I was going to put this as a response on your newest blog post, but since you edited my last reply, I think putting it here gives it a higher chance of evading the censorship demon, and us liberals (the real kind, not the 'liberal as long as you agree with me' kind) don't like censorship very much.
I know it must have been embarassing to be called out on saying Toby Jones supported the Rally Against Debt, making insults about his movies and then realising that it was actually Toby Young who supported us, but usually the bigger and less self-conscious amongst us just accept when we make a mistake, let the reply through and make the amendments necessary (these were the results of a Twitter conversation, not a blog reply, but the same basic rules apply).
From the top of your blog, you're a "Punk rocking atheistic left-liberal vegetarian transsexual," I'm not sure if that's atheist or anti-theist (obviously one is far more compatible with liberalism than the other), but the rest checks out. I'm assuming at this point that your arguments against the RAD are going to be intelligent and well-mannered, and be liberal towards our right to free speech.
I found this on one of your posts, regarding the burning of the Quran:
"I’m a free speech warrior, I defend the free speech of all, more often then in defending the right to free speech I find myself defending the free speech of individuals whose opinions I find utterly repugnant. More often then not when I find myself defending Nick Griffin, Pastor Terry Jones, Abu Hamza, Fred Phelps & other bigoted assholes; but all is equal with the concept of free speech because just as an individual has the freedom to espouse bigoted opinions I’ve the equal freedom to slam what they say as bigoted etc."
We agree here in principle, but those who are pro-free speech don't tend to suggest crippling their political opposition, neither do they tend to censor their comments at their whim.
I am one of the evil libertarians who you like to rant and rave about, so I'll congratulate you for getting this far (if you have, that is, Sophia), and I'll also take this opportunity to point out that I agree with you on militarism, on Wayne Rooney swearing, on drug prohibition, on LGBT rights issues (I'm a member of DELGA) and that there are better ways to make savings than hurting the poor and disabled (although somehow I doubt you agree with this one).
I also agree with you that I seem to end up spending most of my time defending people I disagree with and things that I think are vile, all in the name of free expression. In the words of H L Mencken,
"the trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all."
But then, if you're such a liberal, and so pro-free speech, why does the Rally Against Debt's free expression make you so fucking angry? Last I checked, the left does not have a monopoly on the right to gather and demonstrate. I was looking for the clause in case I missed something, but I just couldn't seem to see the exclusion clause that says right-wingers can't have or share opinions via protest.
So, let's take a quick skim over your three posts regarding the Rally Against Debt. First of all, the one entitled "DON'T BURDEN THE DISABLED WITH THE MISTAKES OF THE BANKERS!"
Just from the title, we can see that you're ignoring the fact that the vast majority of the debt was incurred before 2008, whether it was because of Labour's structural deficit, the PFI schemes, pay-as-you-go (unfunded) state pensions or unfunded public sector pensions. The breakdown is something like this:
- Official Public Sector Debt - £890 billion
- Unfunded Public Sector Pensions - £1,283 billion
- Unfunded State Pensions - £2,717 billion
- RBS/Lloyds Debt - £2,585 billion
- Other (pension deficit, PFI, nuclear decommissioning) - £398 billion
You can argue until the cows come home about what counts as debt, but if you want to include the bank liabilities, it's only reasonable to include all of the liabilities above, and Labour took that figure from 230 percent of GDP in 2000 to 560 percent of GDP in 2010, and the bank liabilities are less than a third of the total figure.
If anything, the bank liabilities are the least worrying because they have a theoretical return to come from them, though whether we'll make the investment back or not is another question.
It's also worth mentioning that the government sanctioned the fractional reserve system, which caused the problem in the first place. The biggest fear was a run on the banks, but if we operated a full-reserve system (which most Libertarians advocate) or at least didn't back the banks with a fractional reserve guarantee (which Labour introduced in 2001), then we could have allowed the (investment) banks to fail (which most Libertarians support).
As we didn't, and we thought the inflationary system of banks which pay interest with no risk to savers was worth the risk, we have to pay for the bailouts somehow. But I digress, and I could spend all day talking about the banking system, let's read your actual post.
"On Saturday, in London, there’s to take place, an asinine demonstration arguing the government spending cuts haven’t been great enough."
Far from being asinine, the suggestion that the cuts aren't great enough is completely coherent. We're nowhere near dealing with the debt, we're not going to pay off a penny of the debt over the parliament, we're just going to add to it more slowly. The Positive Money site has some considerations on why national debt needs to be sorted eventually, which I'd suggest reading. The more we add to it now, the more painful it will be to sort it out later.
"Geez if the cuts to public spending weren’t already fucking upon the most vulnerable in society, there’s now a bunch of uber selfish assholes who don’t think the government has gone far enough when it comes to fucking upon the most vulnerable in society.
This so called ‘Rally Against Debt’ is nothing but about selfish assholes wanting to be able to be even more sociopathically selfish. These are the kind of people who think freedom ends two inches in front of their nose, who think the message in Ayn Rand’s philosophy was too generous in its nature, who’d no doubt favour a tax cut rather then funding wheelchairs for the disabled."
If you'd actually gone to the Rally Against Debt, or even followed the Twitter feed, you'd realise that the main proposals were stopping the wars abroad and the Euro-bailouts, and nothing to do with funding for the disabled. Sadly, our government thinks that this mission of playing world police and Good Samaritan is more relevant than generosity here at home.
"Let us remember who got us in the current finical mess. The actual banking bailout though in the billions wasn’t in itself what cause the problem with government finances, it was why the bailouts had to happen which caused the problem with government finances. It was the irresponsible behaviour of the bankers, which caused the worldwide recession, which is why government spending had to increase.
Back in 2008, I did support the banking bailout, because it appeared there was little choice if bloody revolution. I supported the banking bailout in the hope that the bankers where held accountable for the crisis & recession they caused. Obviously the bankers haven’t been punished or held accountable for the crap they’ve caused rather the disabled & other vulnerable groups are to be punished for the mistakes of the bankers."
Boom and bust is an inherent part of fiat currency. Unless you're advocating a return to the gold standard (again, something you'd probably have got a lot of support for at the Rally Against Debt), you're always going to have good times and bad times. If the government hadn't borrowed so much through the good years, they would've been able to borrow for the bad years with far less worry.
Even Labour Prime Minister Jim Callaghan remarked in 1976 that:
"We used to think that you could spend your way out of a recession and increase employment by cutting taxes and boosting government spending. I tell you in all candour that that option no longer exists, and in so far as it ever did exist, it only worked on each occasion since the war by injecting a bigger dose of inflation into the economy, followed by a higher level of unemployment as the next step."
Yet, our government weren't just doing it during recession, they did it through the good years too. This was the time to take action but alas, the left lauded it as great that we were spending more and more and getting less and less in return.
As for 'punishing' the bankers, what can you do? We've raised their taxes to 50% at top rate of income tax, halved their bonuses for a year and set up a levy on them. What's their response? Pack up and off to Switzerland. Punitive taxes are not the answer, and will not create growth.
"The present attitude towards the disabled in receipt of disability benefits doesn’t surprise me, because years before the banking crisis & this recession, I often got grief from various people due the fact that on first appearances I don’t seem that disabled. I’ve often been called a scrounger, sponger, workshy & damn right lazy; but those same people who might label me as such, never actually ask me how the disabilities I have happen to affect my day to day life & when I try to explain to them how the disabilities I have incapacitate me…I’m told I’m just making excuses."
Obviously I have no idea what your disabilities are so I'm completely incapable of commenting on them. Having said that, if 20% of the South Wales valleys are on the sick, then there's either some kind of magical hex on the region or there's some benefits fraud going on, and I'm not really the type to believe in witchcraft.
We need to deal with benefit fraud, because it not only costs a fortune in the fraud itself, but means that the benefit system is keeping people out of work, which costs us in growth as well. Panorama tomorrow is on this subject so I'm sure we'll learn more.
"I’m surprised the Taxpayers Alliance (who are organizing the Rally To Be Selfish Bastards this weekend) haven’t proposed euthanizing the disabled as means of cutting public spending & taxes. Actually its more like the Taxpayers Alliance would say it’s the duty of the disabled to commit suicide & not be a tax burden & expect the government to do it for them."
You mean the same Taxpayers' Alliance which campaigned for the disabled and those affected by the floods to have their home alterations to be subject to a lower rate of VAT because it's a regressive tax which hits them the hardest? When you make vile suggestions like that, you do just come across as a hysterical leftie with no political credit.
"In one of my darker fantasies, I fantasise making physical disabled….libertarians, conservatives & other uber selfish loons. I’d love to see how those who accuse disabled people of being lazy or fakers, cope with being disabled. Some might talk about individuals being self reliant as means for them to be selfish fuckers, but if they were disabled they’d find out that being ‘self reliant’ is in fact not a reality."
Well, at least it's a fantasy, even if it is a vile one. Having said that, it fits in well with the leftist ideology of 'I suffer, so everybody else should suffer too', which tends to be the actual outcome of far-left policies in practice.
Also fits in to the leftist delusion that the right are the only selfish ones. Guess what, when you shop around for the best price, or press for better pay or better benefits for yourself, you are as selfish as a rich guy shopping around for a better salary or pressing for lower taxes for himself.
Neither is it any more selfish for him to ask for others to suffer to subsidise his tax cut, than for you to ask for others to subsidise your publicly funded lifestyle. The main difference between you and him is that you're asking for him to subsidise your life with his wealth creation, without which you would have nothing. Without him, you would have less. Without you, he would have more.
Self-interest is not a monopoly of the right, it's not evil, it's a normal part of everybody's life.
Anyway, let's go on to your second post regarding the Rally, entitled, "The Selfish Fuckers Could Only Muster 350".
"So far this year, throughout the country, there have been numerous mass demonstrations opposing the government spending cuts.
Back in March, 500,000 people marched thorough London opposing the cuts to public spending. Last week, near on 8000 people with severe disabilities protested in London opposing the cuts to disability benefits & social care."
So, people marching in their own self-interest gathered together in large numbers to push for their selfish wants? Ignoring the fact that 57% of the public polled by ICM support the current set of cuts or deeper cuts, the March tried to market itself as a movement of the majority. It wasn't, it was a movement of well-paid public sector workers, unions fighting for their lives and self-interested benefit claimants.
Oh, and who could forget hundreds of criminals who occupied shops, smashed things, hurled weapons at police officers and ran up a multi-million pound bill for councils to pay off in addition to their cuts. Again, I'm not really surprised by this, the history of the left is to smash things up and use violence to intimidate people, but for as long as left-wing movements and commentators refuse to condemn it (or keep propogating the laughable 'they're government agents' excuse), it remains hard to take them seriously.
"But despite there being mass demonstrations opposing the cuts to public spending there remains a small bunch of uber selfish fuckers who not only support the spending cuts but believe the spending cuts aren’t going far enough. This small but vocal bunch of uber selfish fuckers who calling for even deeper spending cuts only seem to primarily exist online & in the mass media; they’re the kind of people who’d bitch if public spending increased by one pence, they’re the kind of people who’d favour a tax cut rather then funding wheelchairs for the disabled, they’re the kind of people who’d make Ayn Rand look generous This weekend they did attempt to organise a mass rally entitled the ‘Rally Against Debt’ but in doing so proved what an embarrassingly small bunch of selfish fuckers they happen to be."
According to ICM, that 'small' bunch which dares to 'believe the spending cuts aren't going far enough' is 29% of the adult population, or more than 14,000,000 people. Not particularly vocal when you consider that only 350 (or one in 10,000) turned up.
Yes, you're damned right we'd bitch if public spending increased, because it clearly needs to be reduced. Labour took public spending to unsustainable levels and this government is proposing to take it all the way back to 2007 levels. I don't remember people dying of starvation and the disabled being out on the streets in 2007, but maybe I just managed to miss that year of horrible austerity in our history.
"Rather then attending the rally he helped to organise, a rally essentially opposing government spending, Toby [Young] took his kids to the museum, a museum which is subsidised with public money…what a selfish bastard!"
The rally didn't oppose government spending, it opposed there being quite so much of it. There may have been anarcho-capitalists there, but it was not an anarcho-capitalist movement.
"The one thing I’m curious about isn’t the amount of libertarians who attended the so called Rally Against Debt, but the lack of masked anarchists there were to disrupt the rally. You’d think that lefty type anarchists would want to disrupt a rally supporting the agenda of the wealthy, but none were in sight. Hmm could be that those masked anarchists who always seem to turn up at demonstrations opposing the agenda of wealthy establishment aren’t actually anarchists, but in fact paid agent provocateurs whose mission is cause trouble & therefore discredit any legitimate demonstration against the establishment."
Shouldn't have bothered implying it earlier, I should have realised you probably actually believe this. Most leftist anarchists are relatively peaceful, and attack property because they simply don't perceive it as existing. They also generally have liberal values and accept the right of their opponents to free speech. Maybe you could learn something from them.
Noam Chomsky, a hero to many leftist anarchists who has written a lot on the subject over the years, said it best when he asserted that "violence is not legitimate unless the consequences of such action are to eliminate a still greater evil". It's quite easy to see how anarchists could oppose property as a greater evil, but not how they could see free speech as such.
Now, onto my favourite of your three posts, intellectually entitled "Maybe Its Time To Physically Cripple Those Who Bitch The Spending Cuts Aren't Severe Enough".
You open up with this bizarre statement, once again attacking your greatest enemy, the evil libertarians:
"I heard that there was an individual who attended the so called Rally Against Debt (or as it should have been called the Rally of Selfish Gits), who had cerebral palsy. If there truly was a disabled individual or there were individuals with disabilities attending the so called Rally Against Debt, either they weren’t in fact that disabled or if they were they probably come from comfortable background or they’re just fucking loony tunes."
So, if somebody disagrees with you on politics and happens to be disabled, you dismiss them as a 'loony tune' or 'from a comfortable background'? It may surprise you to know that there have been a lot of right-wing disabled people throughout history, and will be throughout the future.
"If any moderately or severely person is politically libertarian then they’re in need of some serious therapy. A disabled person to be politically libertarian is a fucking oxymoron just for the simple fact that libertarians don’t want a society built upon independency, but upon the law of the jungle, survival of the fittest, dog eat dog, social fucking Darwinism in the extreme. Of course libertarians deny that they want the law of the jungle but bitch when they have help to fund the welfare state which supports those with disabilities."
No, we don't want 'the law of the jungle'. We want the maximum possible freedom for the individual. The difference between the left and the right is essentially a trust in human nature.
The right-winger instinctively trusts people to care about other people, so (s)he advocates an approach to social care which primarily relies upon people choosing to donate willingly to not-for-profit organisations and support causes (s)he believes in. The left-winger thinks that people are instinctively vile beings and must be forced by the big state to help other people. In effect this creates a resentment between people who are coerced and people who gain because of the coercion, which would not exist in a voluntarist society.
But this aside, I didn't hear anybody at Rally Against Debt calling for disability benefit cuts. I heard people calling for an end to EU bailouts or EU membership, ending the climate change act, ending drug prohibition, lower taxation, less militarism and less council chief executives earning a fortune. I don't think many of us would begrudge the welfare state if all it did was provide for the disabled and the unfortunate who want to work but can't.
Painting and attacking straw-man arguments is not useful to constructive debate.
"In my experience, most libertarians think the cause of individual freedom ends two inches in front of their nose, this is because most libertarians don’t seem to have the mental capacity to see a world further then two inches in front of their nose & are unable to empathise with the misfortune of others unless its in their self interest to do so."
This coming from a member of the left-wing club, which doesn't recognise the idea that taxes have to compete in a global market and can't see beyond the fallacy that higher taxes = higher income for the big state you worship so much.
Most libertarians believe in a borderless world with global trade and free movement, for this to be reasonable, it's important to make sure welfare is well targeted and not the global handouts which we got under Labour. Yes, the disabled, the chronically ill and the impoverished need help but we don't need child benefits for the middle classes or mansions for people coming over with 8 kids.
"Its worth noting that Ayn Rand, a hero to many libertarians, once said in an interview that essentially disabled children should be left for dead"
The interview you linked has no such suggestion, or is it not in part 1? Please link to a citation for this preferably with a time in the video. Rand's views towards the handicapped were archaic but I've never heard anything that bad from her.
I don't think very many libertarians or even self-proclaimed objectivists hold her views towards disabled people, so it's probably an irrelevant point anyway.
"Yeah it might be a good idea to paralyse or blind those who bitch the spending cuts aren’t going far enough, then they can find out for themselves how difficult it is to get by day to day without the social care needed, because the funding for social care has been cut due to public spending cuts. Maybe if all those who piss & whine that the spending cuts aren’t severe enough, they might just develop some understanding about what its like to be disabled & having to be dependent on others & not being able to the day to day necessities."
And here we get into you showing us the true colours of the left. 'You don't agree with me, so I must hurt you' and 'I suffer, so you should suffer too', the two tallest pillars of leftist thought, all rolled into one paragraph of vile anger. Maybe you should aim your anger at the government, who are choosing to waste money on drug prohibition, overseas wars and EU membership whilst cutting for the hardest hit, instead of at people who largely agree with you that the government is doing it wrong.
I'll give you the words of another attendee to the Rally Against Debt, who you'd also probably be able to find a lot of common ground with if you left the bubble of leftist hate and joined us.
"I wouldn't mind paying the 50% tax rate if it took care of the poor, the elderly, the veterans, but what I object to is the way that the government forces me to fund other people's life choices."
I think you're so trapped in your hatred of what little difference you have with libertarians to notice the vast similarities and overlap between you and us. We all want an end to prohibition, we all want less war, we all want freedom of speech and ultimately we all want less waste, and £120 million a day of debt interest payments, about £1,000 a year for each working-age person going into the pockets of those bankers you hate so much, is a lot of waste.
The entirety of difference between the left and the right is trust. Ultimately, we trust people to do what's right given a choice, and you don't. I'm surprised that any 'liberal' can align themself with the left, it's a great paradox on one hand to support 'liberty' but on the other to support state force.
Anyway, keep blogging, I actually find myself agreeing with a lot of what you write, but I would rather that you try to refrain yourself from crippling me because I trust people a bit more than you do.