Author Archives: Andy Duncan

Das Boot: Rebooted


By Andy Duncan, Vice-Chairman of Mises UK

Review of the New ‘Das Boot’ TV Series, Episode 1, ‘Neue Wege’:

[Spoilers ahead, you have been warned.]

If Karl Marx knew what he was doing, when he unleashed the twentieth century upon us from his venomous seat in the British Library, an avowed century of socialism and mass death, then he truly existed as both a servant of the Devil and as a master of evil.

Unfortunately, we will never know. But what we do know, is that he gave us both international socialism in Russia and national socialism in Germany.

This truth reflected itself perfectly in the original movie, ‘Das Boot’, in which the fabulous Jürgen Prochnow gave us the definitive performance of his and many other lifetimes, as a man torn between duty, honour, and purity, combined with annihilative destruction, a cornucopia of depth charge bombs, and ultimately his own death.

So what to make of this new television sequel to the original 1981 movie?

Well, first of all it proved an absolute relief that despite being financed by Sky television, they shot it in a mixture of mostly German, some French, and a little English.

If they’d shot it entirely in English, it would have immediately plasticised it inside a sheath of ersatz Hollwoodisation, and I might have turned it off immediately. I’m far from claiming to be a fluent German speaker, but to pick up the odd word, the odd phrase, or even the odd part where I could feel whole sentences and whole interactions as if I was actually German – not even actually translating into English – was subliminally excellent.

But…

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How I awoke from being a socialist to a sane person – A review of ‘The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality’, by Ludwig von Mises


By Andy Duncan, Vice-Chairman of Mises UK

Back in 1998, I was working in the filthy world of trade. I’d received this book from Mises.org one morning and had to wait until lunchtime before I could read it. I then sat in my car in a dreary supermarket car park and opened it up. It took less than an hour to get through. However, the clarity, the penetration, the directness, the sheer thrill of all those dense scales falling from my eyes melted my mind. Who was this Mises? And why had he made me feel so very uncomfortable?

Via the pages of this book, Mises had told me the truth about life, the universe, and everything. He’d tumbled the monuments in my mind, to Marx, by taking a wrecking ball to them.

This book essentially details the societally destructive power of human envy. Like a fine Bossa Nova dancer in perfect tune with his own epistemological theory, Mises slices and slashes at the tenets of Marxism until there’s nothing left but malevolent dust.

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President Jair Bolsonaro: “This is our flag, and it will never be red!”


By Andy Duncan, Vice-Chairman of Mises UK

Are we beginning to witness more of a sea-change in the world? We see President Donald Trump in the United States attempting to roll back some of the American state. We see Chancellor Sebastian Kurz attempting to roll back some of the Austrian state. And now we see President Jair Bolsonaro attempting to roll back some of the Brazilian state.

[I’ll avoid talking too much about the gigantic mess of Brexit and that appalling globalist robot, Theresa May, but at least the process of Brexit has formed some part of the same momentum.]

Yes, we can all hope for the Hoppeian pipedream of waking up one glorious day surrounded by unicorns and pixies, along with a perfect constellation of tiny private law societies all over the globe, and be typically picky about each of these men and their imperfections in terms of libertarian flawlessness. We’ve been so successful with that particular strategy, over the years.

However, back here in the real world, I’m generally becoming more and more hopeful that we’re entering a new phase in history, one where we might actually reach that world of unicorns and pixies, one day, along with at least some Hoppeian private law societies.

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Gatwick Airport drone sightings may have been of police equipment, chief constable admits


By Andy Duncan, Vice-Chairman of Mises UK
If a private security company closed down an airport for 24 hours and cancelled hundreds of flights because of a ‘drone’ threat, and then later discovered that its own drones were providing that threat, it would quite rightly be tossed out on its ear and lose its contract. Its CEO would probably be fired, several key employees would probably be fired, and the company would almost certainly face imminent bankruptcy and likely closure as other customers withdrew their custom. If the company was to survive such a self-imposed disaster, it would follow on from the result of a rapid and brutal reorganisation, similar to the punctuated equilibria of Darwinian evolution. (For instance, where fish become amphibians inside a rapid geological timeframe, perhaps because of a catastrophic drying of the planet caused by one of those regular instances of rapid solar heating.)
 
In this fictional Hoppe-World story, a more dynamic and better organised company would be brought in to provide a better security service, most likely for the same cost or lower. Because this is how the voluntary free market works. Service failure is constantly and often brutally punished, just as Darwinian evolution constantly and brutally punishes evolutionary dead ends. Spontaneous market evolution drives everyone’s businesses to provide better services and better products, as Schumpeter’s creative destruction process weeds out inefficient organisation and talentless bureaucracy and nourishes ever-more-efficient organisation and farsighted entrepreneurialism. Economic resources and people are constantly recycled in an ever-improving system that generates ever-better services and ever-better products for all of society. To assist with this process, technology constantly gets improved to provide better results for less cost. No oversight is required. If left alone, it all just happens. Naturally.
 
It is a beautiful thing. Just as the creatures generated by evolution are often beautiful.
 
So what will happen now back on Planet Socialist? What will the politicians do about the incompetent tax-eating police ruining tens of thousands of business trips and Christmas holidays? Alas, to ask the question is to know the answer. Nobody will be fired. Tax-provided resources will also most likely be increased to hopefully plug the gaps of the police’s stupidity. And it won’t work. Because this ‘reward of failure’ system specifically generates increasing failure. The police at Gatwick will become ever-more incompetent and ever-more expensive. We all know this to be true. This is the chaotic nature of coercive socialist organisation.
 
So what is the free market Hoppeian solution? Because of their utter incompetence, the tax-eating public police should be removed from Gatwick and replaced by a private security organisation that’s driven by internal motivations to provide a service that its customers actually like and want to renew year after year. Competition between private security agencies will keep their blades sharp.
 
Will this happen? Will the police get kicked out of Gatwick? Will a competent private security agency be brought in to take over from these idiots? Will any police officer get fired for this total utter failure? Be my guest. Guess.
 
Socialism is the essence of idiocy.

The Writing on the Berlin Wall: Pictures of the Socialistic Future


By Andy Duncan, Vice Chairman of Mises UK

If someone gave me a gold sovereign for every time in my life I had heard a variation on the following phrase, then in the words of Private James Frazer, from Dad’s Army, I would now be an extremely wealthy man. Here’s the general phrase that you may have heard too:

“Socialism is a great idea, but human nature is so perverse, selfish, and horrible, that nobody has figured out how to do it right yet.”

There are so many misconceptions buried within that simple sentence that there are few single books that can refute them with justice. One that springs immediately to mind is Socialism, written by Ludwig von Mises in 1922; unfortunately this is an immense, distilled work that requires perhaps weeks, months, or even years of study to fully appreciate.

However, I may have just stumbled across another excellent book that uses a different approach to tackle the same misconceptions. In contrast to Socialism, the main beauty of this alternative is that it hits all of its targets in just three or so short hours of delightful reading.

We’ll get to the book shortly, but first let us examine the misconceptions.

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The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude


By Andy Duncan, Vice-Chairman of Mises UK

I’ve just spent the last ninety minutes reading an amazing short book by Étienne de la Boétie, written in 1553, on the nature of how the state gains mass obedience and on how we can reduce and then eliminate the state by reducing and eventually eliminating that obedience in a completely non-violent manner, in a bid to create Hoppe-World. Yes, it’s a long battle, but one worth fighting for. Now I’ve read it, I think this book may be essential reading for all believers in property, freedom, and liberty.

My favourite quote:

“Let us therefore learn while there is yet time, let us learn to do good. Let us raise our eyes to Heaven for the sake of our honor, for the very love of virtue, or, to speak wisely, for the love and praise of God Almighty, who is the infallible witness of our deeds and the just judge of our faults. As for me, I truly believe I am right, since there is nothing so contrary to a generous and loving God as tyranny—I believe He has reserved, in a separate spot in Hell, some very special punishment for tyrants and their accomplices.” – Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, 1553 A.D

A close runner-up, and my second favourite quote:

“Place on one side fifty thousand armed men, and on the otherthe same number; let them join in battle, one side fighting to retain its liberty, the other to take it away; to which would you, at a guess, promise victory? Which men do you think would march more gallantly to combat—those who anticipate as a reward for their suffering the maintenance of their freedom, or those who cannot expect any other prize for the blows exchanged than the enslavement of others? One side will have before its eyes the blessings of the past and the hope of similar joy in the future; their thoughts will dwell less on the comparatively brief pain of battle than on what they may have to endure forever, they, their children, and all their posterity. The other side has nothing to inspire it with courage except the weak urge of greed, which fades before danger and which can never be so keen, it seems to me, that it will not be dismayed by the least drop of blood from wounds. Consider the justly famous battles of Miltiades, Leonidas, Themistocles, still fresh today in recorded history and in the minds of men as if they had occurred but yesterday, battles fought in Greece for the welfare of the Greeks and as an example to the world. What power do you think gave to such a mere handful of men not the strength but the courage to withstand the attack of a fleet so vast that even the seas were burdened, and to defeat the armies of so many nations, armies so immense that their officers alone outnumbered the entire Greek force? What was it but the fact that in those glorious days this struggle represented not so much a fight of Greeks against Persians as a victory of liberty over domination, of freedom over greed?” – Étienne de la Boétie, The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, 1553 A.D.

With a long and penetrating foreword by Murray N. Rothbard, the book is freely available to download:

For those who like that sort of thing, there is also an accompanying audio book:

 

Emmanuel Goldstein strikes again!


By Andy Duncan, Vice-Chairman of Mises UK

Democrats in the United States are now demanding war, death, and destruction in the Middle-East, in places most of them would be unable to point to on a globe. Why? Because Donald Trump is trying to reduce war, death, and destruction in the Middle-East, or at least he’s trying to reduce American involvement in such terrible things. One is of course reminded of George Orwell’s quote from Nineteen-Eighty-Four:

“The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia, but to keep the very structure of society intact.”

Once again it seems the elites have been using Mr Orwell’s dystopian novel as a guidebook for their own continuing power over the rest of us, rather than as a portentive Cassandran warning.

Personally, I would like to congratulate President Trump for withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria, and hopefully later from Afghanistan too, to reduce the destruction wrought by elite globalism. Though no doubt he’s merely serving the whims of that global puppet-master, that Emmanuel Goldstein himself, Vladimir Putin.

But what is the United States doing anyway in such places? Was it not founded on the ambition of George Washington to avoid permanent alliances and Thomas Jefferson’s wish to avoid entangling alliances? Are two oceans really not enough to defend America, plus the largest and most technologically advanced set of armed forces in the world? The American Democrats make me sick with their double-think and their hypocrisy. Keep going, Sir Donald!

Anyhow, enough of that. Here’s an excellent interview on the subject, between Jeff Deist and Dave Smith. As our American friends would say, enjoy y’all!

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