Life under Anarcho-Tyranny

During the summer, my attention was drawn to this newspaper report about a youth brawl on a Dublin beach. These riots have become something of an annual cultural event, typically involving about 100 youngsters . Last year, there was a heavy contingent of Africans involved in Portmarnock – easily observable from some of the video footage – though that went unmentioned in most media coverage. The thing that engaged my interest in this story, however, is the police response. We are told that “no arrests were made” though there was a Garda presence in this large, open space. What the police did do, however, was close the nearby train station for the day, impacting the many tourists and law-abiding citizens coming to visit.

Its a small example of a phenomenon I have grown interested in recently: anarcho-tyranny. It was memorably observed and named by the late columnist Sam T. Francis in 1992. Francis, writing on the state law and order under the modern managerial state he was so fond of studying, said “we refuse to control real criminals (that’s the anarchy) so we control the innocent (that’s the tyranny).” This leads to a situation where the housing projects of feral youths and minorities are left to themselves, while, according to Francis, there is rampant “criminalization of the law-abiding and innocent through exorbitant taxation, bureaucratic regulation, the invasion of privacy, and the engineering of social institutions.” One example might be gun control laws that have no impact on the criminal classes. This reaches true absurdity in a country like South Africa, where a white farmer is legally confined to having a shotgun with a certain number of shells in a country where gangs roam around with sub-machine guns.

A recent broadcast from John Derbyshire mentioned the relationship between this new method of governance and what happened in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, in regards to Muslim rape gangs. The ‘tyranny’ side of anarcho-tyranny places strong emphasis on enforcing multiculturalism and political correctness. Last year, when a woman in Liverpool was upset at Alan Sugar for making a relatively innocent joke about the Chinese, she wrote to the police saying “I thought racism was illegal” and called for his arrest. Cravenly, the police interviewed this woman three times (once for over an hour) and spent several days deliberating whether Sugar committed a hate crime. While I hope there were no actual crimes committed in Liverpool that week, it seems unlikely. In Rotherham itself, foster children were seized from a couple because they were members of the ‘racist’ UKIP.

Political correctness and light-touch policing in regards to protected minorities and the underclass was the root of the problem in Rotherham. We now know that about 1400 girls of white British extraction, primarily from the working classes, were pressed into sex slavery by Pakistani Muslims who saw them as sub-human. Now, if you’ve ever been to certain Muslim countries with a fair-haired companion of the female persuasion you’re probably aware you have to be careful (unless you are ideologically blinded, that is). In the discourse of ‘anti-racism’ and ‘diversity’ such differences are not meant to exist, but what is today called ‘anti-racism’ is built on a mountain of lies and reality denial. A Home Office employee who raised the alarm about the Asian Muslim gangs as early as 2001 was censured and forced to attend a “diversity course” to “raise her awareness of ethnic issues”. I can’t confirm whether or not the slogan War Is Peace. Freedom Is Slavery. Diversity Is Our Strength was inscribed on the wall. Big Brother comes down hard on naughty things like this incident of “racism”, but criminal gangs can be overlooked for years if they consist of Designated Victim Groups.

The South Yorkshire Police, by the way, had little trouble raiding Cliff Richard’s home over some alleged sexual impropriety almost 30 years ago.

Why Zionists Should Be Happy

A while back I was asked to give a presentation on matters Israel at a Zionist Federation gathering of young activists. Nothing specific, just whatever I wanted to say. I figure that if I could only get one message out to folks today on any side of the debate, it would be this: Zionists should be very happy. I say this because the Zionist project has been successful and happens to be stronger than ever.

Let me explain, briefly.

Far too often, I have suffered in gatherings of Jews and others in the pro-Israel community where the mood has been like it probably was at the Alamo or the Winter Palace just before the Lenin stormed in. Many feel we are being slaughtered on the ideological battlefield by the pro-Palestinian camp. There is a perception that Israel’s very survival is tenuous. Plagued by economic worries, demographic challenges, and a supposedly increasing diplomatic isolation, they openly wonder whether Zionism’s time has passed. The enemy makes every effort to play on these fears.

Some pine for a time they believe to have been more heroic and optimistic for the Jews and the Zionist movement. I recently had one lady list all the usual gripes of today to me before saying how she wished she could instead be fighting with the Irgun in 1948. I could not believe somebody would wish to trade the problems of today with the problems of 1948, when the Jewish state’s chances of surviving the year were put at 50:50 by members of Ben Gurion’s own Cabinet.

I recommend taking a step back to assess the economic, demographic, and diplomatic fears. I am confident that seeing the big picture here will ingrain some much-needed optimism. A few words on the general prospects for Zionism are also in order.

The Economy

One of the best tests of Zionism’s success is simply to ask whether Israel is a good place to live. By all conventional measures, it is, and there is no need to re-hash all the factors that grant Israel a seat in the developed world club. The 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration is close upon us, though, and this provides us with a good opportunity for reflection. The land of Israel was in a noticeably unpromising state at this time. In 1913, on the eve of the First World War, there was not a single motor car in the country. This was while Detroit was producing thousands a day. By the time the Balfour Declaration came about, there was not a single Jewish lawyer to be seen (imagine a country without Jewish lawyers!). Today, Israel ‘boasts’ the highest per capita number of lawyers in the world. Neither was the situation good for a long time after independence. Israel’s status as an economic basket case was so well known that Milton Friedman said it destroyed the reputation of Jews as bad soldiers but good economic managers. A popular joke went that the best way to end up with a million dollars in Israel was to go there with two million. Adherence to a kind of paternalist socialism, all the rage throughout the world at the time, kept the country like this for decades. In the 1990’s things began to change utterly under the direction of Benjamin Netanyahu, who fancied himself as Israel’s Ronald Reagan or Thatcher. And thanks to that agenda, Israel is in the OECD and boasts a per capita GDP of $32,567. That looks average by the standards of western Europe, but a damn sight better than Israel’s neighbours. There are no signs of this heading south, and every sign of it heading up.

Demographics

This is a major existential issue but one many refuse to even talk about. Every Israeli knows and is haunted by the words of Arafat on the subject, when he said the womb of the Arab woman was his best weapon. But the big story here should really be that there is no story. The war of the wombs is going in Israel’s favour. The Jewish and Arab fertility gap, once considerable, has closed to 0.7 births per woman. The proportion of Jewish births in Israel today is significantly higher than it was in 1995: 69% vs. 75%. Most interestingly, the non-Haredi Jewish woman in Israel has a fertility rate of 2.6 – the highest in the western world – whereas a generation ago it stood at 2.1. The Arab birthrate has been falling slightly, with the Jewish one rising. By 2085, there will be more Israelis than Poles. But Poland’s median age will be 57, while Israel’s will be a far more healthy 32. Israel will have more young people than Italy or Spain, and will have more males of military age than Germany by the end of the century. There could be no greater win for the Zionist project. Indeed, Israel might be the only western country around without a death wish. Hebrew, a language formerly confined to the prayerbook and religious study, currently has more speakers than Danish, though Denmark has had quite a headstart on the modern state of Israel. There are in fact more speakers of Hebrew today than there were of English in the time of Shakespeare.

Diplomacy

There is a commonly-peddled myth that Israel is growing more diplomatically isolated. All one can say to this is: really? Are things worse for Israel today on the diplomatic front than it was during the era of the Soviet Union, Third World Socialism, and pan-Arabism? Remember the communist/Islamic bloc vote in the UN to declare Zionism as racism in the 1970s? The anti-Zionists of the world will never enjoy a coup like that again.

The big picture is that Israel has done very well on the diplomatic front in recent years. Relations with China and India, once atrocious (inspired by Marxist ideology on their side) are now quite warm, and there has been extensive cooperation on the military and intelligence fronts. Last year there was a very hush-hush meeting of Israeli and Chinese general at Oxford. The Chinese were said to be very understanding of Israeli concerns. The story of relations with the Vatican, once truly awful, is one of increasing improvement. When Pope Paul VI became the first Pope to visit Israel in 1964, he refused to utter the country’s name and did not visit any sites of Jewish significance. Compare that to the prayer of Pope John Paul II at the Western Wall. All this has happened while ties with the US have remained strong.  But in an increasingly multi-polar world, Israel is making the right moves.

A word should be added here on the defence front. I do not believe Israel faces any insurmountable problems in this area or in relation to maintaining defensible borders. Many argue that Israel would not be left with strategic depth of she withdraws from the disputed territories along the 1967 lines. Even if Israel does, it is quite possible that adequate strategic depth can be created at sea. This was a pet idea of the late General Israel Tal’s and has been implemented over the past decade. Just look at all those German submarines Israel has been acquiring.

Prospects for Zionism 

The strength of Zionism is that it is not an ‘ism’ like all other ‘isms’. It was the fascinating Yeshayahu Leibowitz who said that Zionism is not an ideology, but a complex of activities undertaken to restore facilitate Jewish settlement and Jewish independence in its own land. There are only anti-Zionist ideologies for denying that the Jewish nation is a nation. The young men and women developing software applications in Tel Aviv today are as much an part of Zionism’s success story as the pioneer farmers redeeming the land were in the 1930s. The ideologies that arose contemporaneously in the 19th and 20th centuries looked for abstract principles to address specific problems. Zionism placed its hope in weapons and tractors and has outlived them.

In its non-ideological character there is great strength. Zionism can encompass religious and secular, territorial maximalist and minimalist, left and right. Its important that it be kept that way. While it is good to have a ‘big tent’, it is most important to be a kind of starfish, in that if one arm gets cut off, another should be able to take its place. The waning of Labour Zionism in the 1970s did not lead to a withering of Zionism despite the fact it had largely built the state.

I was spurred to put this up in response to a piece by The American Conservative’s Noah Millman warning against Israeli ‘Catastrophism’. I think his words make for an appropriate closing:

“Israel is not, in any meaningful sense, a provisional experiment. It is downright bizarre that both so many Israeli Jews (and their friends abroad) and so many of Israel’s detractors continue to talk as if it were. Bizarre – and destructive. That conviction within Israel feeds policies that, in turn, feeds the extremism of its opponents – and vice versa.”
 

The Majority of Palestinian Casualties are not Civilians. Here’s How You Can Tell.

This is where the blogosphere really comes into its own. Since the beginning of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, NGOs have been calling it a “war on children” (the words of Osama Dayo, of Save the Children). The UN has claimed up to three-quarters of the casualties have been civilians. Nobody in the mainstream media questions these numbers. That’s because you can’t question the motives of a self-described human rights organisation, an established charity, or a UN agency.

My take on these claims is more sceptical. Firstly, experience tells me that ethnic and ideological hostilities often hide behind the more acceptable language of ‘human rights’ activism. Secondly, do you know the kind of people who work for the UN and NGOs?

But there is one method anybody can use to get a fairly accurate picture of the make-up of combat casualties. Some people have used it to assess the Second Intifada and more recent hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians. It devastates the claims of Hamas, the UN, Amnesty International, and other unsavoury types. And so far, none have been able to refute it.

Statistics

Basically, if Israel was largely killing civilians in Gaza through indiscriminate bombing, one would expect the casualties to be a fair reflection of the Gazan population. Around 50% would be male, and 50% female. Around 40% would have to be under the age of 14. But this is not the case, in the current war or the last.

A fellow by the name of Don Radlauer ingeniously laid out all Palestinian casualties from the Second Intifada on the basis of age and gender as part of a wider study. He found that 95% of the Palestinian casualties were male, while the gender ratio for Israelis killed was around 60:40. Not only that, but 80% of those male Palestinians were in their late teens and early twenties. We can assume that proportionately fewer civilians were killed on their side as opposed to Israel’s. It’s all here. Here are just two interesting graphs:
pal fatalities by gender

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pal fatalities by age

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More recently, for Operation Protective Edge, an amateur pro-Israel blogger took the Palestinian casualties from a list provided by Al Jazeera. He broke them down by age and gender. Now we can see once again that there are far too many young males for the deaths to be majority civilian.  80% of the Gazans killed so far have been male, with almost half of these males being in the 18-28 age group.  20% of these males are between 29 and 48.

cas by gender

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If anybody of the anti-Israel persuasion can make a case against these figures and my conclusions, I’d like to hear it. I have sent the Protective Edge statistics to several colleagues of the extreme left and to a few angry Muslims on online forums. I have been doing the same with the Radlauer study for years. Nobody has come up with anything convincing yet.

Human Rights Organizations and that Joe Loughnane Incident

Two recent reports from Amnesty International on the ordeals of Palestinian communities in the Middle East could not be more different.

Trigger-happy‘ is supposed to demonstrate excessive forced used by the IDF in response to Palestinian demonstrations and rioting in the West Bank. Amnesty claims 22 civilians have been killed over a period of 12 months. The casualties are mostly young men, in or around areas of hostility at the time. The report is 87 pages long and contains 14 individual photographs and 18 in-depth biographies of the victims, some up to three pages long and with interviews of family members. There is also an accompanying video of four minutes length.

Squeezing the life out of Yarmouk‘, on the other hand, is Amnesty’s attempt at covering the siege of a settlement mostly populated by the descendants of Palestinian refugees in Syria. The death toll here has been close to 200 civilians in 8 months. They are a mixture of men and women, young and old, pointing to killings of an indiscriminate nature. The deaths have been primarily by starvation, sniper-fire, and bombings.  Yet this report is a mere 39 pages long. It contains no photographs of the victims. Nor is there any real information on individual casualties. It is as dry as a Wikipedia summary, reading like something Amnesty only had to do because they were obliged. ‘Trigger-happy’, on the other hand, is an emotive call to action, somebody at Amnesty’s personal crusade. ‘Trigger-happy’ was displayed prominently on the front page of their website for two weeks. The other was there for a day.

The information in the reports may or may not be true. I am more interested in the discrepancy of focus and language [H/T to Yisrael Medad for pointing this out to me]. One would have a very distorted picture of the global human rights situation from reading Amnesty reports. The reasons for the discrepancy are worth a discussion.

I identify three phenomena at the root.

Firstly, many of us sceptical about  the actions of NGO’s are familiar with Moynihan’s Law, which says that the greater the number of complaints being aired against a country, the better protected are human rights in that country. As a more open society, journalists, academics and other unsavoury types are free to roam and report in Israel. They are not in Syria. The philosopher Roger Scruton strongly hinted in his book on Lebanon, A Land Held Hostage, that Robert Fisk’s disturbingly soft treatment of Hafez Al-Assad during the civil war there helped ensure his access to the region, even though Fisk, the old fraud, was often out of the country for many of the events he claimed to witness.

Secondly, it may be that the relative tranquillity of Israel and Palestine does more to attract aid workers and journalists. One of my favourite quotes of all time was given by a young lady called Emily Williams, an American manager of a medical NGO in the Palestinian territories:

“Palestine is the best-kept secret in the aid industry… People need field experience and Palestine sounds cool and dangerous because it can be described as a war zone, but in reality it’s quite safe and has all the comforts that internationals want. Quality of life here is so much higher than somewhere like Afghanistan, but we don’t tell anyone so that we are not replaced or reassigned.”

My understanding is that most correspondents would rather pen dramatic write-ups on clashes  between the IDF and its enemies from the comfort of the American Colony Hotel in eastern Jerusalem than endure the miserable, macchiato -free conditions of Yemen.

Finally, some time ago in National Review, John O’ Sullivan identified another law: any organization that is not explicitly right-wing will over time become left-wing. What is true of the Episcopalian Church is equally true for Amnesty, or Oxfam, or Human Rights Watch. It’s just the type of people organisations that shun profit-making attract.

And on that point I want to talk about Joe Loughnane and the jackasses at NUI Galway.

Here is Joe, in all his eloquence:

Notice Joe says he’s been on the Galway campus for ten years. That’s the product of an extensive education in human rights law, apparently. According to this piece, he’s worked for several months at an unnamed human rights organisation in London. His antics, which include very direct threats against students and guests at his university, are well known and should preclude him from employment in any respectable establishment. Yet I am not so confident that he’ll be shunned by any organisation dedicated to human rights today. It was this blog two years ago that pointed out that Amnesty Ireland’s Communications Co-ordinator  at Amnesty International in Ireland, Justin Moran, is a Sinn Fein activist. I’ve made similar allegations of extremist penetration into religious groups like Trocaire and EAPPI.

The hi-jacking of the language of “human rights” and many hitherto respectable organisations dedicated to that cause by people like Joe Loughnane and his Palestine Solidarity Campaign bullies is one of the most significant developments of our time. After all, how could a man proudly displaying the banner below actually believe in any honest notion of human rights? And how can a human rights organisation in good conscience hire him?

loughnane

Sean Gallagher and political agendas in RTÉ

I note than Sean Gallagher’s case against RTÉ may be heard in the High Court this year.

Good.

What the media overlooks is often more interesting than what it reports. The drama of the Halawa family was a missed opportunity to ask hard questions about a group of Irish Muslim activists in Egypt. Once upon a time, people who asked questions about Communist subversion of the American government were called paranoid “red-baiters”. Then came the Mitrokhin Archive and the declassification of the Venona Project in the 1990s, and we know those red-baiters were right. Senator McCarthy was widely laughed at in the 1950s for calling Harry Dexter White, one of the architects of Bretton Woods, a Soviet agent. In 2013, Foreign Affairs could run lengthy articles asking why Harry Dexter White spied for the Soviets. We can do the same for Alger Hiss, John Stewart Service, Owen Lattimore, and perhaps hundreds more of their contemporaries.

In the spirit of making sure justice is done today rather than by historians decades from now, the painful possibility of subversion of some kind needs to be confronted. Of particular assistance here may be be an assistant producer of Frontline, Aoife Kelleher, daughter of the Labour Party politician Tom Kelleher. It seems a lot of players here revolve around her.

So, even though Passover is still a few months away, I have Four Questions for Ireland’s national broadcaster about the infamous night of October 24th, the final Presidential debate:

1. Why was Michael D. Higgins was not asked a direct question by a member of the audience? This seems inexplicable, given that along with Gallagher he was the main contender.

2. Why was Glenna Lynch, a businesswoman and left-leaning activist, permitted to ask not one, but two questions to Sean Gallagher? Lynch is a follower of, and is followed by, the assistant producer Aoife Kelleher on Twitter (whose account is now private). Aoife has a history of sending supportive tweets about Lynch when she makes radio and TV appearances.

3. Why was Austin Stack not accepted on the show? The son of prison officer Brian Stack, who was murdered by the IRA in 1983, he made a request to Frontline in order to ask a question to Martin McGuinness. He was declined, and two others got to ask questions to McGuinness instead. One was an unremarkable Fianna Fail girl, and the other was Kevin Conroy. Conroy said he personally disliked Sean Gallagher and was contacted “out of the blue” by Aoife Kelleher to ask questions at the debate. Conroy opened his question to McGuinness with a statement condemning Sean Gallagher.

4. How could 26 minutes lapse between the reading of the infamous hoax tweet and the end of the program without a correction being issued?

I believe the real answers to these questions will show there really was a conspiracy that night. It was all rigged against Gallagher and in favour of Higgins. One can even make the case for Norris being hard done by. A young man by the name of Fitzpatrick was allowed to ask Norris a question. It was really more of a statement claiming he was irresponsible to re-enter the race. This man failed to identify himself as a Higgins supporter, and indeed his question would have bolstered the case for voting Higgins for those of the left-wing persuasion. He also appears to have at least some acquaintance with Aoife Kelleher.

In media circles, there was clear preference for the left-liberal, openly homosexual candidate that was David Norris. After his campaign was wrecked beyond redemption in late July ans early August of that year, with the help of yours truly, Norris was too much of a lost cause. Yet we still have what many people in RTÉ probably wanted: a President with far more loyalty to the teachings of Marx, Shaw, and the Webbs that he does to the Irish Constitution.

Once this fact is established, the Irish people will have to make an informed choice about the future of RTÉ. We can stay the course. We can reform. Or we can do what Kennedy wanted to do to the CIA after the Bay of Pigs: splinter it into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.

You can guess my preference.

Religious perspectives on money-lending

So, I had an encounter with a rather unreasonable libertarian atheist who insisted the Church held back economic development for centuries by outlawing usury, which he said to be a clear indicator of an anti-capitalist worldview. This position is simplistic, contains error in basic facts, and a possible example of anachrony in narrating historical events.

While there existed since Gratian a broad principle that the lending of money for profit is sinful, often overlooked is the fact that canon lawyers used the word “interest” to mean a lawful charge for the loan of money. Generally this was seen as a fair charge to cover factors like risk and opportunity cost. “Usury” then and today has connotations of an unreasonable charge on borrowing money. In the Church, the law on this was often unclear and for a long time not systematized. Many inveighed against charging interest on personal loans, but not commercial ones. Some condemned both.

The Medieval Church proclaimed blanket prohibitions on usury in the 9th, 10th, and 11th centuries. However, this must be seen in light of the economic structure of the time. Borrowing prior to the twelfth century was almost entirely for consumption rather than production or investment. In an agrarian society, tillers of the soil tend to simply borrow to get through hungry periods before the harvest.

With the rapid development of commerce in the 11th and 12th centuries, however, the Church began to properly systematize the law on usury and declared many for-profit financing operations and credit devices as non-usurious. The Church and the Papacy were themselves borrowers and lenders of large sums of money at interest, and Church institutions themselves pioneered strategies for investing the large sums of money they had lying idle in deposit.

Today, governments are borrowing large amounts of money to cover day-to-day operations, like the welfare bill, that they cannot pay off with direct tax collections in the course of a fiscal year. That cannot be justified like borrowing for large, expensive infrastructure projects with long-term benefits. So we might want to consider the nuances of the Medieval Church’s position on borrowing and debt.

The Jewish perspective on this is very similar with some interesting differences. Rabbi Baruch Epstein of Belarus, writing in the early 20th century, says that with economic development in the latter Middle Ages, offering a loan to a neighbour was no longer only to offer him some of your surplus to get him through bad days. It was now handing over capital and ultimately the main tool by which one earns a livelihood. This can be classed as an investment, which enjoys greater esteem in Jewish law than the acceptable interest-free loans and the totally forbidden act of usury.

However, Jewish law, unlike the Church and other systems, never drew a distinction between taking interest and usury. Thus there is the legal category called iksa, where the lender becomes a silent partner in the business so it is not considered a loan at all but an investment.

As is said in the Talmud:

He who lends money is greater than he who performs charity; and he who forms a partnership is greater than all (Talmud Shabbat 63a).

I used to disparage the iksa system as a legal fiction to justify usury but lately I see a beautiful consistency in it.

Good sources on this are Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition by Harold Berman, and Judaism, Law, and the Free Market by Joseph Isaac Lifshitz.

Dissenting on the Mandela Myth

What are people celebrating about the ‘New South Africa’ Mandela and the ANC have wrought, exactly?

That one in five whites left the country due to crime and the state of the economy? Half a million Europeans immigrated to South Africa in the 50s and 60s.

That about 10% of Boer farmers have been murdered, while 90% of land seized so far by the state the government admits is unproductive?

Unemployment is twice as high in South Africa as it was at the end of apartheid. Black life expectancy has actually fallen. The Johannesberg Stock Exchange, once the tenth largest in the world, has actually left the Central Business District for the safer suburb of Sandtown. The country’s main synagogue once sat proudly in the centre of Johannesberg. Now its in a gated suburb for safety.

White South Africa had its problems, but widespread misconceptions about it, spread with the help of communist regimes and left-wing activists, led to a takeover by the brutal ANC who are running the country into the ground and making life worse for blacks and whites.

While it was not an ideal situation for blacks back in the day, things were getting better gradually, and the National Party’s relatively conservative economic policies led to increased economic growth and standards of living for everybody. For instance, blacks in apartheid South Africa owned more private cars than the entire population of the USSR at the time.

The black school population grew by 250 percent in the first twenty-five years of apartheid. The black share of total personal income nearly doubled in twenty years, from twenty percent in the mid-1970s to thirty seven percent in 1995, while that of whites declined from seventy one to forty nine percent.

It also saved South Africa from the communist menace. If the ANC had come to power in the 1960s, Zimbabwe today would look enviable from the other side.

The gains were wrecked as a result of the revolutionary democratic-utopian fervour. Evolution, not revolution, was the way to black empowerment. The vote doesn’t mean much if you have no job and can’t get about your business safely.

Today, interest groups in South Africa are fighting viciously and desperately for a bigger slice of a constantly shrinking pie. This is what leads to tragic events such as the killings at the Lonmin mine strike.

The ANC has done in South Africa what Mrs. Thatcher said the socialists are always happy to do: make the poor even poorer, provided the rich get less rich.

If conservatives and libertarians are too afraid to address these things head on, we will always lose.

Mass Immigration and its Discontents

Is there an economic case against open borders, and not just a cultural one? Certainly, warnings about labor shortages from open-borders advocates like Paul Ryan strike me as rather hollow at a time of increasingly advanced automation and robotics. The collision course that is the welfare state and affirmative action on one hand, and mass immigration on the other, has been explored quite extensively.

But there is plenty of room for reservation about open borders if you just believe in something called supply and demand.

That’s what the always interesting Ron Unz argued recently in a debate against libertarian economist and pundit Brian Caplan. I was surprised to hear a few days ago that an Intelligence Squared audience, predictably very much in favor of mass immigration according to polls taken at the beginning of the debate, subsequently swung massively to Unz’s restrictionist side.

Now, my view is that the wants and needs of western countries, even with their aging populations, are vastly outnumbered by the wants and needs of the pools of potential migrants in poor countries. Eight out of the ten most fertile countries in the world are in the dysfunctional region that is sub-Saharan Africa. Conceivably, we may need some of their labor, even if the unemployment rate in Spain and Greece remains in the mid to high twenties. But the fact that 44% of Somalians are under the age of 15, for instance, should be giving us pause for thought before we even consider throwing the borders open. The supply and demand situation here is incredibly skewed. Greece, certainly an economic basket-case at present, still looks tempting enough from the perspective of a young person from Eritrea, where per capita GDP stands at $600.  My money would be on major economic and social upheaval if unfettered movement of people were actually adopted as it stands.

Back to Ron Unz, who calmly advanced a common-sense argument against a typically smarmy Brian Caplan. Unz simply states that allowing an unlimited number of additional workers from everywhere in the world to come to America, as Caplan advocates, would massively increase the supply of labor. This would tremendously disadvantage labor, to the tremendous advantage of capital. Ordinary workers would not benefit at all. True, there would be a huge increase in economic production, productivity, and GNP on paper. All of it, however, would be captured by capital. America’s minimum wage would quickly become the maximum wage.

This would exacerbate the bifurcation of American that has taken place over the past 40 years. While technology has increased living standards, real earnings for most have been stagnant during this time. Yet the wealthy have gotten much wealthier. The top 1 percent of American society has reached the point where it has as much wealth as the bottom 95 percent. Mass immigration and mismanagement of the currency have been the main culprits here. Female entry to the workforce has payed its part, though the wage sectors that have experienced the sharpest declines are not the ones that have seen massive influxes of women.

A recent cover piece at The Spectator described the American and British middle classes as “shrinking and sinking”. This may constitute the single most disturbing social trend of our age, and a true tragedy for the adults of tomorrow, who will not be able to enjoy the trappings of life their parents and grandparents did. Not to mention it is potentially destabilizing politically.

If libertarians like Caplan and mainstream conservatives (or more accurately, perhaps, Wall Street conservatives) are not helping to stop and reverse this trend, they are on the wrong side of history. Recent talk of a ‘libertarian populism‘ or ‘labor Republicanism‘ may indicate a growing awareness that conservatives and libertarians must speak the language of exurban Ohio rather than midtown Manhattan.

The policies of previous decades, focusing on tax cuts and privatization, will no longer cut it. We now have huge numbers of working poor and people earning under £1500 a month in Britain. They may pay no direct tax apart  from an £85 National Insurance contribution. They gain significantly more from government services than what they pay in. They have no incentive to vote for the Mitt Romneys of this world.

So we are going to have to find ways to genuinely improve the average man’s standard of living, economic mobility, and purchasing power. My first step would be an end to all immigration unless of a highly skilled, specific variety. Its not the only step that could be taken, but I am willing to say it is the most important one.

I have said to a colleague on Facebook that open-borders libertarians, and the editorial writers at outlets like the Wall Street Journal and the FT, are because of their adherence to this idea now as dangerous to the middle class and prosperity as any Bolshevik. I stand by it.

Henry Reilly: 9/11 “Truther” in UKIP

I see UKIP have released their final list of candidates for the European elections in 2014.

I have long worried about UKIP lacking professionalism in their selection of local candidates, but the problem is evidently much bigger.

UKIP’s candidate for Northern Ireland, Henry Reilly, is party chairman there. He is also a 9/11 truther, which he oddly combines with a little philo-Semitism. Reilly has been open about this on Facebook, before deleting any potentially embarrassing comments. Luckily, some of us  like to get screenshots.

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And my personal favorite. Never go full truther:

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The Halawa incident, and the Muslim Brotherhood plays the victim

In the past few days, the Irish media has been saturated with coverage of those members of the Halawa family who got trapped in a mosque in Cairo, surrounded by police. This happened on the Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘Day of Rage’ last Friday. They are now being held in an Egyptian prison.

The family have marketed themselves as unlucky tourists, and the media are dutifully parroting this line. Nothing could be further from the truth.

One of these ladies, called Fatima, was being interviewed on Radio One claiming to be innocently trapped in Fateh Mosque on Ramses Square. There was no mention of the Islamist mob that had attacked the police station on the corner of that same square from that same mosque; a mob they were certainly there to support. There was no mention of the fact that the army, police and residents provided safe passage for women to leave Al-Fatah Mosque. Here’s a picture from Egypt Daily News:

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Were the Halawas really “trapped” in this mosque?

Fatima’s father is Imam Hussein Halawa, a very prominent Islamist figure operating out of the Clonskeagh mosque. Clonskeagh is a Gulf-state operation and a haven of Muslim Brotherhood ideology.

This young lady was saying her phone battery was so low that she could not call the Irish Embassy, yet she could do several interviews over the same phone with RTE in one day.

Aside from presenting the story from an angle the media wont, I want to offer some thoughts on what just happened here.

Firstly, the ‘plight’ of the Halawas, who arrived in Egypt to agitate, received many times more attention than the 40 churches burned to the ground and looted in the last few days in Egypt. This crime was committed by people the Halawas came to assist. This disparity in the media coverage is in itself obscene.

Moreover, the Muslim Brotherhood had called days in advance for a ‘Day of Rage’, which led to dozens of policemen being killed and violence which is still ongoing. Just two day ago, 25 soldiers were lined up and shot by Islamists in the Sinai. Several were beheaded. The Halawa girls were with the Muslim Brotherhood in one of its mosques that same day, by their own volition. Over three weeks ago, Omaima Halawa posted a message on Facebook pledging to stay in Egypt and saying “we only fear Allah not bullets”. Papa Hussein Halawa ‘likes’ this post. Here is a link.

I believe these people, the Halawas and the Muslim Brotherhood, are incredibly talented liars and propagandists, good at portraying themselves as victims. The image below shows them using a tactic the Palestinians have been employing for years: professional “corpses” wheeled out for the cameras.

There is a reflex tendency to see Arab Muslims as innocent victims; of western powers, the Israelis, and so on. Islamic persecution of Copts has no place in the narrative, so it’s simply ignored. Here, for instance, is a report of Muslim Brotherhood supporters capturing nuns and parading them down the streets of Cairo as ‘prisoners of war’.

Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood may be good at PR, but the media won’t ask hard questions because they fear being seen as ‘Islamophobic’. Some westerners are as much to blame as them.

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P.S. – I feel I should give you a very short summary of my views on the Egyptian military’s actions against the Brotherhood.

It is commonly said the military are opposing the democratic will of the Egyptians. This is true; but it’s also a very good thing. The Egyptian elections saw the Muslim Brotherhood coming out on top, with over half the vote, and the even more extreme Salafists landing in second, getting about a quarter of the vote. Both groups came out far ahead of the nearest liberal faction. The democratic will of the Egyptian people, much like that of the Arab people in Syria and Palestine, is expressed in fanaticism, supremacism, and hatred. Its far from a minority of Muslims that are Islamists, a lie we have been told for many years.

I do not accept the legitimacy of Muslim Brotherhood or Salafist ideology, and I would not even if 51%+ of my fellow citizens did. Thus, I wish General Sisi the best of luck mowing down every last one of these swine.

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