VIEWS ON THE NEWS

Very Naughty in Nigeria – In the course of cutting arms deals for Nigeria, $15 Billion was embezzled by those in the administration of Goodluck Jonathan’s government. They got found out, but will there be justice and retrieval? Unlikely. In view of the frivolous, even fictitious, basis upon which some Western nations have launched wars of late, one might wonder whether some of our diplomats’ pockets are being lined? That anyone would countenance the deaths of hundreds of thousands for the sake of their wealth might seem unthinkable to many, but rest assured that it happens. I would not for a moment suggest that Tony Blair’s impressive wealth of £60 million could be connected in any way to his peace efforts in the Middle East.

South Africa – 738 criminal charges against? – Answer: President Jacob Zuma. Seems like he’s losing his grip on power in South Africa as the nation’s High Court has decided that it was “irrational” to drop corruption charged against him in 2009, a few weeks before he became president. His power was enough then to convince the same High Court to drop all 738 charges relating to a multibillion-dollar arms deal. Here we are again, sleazy dealing involving the arms industry. This comes on top of the scandal over his spending of $23 million on private residence improvements, with state funds. Got to admit that Western leaders have more experience at keeping their sleazies under control.

 Obama sends UK to the back of what queue? – We were fed the image of poor old Britain forlornly stuck at the back of the queue, but never clearly told what queue. That would be inclusion in the hugely controversial TTIP deal that gives powers to corporations over governments and could lead to overriding of local regulations against GM foods, farming hormones, and much else besides. 

Someone just leaked the full content of the TTIP agreement, which was being kept totally secret right up to the wire. We can now see why, with the content confirming the worst fears of critics. Many hope this revelation will kill it. Will it?

Luxembourg, the EU, and corporate connivance – In what has been dubbed LuxLeaks, 45,000 pages were leaked by young accountant Antoine Deltour detailing how the government of Luxembourg connived with multinationals to virtually eliminate their tax obligations in Europe. This was back in 2010 and he is now being prosecuted under laws covering industrial espionage. This is appalling, and the sort of stuff we know all to well.

What I find of special interest is that the European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker last job was prime minister of Luxembourg, were he had a hand in shaping the tax policies that now enable the corporate avoidance of tax throughout Europe.  That’s politics in the EU, without even an electorate to worry about.

Saving Energy in Venezuela – Public sector workers in Venezuela get a “five day weekend,” working just Mondays and Tuesdays, at full pay, in an effort to reduce electricity consumption. Venezuela is in the grip of a serious energy crisis. Another measure moved the clocks forward 30 minutes to benefit from more useful daylight, saving lighting electricity. Climate, hydro-electrics, under-investment and poor management are contributing factors to the power shortage in this oil-rich nation.

 I’ll close with as quote from Shirley MacLaine.

“It is useless to hold a person to anything he says while he’s in love, drunk, or running for office”

If you want to make sense of these stories, and recognize that war, corruption and duplicity are not an inevitable fact of life then do check out this blogger’s book.

What flavour of sh*t will voters select?

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As America decides upon a new leader is it not bizarre to find ourselves debating whether a narcissistic psychopath, with no political experience or corporate sponsors, would be preferable to a bad actress pretending to be human, in the pockets of bankers and corporations? And we’ve still got Bernie in the mix, a man of the people and one just as capable as any to crash the ship of state onto the rocks. Ted Cruz is now out of the picture.

Why all the excitement this time? It’s as though decades of Americans have had the choice of either dog shit or cat shit on their political menu. They’ve come to dislike the taste of both, decrying the evils of the political process while validating it with their vote. This year, for the first time ever, there are two new options on the menu – pig shit and horse manure. The simple logic for many is that however unsavoury these new excrements may be they “can’t be any worse than what we’ve already got so why not?”

Those who hate the straw of horse manure getting caught in their teeth might opt for pig shit, the nutritionally denser option. Those who’d prefer the vegetarian source will opt for horse manure, needing more chewing to extract its nutritional value – but better for the planet. And many will stick with the same old shit, hoping it might taste better coming from a female animal. Some even profess to like their chosen diet and argue its virtues. I like a lot of what Bernie says and some of what Trump says but recognize that words and deeds rarely link together in politics, even when they are heart-felt.

At my Uncle Floyd’s farm in Nebraska (circa 1958) I recall how the pigs lined up behind the cattle, feeding on their waste, while the chickens gathered to recycle the pig’s poo and the chicken shit helped feed the maize that became food for the cattle. Hippie-era Goa was famous for its ‘pig toilets’ (ashrams could identify drug users when the pigs fought over their poo position). The point is – excrement contains nutrients and believe me when everybody else is picking through the shit for something valuable it will seem normal and okay.

I’m just saying that it’s kind of like picking through poo today, searching for something we can eat. Trump doesn’t like the TTIP deal and isn’t in corporate pockets. I’ll swallow that. Hillary Clinton is a woman and has experience in the fetid quagmire of corporate American politics. Most of all, she is not Donald Trump. Bernie Saunders is wise, compassionate, honest and outspoken (note to Brits – even commie-hatin’ rednecks might admire these qualities in what they view as horse manure).

For many today, much of government itself seems generously endowed in bullshit, with politicians consistently ranking as the least trusted of all the professions, below estate agents and bankers. But people are not so much upset about having to search through the bullshit to find things of value, as at the reduction in good stuff to be found, as less and less of our taxed wealth gets sprinkled back in valuable and essential services.

Very few like the wars, corruption, infighting, corporate control, appalling waste, callousness, loss of freedoms and underlying brutality of the state apparatus that rules this nation of people. But they accept it as “the way it is” and hold up gems like worker’s safety and the NHS, building standards and the laying of roads, in the assumption that humanity could never have arrived at those desirable places by any other means. Of course, we the people do all this stuff and get paid for with our own money – you don’t see politicians or civil servant laying roads or performing heart surgery. For decades they never bothered to check whether their vehicle testing data bore any relationship to real life, with Volkswagen or any other vehicle manufacturer.

Before assuming the state to be a necessary evil consider that it was not the state that built canals, railways, the London Underground and laid telegraph cables across the Atlantic; it was people who set up the first charities for alcoholics, the homeless, single mothers; people who created product and service certification standards such as the Fairtrade Mark and Soil Association; people who created wine, airplanes, jewelry, radio, TV, bread, the personal computer, buttons and smartphones. Britain’s Royal National Lifeboat service is charity and volunteer based, as are many of America’s rural fire services.

We complain constantly about out-of-touch bureaucrats making daft rules; spending billions, our billions, on pointless wars, failed NHS projects, obsolete-at-birth nuclear submarines, overpriced rail schemes and a fiscally disastrous nuclear power establishment. We desperately wish that our rulers would stop waging wars and pandering to the power of corporations, bailing out the bankers who supply them with thin-air money. We want them to help the disadvantaged, create rewarding employment, and defend the rights of their people. But when it comes to the crunch, this is not what ruling is about. We keep hoping that some savvy saint will get to the top and transform government into a caring and compassionate enterprise, will make a barrel of rotten apples fresh and crisp again. Dream on.

I am the proud author of a book about all this, and won’t try to summarize it here, but mention that there have been many successful cultures that progressed without a set of rulers setting the rules and telling us what we may or may not think, do or consume. Human civilization and trade preceded the concept of a ruling class, whether in South America or early Mesopotamia, tribal Europe or the Indus Valley. Cities and civilizations developed and functioned in freedom, without rulers, for thousands of years in some cases. You have to create wealth before plunderers arise.

You can imagine how difficult, often terrible, it must have been for those first generations to come under the yoke of a ruler claiming authority over their lives at the point of a sword. Today’s rulers rarely need to wave their swords, such is the compliance of their subjects to be governed, subjects who equate freedom with occasionally having influence over what flavor of ruler they get. This is not democracy, this is not self-rule or true freedom.

History shows us that when people are connected they come up with solutions to life’s social challenges while responding to all sorts of other wants and needs. Today we are more connected, and wealthier, than at any time in human history. We have the tools and the skills needed to govern ourselves from the bottom up, to supersede the power of those giant corporations in bed with government. We need to understand this and realize we are already doing the work we see as essential and still could, even if the inefficient middleman of the state were to crumble in a global financial collapse, as nearly occurred in 2008.

In short, as much as we may think this shit is essential to our lives, we may one day discover that we can live without it. There is another way.

 

 

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Politics may look like the only game in town, but it isn’t even the primary one. People are.

 

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Tax avoiders – today’s phony bogeymen

Panama

Tax avoidance is not the problem, despite it understandably getting up the noses of those who have no option but to pay in full. Those who can avoid paying tax do so because it is taken by force, as it always has been. Nobody likes being mugged, even when their money feeds the hungry family of the mugger waving a knife. Many of us regularly indulge in tax avoidance when we bring the max of duty-free goods back from our travels. It is neither immoral nor illegal. Yet we have been conned into thinking that eager compliance with legalized mugging by the state is the socially responsible approach.

We are urged to regard individuals and corporations who avoid paying tax as responsible for the failings of our state to provide viable services with the vast sums they already take from us and borrow against our children’s future. The avoiders are made convenient scapegoats, but the real issue is value for money and not insufficient tax. UK Government spending leapt from £341 to £731 Billion between 2000 and 2015 as more was needed to resolve problems often caused by this growing drain of money from the real economy. Inflation in that period would have raised £341 to £517 billion.

It is as though we believed that if only those clowns in Westminster and Washington had enough money they could fund their wars and deliver full employment, no hunger, homes for all, healthy food, safe streets, a clean environment and no potholes in the road. Dream on. That is not what ruling the world is about, though some nations, some of the time, undoubtedly do a better job than others at sprinkling some of their tax harvest back to those it came from.

Taxation arose as the means to support a ruling class and pay for the standing army that secures their power. It’s simple really and the underlying principles of it have changed little in the ensuing years. If anything, release of the Panama Papers affirms this. There have been many variations of how ruling classes acquire their power, whether by the sword, heredity, murder, marriage, hand of God, or a popularity contest usually won by those with most to spend. There have been changes of those behind the scenes directing the hand of the ruling class, whether they be religious zealots, oligarchs, bankers, militaries, corporations or combinations thereof.

Along the way there have been countless varieties of tax and endless rationales for its imposition. The underlying principle, however, was best summed up by Jean-Baptiste Colbert, finance minister to King Louis XIV of France, when he wrote that “the art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest amount of feathers with the least amount of hissing.” Our taxes subsidize tobacco and sugar producers in Europe, while their products are taxed to safeguard our health. We are screwed at both ends and nobody’s hissing.

This idea of taxation being a socially motivated and beneficial transfer of wealth is clever spin that is masking the transfer of wealth from a productive society to the state, those who pull its strings, and those in its employ. Only about an eighth of what is sucked out of the economy gets sprinkled back as ‘benefits,’ reluctantly. The other 87.5% is administered by the inefficient and often ineffective mechanism of the state.

It is the state’s sucking away of our wealth that is the prime underlying factor behind the poverty that leads to homelessness, unemployment, petty crime, hunger and many of the problems we empower the state to take charge of. Half or more of the wealth we generate each year goes to the state instead of circulating freely in our self-built economy. There is plenty of money to take care of the disadvantaged in our society and ways to do so in a caring and connected fashion were the state not in charge, spawning government departments that thrive, expand and depend upon the problems in their care.

It is the state’s oppressive regulation that stifles human enterprise and innovation, creating a playing field heavily tilted towards the major corporations who can comply. The $2.5 Billion it costs to bring a new drug to market creates a ruthless pharmaceutical industry, with a few major players hungry for massive profits on over-priced drugs. Agricultural subsidy and regulation of animal breeds and seed varieties favour those best suited to industrialized farming. Much of our food is anything but safe, though fully compliant with safety regulation. Safe, inexpensive and non-addictive drugs are banned worldwide, while toxic, expensive and addictive ones are widely available, bringing in massive tax revenues (imposed for our health, of course). “Green taxes” are levied to save the planet, which will as like as not be used one day to subsidize fracking and nuclear power.

The disclosures we should be concerned by in the Panama Papers are two, the main one being those rulers and robbers who collude with the bankers to conceal their ill-gotten gains in secret accounts. This goes beyond tax evasion, as one would not expect thieves to declare their stolen loot on tax returns. The other relevant exposure is the sheer hypocrisy of those politicians urging full tax compliance while themselves avoiding or evading it. The taxes they don’t pay, of course, are on money provided by taxes demanded of us.

Don’t be taken in by politicians spinning the Panama Papers into an excuse for their own lamentable failings. However much more money the state could raise through taxation, it would never be enough to reverse the damage done with that they already take.

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I am author of The State Is Out Of Date, We Can Do It Better, a book which makes the case for a self-governed world that moves towards diminishing crime, poor health and poverty by more positive means than creating departments of the state that thrive upon their existence.

The issue is not who is in power, how they got there, what they want to do, or why. The issue is whether or not the underlying principles of the state can ever bring us lasting peace and harmony, and what could.

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Forecast – you couldn’t make it up

Osbourne eyes crop

There is just no way to assess the validity of a 200-page Treasury report in which small variations of the forecast assumptions can significantly affect the results. Keep in mind that these assumptions are made by experts who did not forecast the recent collapse in oil prices or the global banking crisis of 2008.

We know that information can be massaged to achieve politically desired results – it’s called “torturing the data until it confesses,” according to New Scientist. Politicians are the least trusted of all professions, with 21% of us doubting their honesty, well below the 37% who trust bankers. We almost expect mendacity from our government, and are tolerant provided it’s been aged before discovery. For a detailed ripping-to-shreds of Osborne’s spurious concoction, check Fraser Nelson’s piece in The Spectator.

I suggest we ignore attempts at forecasting specifics in a fragile scenario where anything could happen, up to and including disintegration of the European Union, with or without Britain included. The refugee situation is already defragmenting parts of it. Several member states are in difficult straits. The Eurozone is in a mess, and who knows what black swan is coming next? No predictions here, just perspective.

Let us put into perspective the pro-Euro camp’s 200 pages of taxpayer-funded fear mongering, suggesting a cost of £4300 per household. Preserving the bankers in 2008 has so far cost the UK £133 Billion – that’s £4926 per household. We were offered no referendum on that, and also made potentially liable for up to £1029 Billion in related guarantee commitments, or £38,000 per household.

We can only sensibly go with our guts on this one and decide which way our instincts point us when not fogged by fear of consequences. We transitioned into the EU smoothly all those years ago and could easily transition out. Had we seen forecasts that this thing called VAT would add 20% to the cost of most of what we buy, the vote would have gone against joining. Leaving will not damage the viability of 64 million people managing to co-exist and provide for each other on a relatively small island. Whether we collapse or thrive will depend on bigger factors than how many layers of government and regulation we want to support.

I have lived and worked in the UK before and during EU membership. Yes it added to the cost and complexity of living, but we endured. If we leave we won’t miss passport-free travel since we never enjoyed it, and will continue to change pounds for euros and use credit cards abroad. I am not being glib, but commerce will work its stuff out if we leave.

Whichever choice we make today we will look back in 20 years and think either that we made the right choice or the wrong choice and which of those we think will be up to all the choices we make between now and then.

 – ••• –

I am author of The State Is Out Of Date, We Can Do It Better, a book which makes the case for increasing self-government and decreasing top-down government by fear. The issue is not who is in power, how they got there, what they want to do, or why. The issue is whether or not the underlying principles of the state can ever bring us lasting peace and harmony – and what could.

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The wheel needs a whole new hub, not just another revolution

 

 

Palmyra liberated as war nears end.

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Palmyra has been liberated – ISIL defeated. Most of the city’s ancient monuments are still standing. As we approach the end of the war upon Syria, I predict there will be a flood of refugees returning to their beloved homeland by summer’s end. This is a massive psychological defeat for ISIL, and their slaughter in the name of an intolerant god.

From the Independent:
The Isis jihadist group has been driven out of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra and government forces have retaken “complete control”, according to state media reports.

In what would be a major symbolic victory over the militant group, Syrian state TV reports quoted a military source saying that the army had recaptured the city with the help of militia allies.

Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad had “complete control over the city of Palmyra” as of Sunday morning, the military source said. In a statement aired on Syrian TV, the General Command of the Syrian army said it could confirm “security and stability” had been returned to Palmyra with the assistance of the Russian and Syrian air forces.
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GAME OVER for the war on Syria?

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Back in October, when Russia committed forces to the conflict in Syria, I predicted that “At last there may be an end in sight to the disaster that Western foreign policy has landed upon Syria, formerly one of the most stable and secular nations in the Middle East.” (see that blog here)

Now, just five months later, it looks like an end to five years of conflict may have finally arrived, as Russia begins to remove its forces from the field. This was never an actual civil war, with the fight against Assad’s government being funded by and often fought by non-Syrian interest groups.

During three weeks of a successful ceasefire in Syria, our news media has given more coverage to the refugee crisis than to this positive turn of events that holds the promise of ending that crisis. If this peace holds and settles, it will soon be possible for millions of Syrians to return home and rebuild their nation. Despite all the fervent anti-Assad propaganda fed to our media it is worth remembering that there was no refugee crisis before the war began. The vast majority of Syrians were happy living in beautiful Syria, with a secular government more democratic and uncorrupted than some of our major allies, and more popular than that of Francoise Holland in France.

War is horrendous and in my book (below) I suggest it is possible for humanity to live together in peace and harmony without the need to slaughter each other in its pursuit. But as long as we accept organized killing as a normal feature of civilization, wars will continue to bring death, destruction and anguish. Who is unleashing this and whether it arrives in Hellfire missiles or barrel bombs is not the point.

When we are not destroying things we display a remarkable ability to create them, and the one is not dependent upon the other. Let us hope and pray that this recent ceasefire leads to lasting peace and a return to normality in this beautiful part of the world.

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Thomas Paine, a talk

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I delivered a 20 min talk last Saturday night at the Thomas Paine Hotel in his birthplace, Thetford, to a party of Paine fans who celebrate his birth each year. It wasn’t recorded so I am posting the laptop rehearsal.

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                                              (click) The final practice run 

NOTE to the video
Thomas Paine, it you didn’t know, was one of the most important characters of the last three centuries, initiating the concept of the nation state, a body of people who governed themselves instead of being ruled by a king or other ruler. As we know, it didn’t quite work out as he pictured it in Common Sense, the book which turned a tax-motivated protest into the American War of Independence, selling half a million copies in the first six months of 1776. He turned the tide of the war from defeat to victory later that year, with a pamphlet that began “These are the times that try men’s souls.”

His next momentous book was conceived while building a revolutionary iron bridge in England, from whence he fled the hangman’s noose to Paris, writing his next major work while immersed in the French Revolution.

In my talk I refer to those two other books.
The Rights of Man  “Man is not the enemy of man, but through the medium of a false system of Government.” – – – “The instant formal government is abolished, society begins to act. A general association takes place, and common interest produces common security.”

The Age of Reason “The word of God is in the creation we behold.”

“I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church”

He connects these themes: “It has been the scheme of the Christian church, and of all the other invented systems of religion, to hold man in ignorance of the Creator, as it is of Government to hold man in ignorance of his rights.”

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the after-dinner talk.   click

 

Making charity criminal

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The European Union is now seeking to criminalize people who are being charitable to refugees arriving on boats, reports The Times. With people smugglers now outranking pedophile rings in the crime stakes those good people in Greece who help migrants ashore and give them dry clothes and food are clearly accomplices. People smuggling must be stopped and these people’s compassionate humanity is now deemed part of the problem.

Here we see a stark example of the state’s underlying psychopathic nature, devoid of empathy. When our actions are legislated instead of voluntary the feedback loop is cut between stimulus and response, which is where empathy resides. Like allopathic medicine the state cares little about causes, seeking mainly to suppress symptoms. Forget about the wars we started and fearsome groups we trained and funded; forget the once stable countries now riven by rival factions following “regime change” and the gift of democracy. Yeah, let’s hit those friggin’ people smugglers – they’re the problem!

What have these evil men done? Their crime is helping desperate people flee a war zone, people who are prohibited from boarding normal ferry services or air flights due to lack of papers. Often criminals by trade, I doubt they are nice guys, but their customers willingly take the risk. Of the 1.8 million illegal refugees entering Europe in 2015, mainly by sea, 3,770 drowned. Each one is a dreadful tragedy but when you do the maths, 998 out of 1000 illegal migrants get through alive. On a legitimate ferry service those odds are unacceptable but those fleeing a war zone are disallowed that, and will pay twenty times the fare and take a thousand times the risk. Now the Council wants smuggling upgraded to the status of people trafficking, when the two are clearly opposite ends of the spectrum. You usually pay to be smuggled and are free thereafter, whereas trafficking is akin to slavery. Yet the Council argues equivalence and can charge all those involved in smuggling without needing to show financial gain, unlike in a charge of trafficking.

This war on people smugglers will be a good earner for some. In their depiction of people smuggling as the scourge of our age they want all Member States to undertake a “comprehensive, multidisciplinary and cross-border approach” – this to combat some Turkish gangsters with a supply of inflatable boats. Across Member States this will co-ordinate different agencies “including law enforcement and judiciary authorities, labour, social, health and fisheries inspectorates, border forces, immigration services, local and regional governments, tax authorities, NGOs, businesses, trade unions, employers’ organisations and embassies.” One suspects that NATO member Turkey could at a stroke end the people smuggling but that would be far too simple, and kill a high-profit business that is, let’s face it, helping desperate people escape the horror.

Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:“The Council proposals would criminalise NGOs, local people and volunteers who have worked heroically to welcome refugees when the EU institutions did nothing, while other plans would require them to “register” with the police and work within state structures. In a humane and caring EU it should not be necessary to “register” to offer help and care to people who have suffered so much already.” See the full Statewatch report here:

I am often criticized for being naïve when I suggest that human charity would be capable of covering our social responsibilities better than the state, if needs were to be. Friends of mine brought to life the Refugee Community Kitchen in Calais last November, which is completely self-funding and puts out over 2000 meals a day. Watch the video and do remember, this is people being human. So I love these examples of human charity rising to a challenge – despite half its income already being consumed in taxes. Think how it could be with all our resources to hand, without our taxes being used to obstruct their efforts.

In my book The State Is Out of Date, We Can Do It Better, I explore just how and why humanity is good at coming up with solutions that resolve problems instead of feeding upon them. It’s a book for those who realize politics isn’t working and wonder what would. The answer is staring us in the face and so simple it is difficult to grasp.

 

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Common Sense

For any fans of Thomas Paine, or my first book Uncommon Sense, I highly recommend a listen to Melvyn Bragg’s excellent coverage of Paine’s world-changing book “Common Sense,” published in 1776. This 48-page publication was responsible for solidifying that which began as a tax protest into the American Revolution for independence. It also helped trigger the French Revolution and set the stage for the world’s first nation states. It was the best-selling book of the 18th century and, were sales scaled up to today’s population, they would have achieved 150 million. It is an amazing story.

LISTEN HERE:  Thomas Paine’s Common Sense – originally broadcast “In Our Time” on Radio 4 by Melvyn Bragg 21 Jan, 2015

 

 

My own book was originally titled in tribute to Thomas Paine and recently republished in 2014, retitled The State Is Out Of Date, We Can Do It Better

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On the road to “thoughtcrime” for gender reprobates

tyranny-by-montesquieu

Do we need Big Brother to regulate our relationship with gender issues? The City of New York, in its efforts to eliminate gender discrimination has made citizens liable to fines of up to $125,000 for calling somebody mister who considers themself miss (or vice versa), rising up to $250,000 if transgressions are deliberate and hurtful. Hello? It comes with the Human Rights Law constructed by lawyers to ban all gender discrimination. Their legalistic definitions of genders are very explicit, starting with:

“Gender is defined as one’s “actual or perceived sex and shall also include a person’s gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression, whether or not that gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression is different from that traditionally associated with the legal sex assigned to that person at birth.”

I am, officially speaking, a “cisgender.” What are you?

Find out here Speech Crime comes to America: $¼M fine for referring to trannies by their biological gender

This blog post by  made me reflect upon the fact that when I was a young man the state jailed people for being homosexual and nobody realised that Liberace was gay. The law’s change in attitude has followed a natural shift in our attitudes to gender variety, lubricated by the social normalization of once-shunned homosexuals. Transgenders are the latest gender to leap out of the closet. Now, the authorities who once jailed the few who dared to express banned gender identity now fine or jail those few who still express the old-fashioned bigotry they once enforced.

Banning specific gender identities, or banning those who don’t like them, simply slows the process of social change, needlessly damaging lives in the process. The change happens first anyway, aided and abetted by social and, I hesitate to call it, “mainstream” media. So what if some baker in wherever doesn’t want to bake a cake that offends their religious quirks; or a couple from a shrinking culture are uncomfortable with the gender choices of B&B guests wanting to visit home. As far as I know, it is still legal to refuse service to bald people, teenagers, or customers without shoes. If we must have police, judges and jails this is not what they are for.

We are seeing the primal urge of an organization to grow and expand. In this case that organization is the state, which expands by finding ever more aspects of human life that need its management. In the course of it, we move closer and closer to the “thoughtcrimes” of George Orwells’ 1984. We already have the cameras, in abundance.

And yes (plug time), all this and more is explored in my book, The State Is Out Of Date – We Can Do It Better. The state is no longer “a necessary evil,” and is ultimately less capable than are we of controlling the excesses of bigoted people, or corporate greed. Indeed, the bigoted state and its body of statute law protects and often subsidizes the very activities we think they should be reigning in.

 

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The wheel needs a new hub, not just another revolution.