Category Archives: Liberty

The ‘Das Boot’ Reboot – End of Season Review


By Andy Duncan

Well, what to make of Das Boot, the TV series sequel to the original classic 1981 movie with the great Jürgen Prochnow? Well, it’s tricky, as it’s only just finished here in England, and many of you may have failed to see it yet, so I’ll try to avoid spoilers, though some may inadvertently slip through the wolfpack net.

At first, I had been afraid it would prove a complete shipwreck of a show, with cod German accents all spoken in English. Fortunately, however, the producers Bavaria Fiction superbly mixed together a triumvirate of German, English, and French, within a completely natural linguistic balancing act. Plus, it became a lot of fun trying to keep up with the rapid colloquial German of the unwashed greasy crew of U-612. The producers certainly did do a good job of portraying the grimy life of fifty men inside an iron coffin, ten weeks at sea, without a single shower curtain between them, doused in the filth of what this must have been like.

But if I must avoid the plot, let’s talk instead about the major characters. First of all, just as the movie got completely upstaged by the drunkenly deranged Kapitän-Leutnant Philipp Thomsen, this TV series got completely devoured by the early and then late lunatic appearance of the bloodthirsty Korvetten-Kapitän Ulrich Wrangel, who’s certain to become a cult classic character. If you’ve ever wanted to see your enemy’s shipping destroyed in suicidal gung ho fashion, then this would be your man of choice to lead the wolves out of their lair.

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When Victimhood Masquerades as a Virtue


By Natalie Fawn Danelishen

One must question ‘society’ and ‘our standards’ when becoming a victim is the new hip cool thing. With a wave of hoax ‘hate crimes’ attempting to fabricate victimhood since Trump has taken office, we have to ask, how did we get here?

Many people share the blame. The enablers are easy to spot much like the dealer selling crack on the street corners. The Media, Progressives, Conservatives, YouTube, Facebook, even Gofundme pages share blame for encouraging these anti-social trends.

However, we can’t blame only them. No. As individuals, many of us have fallen into the trap of pushing their narratives through social media. On places like Twitter and Facebook we take what we are told and spread it like wildfire. We have become the enablers. When we don’t apply critical thought, but instead mindlessly parrot what we’ve heard, then we end up pushing someone else’s agenda. Like what happened at the Lincoln Memorial when we watched the world turn on the Covington Catholic students. The public was manipulated into being bamboozled.

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On Property and Borders


Wherever you are on the political spectrum, this essay is likely to offend you. The “left” will hate my uncompromising views on private property. The “right,” conversely, will be incensed by my principled objections to political borders and walls. So, here goes…

Why property?

Whenever many people must interact together, a common problem is that of scarce means. Resources like food, or land, or tools, or drinkable water, are not sufficiently abundant to allow everyone to have as much of them as they wish.

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“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

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…

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“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

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