I have no particular knowledge of medicine or the natural sciences. However, I remember the Aids panic of the 1980s, when we were told there would be two million deaths by 1990 in this country alone. I remember the Mad Cow Disease of 1996, when we were told that a million people would turn into zombies by 2016. There have been a dozen lesser panics the details of which I presently forget. The Coronavirus may be a modern equivalent of the Spanish Flu of 1918-19. But I have reason to be sceptical. Indeed, if ignorant of medicine in any practical sense, I do know a lot about the bubonic plague pandemics of 542-4 and of 1347-51. These exploded among populations severely weakened by hunger, following downturns in global temperature. The Spanish Flu took hold because of the dislocations produced by the Great War. The human race now has never been so well-fed and so well-provided with medicine. It seems that most victims of the Coronavirus were very old or already in poor health. I do not, of course, welcome any death. But I shall need to see much higher rates of infection and many more deaths – and much and many more outside those groups presently most at risk – before I regard this as other than some collective madness. Read more
Introductory Note: I made this speech to an audience of Slovak journalists, politicians and diplomats. It was a view of the British situation that none had seen before. I hope it turns out to be a correct view of the situation. I hope this because I want it to be true, and because anything less than this will damage my reputation in Slovakia as an oracle for all things British. It probably is correct. However, we are dealing with a contest between human beings in which chance is at least as important as the grand forces. If I am wrong, it will show that the British ruling class is more fractured and unfit for government in the general sense than I presently believe it to be – and more unfit for government than is good for the future stability of the country. SIG Read more
I am currently preparing another book of essays by my late friend Chris R. Tame. He was an accomplished bibliographer, and I have been slowed down in publishing his book by the need to type in hundreds of references scribbled over the hard copy. This has reminded me of the immense body of literature produced on our side between about 1930 and 1990. University professors, university journals, policy institutes lavishly funded by big business, economists, historians, philosophers, historians, sociologists, political scientists, journalists – no criticism in this period that could be made of the managerial state was left unmade. In writing his essays, Chris ran over whole libraries of books and articles. I read many of them when I was younger, and was convinced. Read more
This morning, on the Jonathan Vernon-Smith show on BBC Three Counties Radio, Godfrey Bloom, our Honorary President, defended the Queen’s personal right to invest in overseas locations, given the recent press coverage on this topic.
After Mr Bloom’s opening remarks, Graham Smith, the Chief Executive Officer of the Anti-Monarchy campaign group, Republic, and a frequent contributor to the Guardian newspaper, also spoke, after which Mr Bloom replied with his concluding remarks.
If you would like to listen to the exchange, please click on the audio link below:
Note: I was invited to give this speech by Patrick Sullivan. He wanted to cause a stir, and was delighted by the outrage I provoked. Here is a text of the speech I gave. And here is what now seems to be the killer quote:
Do you want a Conservative Government that will succeed? Or do you want, in twenty years time, to watch another series of documentaries in which today’s Conservative leaders – looking older and baggier – will discuss how things went wrong, and they were pushed aside by yet another Labour rejuvenation?
What about the Workers? A Libertarian Answer
by Sean Gabb
(22nd July 2016)
I was called this morning by the BBC. It wanted me to comment on the claims that Sports direct, a chain of sports clothing shops, mistreats its workers – keeping them on zero-hours contracts, sometimes not paying them even the minimum wage, scaring them out of going sick, generally treating them like dirt. Would I care to go on air to defend the right of employers to behave in this way? I am increasingly turning down invitations to go on radio and television, and this was an invitation I declined. I suggested the researcher should call the Adam Smith Institute. This would almost certainly provide a young man to rhapsodise about the wonders of the free market. My own answer would be too complex for the average BBC presenter to understand, and I might be cut off in mid-sentence. Read more
It is always a pleasure to come and speak to the Swinton Circle, although not the easiest of tasks, like the Cambridge University Conservative Association or Mises Institute the audiences are some of the most informed in the world, the same problem when writing for Breibart or Libertarian Alliance. An expert audience makes it difficult to add value; you risk people going home thinking ‘I knew all that’. So it is often a case of emphasis or revision or simply a new angle. It is inevitable that many of our views are subjective. I remember in Cambridge giving an opinion on same-sex marriage. A post graduate suggested that Nozick would not have agreed with me, well as Bogart said in The Big Sleep when criticised over his manners, ‘I sit up at night grieving over them’. Who knows whether he would agree with me or not? Read more