“How to Judge People by What They Look Like,” Reviewed by Sean Gabb


 

How to Judge People by What They Look Like
by Edward Dutton
(Published in The Salisbury Review)

This short book is equally naughty and entertaining. It bounces along, making its points in a light-hearted and generally a witty manner. It is naughty so far as it is a flat challenge to many of the pieties of our age.

We are told never to judge a book by its cover – that the substance of a person, this being character and intelligence, have no measurable relationship to his external form, this being his physical appearance. At the extreme, of looking at correlations between race and intelligence, you can get into serious trouble for disputing this piety. Even moderate dissent earns hostility or just ridicule. Look, for example, at the relevant textbooks. The phlogiston theory is covered as an early theory of combustion, superseded by the truth. Phrenology is denounced as barely short of a moral and intellectual failing. No one thinks ill of Lamarck for this theory of inherited characteristics. Lombroso and his measurement of criminal heads are seen as steps on the road to Auschwitz. Read more

Advertisements

What about the Poor?!


What about the Poor?!

By Duncan Whitmore

When discussing the virtues of a free society libertarians are able to expound with enthusiasm the benefits of private property, free exchange and non-violence. Most of the nagging questions – “how would policing work?”; “how would we regulate unscrupulous companies?”; or the clichéd classic “who will build the roads?!” – can be dealt with fairly straightforwardly as it is not difficult to show how such a free society would deal with these matters in a vastly superior way to one that is imbued with statism. Indeed, the struggle in this regard has less to do with formulating convincing arguments and more to do with tackling an inherent unwillingness to consider radical solutions.

However, there is one question that always presents a seemingly insurmountable difficulty – what would happen to the poor? By this, we do not just mean the accusations of a free economy being “sink or swim” or “dog eat dog”, which, again, are relatively juvenile sound bites that can be disposed of fairly easily. (Indeed, it is social democracies that are the true zero sum games as any redistribution of wealth or gain of power to the benefit of one must necessarily come at the expense of another). Rather, what we mean is the fact that a free world has no means of “caring” for the poor. In particular, there would be no “official” institution or “social safety net” to help those who were genuinely less fortunate. A libertarian might mumble a few words about the importance of charity but, with an outright declaration by one’s opponent that such a system is necessary, one may be tempted to concede that this is the Achilles’ heel of a libertarian society. After all, statists excel at conjuring the illusion that all of the care and compassion is on their side while they are able, quite easily, to paint proponents of the free market as little more than selfish money grabbers.

It is high time that libertarians (and their free market oriented fellow travellers) took the offensive against this problem by turning an apparent weakness into an advantage. By offensive, we mean not just constructing adequate rebuttals to the charge that capitalism cannot care for the poor. Rather, we need to set ourselves the more ambitious goal of proving that capitalism benefits the least well off as its primary effect, and that the poor do not benefit merely as an incidental consequence of making the rich richer. Read more

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…

Read more

“Read Magazines, not Books” – Review of The Complete Libertarian Forum: 1969-1984


“Read Magazines, not Books” – Review of The Complete Libertarian Forum: 1969-1984

By Duncan Whitmore

“Read magazines, not books”. Such was the advice given to me by Theodor H Nelson, for whom I had the privilege of working for a number of years when I was a fresh-faced graduate. In Dream Machines (1974) Nelson, who is not a libertarian, had earlier justified his imperative by stating that “magazines have far more insights per inch of text, and can be read much faster”.

It is only after having finished The Complete Libertarian Forum: 1969-1984 (LF) – two, formidable volumes of a total of 1,200 pages of small print, the reading of which has occupied me on and off for the past year or so – that I can see precisely what Nelson meant, and more. For LF is not only a treasure trove of ongoing theoretical debates within libertarianism and of libertarian viewpoints on important global events at the time; it is a record of the successes, failures, triumphs and tragedies of the libertarian movement in one of the most turbulent periods in recent history. Read more

Dead By Illegal Alien? You’re Just An Anecdote


By ilana mercer

THE topic: American lives snuffed out by illegal aliens.

The forum: The ubiquitous, Fox News, dual-perspective panel that never fails to dim debate.

Arguing in favor of letting potential killers come: Geraldo Rivera, a former daytime talk-show, bosom buddy of Sean Hannity, and a permanent fixture on Fox.

The Rivera “argument”: That some criminal aliens kill is incidental and immaterial to their status as uninvited, unvetted interlopers.  

Here are some of the stories Geraldo dismisses as anecdotes sensationalized:

The latest in a string of bereaved parents to appear on TV are the parents of young Pierce Corcoran, 22, killed by Franco Cambrany Francisco-Eduardo (44), recipient of the U.S. Professional Drunk-Driver Immigration Visa. And in 2012, a man named Ramon Hernandez took the tiniest of victims. Dimitri Smith, of blessed memory, was killed in-utero by this recipient of the same visa. The deceased preemie was shown on CNN, in 2012, being held for the last time by young mother Aileen Smith, before being laid to rest.

“In the last two years,” said a solemn President Trump, in his Jan. 8 address from the Oval Office, “ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records including those charged or convicted of 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 violent killings. Over the years, thousands of Americans have been brutally killed by those who illegally entered our country and thousands more lives will be lost if we don’t act right now.”

It seems crystal clear that, were it not for Geraldo’s plucky, uninvited visitors—more American than a lot of Americans, sneered Comrade Ocasio-Cortez—there would likely be 100,000 fewer assaults in America, 30,000 fewer sex crimes in America, and 4,000 fewer murders in America.

It seems perfectly clear that young Pierce Corcoran would be alive, if not for a bad hombre who had no business being in the country.

Clear to you and me, but not to “brother” Rivera (Mr. Hannity’s appellation for this idiot).

With the same logical illiteracy that has been given sanctuary and sinecure on Fox News, Mr. Rivera proceeded to make his “case”:

“I would feel equally pained,” he roared, “were the killer Irish, Italian, Puerto Rican or Jewish, young or old.”

Could a killer illegal alien be “Irish, Italian, Puerto Ricans or Jewish, old or young”? Certainly. But these categories are irrelevant and superfluous to the central point. Rivera is mixing it up; mixing logical categories to the point of moral incoherence.

This studied stupidity led Rivera, in short succession, to his next point: American lives lost and recounted “sensationally” on television were “anecdotes.”

To be charitable, Geraldo here is following his own breaking-eggs-for-omelets argument—and it is that, since the murderers are statistical outliers, the murders they commit are the exception to the rule in what is an exceptional immigrant community.

The logic doesn’t add up, but the numbers of the dead do—each life lost is precious. Each loss comes with a world of hurt that never heals.

Death by illegal alien is not about group crime aggregates, as Geraldo contends. (In particular, his contention that illegal aliens commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans, therefore, let them come.)

Wrong. Death by illegal alien is about this life-cherishing, immutable logic:

If alien X HAD BEEN REMOVED from the U.S., as the law dictates, innocent American Y WOULD BE ALIVE TODAY.

What Geraldo continues to claim is that the value of the community from which alien X hails cancels out the value of the life of Y, an innocent, American individual. The same goes for the 4000 lives lost and counted by the president.

My guess? If the individuals snuffed out by illegal aliens belonged to Geraldo Rivera, Rivera would lose his callous calculus.

The argument made by open-immigration fundamentalists, left and establishment right—from Tamar Jacoby to Geraldo Rivera—is that the illegality of the perp is irrelevant to the crime.

These advocates have routinely dismissed as redundant to the facts of the case the illegal status of “Carlos Martinelly-Montano, 23, whose Aug. 1 collision, in 2011, in Prince William, seriously injured two Benedictine nuns and killed a third, Sister Denise Mosier, 66, all of Richmond.”

Again: For this kind of conceit to fly, open-border fetishists would have to show that had Bob Clark’s killer (whose identity is still zealously guarded by media) been deported or jailed, his victims would have nevertheless suffered the same fate at the hands of another drunk driver (murderer, child molester, etc.)—a truly fanciful idea.

In case you don’t know, Bob Clark directed one of the most delightful, and most American, films ever made, “A Christmas Story.” He and his 24-year-old son would probably be alive today if not for a drunk, unlicensed, illegal alien careening down Pacific Coast Highway

As to Geraldo. He has been assaulting sensibilities for over a decade on the same Fox News shows, having modified his “argument” only slightly over time.

“It’s not an illegal alien story; it’s a drunk driving story,” he once asserted on “The Factor,” following the slaying of an innocent American in an oh-so familiar way.

Then as now, Geraldo was serious, although, then as now, he should not be taken seriously.

***

Ilana Mercer has been writing a weekly, paleolibertarian column since 1999. She is the author of “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011) & “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016). She’s on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube

 

Universal Healthcare – an Economic Disaster


Given the recent announcement of a new, long term plan for the NHS it seems like an opportune moment to revisit the topic of universal healthcare. The essay below is a new version of a previously published piece, with some sections revised and elaborated, while figures and references have been updated.

Universal Healthcare – an Economic Disaster

By Duncan Whitmore

“Universal healthcare” (that is, an alleged “right” to “healthcare” provided in some form by the state) is a mainstay of social democratic thought – so much so, in fact, that the UK’s NHS is taken as a given, with any kind of proposed healthcare reform couched in terms of improving “our” state-funded health service rather than ever considering whether it should exist in the first place.

However the consequences of universal healthcare are grave indeed, including spiralling costs and ever increasing numbers of sick – pretty much the effects of the welfare state in general. This is without even considering the ethics of forcibly confiscating the money of one person to benefit another, although this essay will focus on the economic aspects of what is, in effect, the socialisation of medicine. Read more

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.

Read more

« Older Entries