear out of shape in the same way, this time about how blogging could and should be done. Alas the only mention of Guido now at the Samizdata sidebar is the link to Guido Fawkes.)

And then came the glorious and still continuing Screw-You-Idiots-I’ll-Do-It-Myself phase, that I for one have loved and grovellingly admired from the moment it kicked off. No way did I or Tame or Gabb, or even de Havilland, teach Paul Staines everything he knew. But we did help to create an environment in which Guido could watch, learn, listen, and then do his own wonderful thing.

Such recollections are not going to make me die happy. Like Tame, I would have preferred literal physical immortality. But such memories do soften the blow a little, if blow it is about to be.

But not such a merry Christmas for her

Most dogs whom we encounter in nice, polite, safe little England are dogs who have bonded with humans, whom the dogs love, unconditionally. But what happens when dogs don’t bond with humans, but only with one another? Then, they are liable to love humans in another way, as in: I love duck, or I love rabbit. To eat. Ooh look guys, fancy some tasty human?

DOCTORS are today fighting to save the life of a woman whose face was completely skinned by a pack of stray dogs.

Where did this horror happen?

Relax. In Russia:

The predators ripped off all Tatyana Loskutnikova’s clothes and gnawed her flesh down to the bone during the sickening attack in Russia.

In Russia they have hungry packs of dogs. Like these, who were only doing what surely made perfect sense to them. Hellishly bad luck on the woman of course, but maybe she might have known better? Yes, you shoot the dogs, as they did. But you can’t really blame them, the way the Sun seems to.