Current AffairsPosted by David McDonagh Mon, June 22, 2015 18:04:47
weekend of Politically Correct [PC] controversy
What PC controversy the weekend of the third week of
We have the continuing reaction of some scientists
to the PC anti-sexism against Tim Hunt, for they seem to be attempting to have
tolerance instead of strict Politically Correct [PC] equality rules in science,
the pro-PC report in the top science journal, Science, on no hiatus in global warming, as they say that, all
along the eighteen or so years, there has been a lot of error in the way the
data was collected, and this report is just in time to aid the new Green
campaign of the current Pope.
Then we have the asking of whether Rachel Dolezal
has the right to call herself black, then, later in the week, the very odd
question of whether the terrorist who shot the nine people in a church in an
attempt to start a race hate war in Charleston USA was truly a terrorist, or
Then there is the BBC licence fee coming up for the
“left” leaning BBC, though the free access, or price free, London Evening Standard makes it look moderate, but then it could
be catering to London, where the Labourites actually won in last May’s General
Election, together with the supposed voices appearing in the head of Jeremy
Clarkson on being offered his job back, though the BBC aired advertisements all
week for his due grand new series, despite its claims never to ever advertise.
Tony Hall, the Chief Executive Officer or Director General of the BBC said on
Sunday, 21 June 2015 on The Andrew Marr
Show that he had not changed his mind since he regretfully parted with
Clarkson, but he confessed that he did not know that others might have reopened
the offer, and he said nothing about those advertisements, or programme
trailers, nor did Marr.
David Cameron’s speech on extremism, that Muslims
feel is the position of The Daily Mail but against them, the
week-long repeated media of press articles, TV and radio programmes enquiry as
to why so many Muslims liked jihad, and why they often liked ISIS too.
Thousands were said to be marching in London, against
what they call “austerity”, where Jeremy Corbyn MP, the new star, or so some Labour
MPs imagine, says he is due to tell them that austerity obfuscates inequality.
Corbyn is said by many to have emerged as a star in the staged Labour
Leadership campaign that began earlier this week at Nuneaton, shown on BBC2 at
7pm on Wednesday 17 June and discussed at 10:30pm and in the press the next
day. It was the first of many meetings in constituencies that Labour needed and were expected
to win in May 2015. On Saturday, the meeting was held in Stevenage, where the
Tories increased their share of the vote instead of falling to Labour. At the
first meeting, all the reporters credited Liz Kendall as replying to Andy
Burnham, who had said that the Party matters most of all, that the country
mattered far more than the party. But most of the applause was for Jeremy
Corbyn at that, and also at subsequent meetings, like that of the following
Saturday in Stevenage, so he has, now, emerged as a star, with younger Labour MPs
thinking he might even be the next leader and saying so on The Sunday Politics, such as Clive Lewis, as well as older ones
like Diane Abbott.
PoliticsPosted by Nico Metten Fri, June 05, 2015 16:21:39
If you attend a lot
of libertarian gatherings, you will start feeling like everything
talked about is very repetitive. Every argument being made sounds
familiar and if someone new might show up you can predict what their
objections are going to be. Nevertheless, I am not really getting
tired of them for a number of reasons. There is the psychological
aspect of feeling sane and understood. I know a lot of libertarians
who come to meetings for this reason alone, as it is an experience in
contrast to what they are experiencing in their normal environment.
And sometimes you might actually come across an interesting viewpoint
that you have not heart before. So despite all the repetition, you
might actually learn something. In any case, arguing a lot, even if
repetitive, certainly trains you in making your points in other
debates. In the end it helps spreading libertarian ideas.
But there is a
series of talks that come up fairly regularly that annoyed me from the
first time I attended one of them. It is a series that I would like to call 'Let's do something'. The 'Let's do Something' talks follow a
common structure. Whoever gives the talk will start by saying that he
or she has observed that libertarians are arguing too much and spend a
lot of time with books. That is all nice and well, but he or she has
decided that now the time has come to stop this childish complaining
and take real action instead.
The proposal to 'do
something' is always presented as some kind of fantastic new break
through idea that obviously a lot of libertarians could not come up
with themselves. And the moment the words 'Let's do something' have been
uttered you will find some libertarians getting overly excited. From
this moment, they do not let any argument count, as arguing looks
like falling back into the childish complaining status. As a result,
any proposal following these words will be seen as worth supporting
and superior to talking.
Don't get me wrong,
I am all in favor of taking action. So are most if not all
Libertarians. One topic that is reliably discussed on every
libertarian gathering is, how do we get to a libertarian society or
at least, how do I get the state out of my life. Libertarians are
spending a lot of time trying to figure out a solution to the state
problem. However, this problem, not surprisingly turns out to be a
very difficult problem to solve. If the power of the state was so
fragile that all it needed to topple it was for some people to get
together and 'do something' it would have gone away a long time ago.
Having said that,
there are some strategies that libertarians have come up with that
actually might get us to a libertarian society in the long run. However, the
remarkable thing about the 'Let's do something' talks is that they are
consistently disappointing in coming up with persuasive solutions.
People who start their talks with 'Let's do something' will usually
not tell you about strategies like agorism, how to reduce your tax
burden, how to use alternative currencies or stop the state from
spying on you. No, none of that. People who start their talks
dismissing debate and demanding action fairly reliably will give you
the proposal to get involved in politics one way or another.
The most common one
is to propose a new libertarian party. “Hey guys, a lot of you are
just sitting around debating. But a few of us have decided to grow up
and we have founded this new libertarian party that will change things in this
country”. Sorry mate, but this is not new. It has been tried many
times with not very persuasive results. So why come up with the same
old non solution?
The last talk in
this series that I attended and that inspired me to write this piece
was from an MEP of the Tory party who somehow is sympathetic to
classical liberalism. Becoming an MEP I guess was his idea of doing
something. I could not quite figure out how this action is helping,
but then again if I were to fight MEPs I should probably start with
the less libertarian ones. At least he seemed like a sincere guy. Although, he did have this typical talking style of a politician of being deliberately vague to please as many listeners as possible.
He thought one of
the big problems of libertarianism is that they don't have a good
answer to the problem of poverty. They are just assuming that the
poor will be better off in a free market, without delivering any proof
for it. That is why people do not understand the libertarian
solution. So instead of talking, libertarians should practically show
how the market helps the poor. He proposed going into the community and help poor
people run their own businesses. An example he gave was, how he
helped a drug dealer using his entrepreneurial skills to now run a
sandwich shop instead.
This proposal is odd
on many levels. First it smells a lot like central planning for
politicians to go around and tell people how to run their businesses.
It does not need the guidance of the state to run businesses. Maybe
the drug dealer is now better off selling sandwiches, or maybe not. I
don't have a principal problem with either one of those businesses.
But for the life of me, I cannot figure out how getting him into the
sandwich making business is helping Libertarianism. No tax has been
reduced, no regulation has been abolished. The structural problem of
the state remains. I told him that, but his answer was that
regulations, while nasty are not the main problem. There are still
many entrepreneurs who succeed in a statist environment. So the problem has to be the attitude of people.
True, people in
state education are systematically educated to be irresponsible. But
then again, that is a structural problem of state education and the
welfare state. To say that regulations are not the main problem, is a
dangerously wrong analysis of why the standard of living of so many
people is going down. True, there are successful entrepreneurs in this
statist environment. Some people are so productive that even after
all the taxation and regulations they still are able to run a
profitable business. But these are strong people. This is exactly not
a solution for the poor, who tend to be a little bit less skilled.
The less skilled a person is, the more likely every stone you put
into his or her way will kill his or her ability to run a profitable
business. It is exactly the poor who are most dependent on us solving
the structural problem of the state, for they are the first to suffer
under it. And btw isn't 'not letting you being put off by regulations'
exactly what drug dealer are doing? Here you can see, how regulations are helping the strong. They get even richer than they
deserve to be, because the state has killed the competition.
It is indeed
unfortunate, that economics can be counter intuitive, as one needs to
understand that a lot of consequences are not directly visible. And
to be honest, my suspicion was that the MEP did not fully understand
that himself. He seemed to suggest that poor people really are benefiting from the state. Of course it is not intuitively clear why poor
people are better off if the welfare state stops giving them money.
But it is nevertheless true and therefore there is no alternative to
spreading this idea. If you do not spread the idea, whatever actions
you take could still produce non libertarian results.
Which brings me to
the biggest fallacy of the 'do something' philosophy. Ideas are not
useless chit chat. They are the most powerful weapon this movement
has. Therefore, spreading propaganda very much qualifies as doing
something. And it is probably the best thing most people are able to do. If we
look throughout history we see the powers of ideas everywhere. For
example, how did democracy or socialism become so powerful? They
started out as ideas of a few nutters. These ideas slowly started to
grow before their time finally had come. That is why you cannot just
implement a democracy in countries that never had any democratic
process. People do not yet understand the idea.
Because ideas are so
powerful, you will find strong forms of censorship in every
dictatorial system. The reason why a country like North Korea is so
cut off from everything is not because they fear the nice consumer
products from the rest of the world. Their real fear is that ideas
will come over and topple the regime.
Ideas are also the
foundation of actions. If someone acts against the state he first
needs to identify the state as a problem. There might be some people
out there who are really able to do something great against the
state. But first they need to understand that the state is a problem. Whoever invented the block chain for example certainly was
influenced by libertarian thoughts. With these ideas in mind, he then realized that he had some skills that could be turned into action. If it was not for libertarian propaganda, this might have never happened.
In my experience it
is not that libertarians are too lazy to act. They are more than
willing to do so. But that does not mean they have big opportunities
to do so. Most people find small opportunities to increase the amount
of freedom in their lives. Few are capable of inventing something big
like Bitcoin. I certainly could not have done that. But I don't have
to. The division of labor also works for Libertarianism. The best thing most of us can do is to spread ideas, so that
those with the exceptional skills to act on it can be influence by
The problem with
ideas is that they don't show immediate results. You will not step in
front of a crowd of statists, explain libertarianism to them and see
them collectively saying 'I was blind, but now I see'. Whether people
are listening to you depends on many things like their motivation,
their age, intelligence, personality etc. Not everyone can be
persuaded and it is a slow process. That makes ideas very annoying
for impatient people. They start concluding that spreading ideas is a hopeless exercise. It also makes you feel like you are not in
control of the process. However, there does not seem to be a real
alternative to ideas if you want social change.
If your ideas are
correct and attractive, they will sooner or later win followers. The
good thing about ideas is that once they pick up steam, they can grow
exponentially. We also don't need to win over everyone. A lethal
doses of ideas for the state is far below the threshold of persuading
everyone. We just need a significant number of the right people. So
let's not complain about people not doing anything. Everyone does what they can do best, just like in the rest of the economy. But one thing that really everyone can do is to continue spreading ideas.
Current AffairsPosted by David McDonagh Fri, May 15, 2015 21:12:24
Are the prospects
of the Labour Party to ever rule again now dead?
In Spike, Mick Hume says the election
destroyed Labour! Hyperbole? Yes, for it still is the second largest party in
the House of Commons. But can it ever win power again? The loss of Scotland
makes this question way more pertinent than at any time in the Labour Party’s
history. It now looks as if Labour has locked itself out of Scotland and if
that is the case then it truly might mean that Labour never wins a UK election
the way that Labour got thrown out of Scotland that makes a comeback difficult.
But in any case, as so many others have said, Scotland was encouraged by Labour
in the past to go in for an unrealistic amount of welfare, as Greece did in
milking Germany but it was to a much lesser extent milking England by the
Barnet formula, that Joel Barnet himself has repudiated, but the SNP under a
clear pretence of independence, held the EU gave it Germany as a much better
cow to milk if ever it got free of England. But the Greeks, who, despite the wonderful
Scottish Enlightenment, courted a fondness in Germany with a far greater
cultural heritage of 2500 years back, nevertheless Greece queered the pitch
with the Germans not only for themselves but for the Scotch too, in the future,
for they ensured the Germans were bitten hard enough to make them more than merely
twice shy. But the SNP tend to overlook that.
Bagehot in The English Constitution (1867)
held that the largely tacit, or unwritten, constitution had its ornamental and
functional parts. There are two sorts of politics, ideological and practical. The
major parties are largely concerned to be practical, but ideology itself has
some practical or functional parts. If we go back to the UK of the 1960s and
1970s, the two major parties had their ideologues as well as their parties, the
Labour Party had Tony Benn as an ideologue as well as a practical Minister for
Technology where and when he took advice from the civil servants of the time,
that had little bearing on his ideological aspect, though it would need to be roughly
compatible with it, if both were to flourish.
Johnson set out to gauge the difference between the Whigs and the Tories in the
eighteenth century whilst Sir Robert Walpole was, what historians today agree was
the first Prime Minister, up to 1742. When others took over, Dr Johnson was rather
surprised that they adopted many of the same positions, apart from opposition
to war, as Walpole had taken. There was then, as since, a practical continuity
between supposedly distinct ideological administrations that tended to share
the same experts in the civil service that may not have been somewhat immune to
fashion or to ideology as they were supposed to be, but whom certainly saw
themselves as mainly practical or functional. Ideology or fashion was, for the
most part, if ever quite completely, ornamental rather than functional.
might see that quite a bit of this ideological clash that usually takes place between
the two major parties, if not all of it, is ornamental rather than functional.
However, it can become rather unrealistically tribal with some politicians and
it has tended to do so with the Labourites a bit more than with the Tories. In Scotland
it emerged that the Labourites demonised the Tories quite successfully,
especially after the rise of Mrs Thatcher, whom many in Scotland detested. They
successfully ran the Tories out of Scotland by such demonization. But when
Blair, later, adopted many of the Tories policies, as so many parties do in the
UK’s two party system, this allowed the SNP to say that the Labourites were
quasi-Tories, so they were as bad as they themselves had earlier said that the
Tories were. This allowed them to see off the Labourites on their own anti-Tory
demonization culture. But it is not going to be an easy culture for future
Labourites to counter, as the SNP have no need to adopt any earlier policy
changes from the Tories. So it looks like Labour have lost Scotland and that
some new opposition might rise there against the SNP rather than ever again
either Labour or the Tories. Will Scottish Labour do it? It failed to do so
this time, and it might never do it. It
does not look easy. It is not impossible but nor is it an ordinary setback.
The Economist holds that the Labourites have a
threefold task against the SNP in Scotland, the UKIP in the north of England
and the Tories in the south [Friday, 15 May 2015 (p30)] but though the three
clash the real problem is in Scotland with SNP. Labour has never won without
Scotland before and maybe they cannot do it.
ArtsPosted by David Ramsay Steele Mon, May 04, 2015 22:15:30
I composed this little tale about fifteen years ago, and sent it to a
couple of magazines which promptly rejected it.
I then forgot about it until recently and thought of sending it to a few
more, but upon re-reading it I see it is out of date in many ways but not yet
ancient enough for retro appeal (“zero cool” still had a gleam at the time, but
is now covered in verdigris). My first
thought was that I might update it, but that would actually be a lot of work
and I might never get around to it. So
rather than just waste it entirely, I’m sticking it here.
I’ve never been to Beverly Hills, except in
the sense that we all have.
KIND OF A POWER
DAVID RAMSAY STEELE
Lucy moved all her stuff into Dan’s old office. The last item she carried in was the “Under
urgent consideration” pile of current scripts.
She placed this in the tray on the left of her desk, then gazed with
satisfaction at the Sony Pentium notebook, the phone, the bowl of polished stones,
the herbal bouquet, and the purplish black candle in the little silver
candlestick. This desk would never look
so tidy again, until maybe, a couple years down the road, she had her next
major promotion, probably to president of the agency. And then someone else would take over from
her the office she had now taken over from Dan.
The phone rang. It was Fiona in Human Resources. “Lucy, I have an Officer Martinez here, from
the police. Do you have a minute to talk with him? It’s about Dan.”
Ninety seconds later,
Fiona appeared at the office door, with a young man, single by the look of it,
who was wearing, not a police uniform, but a gray-green jacket and aqua shirt
which went quite well with his dark skin tone.
Not bad, thought Lucy.
This being her first
day, in fact her first five minutes, in her new office, she had a choice of
uncluttered chairs to offer Martinez. He was looking at her Welsh brooch.
“Is that . . .?”
symbol. Would you be a spiritual
“No.” And then by way
of explanation: “Catholic.”
“Just a few points we
need to clarify. This was Daniel
Zegarac’s office? Ms. McGregor informs
me you now have Mr. Zegarac’s job.”
Martinez’s black eyes darted about like a
snake’s tongue. Lucy had been looking
forward to a few minutes alone to gloat over her new corner office with the
zero cool view and enough bookshelf space to encompass a basic herb garden in
seven earthenware pots. It might have
been better to have seen the cop in a conference room.
Martinez asked a few general questions about
Dan and quite naturally slipped in a few about Lucy. She explained the nature of Dan’s job, now
her job. She gave Martinez
her routine little chat about the work of the agency, representing creative
talent in the Hollywood jungle, getting the
most promising scripts to the right people in the studios. Fiona
should have taken care of this.
vaguely wondered why the police were interested at all. Maybe they needed to rule out suicide for
insurance purposes, though if she’d considered it seriously, she’d have known
that wouldn’t be police business.
Martinez paused and
Lucy picked up a hint of awkwardness.
She thought she knew what he would say next. She almost helped him along by inquiring
“Just what kind of a script is it?”
But she was
mistaken. Martinez was not about to
mention his screenplay, or his girlfriend’s or brother-in-law’s screenplay.
He said: “We now
believe that Daniel Zegarac’s death was not accidental. Mr. Zegarac was murdered.”
His eyes had stopped
their restless flickering. They were fixed
on Lucy’s face. What he saw there was an
instant of pure, unfeigned astonishment.
“We were told it was
an accident,” said Lucy. “Wasn’t he
working on a boat?”
“He was building a
yacht. He fell and broke his neck. Since the autopsy, we now believe someone
gave him a push.”
Deftly massaging the
truth was second nature to Detective Martinez.
He didn’t explain that a witness had seen someone leaving Dan Zegarac’s
place close to the time of his fatal fall, and only because of that had the
police and the coroner looked more closely for signs of foul play. There was nothing in the autopsy report to
definitely indicate homicide. Once they
looked, however, they found details of the fatal scene that were atypical in
this kind of accident.
She said: “Wow, that’s . . . Why would anyone
kill Dan? You have any idea who did it?”
Fortunately, Lucy had not yet put up her
movie festival posters. Martinez was
sitting in front of a plain peach wall, which made it child’s play to
scrutinize his aura. Applying her
well-honed technique, she could instantly make out that this aura had blue and
turquoise points. Not a man to be taken
lightly, but no signs of unusual potency, at least not of a spiritual kind. Years of experience had taught her that by a
little deeper concentration she could see beyond the immediate manifestation,
to a faint kind of secondary aura, invisible to all save the most spiritually
discerning. She perceived a thin brown
smoke, some underlying ominous quality, an emanation of violence. Not surprising in a homicide detective, given
the kinds of experiences he must be familiar with almost daily. This whole analysis took less than two
seconds. Lucy was very good at it.
“It’s early in the
investigation,” said Martinez. How well
did you know him? Would you know if he
had any enemies?”
“Not really. Not that I can think of. A lot of people around here didn’t like him,
but not enough to . . . want to hurt him.”
“Not mixed up in
anything shady? Drugs or anything like
that?” The purpose of this question was to ascertain whether Lucy would snatch
the opportunity to send him off in an irrelevant direction; she merely shook
“Did you personally
like him? Did you get on well with him?”
He made my life a misery. When I
heard about the accident, I felt like celebrating. “Dan could be very trying. We had our issues, work-related issues. But . . . I was just appalled that he died. I couldn’t believe it. I was really upset. We all were.”
If Martinez had not already been informed that she had loathed Dan and
fought him bitterly over the recent negotiations with Bernstein at Columbia
TriStar, someone was sure to tell him.
“Okay.” Martinez made a slight movement in his chair,
a hint that he was about to get up and leave.
“Uh, one last thing. This is a
routine question we have to ask everyone.
Where were you on the night of May 6th?”
She checked her palm
pilot. Nothing on that night.
“I must have been at
home watching TV. Yeah, I’m sure I
was. Then in bed. Asleep.”
“Alone all the time?”
“Totally.” She pulled a mock-dismayed face and added:
Martinez didn’t smile,
but his voice was soft enough to perhaps indicate sympathy. “It’s routine. We have to check on everyone.”
Not so routine was the
call she took from Detective Martinez a few days later. He asked her to stop by police
headquarters. He was ready to say that
she needed to be there to look at an artist’s sketch of the person seen leaving
the scene of the homicide. Surprisingly,
she agreed to be there, without any need to invoke this contrived rationale.
When she showed at
headquarters, Martinez had more questions of a general nature. Then: “Would you say you’ve been lucky in
Uh oh. “Some good luck. Some bad luck. A whole lot of hard work.”
“As a matter of fact,
you’ve had some lucky breaks.”
Lucy guessed what was coming next.
So they’ve noticed. Well, they can’t
know anything. And even if they did,
what could they do about it?
“As I look at the trajectory of your career,
I see you’ve had three big breaks. And
each one of those lucky breaks has been precipitated by the death of a
colleague.” Trajectory. Precipitated. Definitely has a screenplay.
Lucy felt slightly dazed but not
anxious. If she’d been even moderately
perturbed she’d have gone straight into Great Pan breathing for serenity of
soul, but this hadn’t been necessary.
Martinez said: “Quite
a coincidence.” He paused and looked around the room in an oddly unfocussed
way. Lucy abruptly knew that colleagues of
Martinez were watching her reactions from an adjacent room and—of course—videotaping them. Weren’t they supposed to warn you in advance
when they did that? Or at least tell you
they considered you a suspect? This is so LAPD. Either they would swear under oath that they had warned her, or, if they thought they
had a case against her—not that this could ever happen—they’d swear that not
informing her was a careless and deeply regretted slip.
Martinez had Lucy’s
basic bio on a sheet of paper, and was checking off each item. Yes, in her previous job she had worked for
the Tom Davenport agency. Yes, twelve
years ago she had been assistant to Mary Nolan.
She got on badly with Nolan, who had recommended that Lucy be canned.
“Business was bad,”
Lucy recalled. “They were looking for
“Nolan’s body turned
up in her swimming pool. So they got
themselves a headcount reduction.”
Martinez kept the irony out of his voice. He didn’t reveal that the drowning had been
viewed at the time as suspicious and a police report had been generated. An unidentified DNA sample was on file. The report was inconclusive and the
investigation had been shelved.
Lucy had taken over
Mary’s job, an arrangement that was eventually made permanent. When business improved she got her own
Five years later,
Lucy’s boss at Davenport was Eddie McInerny.
Though she had been Eddie’s protégé—Martinez didn’t yet know she had
also been his mistress—their relationship soured and they held sharply opposed
views on the future direction of the agency.
McInerny’s house burned down. Something fatty
had been left simmering on a kitchen stove.
He slept through the thickening fumes and was dead of smoke inhalation
before his flesh began to char. The body contained traces of cocaine and three
other controlled substances.
“He could have been
zonked on drugs and forgotten to turn off the stove. Or he could have had help.” Help with the zonking or help with the fire,
or both. Still, there was no proof this
wasn’t a typical accidental blaze.
So here was a second
apparently accidental death of a colleague with whom Lucy had developed an
acrimonious relationship. A second
career boost, as it turned out, for Lucy had quickly concluded the deal that
Eddie had been working on, the deal that turned the Davenport Agency around.
Opinions might differ on whether two deaths
and two career boosts were or were not an extraordinary coincidence. Subsequently Lucy, with a number of lucrative
movie deals to her credit, had moved into a senior position at the Paulsen
Creative Talent Agency. And after five
years here, bingo, we have a third seemingly accidental death of a colleague
who clashed with Lucy, who quarreled with Lucy, and whose removal would likely
help Lucy. Surely this is beyond
Martinez had read
about individuals who’d been struck by lightning on three separate
occasions. Astounding coincidences could
happen, were bound to happen once in a while.
Or perhaps some persons had physical qualities or chosen habits that
made them unusually likely to be struck by lightning. Could there possibly be people whose personal
qualities made it fatal for others to get in their way? Detective Martinez didn’t think so. He was open-minded but not unduly credulous.
Martinez was an excellent listener.
I did a good job,” Lucy was saying.
“You can’t say I’ve coasted to the top by wasting the competition.” She didn’t intend to sound amused, but a
little of that came through.
thoughtful: “It could be fifty percent job performance and fifty percent
luck.” He might have been speaking of
his own career in the police department.
“A person could do okay on job performance and still decide on some
pro-active interventions to improve the odds.”
Even as he said this, Martinez
couldn’t make himself believe it. The
story just wouldn’t walk, it wouldn’t bark, it wouldn’t wag its tail. And whether he believed it or not, no one in
the DA’s office would want to parade it on a leash in front of a jury. Some link had to be found between Lucy
Armstrong and the death scenes. So far,
Looking at her soft
countenance, long red hair, and nicely curved figure, Martinez briefly
considered the possibility he was mentally exonerating her because he liked the
look of her. He didn’t think so. Only six months before, he had not hesitated
to pursue and arrest the mouth-watering Mrs. Mulligan, who had quite
understandably, after more than ample provocation, hired a contract killer to
dispose of her exasperating but well-insured husband.
Martinez could have placed Lucy as a serial
murderer if she’d worn tight black pants, cropped hair, a leaner physique, a
bonier face. Or, given her actual
persona, if Nolan, McInerny, and Zegarac had been poisoned. Any type of person might commit murder, but
he couldn’t see Lucy sneaking out to Zegarac’s house at dead of night and
pushing him off a ladder. Also, the DNA
found at the Nolan drowning was male.
And the person seen leaving the Zegarac homicide scene was believed to
coincidence is ruled out. Suppose also
Lucy Armstrong did not kill these three people.
What are we left with?
Lucy thought of mentioning that she’d been in Denver when Mary Nolan
died, and in Paris when Eddie McInerny died.
Did Martinez know that yet? He
would find out about Europe first, then about Denver. Let him
Martinez was trying a
different approach. “You must have
thought about this yourself. What did
A little shrug.
“Coincidence?” There are no coincidences.
Synchronicity is a law of nature, just like gravity. That was Zuleika,
holding forth in her preachy way.
Zuleika had been right about synchronicity, of course.
else ever comment about this coincidence?”
One time, just before
she’d left Davenport, when someone had gone quiet, tailed off in mid-sentence,
and the other two people present had looked embarrassed. As though they had some knowledge in
common—probably knowledge of a conversation in which they had speculated avidly
about Lucy’s benefiting from two deaths in a row.
Then there was
Laura. Laura had said: “So the spells
worked, then.” Lightly enough to show
she wasn’t concerned. Warmly enough that
it could have been more than just a joke.
Lucy smiled at the recollection.
He’s sharp. “Someone joked about
it. Said the spells work.”
Why not? He can find out anyway. “I was into Wicca.” Blank stare from Martinez. “I belonged to a coven.”
“You’re a witch?”
“We called ourselves
students of Wicca. This was a few years
back. People around the office knew
something about it. There were
jokes.” Let the Cowans mock.
“You’re not into this
“The coven was
disbanded. I haven’t really kept it
up.” Like the South Beach diet, except
that she really hadn’t kept that up.
Disbanded. You could say the Spirits of Light Coven had
been disbanded. Zuleika sputtering with
rage, her lips positively frothing. “I offered you the world and you betrayed
me, you loathsome creature, you rotten hypocrite.” Her Russian accent thickened as her
adrenaline level rose. “Your pathetic little act is finished. You’re under my curse . . . yes, my curse!”
“You worshipped the
Devil?” Martinez wanted to know.
A brief exhalation of
amusement. The usual misconceptions. “Wicca has nothing to do with His Satanic
Majesty. Really. It’s nature worship, not devil worship. Though I do know a couple devotees of Satan,
and they’re, like, totally nice people who wouldn’t hurt a fly. . . .”
Lucy found herself parroting one of Zuleika’s
set pieces: “Wicca sees the divine manifest in all creation. The cycles of nature are the holy days of
Wicca, the earth is the temple of Wicca, all life-forms are its prophets and
teachers. Wiccans respect life, cherish
the free will of sentient beings, and acknowledge the sanctity of the
environment.” That’s about all the Cowans need to know.
this. “So. Did you nature worshippers
put spells on people you wanted out of the way?”
“We were so totally not about that. Wiccans believe for every action there’s a
reaction. If you send out evil energy,
it’ll return to you threefold.” Only if
your enemy is protected by a sufficiently strong charm. “Using spells to coerce or injure is always
evil.” But possible. And evil’s kind of
a relative thing.
stick pins in voodoo dolls?”
The absurd preoccupation with physical props. “Oh no.
I respect voodoo as an authentic grassroots religion of the Haitian
people and an expression of community solidarity in the face of neo-colonialist
exploitation.” Lucy had majored in
Sociology at Berkeley. “Voodoo is a
totally valid kind of folk tradition; Wicca is different.”
She didn’t mention
that the Wicca tradition does involve acquiring some of the enemy’s hair or
fingernails, and burning them over a black candle with appropriate
incantations, on four consecutive nights when the Moon is waning. Let him
do his own research. Why do I pay
property taxes? But this was a
portion of the tradition that she had repudiated, and the online record of her
dispute with the Reverend Zuleika LeGrand would attest to that. In any case, it was all totally
academic. The DA’s office was not going
to indict anyone, in the twenty-first century, for casting spells.
The meeting had been a formality, the concluding handshake to months of
negotiations. In the Paulsen Agency’s
glass conference room, amid blue sky and green palms, business was over, the
chit-chat was winding down, lunch was in the offing, and there came an
“Ms. Armstrong, do you have a moment, please?” It was Martinez,
standing in the doorway, lithe and springy on his feet.
Around the table were
Paulsen’s president, Jay Maxwell, Bill Rescher from Public Relations, the
writer Joss Whedon, and, in a rare appearance, the legendary Clyde Paulsen
himself. Whedon would rewrite his story
along the lines agreed to, and the agency would pay him half a million for the
“Just a couple of
questions.” The voice was as gravely
courteous as ever. Maxwell and Whedon
didn’t seem to notice: Martinez might just as well be the limo driver. Rescher looked distinctly annoyed at the
interruption. Paulsen appeared
fascinated, but then, he always did.
Lucy found Martinez’s
feeble ambush both mildly diverting and mildly irritating. For him to appear like this, without prior
warning, while she was with other people, was a planned attempt to disconcert
her. She was slightly embarrassed for
him because it wasn’t very well done.
“How can I help you
this time? Why don’t we go to my
office?” A warm smile and a cheerful
lilt, but in that moment Lucy decided this would be the last interview. Before saying goodbye to Martinez, she would
let him know that all future communications had to go through her lawyer. One-on-oneing with Martinez had been fine,
but she wouldn’t be Columboed, even ineffectually.
Over the next few weeks, Lucy’s attorney Steve Gordon heard from
Martinez a couple of times with what seemed like trivial inquiries. Martinez appeared at the Paulsen offices more
than once, and she heard of other people who had been questioned.
Laura was away in Cannes, lucky Laura. In the evenings, there seemed to be more
squad cars than usual, making more commotion than usual, near Lucy’s
condo. Before going to bed, she would
call Laura—it was early morning in Cannes—and exchange reports. They would enjoy a good chuckle about agency
office happenings, who was doing what to whom in Cannes, Laura’s own
hair-raising adventures, Hollywood scuttlebutt, the hunk Martinez, and the
strange investigation into Dan Zegarac’s demise.
The day before Laura was to get back in LA,
Gordon took a call from a female cop named Bennett, asking to set up a
meeting. Bennett said just enough to
convince Gordon that his client was not a suspect, and that she would
personally benefit from being present.
When Gordon called Lucy, she immediately insisted on co-operating.
So here they were. The two cops, Lucy, and her lawyer.
“We requested this meeting,” said Bennett,
“because of a few points we need to clarify, and because we have information
Ms. Armstrong needs to be aware of. Let
me say right away that Ms. Armstrong is not a suspect. We’re grateful to her for her co-operation. We do have a few questions for her. Then we’ll explain the latest developments in
Gordon turned to Lucy and was about to
whisper something; she held up her hand and shook her head. “I’ll answer. Go ahead.” But
don’t trust them.
Martinez asked: “How well do you know William
What the . . .? “I’ve known him for yea long. He was with Davenport.”
both worked at Davenport, and now you both work at Paulsen. He followed you here.”
“Yes. He joined us a year ago.”
“Do you know him
“Don’t see much of
him. He’s not involved directly with the
talent side of the business.”
Bennett asked: “On May
4th, did you tell William Rescher you were leaving town for several days?”
sharing an elevator ride with Bill. He’d
asked her if she was leaving for the airport, “for that Nebraska thing.” She’d said yes. She had been selected as one of the judges at
the new Nebraska festival. But the
festival had been called off, some scandal about funds.
“I was in a
hurry. Conversations with Bill tend to
go on too long. I was taking a taxi to
LAX but that was to say goodbye to a friend who was leaving for Europe. I didn’t want to take the time to get into
the convoluted messy story of why the Nebraska festival was cancelled.”
There was actually a
little more to it. She had lied on
impulse, not just to save the time of explaining, but because she somehow
instinctively didn’t want creepy Bill to know where she was or what she was
It occurred to Lucy that if she’d gone to
Nebraska as planned, she would have had a way solid alibi for all three deaths,
not just the first two. Yet still the
significance of this fact didn’t dawn on her.
“Did you ever date
Where’s this going? “Yeah. A
long time ago. That was, let me see now,
twelve years ago.” The week after she
started at Davenport. Bill was already
there, and that’s where she had first met him.
“Who terminated the
“There was no
“Can you recall
whether one of you wanted to go on dating, the other didn’t?”
“Oh, that would be him
kind of wanting to go on, me wanting to stop.”
“He upset about that?”
She had given it
barely a thought for twelve years, but now it came back to her. Bill had been younger and cuter then. She’d felt a bit mushy about being so brutal. God, there were tears in his eyes. He was all, “I can’t go on without you. You mean everything to me.” Sweet, at the time, but what a loser. Surely he got over it quickly. Four months later he married that anemic
blonde at the front desk, was still married to her, as far as Lucy could
Lucy’s next date was Brad Pitt. It was only once and that was six months
before the release of Thelma and Louise,
so he wasn’t big BO. But there was a
picture in Hollywood Reporter. That kind of publicity never hurt an agency,
and Eddie McInerny had been impressed. So
much for Bill Rescher.
“William Rescher is in
custody, said Bennett. “He has confessed
to the murder of Daniel Zegarac.”
“What? That’s way wacky.”
“He did it,” said
Martinez. “We have independent corroboration.”
totally putting you on. Did he even know
right. He barely knew him.” It was odd that Martinez said this as though
it clinched the case against Rescher.
Lucy sensed that they
were now getting to the whole point of the interview. What
kind of a trick is this? Lucy was
absolutely sure that Bill could not
have killed Dan. This just had to be a
smokescreen. But why?
Bennett cleared her throat and said: “Ms.
Armstrong, we have to tell you . . . because this may cause you some
embarrassment when he goes to trial.
William Rescher committed murder because of you. He’s seriously . . . infatuated with
you. He has been obsessively in love
with you for fourteen years. His motive
for killing Daniel Zegarac was to help you out.”
Lucy’s head was spinning. She instantly went into Great Pan breathing.
A long pause.
Martinez asked, “Did you have any idea he felt this way about you?”
“But that’s just . . . He must be . . . totally out of his mind.”
Lucy was rapidly computing. Numerous little recollections of subtle
oddities in Bill’s speech and behavior, at rare intervals over the past twelve
years, suddenly made sense. What the
police were telling her struck her with stunning force as true, even obviously
true, a truth screaming for recognition.
Yet it had to
because it contradicted her certain knowledge that she could bring down her
enemies by the sheer force of her mind.
She knew perfectly well that she had deliberately caused the deaths of
Mary Nolan, Eddie McInerny, and Dan Zegarac by her own unique magickal hexing
power. Therefore, Bill Rescher could not
have killed them.
“This must be a shock
for you, and also disgusting, like a violation,” said Bennett, seeking to
soften the blow by empathizing. “However
the evidence is that you’ve been the center of William Rescher’s thoughts for
the past fifteen years.
Don’t panic. Need to think. “You’re saying he did those other killings
“He may never be
charged with them, but . . . yes, we believe he did them.” Martinez chose not to reveal that a DNA trace
from the Nolan death matched Bill Rescher.
Rescher would be offered concessions for confessing to at least two of
the three homicides, preferably all three.
It didn’t matter anyway: Rescher would likely be acquitted by reason of
insanity and incarcerated for life in a mental institution.
In kind of a vertigo,
Lucy heard Bennett’s voice, as though from the other end of a long, winding
corridor: “Did Rescher ever tell you what he did before he got into the agency
business? He worked for an insurance company,
investigating claims. Before that he’d
been a small-town sheriff for a few years.
He knew something about domestic accidents and crime scene
investigations. So when he . . .
developed this psychotic obsession about you, he could easily see a practical
way to help you out.”
It took less than three minutes of turmoil
for the mist to be dispelled, for the simple truth to shine forth in all its
clarity, and for Lucy to feel once again completely in control. If Bill had directly engineered the deaths of
Mary Nolan, Eddie McInerny, and Dan Zegarac, this showed, not that Lucy didn’t
have the power to kill at a distance by the trained exercise of concentrated
thought, but that this formidable power of hers worked through a human
intermediary. Of course. She should have known it. Hadn’t she known it?
Zuleika had once said: “All occult powers
work through the human world; all human powers work through the natural
world.” Actually the gross old manatee
had said this more than once. It was one
of her irritating little sayings, as if she could have attained to some kind of
privileged wisdom. At the time, of
course, they had all hung on Zuleika’s every goddamn word.
All occult powers work through the human
world, the mental world. It was true
enough, and obvious enough, and therefore it was something Lucy must always
have known. Of course Bill was besotted with her and consumed with the mission of
serving her interests. Bill was an
instrumentality of the hex.
Within a few seconds of this surprising
thought, she began to feel that she had never been surprised at all. She conceived that she had been struck with
fresh force by a fact she had always taken for granted. The only surprise, it now seemed to her, was
the identity of the human agent. And she
would soon begin to recall that she had known all along, on some deep level of
her being, that it was Bill.
She could picture herself one day explaining
the principle of the thing to Laura and a select inner circle of devoted
followers: “What’s more in keeping with Wicca wisdom? That a witch might cause the death of an enemy
by using mental power to make a ladder collapse? Or that a witch might cause the death of an
enemy by influencing the mind of a third person who then kicks over the
ladder?” The answer could be no less
self-evident to Lucy and her followers than it had been to the sorry old fraud
Now Lucy had Bennett
figured out. She was the kind of
sympathetic cop who would be first choice to talk to a rape victim or to a
witness who had seen a loved one blown away.
Probably had a degree in social work.
Okay now, what would they expect me to say in this situation? “This is just awful,” Lucy wailed. “I thought I’d made it this far by my own
“It would be
unproductive to let that distress you.”
Bennett’s tone was almost maternal.
“Chance enters into everyone’s life.
Many people fail to get the promotion they deserve because someone
doesn’t like them, for instance. You
didn’t ask Rescher to do any of the things he did. And as far as we can see, he was not mainly
concerned about helping your career. It
seems he was thinking that each of these victims, at the time, was getting you
down, causing you severe emotional pain.
The way he thought of it, he couldn’t bear to see you suffer.”
Detective Martinez felt good about the case. Everything, or almost everything, had clicked
into place quite smoothly. A week after
his first meeting with Lucy, he’d found she had a cast-iron alibi for the death
of Dan Zegarac, an alibi she evidently didn’t even know about.
On the afternoon of
May 6th, Jordan Pirelli, actuary, e-trader, body-builder, occasional model, and
currently unbooked actor, had gone out of town leaving a faucet trickling in
his jacuzzi. When wet stuff came through
the ceilings of the condos below, the janitor, Frank Vucovic, had to make sure
of the source of the flood. Since Pirelli was a security-minded person who had
installed additional anti-theft devices, janitor Frank needed to have the fire
department break into Pirelli’s condo through the window. Before going to such lengths, Frank wanted to
be very sure of the source of the flooding, so he had called the neighboring
apartment, Lucy Armstrong’s, at 12:30 in the morning, and when she answered and
said she was still up, he had personally gone into her apartment, talked with
her, and checked around for any signs of leakage. This had taken about a minute. It wasn’t remarkable that Lucy didn’t recall
it—some people do forget unimportant occurrences in the few minutes before they
fall asleep. Frank vividly remembered
the whole sequence of events, which he was obliged to report in tiresome detail
to the building management later that morning.
It was a perfect
alibi. Not only did it place Lucy two
hours away from the scene of the crime, it was also a purely chance event;
there was no way she could have engineered it, certainly not with the required
precise timing. This ruled out the
possibility that she had arranged to provide herself with an alibi, knowing in
advance that the murder would take place.
It tended to eliminate her as an accomplice or accessory.
When Bill Rescher
displayed an interest in the questioning of Lucy, Martinez, in a reflexive
impulse to sow misdirection, hinted that she was the hot suspect. The calamitous look on Rescher’s face
intrigued Martinez, who began to feed Rescher with suggestions that Lucy was
the investigative target, and to ostentatiously pull her in for
questioning. Then Martinez had staged
his arrival at Paulsen to confront Lucy in Rescher’s company.
eagerness that Lucy should come to no harm, skilfully manipulated by Martinez,
had soon prompted Bill to confess to the killing of Dan Zegarac. Bill knew many details of the fatal scene. It was a couple of days before Martinez
mentioned to him that he was also a suspect in the Nolan and McInerny
killings. Once this matter was raised,
Rescher became exceedingly cagey. He
knew that Lucy had excellent alibis for those killings, so he had no motive to
confess to them. Martinez had not yet
informed him that DNA placed him at the scene of Mary Nolan’s drowning.
Hours of questioning
of Rescher and of Lucy had convinced Martinez that they had not been working
together. Rescher had acted alone and
without anyone else’s knowledge.
There were no major
loose ends. Something felt not quite
right about Lucy’s failure to volunteer her alibis for the Nolan and McInerny
deaths. But she was, after all, a deeply
spiritual person, which Martinez quite benevolently took to mean: occasionally
out to lunch and in need of a little practical guidance. For all her quick shrewdness, her mind could
sometimes be way off someplace on a broomstick.
The Council of Thirteen, the trustees of the coven, were all
there. Zuleika screeched: “You’re under my curse . . . yes, my curse!”
and slapped Lucy’s face. The next few
seconds of intense silence made that slap seem like the snapping of a bone,
though some eye-witnesses later argued about whether any blow had actually
landed. Lucy didn’t flinch but just
glared. Most of the onlookers felt
awkward as well as awed. Wiccans don’t
talk much about curses, and when they cast them, the entire rigmarole is
decorous and painstakingly slow. Yet
Zuleika was Zuleika. The members were embarrassed but also filled
with foreboding. They fully expected
something bad to happen to the delinquent Lucy, though possibly not for years.
That night, Zuleika,
never at a loss for captivating words, was paralyzed and rendered permanently
speechless by a stroke. Within hours,
self-effacing Ben Goldberg, Zuleika’s reliable lieutenant—and heir apparent now
that Lucy had vacated this role—was hit by a truck and put out of action. From the following morning when she heard the
news, Lucy never doubted her own awesome gift.
No member of the Spirits of Light Coven had
any doubts about what these events signified.
Lucy didn’t have to say anything.
For a few days, she thought she might assume the throne vacated by
Zuleika, but most of the members melted away.
They were impressed, even intimidated, but having been Zuleika’s
apostles they were not ready to switch allegiance to this disconcerting young
witch. Only Laura remained. And then, over the years, contacts were made with
a few more interested seekers: a new coven was discreetly in the making.
Martinez turned the steering wheel.
Bulky shoulders and taut arms, an efficient instrument of justice. He spent some time in Dave’s Gym, no time in
Dunkin’ Donuts. He wore a demeanor of
solemn dignity like a ceremonial robe.
His ancestors, Lucy divined, had been priests of Quetzalcoatl. They could be relied upon to hack out the
hearts of an endless procession of sacrificial victims to gratify their
ineffably potent god. Lucy was enough of
a postmodernist to feel at home with her vision of this vanished mystical
empire, with its pitiless established church ever thirsty for more daily
gallons of fresh human blood. Our own
society is brutal enough in its way, just kind of a different way, what with
corporate greed, global warming, and all.
Martinez thought he
was beginning to know Lucy better, to pierce beneath her unruffled
surface. She had never acted as upset as
he’d expected. She was calm; most of the
time she radiated an awesome sense of calm; he couldn’t help admiring her
amazing calm. Inside of her, she
undoubtedly did experience turbulent emotions.
Learning of Rescher’s sick obsession had shaken her. The observable signs were subtle, subdued,
yet there was no mistaking the juddering impact of tremendous shock, an eight
on her personal Richter scale, at the moment when she had learned of Bill’s
confession. She definitely had been
shaken. She was still shaken. Better see her right to her door.
“For me this is another case to be filed
away. For you it must be a little bit
He for sure
has a script. Detective Martinez stopped the car right on
the corner by Lucy’s condo building.
She said: “I guess you come across some,
like, really weird stuff in your job. As
weird as anything in the movies. Or even
“As a matter of fact . . .,” began Hugo
© 2001 David Ramsay
PhilosophyPosted by Nico Metten Mon, May 04, 2015 21:32:22
This week, on May
7th, the local gang of thieves, also know as the UK government will
ask its subjects for approval of their crimes. And amazingly, people
will come out in flocks to give it to them. Their motivation for
doing so will be different. Many have been promised a share of the
booty. Some will have to live with the promise of one party robbing
them less badly then the other. And there are those whose survival
strategy seems to be, to not think at all and just follow the crowd.
The vast majority of
all of them will have in common to dislike my characterisation of the
government as a gang of thieves. “No Nico” they will say, “the
government is just everyone getting together as a community and
figuring out what is best for all of us. Everyone can take part.
Everyone has a voice. The government is not a gang of thieves. The
government is us.”
I would buy that
story, if I was 12 years old. In fact, I did believe it when I was
12. But in my view, it really takes the naivety and life experience
of a child to believe it. There are so many holes in that story, it
is difficult where to start. Maybe we should start with the idea of
the government representing the people.
Who are the people?
The people are all of us you might say. Great, so in that case
governance by the people would logically mean that everyone has to
agree with a policy. I actually like that. The government could never
do anything if everyone had to agree with it. The criminals would be
stripped of their power and therefore leave us alone.
don't have that. Instead, what we have is that a part of the people
will be enough to legitimise a policy. Here is my first problem. How
can the government act in the name of the people, if a part of the
people is systematically excluded? But hardly anyone seems to be
bothered by this contradiction. They think they have a solution. The
solution is that we can call it the rule of the people, when a
majority of the people approves a policy.
But what is supposed
to be so magical about a majority? Why should the majority part of
the people have a right to tell the minority part what to do and
still call this the rule of the people? As a famous saying goes,
democracy, that is two wolfs and a sheep voting for what is for
dinner. There seems to be nothing moral or logical about the idea
that a majority can legitimise the exercise of power. The only thing
the majority idea has going for it is that that way the exercise of
power becomes possible. But then again, why would we want someone to
exercise power over us anyway?
though the whole majority story seems very much arbitrary, let us for
the sake of the argument assume for the moment that a majority can
indeed legitimise power. How is that then been implemented in the
current political system?
Currently, you can
vote for parties or candidates. Both represent a whole agenda of ideas and
political proposals. I shall be surprised if we could find anyone
voting for a party or a candidate, who really agrees with the whole agenda. But let
us get back to that later. First, let us take a simple example of an
election result. Let us say there are two major parties A and B and a
bunch of smaller parties. Let us assume 60% of eligible voters show up
at an election to vote. 10% of these vote for smaller parties. 26%
vote for Party A and 24% for Party B. Pretty much every western
democracy has election rules to keep small parties out of the
representative assembly. So we now have two parties, representing the
will of the people. Party A is going to provide the government.
But wait a minute.
Party A only has 26% approval of the voters. What kind of funny world
is it, in which 26% represents the majority and 74% the minority?
That means that the minority is almost three times as big as the
majority. This is the funny world of politics, in which most basic
principals of mathematics do not apply.
Right here we can
conclude that the whole rhetoric of the rule of the people and
majority rule is simply a fairy tale. But it actually gets worse. As
mentioned above, most people do not vote for the whole agenda of a
party. The system is set up in a way, so that you have to give your
vote to a party according to a few issues that are important to you.
This issue can be, and very often is as simple as, “party A
promises me to subsidies my bus ticket”. Now you have voted for
party A to get a cheaper bus ticket (btw who is paying for that?!)
and party A interprets your vote as a mandate to do whatever is on
their agenda. But since you haven't voted for them because of the
rest of the agenda, this claim is simply false.
What does this mean
for the democratic legitimacy of party A's policies? Well, it means
that many policies on the agenda of party A are actually not even
approved of by the majority of voters of the two major parties. If we
think this through, that means that it is possible for a policy of
the government to be only approved of by a tiny fraction of the
voters. In fact not only is that possible, but it is happening all
Almost everyone I
talk to seems to agree that the government is putting out too many
regulations in some area of their lives. How can it be that people in
general seem to agree that there is too much government in some areas
and yet we only seem to get more government? After what we have found
out above, it should be clear why that is. It only takes a small
fraction of the people to grow the government. A small interest group
that is giving out their vote only on the basis of a certain
regulation being put in place. While most people may disagree with
this regulation, they are more concerned with getting their own favorite regulations approved. So this has more priority than to
stop other regulations. Politicians know that and that is why they
promise everyone their favorite government program.
The government will
grow, no matter who wins an election. There is no way the government
can be shrunk by voting. If you want to shrink the government by
voting, you have to defeat the special interest groups. And since their issues are very important to them, you will likely lose. Even if
you do manage to defeat one of them at some point, defeating all of
them is impossible.
That means that since most
people are not voting out of moral principals, but just for
the benefit of their own bank account, the system has become a
gigantic exploitation machine. The only question in every election
has become, who is going to be the exploiter and who the exploited.
And that although the system has become so complex, that it is
impossible to really say on which side one will end up on. However,
since wealth creation is becoming increasingly difficult in the middle
of this battle, it is fair to assume, that we are probably all losing
a lot on the whole. Democracy is not the rule of the people. It is
not a noble system and the end of history. It is a fundamentally
immoral system that deserves to die.
It will die anyway,
since more and more people want to be part of the parasites. I don't
blame them. As long as the system is set up the way it is, that is,
as long as we think we need a government to organize society, taking
part in the exploitation seems like a rational thing to do. The
problem with parasitic systems however is, that eventually they grow
so big that they kill the hosts. That is were most western welfare
states have gotten to right now. So either, people start realizing
that the system itself is the problem, or things are going to get
really messy. Humanity will not make progress until we have slayed
Leviathan in even its democratic form.
PhilosophyPosted by Nico Metten Sun, April 19, 2015 17:11:34
Property be inheritable? Some defenders of IP, like Jan Lester
it should. I would disagree. Why should anything be inheritable from
a libertarian point of view? If Libertarianism is all about maximizing interpersonal liberty, should dead people be still
considered a person whose liberty is worth maximizing? I don't think
it should. Liberty is for the living, not the dead. The concept of
inheritance is basically giving a person property rights beyond his
or her death. Why is that supposed to maximize liberty, unless we
assume that the liberty of dead people still matters?
Having said that, I
am in favour of the inheritability of physical wealth. The reason for
that is that physical things cannot be in the public domain. That is
the reason why property is libertarian in the first place. Allowing
the concept of property on some scarce things is actually liberty
maximising. With the death of a person, his physical wealth does not
go away. If it is true that property in this wealth was maximising
liberty before his death, then it is reasonable to assume finding a
new owner after his death is liberty maximising too.
To put it
differently, physical wealth needs to be inherited to someone.
Putting it in the public domain is not really possible because of its
scarcity. And if the question is just who inherits the wealth, it
seem to make sense to let the previous owner decide who the next
owner should be. If not him, who else should decide it? It also seems
like a good solution, because the previous owner is likely the best
to make an educated decision of who is best suitable to inherit
certain things. This is most likely to keep the wealth in the most
Things look a little
bit differently for IP though. There are certainly many parallels
between the concept of physical and intellectual property. However,
there are also some crucial differences. In particular there are two
differences that make the idea for inheritability of IP look
The first one is the
fact that the usability of physical property is always limited to a
few people. For example, if I have a chair, only one person can sit
on it at a time. The same limitation applies to every other physical
property I can think of. That means that for physical things, it is
inevitable to have a rule according to which we can determine, who
can use a desired object for which purpose at a certain time. Most of
the time, the best solution will be to grand people property rights
on these objects. Less often it might be enough to have a simple
possession solution in place.
IP on the other hand
is lacking this characteristic of physical property. In principal,
information can be used by an unlimited number of people
simultaneously. There is no limitation on the information itself. For
example, me reading The Wealth Of Nations does not limited someone
else to read the same book at the same time. This is a big difference
between physical and intellectual property. The only limitation would
be the availability of the physical medium on which the information
are stored. But as I already said, inheritable property rights on the
medium are not a problem to me.
difference is that physical wealth decays. There seems to be no
exception to this, although some things are so robust that for all
practical purposes they can be seen as not decaying. This makes it
necessary to maintain physical things. Maintaining things usually is
a capital intense process. People will less likely engage in this
process if they are not allowed to have some control over the result.
Information on the
other hand do not decay. The pythagorean theorem for example has not
decayed one bit, despite the fact that it is thousands of years old.
One might argue that the physical medium it is stored on needs to be
maintained otherwise the theorem would get lost with the medium. That
is true, but is not much of an argument in the digital internet age.
Desired information will be stored in many different locations at
almost no cost.
differences make the idea of the inheritability of IP questionable.
Other than physical property, IP can actually be in the public
domain. If that is true, than what justifies giving it a new owner,
after the old one has died? This seems to be an unnecessary
imposition on everyone who is not the new owner.
Current AffairsPosted by David McDonagh Wed, April 08, 2015 17:42:29
It is the state that is illiberal and the state is the
sole source of privilege and, thereby, of under-privilege too.
Statist Political Correctness [PC; the
ideologues who push it are PCers] is maybe the chief ideology against liberty
today as it is for totalitarian government and for general intolerance. However, if the said current totalitarian
ideologues, the PCers, ever gave up their use of the state for protection of
their pet groups, if they never sought to privilege them in law and so thereby
under-privilege everyone else, then PC would be reduced to mere free speech.
Mere mores may set up quasi-privilege but it is the law and actual privilege
that is illiberal. So without the use of the state and the law, PC would be not
one whit illiberal.
Similarly with the various religions, they
are free only, if they are not protected by the state, or if they do not go
into politics to dominate others then they will not be against the social
liberty of all others, but if ever they do resort to the state then they will
be against social liberty.
This is because active politics never can
quite be neutral. It always abuses others by using gratuitous coercion against
them. As it is today, free speech is the about main thing the PC ideologues
want to outlaw. Oddly, they often say they stand for free speech but then they
clearly contradict themselves by explicitly listing a long list of exceptions.
Economist, 28 March 2015, (p35)
carried an article on “The right to be rude” on religion and free speech.
This magazine that calls itself a newspaper
is mainly concerned nowadays with crass politics, but it began as a liberal journal
backing up the Anti-Corn Law League, the great nineteenth century propaganda
and pressure group for free trade, that was soon led by Richard Cobden and John
Bright. This pressure group aided the Corn Laws to get repealed in 1846 and
then it disbanded but the journal continued, largely on economics in those days
but since 1945 it seems, at least to this reader of it, to be way keener on
politics and it might be clearer if it changed its name to The Politician.
It reports that an “offensive preacher” has
acquired some unlikely allies. A Christian street propagandist, Michael Overd,
47, had repeatedly told two male homosexuals displaying their affection in
public that they were sinners who would burn in hell. He also said that Islam
was sinful in the main High Street of Taunton, Somerset.
Michael Overd had repeatedly told Craig Manning and Craig Nichol that they
would burn in hell on seeing them boldly walk around hand in hand on the main
High Street where Overd regularly went to peach to all and sundry. They
took offence at this, but they nevertheless seemed to repeatedly return to the
High Street to get more readings from the Bible on how very sinful they were
The BBC news reported from what looks like an
earlier court appearance by Overd, and his two “victims”. The case seems to
have been in court a number of times, two times or even more, before the
session that The Economist reported
in March. The BBC on-line news site reports that in his earlier evidence for
the court against Overd, Craig Nichols said:
said 'I have already told these two sinners over here that they are going to
burn in hell'.
He looked at us and pointed at us when he
said it. His voice was quite loud and very clear.
I felt angry, embarrassed and ashamed. It was
a really busy day and I felt that everyone was looking at us when he was saying
these things to us.
I asked him who he was to judge me and he
said 'It's God's words, it is in the Bible'. He said I should repent and ask
God for forgiveness.”
A Muslim judge, Shamim Qureshi, ordered
Overd to pay damages for using threatening and abusive language from the Bible
of £250 but the more serious charge of a religiously aggravated offence was
rejected. When Overd protested at paying a sodomite such a sum the judge
threated him with 45 days in prison otherwise.
Afterwards Overd said: “ If I heard someone preaching
the things I am accused of preaching I would talk to them about it.” But, as
George Bernard Shaw rightly said, the golden rule of doing onto others exactly
as we would have them do onto us can, often, fail to show other people proper
personal consideration, as a boxer might have a different idea of that from
hairdresser thus either might have starkly inept rules. What is fine for an
enthusiastic propagandist, like Overd, need not be apt for Nichols, or vice versa, but, given that the High
Street in Taunton normally allows public speaking by tradition then Nichols
seems to have had plenty of space to dodge ever being offended by Overd. On the
face of it, it seems to have been silly of Nichols to take offence, let alone
to repeatedly go back for more. Those who do take offence all too often,
thereby, seem to earn it.
Peter Tatchell, a well-known gay-rights propagandist has offered to speak
in favour of free speech in court for Overd. He does not agree with the Bible
on gay-rights but he feels it should be tolerated as part of traditional civil
liberty and free speech. Being spared offence is not a human right. To
criminalise traditional religion is a step too far, he says.
What seems yet even more unacceptable to many organisations concerned
with civil liberties and free speech is the Politically Correct courts and
current totalitarian PC law in the UK. The National Secular Society [NSS] seems
to hold that free speech is in danger, and they too have aided Overd in support
of the general cause of free speech as a result. They say the PC legislation is
too sloppy. Overd was prosecuted under the Public Order Act and it can lead to
up to seven years in gaol if the threatening, insulting or abusive language
that the law outlaws is deemed to be racially or religiously motivated.
The NSS, and other civil liberty groups, have recently got the law
amended such that it is not only up to the police to judge if what is said
potentially offensive. It needs, now, to be shown that the language was aimed
at a particular person or group and that offence was taken by the targeted person
or group. But many want further reform
of the law to remove the privilege that religion still has in law, despite the
abolition of the common law against blasphemy since 8 March 2008. They hold
that the idea of religious aggravation revives this abolished blasphemy law to
protect religion from criticism,
according to the executive director of
the NSS: Keith Porteous Wood.
Prior to this abolition, the law had long been allowed to fall into
abeyance, or neglect, until Mrs Mary Whitehouse attempted to revive it in the
1970s, actually being successful in 1977; in the case of Whitehouse versus Lemon.
During the Rushdie affair, many Muslims sought
also to revive the blasphemy laws, so that they could be used to imprison
Salmon Rushdie, and any others who might write similar books to his Satanic
Verses (1988), that seemed to them to set out to deliberately mock
But they overlooked, in this entire rumpus that
the Rushdie affair gave rise to, that the British common law blasphemy laws
were quite indifferent to Rushdie’s books but not at all to the Koran,
that did indeed flout them in the way it basically rejects the Christian creed.
So the Muslims, ironically, sought to revive a law that would effectively
outlaw their own religion rather than protect it. When some of them realised
that, they sought to change the old common law so it would protect Islam as
well as Christianity.
On 5 March 2008, an amendment was passed to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 which abolished the common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel
in England and Wales. The Act received royal assent on 8 May 2008, and the
relevant section came into force on 8 July 2008. It was haply thought by the
establishment that it would be better to abolish this law altogether rather
than to too openly privilege Islam in the UK.
The resulting need of the natives to kow-tow to Islam might have been
too clearly an under-privilege to impose on the population, even for the
increasingly eager UK totalitarian establishment of today.
HistoryPosted by Nico Metten Mon, April 06, 2015 12:40:36
Apparently, one of
the major responsibilities of the state is to protect our rights
against criminals. It is this responsibility that even a lot of
libertarians think we cannot get rid of completely. To fulfill this
responsibility, we are told, the state needs to have a monopoly on
using violence. The institution of the executive, which carries out
this violence domestically is the police. To make sure that this
monopoly in and of itself does not become a problem, the advocates of
this system have implemented democratic controls. That way, the
police can function as an efficient security service provider for the
people. That is at least the idea. But does it all work as the
architects of this system imagine it?
On first sight, this
system does not seem to be a bad idea. For a society to function, we
certainly need to have a rule of law. That means we indeed need to
make sure that if it comes to a stand off between a criminal who is
violating the rights of someone and the enforcers of the law, the law
will ideally always win. And if you want to win battles it seems very
useful, if not inevitable to have the majority of force on your side.
If this line of thought is correct, does this automatically mean that
we need to have an institution that at all times has a monopoly on
force? Is there even a possible alternative to this approach?
To answer these
questions let us start by having a deeper look at the basic idea. It
seems to me that there are several flaws in it that need to be
addressed. The most obvious one is, who is controlling the monopoly?
The major assumption behind having a monopoly is that not all humans
are of good character. Some are more than willing to violate other
people's rights for their own advantage. If that is true, how do we
make sure that these people are not taking over the monopoly? For
that is what these bad guys are most likely planning to do.
There are various
ways with which criminals could do that. The most successful one
would be to take over the control of the whole state. This could come
in various shapes and forms. One example might be a very primitive
military dictatorship, in which everyone is aware that a group of
people are controlling the system in their own interest. However, it
could also come in more subtle forms. The state could still have the
appearance of a rule of law, while a group of powerful people pull
the strings in the background. The latter approach is probably more
successful in securing the control of power in the long run. In
whatever form it might come, the process of criminals taking over the
whole state seems to have been completed in most states that we
observe around the world.
However, there seem
to be a few states on the planet that still have some form of
division of powers and a rule of law. Having said that, I do not know
of any state that is completely free of criminal influence.
Corruption comes in different forms. The most simple attempt to beat
the monopoly is to try to have some influence on the people enforcing
the law. In other words, criminals try to influence the police.
The UK is worldwide
one of the most respected states for its rule of law. But how
justified is this respect? Compared to the total corruption observed
in most countries, the UK indeed appears in a positive light. But of
course this island is no exception to the fact that some people are
not nice guys. These bad boys, here too have long realized that it
might be a good idea for their 'business' to try to get in control of
the monopoly. And they have been far more successful than most people
might realize. Last year The Independent reported a number of leaked
documents, suggesting that the legal system in the UK is indeed
infiltrated by criminals up to the highest levels.
The whole idea that
a monopoly on force can be controlled to serve the rule of law,
really is a contradiction in terms. Any such system relies on the
assumption that humans can be trusted to not abuse this position. But
if humans were all nice guys, why would we need such a system in the
first place? In truth, this system logically cannot solve the problem
of dealing with criminals. All it does is taking the problem to a
One might object to
this by saying that the system might not be 100% perfect, but at
least it works most of the time. I certainly agree that we cannot
come up with a perfect system. No matter which system we come up with
to protect the rule of law, we will likely see cases in which it
fails. So the best we can ask for is a system with a good track
record. I do not believe that all police officers are crocks. In
fact, the vast majority are probably decent human beings, just trying
to do their jobs as good as possible. We might see police forces in
certain places on the globe who are systematically trained to fight
the people. But I do not see any evidence that this is what is going
on in the UK. However, despite of that the idea that the current
system works most of the time seems very questionable to me.
Even if we assume
that we are dealing with a lot of good police men, we are still stuck
with some other problems. The business model of running a monopoly
service provider is the business model of a central planner. So we
can expect to see the same problems from centrally planning the
police that we see in any other centrally planned business.
In a centrally
planned service organization, resources are not allocated by prices
and therefore the needs of the people paying for the services.
Instead they are allocated according to the needs of the people
running the organization. The same is true for the rules put in place
to run the organization. These rules will likely serve the needs of
the people providing the services instead of the needs of the
recipients of the services.
What does that mean
for the policing services? On the one hand, we will likely see a prioritizing of activities that are easy to execute and bring in
revenue for the organization. On the other hand, we are likely to see
activities that are hard to execute and drain resources to get a low
priority. To be more concrete, activities like fining law abiding
citizens for overstepping minor laws are likely to see a relatively
good enforcement. These activities bring in revenue through the fines
and are easy to enforce. Law abiding citizens are likely to simply
comply with demands from the police. On the other hand, chasing
criminals like muggers, burglars, rapists and murders are dangerous
activities that don't even bring in any revenue. These activities
will likely get a low priority. They will likely be carried just as
much necessary to keep people from actively rebelling.
On the rules side of
things, we will likely see rules being made that serve predominantly
the well being of the police officers and less so the needs of the
receivers of their services. Everything that might put officers in
danger or even just cause inconvenience are bad rules and everything
that gives 'costumers' the power of complaining or creating
alternatives to the provided police services are good rules.
Is this what we are
seeing? From the data I know and my personal experience, I find this
to be exactly true. I myself have been on the receiving side of fines
a number of times. And this seems to be true for most people I know.
These were fines for overstepping rules that are minor or outright
silly. Some of them are so counter intuitive that I might not even
have been aware off them. For example I recently got a fine of £130
for standing too long (more than 10s) with my car on one of those
yellow striped areas you find at busy crossroads. The purpose of
these areas is to stop people from driving into the middle of the
crossroads on a green light and get stuck there, blocking cars from
other directions during their green light interval. The problem is
that it is often hard to see when exactly the cars in front of you
will stop. It was Friday night at about midnight, I thought I would
make it to the other side but ended up getting stuck at the very end
of the yellow area. I was not blocking anyone, there was still plenty
of space. But, since London is completely surveyed with cameras,
someone watched the CCTV footage, actually counted the seconds I was
stopping on the yellow lines and issued a fine.
You may say great,
these CCTV cameras see everything. If they caught you breaking such a
minor rule, they must have a great track record finding real
criminals as well. Unfortunately, that is not really the case. For
example, an ex flatmate of mine got mugged in the middle of the day
on a London bus in Chelsea. They stole her smart phone. Every bus in
London has 16 CCTV cameras on it. She went to the police demanding
they would analyze the footage and look for the criminals. However,
she found herself a little bit surprised to get the answer that “it
is not worth our time to look into this”. In this case, nothing was
to gain for the monopolists. They were dealing with real criminals,
so looking into this case would have been potentially dangerous and
drained their resources. So why do it? Why not analyze CCTV footage
for how long cars are stopping on yellow lines? Much safer and much
Another friend of
mine got jumped by a few thugs on his way home in the evening. He was
less lucky. They not only robbed him but also beat him up so heavily
that he almost lost an eye. So he went to the police to report it. To
his surprise the police at first refused to even write the incident
down. After a while of arguing with them, they finally agreed to make
a note of the incident, but they were very blunt about the fact that
they had no intention looking into this case any further.
In December last
year and February this year, my flat got burgled twice within two
month by the same guy. The burglar was after cash and computers. The
first time he stole some cash from me and two computers, including a
MacBook Pro that I was using for work. Knowing the bad experiences
that almost everyone I ever asked had made with police in London, I
was not very keen in calling the police. I did it anyway for two
reasons. First, I remembered that the MacBook was covered by my
business content insurance. Second, I am a skeptical person. I always
like to test whether my theories work. So I was curious to see what I
could get for my tax money.
Within an hour two
police officers showed up, together with a Lady to secure the
evidence. They were reasonably friendly and documented the case.
After that they closed the case without solving it within a few days.
So no success, but at least an appearance of caring. I looked into
how many cases of burglary are actually being solved by the state. I
didn't expect much, but was still negatively surprised to find out
that the success rate was in the low single percentage digits. That
is a remarkable incompetence. So protecting citizens from burglars is
definitely not something that appears to work most of the time.
The burglar seemed to
have been aware of this incompetence too. He did not hesitate to come
back two months later. This time a desktop computer from my flatmate
was stolen, and the burglar caused some severe damages to doors and
some windows. My flatmate called the police, but this time only a
police officer showed up. No one wanted to come along and secure the
evidence that evening. They postponed that till the next day. Not
very good, given that we could not leave the broken windows as they
were throughout the whole cold winter night. But my flatmate, not a
libertarian, still was full of respect. “They are probably very
The next day a man
showed up to secure the evidence that was left. I had a very
interesting conversation with him. First, I asked him whether he was
indeed very busy. His answer “no, not at all. Very quite”. He did
not seem to realize that the reason I might ask that was, because he
showed up a day late. Then he said something very interesting. “Crime
in general seems to go down. But we have no idea why that is.”
Whether it is true that crime is going down or not, I don't know. But
his statement that he did not know why it was going down really
surprised me. Here is someone working for an organization aiming at
fighting crime. He observes crime to go down, but it does not cross
his mind to take the credit for it.
This is interesting
for a number of reasons. First, being an insider at the police, the
pure thought that the work of the police is reducing crime was a
non-starter for him. Having put some thought into this phenomenon,
the explanation he came up with was “London is probably getting too
expensive to live for these criminals and they all have to move out”.
Fair enough, to me too, that certainly sounded like a much more
plausible explanation than 'the Met Police is doing a good job'.
Second, his answer
told me that I was probably dealing with an honest man. He did not
seem to be part of a conspiracy against the rest of society. He was
probably really just trying to do his job as good as he can. However,
he was operating within a system that just could not produce good
results even if it wanted to. It is the organization that is flawed,
not necessarily the people working within it.
Lastly, his honesty
was a clear indication that he was under no illusion that I was
something like a customer of his services. Any business man would
have taken the opportunity to take credit for the lower crime rates.
But he was not trying to sell me anything. At the end of the day, it
was of no importance to him whether I was satisfied with his services
or not. He gets paid anyway and his job is secure no matter how bad
Wouldn't it be great
if there was more than one security service provider? In that case I
could have told him that I was unsatisfied with his services and was
going to change to be protected by XY Policing in the future. But as
far as catching criminals is concerned, there is no real legal
alternative to the state police at the moment. If you were to hire a
private investigator, there would be no chance of rolling over the
costs for that to the criminal once he is caught. Given the rules in
place, this alternative is not economical. Therefore, this business
model does not really exist in this country. It is not allowed to
exist, competition not wanted.
once they have committed a crime is one thing. A real solution to the
crime problem would of course involve the prevention of crimes in the
first place. I wanted to hear the police officers opinion on what I
could do to not being burgled again. He said “the trick is to make
your house secure enough so that the burglar looks for an easier
target”. Again, I was surprised how open he was to reveal how bad
the system is. That is your solution? Push the problem down the road?
I should not have been surprised. Pushing problems down the road
seems to be the governments 'solution' for a lot of problems. This
really is a remarkably bad solution. It is essentially survival of
the fittest in its most brutal form. The problems are being pushed
onto the weakest elements of society at the end of the road. So this
is what the praised state solution for the rule of law really comes
down to. It is the law of the jungle.
When it comes to
preventing crime the most important thing is of course the ability of
people to defend themselves. Unless you are rich enough to afford
professional security services, you will always be the first who has
to act when becoming a victim. The state has a couple of reasons to
dislike self defense. First, it makes the police look bad, if the
citizens are doing a major component in the security production. It
is much better when people feel helpless. That way the state can
present itself as absolutely necessary for their security. Second, if
people can defend themselves, they might use that ability one day
against the state itself. This makes the work of everyone within the
monopoly much more difficult. Especially police work gets much more
difficult and dangerous when people can fight back. Therefore, states
around the world are keen to make citizens as helpless as they can
get away with.
The UK is one of the
most advanced states when it comes to making people helpless. One of
the tips the police officer was giving me, was to put some small
nails on the top of the wooden gate the burglar had to climb over to
gain access. That way he would cut his hands the next time he would
try to burgle me. “But pssst” he said. “You did not get this
from me. The council does not like it for health and safety reasons.
Technically the burglar can sue you for damage if he gets hurt.”
What? The burglar can sue me for hurting himself during his criminal
activities? This statement seems so bizarre it is almost hard to
believe. Unfortunately, it seems true.
This it is typical
for the UK. Self defense is more and more seen as a naughty thing.
How dare you actually try to hurt a burglar going after his day job.
Citizens in this country have been stripped of almost any tools that
could help them to defend themselves. Since it is a European country,
it goes without saying that it has long fallen for the totally
perverse philosophy of gun control. If you publicly suggest that gun
control might not be such a good thing, you are immediately categorized as either evil or stupid and probably both. But even
purely defensive, and therefore harmless weapons like pepper spray are
unavailable in this country. The most weird story I have heart was,
when a friend from Scotland reported to have been stopped by the
police in always sunny Glasgow for carrying an umbrella. He was
carrying it in a way that looked like he could use it to beat
someone. Therefore, they argued it could be seen as a weapon. You
cannot make this stuff up.
In the UK, we are
back to the stone ages where physical body strength to a great deal
determines how safe you are. The only reason that it might still be a
pleasant place to live in is that it still has a relatively rich and
civil society. Most people have simply little interest to hurt you.
The idea that we
need a monopoly of force to have a rule of law, to me looks more like
a self fulfilling prophecy than a necessity. Since alternative
solutions are being outlawed, it starts to look like there is no
alternative to a monopoly. But we see this monopoly produce the same
poor results that we would expect from any other centrally planned
service provider. It is about time that we start to rethink this
solution. However, most people think that allowing competition will
only lead to criminals taking over. This is really a strange idea,
given that this is exactly what we are seeing in the current system.
A free market
solution to secure the rule of law will unlikely lead to criminals
having free range and terrorize society. That is because the vast
majority of people are not criminals. They have an interest in the
rule of law. If the rule of law were to be left to market forces, the
combined economic power of law abiding citizens would be greater than
anything a crime family could come up with by orders of magnitude. To
the contrary, the current solution of having a monopoly already in
place is a dream for criminals. Taking over, or at least influencing
this monopoly is by far cheaper than having to establish a monopoly
themselves. This is amplified by the fact that this monopoly is
currently helping criminals gaining revenue by enforcing victimless
crimes like drug prohibitions. The police is not the last thing to
go, before we abolish the state. Instead we should make it a priority
to expose the police to market competition as soon as possible.