Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Plumbing the bottom of the gene pool

There was this thread running on Slugger O'Toole, where the repartition of Northern Ireland was debated.

One contributor thoughtfully suggested an article from Free Life, A Journal of Classical Liberal and Libertarian Thought. So Malcolm casually downloaded the .pdf. It sat there, on the edge of the screen for a few hours, until Malcolm opened it. And he hasn't stopped pshawing ever since.

Page one is a reproduced wood-cut (right) of a really juicy and instructive hanging and disembowelling, with the caption:
How very convenient for this Government
that it has abolished the death penalty for treason
And how "Classical Liberal".

That, presumably, is preface to "Doctor" Sean Gabb's treatise on Jack Straw, Corruption, and the New World Order. For the record, "Doctor" Gabb's first degree is in History. His published "academic" writings (both of them) are on truancy. Somehow, Malcolm feels that Gabb on the "New World Order" might be a trifle too intellectually challenged challenging for the moment.

But, lo and behold! Who is this, also listed in A Note on Contributors?
Paul Delaire Staines runs a hedge fund in Tokyo. His hobbies are watching the sun rise over Mount Fuji and chasing women [sic]
Can it be? Surely it is! Our one and only Guido!

Now, to be fair, Staines, a.k.a. Delaire Staines, a.k.a. de Laire Staines, a.k.a. "Guido" has already been done over several times. This, then may be gratuitous. But deserved. And fun.

So here, in case all those Fawkes-followers (and Tim Ireland) have not encountered this personal account by Mr Staines & c., & c., of his favourite topic (himself), here it begins:
My parents sold the former family home recently and asked me, not unreasonably, to clear out my books from their attic. I found my copy of Karl Popper’s The Open Society and its Enemies, from Plato to Marx, inside the cover my name was scrawled together with the date 1980. I date my conversion to Libertarianism from the day I put down that book.

I joined the Young Conservatives because they were the only people around who were anti-Socialist or at least anti-Soviet. This was the era of CND and I saw the key battle in terms of the West versus Soviet expansionism. Simon Salzedo was chairman of the local YCs and a Maggie-loving-Wet-hating typical young Tory. He was bemused by this zealous anti-Communist in his midst paraphrasing Popper and Hayek at cheese and wine evenings – it would be a few years before he would lead the charge at Oxford to dry out OUCA on a principled Libertarian platform. He was elitist and it rubbed off on me, by the time I got to sixth form I had revived the double barreled family name that my father had let wither as a sixties Young Fabian. My Anglo-Indian father obviously despaired of me hanging out with Tory crypto-racists whom he loathed (although later he would vote with his wallet for tax cuts and privatization giveaways).

By the time I was an undergraduate in the mid-eighties, having joined the Federation of Conservative Students, and somehow affecting to wear fake bow-ties and cheap suits (whilst endlessly debating the merits of Anarcho-Capitalism versus Minimal Statism), I had at last found a small number of like minded souls. Marc Henri Glendenning the then national chairman of FCS spoke a language I could understand - Thatcher on drugs. Still it was right-wing anti-Communist, anti-Wet and mainly reactionary. Battling in Student Unions to rename the “Mandela Bar” the “Bruce Forsyth Bar”, arguing with CND feminists and generally opposing the left wing campus establishment whilst in the real world the Conservatives won elections by landslides and the war of ideas. Only on campus were we a radical minority and intentionally antagonistic, in fact so obnoxious that the Conservative Party decided to close down its youth wings.

That antagonistic, sod you attitude continued after I failed to get a degree (I was thrown out for being a right-wing pain in the butt who was more interested in student politics than essays) when I went to work in the various right-wing pressure groups and think tanks that proliferated in the late eighties. The deliberately provocative attitude still maintained – I never wore a “Hang Mandela” badge but I hung out with people who did. Why? What did we gain from doing so? Did we make ourselves more popular by calling for the death of a man who was fighting injustice by the only means available to him? Did this “shift the parameters of debate” in our direction?
There's only so much flesh-and-blood can stand. The rest can be accessed here.

The piece on Northern Ireland is equally bizarre, lunatic, and (ultimately) thoroughly boring. Sphere: Related Content

1 comment:

jmwalsh said...

Just an FYI Malcolm, I didn't suggest it because I agreed. I suggested because I disagreed.

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