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The Perils of blogging - pt 2

Reuters reports this from those nice liberal rulers in the 'People's Republic' of China:

"Internet users in southwest China who spread malicious rumors online face fines of up to 5,000 yuan ($630) and possible detention, state media reported on Wednesday in the latest crackdown on dissent. Under legislation passed in Chongqing municipality, people who post "defamatory comments or remarks, launch personal attacks or seek to damage reputations online" will receive a warning or be fined between 1,000 and 5,000 yuan, the China Daily said".

Looks like I'll need to get an overdraft. And with that, off out for a bit.
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Blogger Peter Hitchens said... 2:01 pm

Imagine how much I would end up owing?  



Blogger Peter Hitchens said... 2:03 pm

PS
Is it luck ? if a tramp wishes you good luck? I only ask as one did so to me this morning, he wasnt after money , he was just being cheery , rolling a cigarette and sat on the wall of the sally army.  



Anonymous Ellee said... 3:31 pm

We're dead meat then!  



Blogger Matt Dean said... 7:58 pm

indeed!  



Blogger Croydonian said... 8:39 pm

Peter - I fear you are in for a few quid....

Nice of the Knight of the Road to be wishing you well - tis all good I think.

Ellee, Matt - ain't that the cold truth.  



Anonymous verity said... 8:42 pm

peter hitchens - I think when someone wishes you good luck, for no reason at all, it is a gift. A form of blessing, if you will.  



Anonymous Colin said... 9:41 pm

OK! If it makes him so happy, why don't we all wish Peter good luck for no apparent reason at all.

BTW, excuse me, Peter, do you have some change? I'm just trying to get a warm meal.  



Anonymous verity said... 10:07 pm

Actually, this is very serious, because it's not just China, but the EU, trying to control the net. The EU is coming up with a directive requiring video blogs - i.e., No 18 Doughty St, for example - to "conform to European Standards and be licensed".

What? Licence a blog?

Well this is the EUSSR, after all, and the airwaves are government property, which is why the government can charge you for their use.

This new 'initiative' is called "Television without Frontiers". But, as Michelle Malkin says on her video blog Hot Air, "More like Government without Frontiers". http://hotair.com/archives/2006/10/18/when-the-euroweenies-attack/

Worth giving her a watch. (And this info, BTW, comes courtesy Drinking at Home.)  



Anonymous verity said... 10:09 pm

Correction: the blog I was quoting was Drinking from Home - not at Home. Apologies.  



Anonymous Colin said... 10:46 pm

Verity,

Your are absolutely correct that the EU interference with the internet is very serious issue. Thank you for providing us with the link to Michelle Malkin's video. Highly recommended.

The EU serf has blogged on this too and I have dared to add a comment including the following:

Why should the internet be regulated in the first place? Why shouldn't people have the right of free speech whether on private on commercial media?

The "powerful" vice-president of the European commission said in an interview with the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitungthat "the whole development in the last ten years has brought the civil servants such power that in the meantime the most important political task of the 25 commissioners is controlling this apparatus."

This is not unexpected if one has read the work of the renowed economist Ludwig von Mises about bureaucratic management .

According to the vice-president of the European commission, "There is a permanent power struggle between commissioners and high ranking bureaucrats. Some of them think: the commissioner is gone after five years and so is just a squatter, but I'm sticking around"

"In my opinion, too much is decided by civil servants,"
he said.

In other words, the future and the right to free speech of the people in Europe depends on the mercy of a few unelected bureaucrats. Nobody seems to be able to control their lust for power.  



Anonymous Colin said... 11:08 pm

You might enjoy the conclusion of Mises' 1962 book about Bureaucracy. By substituting only one word [EU for socialism], it describes very well the contemporary problems of the EU:

"The champions of the EU [substituted for socialism] call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent. They promise the blessings of the Garden of Eden, but they plan to transform the world into a gigantic post office. Every man but one a subordinate clerk in a bureau. What an alluring utopia! What a noble cause to fight!

Against all this frenzy of agitation there is but one weapon available: reason. Just common sense is needed to prevent man from falling prey to illusory fantasies and empty catchwords."
 



Blogger Croydonian said... 11:13 pm

Time for another nugget from the great Ronald Reagan: "...government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it".

He was right, wasn't he?  



Anonymous verity said... 11:33 pm

Colin - thanks so much for that input.

"In other words, the future and the right to free speech of the people in Europe depends on the mercy of a few unelected bureaucrats. Nobody seems to be able to control their lust for power."

People with a lust for power cannot be controlled by normal means. They have to be hosed out, with powerful hoses, of the structure they're infesting.

"The right to free speech is at the mercy of a few bureaucrats". Correct.

Why, exactly, was this allowed to happen?

Or was it "allowed to happen" or was the control of free speech a programme in itself and were the bureaucrats intentionally empowered to execute it?

I think the latter.

This whole sinister project has always been about control. Control of citizenries with a continuous avalanche of little directives and picky new little laws (the latest: every driver in Europe/Britain required to drive with his lights on in daylight)- all pleading the holy mantra "European unity" - and none of them necessary. Control of citizenries with backbreaking taxes/tribute to Brussels for maintaining this nightmareish project.

Control of the citizenries with "human rights" laws nailed into national constitutions, without a vote from the electorates, that effectively remove the human rights of the taxpayers to walk safely on their own streets, sleep safely in their own houses, abide by their own ancient laws, yet pay large sums out to support immigrants, who can't be deported as they may be harmed in their country of origin.

This whole thing is a giant, unimaginably vast, socialist project - and enabled by people like tony blair and his cohorts and courtiers, like, for instance, the deeply dishonest Peter Mandelson, Kinnock and his wife Gwyneth (or whatever) who is the largest claimant on expenses in the structure (whatever that is; we don't know), Chris Patten, a worthless time-server who never deserved a sinecure, and many others whose names we don't even know.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg - off the tip of my head - in Britain. There are 25 or so other countries with similiarly not just worthless, but destructive, people living high on the EU hog while they, anonymously and unaccountably, slip yokes around the necks of the citizens of European countries and Britain.

Its heart is as empty as was the heart of the USSR. This EUSSR will also be destroyed, but I think at even greater cost.

The first country to leave will be a hero to others. Were David Davis PM, I think he may make the right noises. Following us would be Denmark, Holland, (Germany, Colin?) and Sweden. In other words, the N Europeans with a long history of democracy and a long history of fighters.

And leave, they will. The southern nations will regroup,with France, ça va sans dire, leading them. The Latin countries,which tolerate corruption so much more readily than we do. Plus, dare I say, N Africa.

A new grouping. It has always been Chirac's (France's) intention to control les deux rives de la Mediterranée.

Anyway, that's how I see it.  



Anonymous Suttonian said... 10:15 am

Germany has a long history of democracy?

Denmark & Sweden only became parliamentary democracies around 1919. They're very good at making people think otherwise. Whether Social Democrat Sweden is much of a democracy anyway - as a genuine conservative I'm obviously biased. Also, some people argue that tax rates of 50-57% are anti-freedom.

Th. 19/10/6 11:10  



Anonymous verity said... 12:51 pm

No, Suttonian, when I included Germany, I also added "and as fighters".

Sweden may only have become an official democracy early in the last century, but it's always been an egalitarian society.  



Blogger Croydonian said... 1:03 pm

A minor nugget on Sweden copied and pasted from the usual place:

"The Thing of all Swedes, which was held annually at Uppsala in the end of February or early March. Like in Iceland, the assemblies were presided by the lawspeaker, but the Swedish king functioned as a judge. A famous incident took place circa 1018, when King Olof Skötkonung wanted to pursue the war against Norway against the will of the people. Þorgnýr the Lawspeaker reminded the king in a long speech that the power resided with the Swedish people and not with the king. When the king heard the din of swords beating the shields in support of Þorgnýr's speech, he gave in. Adam of Bremen wrote that the people used to obey the king only when they thought he made sense." (My emphasis)  



Anonymous verity said... 1:46 pm

The people used to obey the king only when they thought he made sense."

And they changed this excellent system for democracy?

Personally, I don't think democracy works. It allows monsters like T. Blair to get edlected and wreck centuries of hard-won rights and thoughtfully debated laws. It allows people like Edward Heath to get elected and give a country owned by 58m people away.  



Blogger Croydonian said... 2:12 pm

Reminds me of a retort I made months back on another blog:

"It depends on the degree to which one fetishises democracy as the supreme value. In the context that you have suggested it is a crude utilitarianism of the order of two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner".

Pre-97 Hong Kong was far from democratic, but a damned sight more free than most states.  



Anonymous Colin said... 4:43 pm

Thanks, Croydonian, for Reagan's nugget. He certainly was right.

And so is Verity. I couldn't agree more, so much that I even can't remember why we once had different views on some issues.

In regard to Germany leaving the EU, I am very sceptical. The German people might want to leave but they don't have the right to decide anything. Furthermore, Germans have always been strong believers in religion or its more recent substitutes, i.e. secular religions such as nationalism, socialism and its variants. After the disaster of the Third Reich, they have been thorougly re-educated and strongly believe now that nationalism is the road to hell. Today's latest craziness is the legal action against the fashion company Esprit because of its use of traditional British buttons which might be interpreted as showing similarities with the Swatiska, a forbidden symbol in Germany. Educated Germans are completely convinced that nationalism and capitalism is evil and that welfarism, environmentalism and multiculturalism (aka socialism) will bring the salvation and people opposing the peace project of the EU and of multiculturalism must be Nazis. The uneducateds have a different point of view but they don't rule the country.

However, I would not count on the German people because they always were and still are an obedient people never making a revolution like the French or limiting the power of their kings like the Britons.

Beginning with the Magna Carta, Britons have one of the best traditions in Europe of limiting the power of big government. I agree with Professor A.J.P. Taylor who said “one of the lessons of history: the British people are always a good deal wiser and more sensible than those who govern them.”

Nevetheless, the problems in the UK are not entirely dissimilar to other European countries if one believes in what Sean Gabb described as the Cramscian project of the administrative web of the British elite in his article Not Socialism but Post-socialism: The Nature of the Enemy. In Germany, there is no such open discussion about cultural Marxism. Instead its prophets, i.e. the philosophers of the critical theory Adorno, Habermas et al., are enshrined as Saints.

You are all complaining about TB and your criticism is probably correct. However, compared to the German leaders of the Left such as Schroeder & Fischer, TB appears to be less ideological and more pragmatic. I am always wondering how the British people, the most realistic and freedom loving of all Europeans, ended up in believing in socialistic fairy-tales. If you are able to explain it to me, I would be most grateful.

You said: "Personally, I don't think democracy works."

Interestingly, Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe, a libertarian economist, has written a book about Democracy: The God That Failed" claiming that democracy is the exploitation of economic successful minorities by the less successful majority. It is difficult to deny that all the talk about "social justice" is little more than an ideological superstructure for plundering.

According to Hoppe, "democracy is a tool for wealth and income confiscation and redistribution. It involves the legislative "taking" of the property of some – the haves of something – and the "giving" of it to others – the have-nots of things. And since it is presumably something valuable that is being redistributed – of which the haves have too much and the have-nots too little – any such redistribution implies that the incentive to be of value or produce something valuable is systematically reduced. In other words, the proportion of not-so-good people and not-so-good personal traits, habits, and forms of conduct and appearance will increase, and life in society will become increasingly unpleasant.

Last but not least, democracy is described as resulting in a radical change in the conduct of war. Because they can externalize the costs of their own aggression onto others (via taxes), both kings and presidents will be more than 'normally' aggressive and warlike...Democracy has transformed the limited wars of kings into total wars. The motive for war has become ideological – democracy, liberty, civilization, humanity...

Finally, the third myth shattered is the belief that there is no alternative to Western welfare-democracies a la US. Again, theory demonstrates otherwise. First, this belief is false because the modern welfare-state is not a "stable" economic system. It is bound to collapse under its own parasitic weight, much like Russian-style socialism imploded a decade ago. More importantly, however, an economically stable alternative to democracy exists. The term I propose for this alternative is "natural order."

In a natural order every scarce resource, including all land, is owned privately, every enterprise is funded by voluntarily paying customers or private donors, and entry into every line of production, including that of property protection, conflict arbitration, and peacemaking, is free...

Whereas states disarm their citizens so as to be able to rob them more surely (thereby rendering them more vulnerable also to criminal and terrorist attack), a natural order is characterized by an armed citizenry...

Finally, I discuss strategic matters and questions. How can a natural order arise out of democracy? I explain the role of ideas, intellectuals, elites, and public opinion in the legitimation and de-legitimation of state power. In particular, I discuss the role of secession – and the proliferation of independent political entities – as an important step toward the goal of natural order, and I explain how to properly privatize "socialized" and "public" property."


I especially like Croydonian's Swedish nugget: "Lawspeaker reminded the king in a long speech that the power resided with the Swedish people and not with the king."

In so-called "primitive" societies, i.e. in hunter-gatherer tribes, it always worked this way. The chieftain of the tribe had no power over others. They elected him and followed him voluntarily. The power of the contemporary chieftain and his friends over the property and life of others is a characteristic of "progressive" societies.  



Anonymous Stunonion said... 10:37 am

"Democracy is the worst system except for all the others." W. Churchill

21.10.6 11:30  



Blogger Croydonian said... 11:48 am

Indeed. On will rarely go wrong if one looks to the Greatest Englishman for guidance.  



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