Wednesday, 8 December 2010

королевская почта (the Royal Mail)

As I mentioned in my last blog post, the postal service in my area has been hit hard by the weather, apparently unable to navigate the few roads from the local depot to my house. I should have been receiving some books before the snow hit, but even now, a week on, I am still without the books I paid to have delivered.

I paid for my books to be delivered in good time, yet they were not delivered in the post even today (although postal services did resume on Monday). So I decided to pay a visit to the local 'distribution centre' - on foot - to see if I could collect the parcels myself (one of the things I ordered was tracked to being there and 'available for collection'). Once I had entered the enquiries office, I was struck by how closely the room and the queue in front of us resembled the food queues of the USSR, with single parents and the elderly seeking their lost or missing parcels. Of course, you couldn't get anything unless you had received a red slip. The ration card.
No card, no parcel.
So, armed with a printout of my tracking details, I eventually stepped forward unto the breach and asked if I would be able to retrieve my parcels marked (by them) as available for collection. The woman behind the plexiglass responded by saying that all the parcels had been marked as such and without a red card, they would not even attempt to look for my missing parcels. I was given the phone number for depot manager and told to ring back in the morning to attempt to locate my missing books. I do not suppose handling such calls are of great help to the manager (if he is expected to answer customer queries, how will he have time to manage the depot?), even so, if that is how to locate my parcels, that is what I will do. What struck me was that an elderly gentleman in front of me was told that this manager (he also seems mythical) might be able to direct 'spare' employees to look for his urgent parcel. I cannot help but wonder, with such an apparent backlog, how there could possibly be anyone 'spare'.  In this situation, where so many customers are being let down, every employee should be on overtime to make up for the lost time (they all had days of anyway). Any private company in a free market would be seeking to do this, maybe looking to hire temps if the backlog is too severe (as an aside, neither City-Link nor Parcel Force listed Hull among their affected areas).

Now, I can really understand having snow delays (although I don't think the snow in most places was bad enough to warrant completely stopping services - especially as most other businesses are still open), but once the snow has cleared, or deemed 'safe' then the backlog should be cleared as soon as possible; this means multiple deliveries a day if need be. Multiple deliveries, hiring of temps or whatever means necessary should be utilised to ensure customers are kept happy (stopping them from claiming money back for late delivery and  getting repeat custom). Of course, Royal Mail care not for such things as customer satisfaction, whatever they do, they apparently expect to get bankrolled by the government. If any other deliveries company was to request the bailouts that Royal Mail get, they would be rejected, rightfully told that they need to either shape up or go under.

I sincerely hope that the news that Royal Mail is finally to be privatised will go through, although I expect a disorderly strike from the CWU despite Royal Mail, once again, failing to deliver on time. Sadly, for the time being, I still await my books, like so many other failed customers, let us just hope that by next winter the state sponsored monopoly will have been sold and there will be a chance for the post to come through on time.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Profit Motive

Today the post didn't come, it didn't come yesterday either. We did however get leaflets through from take-aways. The rubbish wasn't collected today (as it should have been). Shops are still open. The roads are not gritted but the pubs are still open. What is the difference? The profit motive. Those places that remain open, despite issues making it just as difficult as anywhere else to remain open do so precisely because they need the money. There is profit to be made (or loss to be avoided) in the private sector. Those in the public sector get their money whether they go the extra mile or not - so they never will.

At this time the snow has shown one thing more clearly than any other. The government is sub-par when it comes to the deliverance of services. It not only costs more (through taxation) than direct payment to a private company but it can easily be shown to be worse. I'm not suggesting that the private sector is perfect or that is is not affected (or that every public sector operation should be running as usual) - what I am saying is that because of the profit motive they have to go that extra mile and they do. I can go to Sainsburys and shop right now, I could have gone to Lidl earlier, I can go to Haworth Arms for a pint, I can rely on the majority of people who work in these places to drive or walk in. I cannot rely on the council's trucks to make it through the snow and collect the bins.

I certainly cannot rely on the council to ensure they have enough grit provided, that would just be silly.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Liberalism in Africa

Africa is a continent plighted by troubles in just about every sphere. In economic terms it has suffered immensely, suffering from long periods of slow (or even negative growth) - but this has not been universal. Currently only six African countries stand above the global average for GDP (PPP) per capita. These are (in order), Equatorial Guinea (21), Seychelles (47), Libya (56), Gabon (62), Botswana (66) and Mauritius (71). South Africa sit just below the world average in 84th place (at least by the CIA figures) and the only other African nation above $10,000 per capita. So what marks these nations out as the most successful? Why would these nations rise above their neighbours Cameroon, Congo, Madagascar, Algeria, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and others.

No answer fits too well, but a contributing factor in some is oil, but in others it is more likely their open economic systems. Lets start with the oil nations of Central Africa, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. They have large amounts of oil, both of their economics rely heavily on oil and other natural resources. Then again, so does neighbouring Congo (with a much lower GDP per capita). What's the difference, well, for just over 20 years Congo was a Marxist-Leninist state, something which seems to have severely damaged development. Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, whilst not the most open economies, have been much more open to foreign investment, with Gabon in particular getting a large amount of private investment from overseas. The governments there allow this to happen. The difference seems to be in the government, or more specifically, how much the government allows the economy to flourish without intervention. In Congo and Cameroon there is a great deal of intervention in the system, in Gabon at least this is much reduced. The 2010 Index of Economic Freedom placed Gabon as 116th in the list whilst Cameroon comes in at 132 and Congo at 169th. It is true that Equatorial Guinea also does poorly here, down at 151st place, this can be put down mostly to the abuse of the large oil trade by the political elite in the nation. Due to the very small population, this is more notable than in larger countries where the effect of oil money is diluted by the large population. This is also why Qatar and other small gulf states have a very high GDP per capita - the hugely profitable oil money averages out as higher when the population is small.

Next up, North Africa. Libya is the successful state here, beating Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia in the rankings. As far as free economies go, Libya is appalling, with a rank of 173 (Algeria is 105th, Egypt 94th and Tunisia 95th). Again, Libya has huge quantities of oil (almost exclusively Libya's only export) and a low population. Algeria's much larger population (almost 30 million more) and lower quantities of oil, Egypt's massive population and lower oil revenues make Libya look much better than it is. GDP per capita does have its faults in measurement. Tunisia has a population almost twice that of Libya and much less of the oil, so again, Libya fits in with Equatorial Guinea - if it was not for the oil, the economy would very likely be amongst the smallest in Africa.

The islands of the coast of Africa come next, Seychelles and Mauritius, well, this looks simple. Mauritius sits 12th on the Index of Economic Freedom (one place behind the UK), this open economy has helped it diversify over the last few decades to develop strong financial, industrial and tourist sectors. The free economy has done this nation well. How the Seychelles have managed to cope down at 156th in the index I might struggle to understand. However the tourist sector is very well developed, with open gates to foreign investment. The sector is so big that 30% of the workforce are employed in jobs in the tourist industry.

This brings us to Southern Africa, despite the huge amounts of natural resources that South Africa has, it's long period of governmental control stagnated the economy. Since 1994 and the end of apartheid, the economy has picked up and is now one of the most open in Africa in 72nd in the Index - this is because of the post-apartheid government's move away from populist policies towards a more open economy, the economy still has a long way to go before it fully recovers from apartheid and the subsequent sanctions put on the nation, HIV/AIDS has also put further strains on the economy, although it does seem to be getting past the worst effects of the retrovirus.

The last country in this list is Botswana. This is a nation with little to nothing going for it, other than diamonds, it has very little in the way of natural resources, and when you compare it to Zimbabwe and Zambia, it does very well, yet everything suggests it should be worse off than these nations. Botswana yet managed an average 9% growth a year from independence in 1966 to 1999, it manages to get a similar standard of living to Mexico and Turkey - this is despite a very large part of the population still subsistence farmers. As a bonus, it is also the least corrupt nation in Africa (possibly due to it's economic policies). How does it gain such success? The economy, Botswana is a case of where if you get the economy right, everything else follows. It is 28th in the world according to the Index of Economic Freedom, it stands as the highest ranking in mainland Africa. Compare that to Namibia (77), Zambia (100), or one of the worst standing economies in the world, Zimbabwe (178) [note, one off the bottom for that disaster economy]. It beats every nation that surrounds it, and it beats them all very well. Just browsing through Botswana's economic policies, it seems to take a leaf straight out of the books of the classical liberals. Open trade, the most open and transparent nation in Africa, it is the most credit worthy nation in Africa, with low debts and budget surpluses in almost all years. This is economic management kept within the realms of possibility. The economy still needs to diversify, but the groundwork is already in place. This is the capacity of liberty, it makes what might be expected to be among the poorest nations in Africa into one of the richest.

The correlation between economic success and economic freedom can be clearly shown in Africa, but there is still a long way for even the most free countries to go (and a lot more regulations and nationalised industries to get rid of), but the basic rule is, the more free the economy, the better it is. Africa needs to embrace the ideals of liberty if it wants to succeed - as does the rest of the world.

N.B. I hope to at some point make a full comparison of GDP per capita/other well-being index and the Index of Economic Freedom, in order to illustrate the beneficial effects of liberalism. I hope the above helps enough for now.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Tax as theft

It appears that many people are glad that some people with bank accounts in Switzerland have now successfully been taxed. These 'money grabbing millionaires' might even be taxed retrospectively; these bank accounts do not break any laws in either the UK or Switzerland (or Lichtenstein, which has already given in to the UK's demands). I just wonder, how much good will that money do in the hands of a government which aims (like with all tax) to take the money with force compared to what the people saving with Swiss banks would. The government has already invested large sums of money to work out how much money they might be able to grab, they have also had to spend money talking the Swiss and Lichtenstein governments into giving up a large source of revenue in their economies. How much good does this do anyone? It gives the British government a bit more money (a drop in the ocean of total tax revenues) to waste on ideas on how politicians can 'design', it seems apt to quote Hayek here:

“The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design”.

Why is the arrogant ideal that you can design how a nation should be so prevalent among the political elite? Do they imagine that they can all understand the immense intricacies of an economy of over $2 trillion and the individual whims of over 62 million people? Surely not? Virtually every penny a government spends will be, in some way, to design the system to their liking. How can someone know what will be the best system for all of these people? The only way to deliver it is to see what people would actually spend their money on. This means no taking and spending money from and for people, let the people themselves decide what they want, let them spend money how they wish. The only reason anyone would use a bank in a 'tax haven' is because the taxes in their own nation are obscene in scope (unless of course they lived in a tax haven). Remember, the interest earned in these accounts comes from investment across the globe, creating new jobs where they are actually needed.

So what is tax anyway? Theft. Pure and simple. If you don't pay tax, you go to jail, either that or you have money taken from you illegally and retrospectively. There is no option, no choice. If a business attempted to implement a sort of tax in a region of the UK they would be shut down and anyone directly involved would be convicted for extortion. There can be no denying this. Tax is extortion and theft. The term tax is just a euphemism for theft done by the strongest party, the group with the biggest guns or the most thugs (or with God on their side; see Romans 13). It is only because governmental groups have been able to extract tax from the populace for so long that the idea of a duty to pay tax has arisen. Naturally an individual will spend their earned money in a way to benefit them best or how their morals dictate, this spent money then goes to other people in other sectors and countries who will do the same, benefiting everybody. Taxation withdraws money from this cycle. The money can be spent to go back into the system but this gives no advantage to having individuals do it themselves as the government effectively acts as a collection of individuals. But not all of the money gets that far. Somehow the guns and prisons (or other methods of extracting money through force) need to be paid for. This expense and the expense on their implements means that money is taken out of the system for no useful purposes. How does the individual gain from this force? Where else does the money go? On the attempts to design some perfect system - futile attempts that almost exclusively go to waste and lead to inflation.

So yes, tax is theft and hurts more that it helps. Whilst you can engage in jealous ramblings if you wish, do so without stealing money from the people who worked to get it.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Nationalised Culture

After a discussion with a pro-BBC friend over my last blog post, I have come to a point that I failed to cover; mainly because I really don't see it. The point in contention is that the BBC promotes culture and that without it, culture would die. Of course, the term culture is ridiculously vague, even by comparison to most non-committal BBC-esque terms. As wikipedia tells me, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions. The huge array of definitions makes the argument in itself slightly absurd. Which one of the definitions of culture is the BBC protecting? Generally though, what is meant is 'the arts' or high culture.

The cusp of my friend's argument was that culture is mainly a niche subject and that it cannot survive in a free-market system, where only the most profitable products can exist. This is of course nonsense. Perhaps some of the things wouldn't exist on the scale of the BBC; the proms for example. But niche markets exist in almost every area and of often regarded as valuable and standard business practice for small businesses is to compete using niche markets. A product in a niche market may not sell as many units, but each unit can usually be sold for more. Arts definitely fit into this, most people have no interest in buying paintings, but the value of art is astronomical when compared to more tacky decorations. Art was around before television and I have yet to see television become the best medium for advertising of arts.

Of course, the assumption is that if the BBC were to cease to be public, it would become a Murdoch/Sky/Fox type network. Perhaps some of it would, but I don't see the BBC as any better (except for in the case of Fox). As I said in my last post, the BBC news would be a tabloid if it were a newspaper – it contributes no new information and less depth than most of it's competition. It lacks anything special which gives it the right to the pedestal it is given. Find me a BBC news story which is better than what the rest offer, I dare you.

Back to culture. It is true that the BBC puts out programming like the Culture Show, but what does that actually add to the arts? How does culture benefit from the BBC talking about fairly mainstream art? I don't think it does. Pretty much the only things promoted by such shows on the BBC are things that could easily be found by anyone who was interested anyway. I imagine most of the viewership already know of the artists in question. I remember watching a Culture Show piece on Salvador Dalí, I already knew who he was and had already appreciated his most famous pieces (the only paintings that were shown). This is not advancing culture, this is just looking at previously acknowledged pieces of art. This is worthless, lazy programming. This is not the advancement of culture.

On the other hand, the private sector advances art. Pretty much all music is solely in the private sector. Some of it, perhaps the majority is cheap rubbish, but niche markets exist. Music of a huge array of genres exist, almost everything in tune seems to be able to be made profitably once it reaches a certain point. Where is the BBC in all this? Well, they have Radio 6 Music. A highly listened to station that could easily make a profitable venture, under capitalism, without the BBC, this could easily exist. Perhaps it could even be more expansive, allowing a greater number of new artists to get noticed by private scouts. The BBC is not required if a venture can be profitable. The BBC is only required where it safeguards or promotes something that would die without it. Would the art of Dali cease to be if the BBC didn't promote it? No. Would all niche music die if it were not for 6 Music? No. Both these things existed before the BBC added their name to them. Some new artists might become successful through being on 6 Music, but Myspace did that before them, Spotify exists, the market has provided and will continue to provide.

So, what else might be considered culture? Books. Books are marvellous, but when was the last time the British Broadcasting Corporation produced anything (other than the occasional book reading on Radio4) promoting books in any way. It could be argued that the existence of BBC TV makes it less likely for people to read books, giving them more low-brow entertainment programs, personally I don't think it does, but it doesn't appear to help. I recently finished Catch-22 and now I'm reading Ballard's Crash. When was the last time either of these were even referenced in BBC programmes? The only book that seems to be referenced by the BBC is Nineteen-Eighty-Four. Almost always poor generalised statements about dictatorships. Not exactly of high cultural value.

It doesn't provide anything the free market was providing for music and it does nothing for books, but the BBC is good in other areas of culture, right? Perhaps not, as I said before, art on the BBC concentrates on the mainstream. Nothing new comes in via the BBC. A budding artist trying to make it big goes to private galleries to sell their work, the BBC is not a route through. The BBC does nothing for them either. So what does it provide and for whom when protecting culture? Nature documentaries? I must say that Attenborough does seem to make rather good nature documentaries, but he would still have lived without the BBC, and nature documentaries are, in essence, rather cheap to produce, a niche product that doesn't require much in the way of fancy cinematography that a high class drama might require. Apart from travel to a region, it requires a small development team with fairly standard equipment to produce. Of course the BBC spend a huge amount on these programs, wastefully. There are countless other documentary channels, many free-to-air, and it is only in the area of nature documentaries that the high-spending BBC seem to have them beaten on, and not by a huge margin either. Of course, that is my opinion, but why should I pay for others to view what they think as good but have them not do the same for me?

The BBC can never cater for all niche markets, the market can. And with the market, you only pay for what you want. If you want the BBC type stuff, then you pay for it, if it costs a premium, then fine, that is what the market dictates. The only things that will not be commercially viable are the bits of art that are never valued at anything. Those bits of art currently do not get air-time under the BBC. Not having the BBC does not damage culture, you could argue that having more private networks would advance culture as smaller companies seek niche markets, but to argue the other way around is absurd. The behemoth of the BBC does not cater any more to niche groups than Sky or ITV. The BBC does not protect or promote culture, it does little more than regurgitate arts that are already fairly mainstream. The vast majority of art is privately owned, virtually all music, books and games are produced by the private sector. Virtually nothing that can be deemed cultural is produced by the BBC. Culture is made by individuals and not by the state. If you want to see what the BBC means for culture, watch the brutalised works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the recent series of Sherlock Holmes. Culture dies with the production of works like this. The BBC lacks the fundamental ingredient of culture – individualism. Individualism can only truly flourish under true capitalism and that is why the BBC will always be sub-standard when it comes to cultural material.

If you wish to nationalise culture then anything produced will most likely be forgotten in a lifetime, the freedom of expression would be lost. The BBC would never commission a work like that of Dali's, nor would it commission a great work of fiction. The BBC gets it money without having to work for it. Nothing new can be generated that way. The BBC can afford to be lethargic and so it will continue to be. The BBC is the very essence of philistinism and will never be better than that.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

The largest broadcasting organisation in the world

I recently told a Nigerian friend and former house-mate exactly where all of the TV licensing money goes. To the BBC and no one else. Money you have to spend if you want to watch any television broadcast from any channel at all. Of course, the money to enforce these rules on an oft unwilling population is taken right out of their pockets anyway, using to police to enforce these rules - incidentally taking police from other areas). If you don't watch any BBC programming, still watch television and refuse to pay TV licence on moral grounds then you can look forward to a £1000 fine.

Watching TV without a valid licence is a criminal offence. This can lead to prosecution, a court appearance and a fine of up to £1,000 (not including legal costs).”

What was my Nigerian friend's reply? Well, he was shocked and appalled at how the BBC got all of the money and the state backing them up along the way. The question really is, how can one justify a poll tax for the BBC when it provides entertainment akin to that of other companies, who are themselves taxed like any other private business.

Is the BBC a higher quality than ITV, Channel 4, Sky or others? If any channel is remotely close on areas such as documentaries, news or other areas that can possibly come under the remit of public services, if the quality is even close, surely the justification for a nationalised BBC ceases to exist. If it cannot, with it's overbearing financial advantages, produce superior programming in these areas then surely, justification for the BBC to exist is at least diminished. The only area where I personally might consider the BBC superior is in Nature documentaries, for any other documentaries, the various documentary channels or the Channel 4 networks are superior, for drama (purely entertainment and not an area a poll tax should cover at all) I would prefer Channel 4 as well as BBC programmes are seemingly poorly written and over acted, but this is just personal taste. The likelihood is that you watch about as much BBC programming as you do programming of another network. If this assumption is the case then why can the BBC force money from you if it is no better than other networks. If you are just as entertained by a programme on ITV as you are by an equivalent programme on the BBC, then why not just privatise the BBC and let it be like all the other networks out there, as that's what is seems to aim for in it's programming anyway.

This brings me to news and that niggling 'neutrality' argument. What exactly does neutral mean? It means favouring no argument over another, it means representing the facts and perhaps the known positives and negatives of a policy or viewpoint. What neutrality does not mean is holding the middle ground, or the perceived middle. The BBC, it would appear, attempts to do the latter in it's news programmes. It pushes it's balance towards to the centre, more often than not barely covering any wider issues, if it does so at all. This is not neutral. The words I might use to describe this sort of policy are lazy, lethargic or something akin to that. The effort to go into more complex issues or ideas seems lacking. If you want to get any in depth political or economic news, or even global news, BBC news is woefully inadequate. But even if it was a neutral news source, this is an argument to keep the news and parliament channels and not the rest, the rest of the programming is irrelevant to that.

Still, as I forced myself to watch BBC news over recent weeks (in order to ensure that what I said in this was justified), I can't help thinking how you must be blind to believe in it being neutral in it's output in any way. The incessant pandering to Union bodies who are yet to announce anything concrete and lack of time given to the other side for a rebuttal (which ITV did in fact do, although I hardly rate ITV news as the pinnacle, the BBC is just worse). Perhaps worse than the pandering to the unions and talk of a 'double dip' recession – a potentially discussed by many libertarians prior to the stimulus package being put in; is the way the BBC is being so sycophantic about the papal visit, giving no or almost no air-time at all to any noted, atheists, agnostics, freethinkers, secularists, or people of other faiths who might criticise the visit.

So, quality of news. Does BBC news have any real depth? No. I watched the recent Andrew Marr interview of Tony Blair, an interview so shallow and so lacking in interest that it would probably not have been worth airing under normal circumstances I imagine. By that I mean, if you hadn't heard of Tony Blair, had he been the former Prime-Minister of Japan (who also sent troops to Iraq) then it would probably not have been aired. It was a shallow attempt to lure viewers in with the promise of Tony attempting to explain himself. It worked, but 'Red Andy' never really pressed on any points. A weak interview. One program of course does not mean everything, but this is probably on the better side of the BBC when it comes to political analysis, analysis of the most shallow and trivial nature. If you want that then you probably want to be on the internet, if you want to find interesting interviews with figures like the head of the European Court of Human Rights or suchlike, then Russia Today beats the BBC rather easily. Apparently companies who have to work for their money actually put some effort into their interviews.

The only news stories on the BBC that could be considered neutral are the stories about 'tragic accidents', whilst these events are indeed tragic, the importance on a national level is limited. There are more important issues across the globe, with far more lives at stake. What is happening in Myanmar, Darfur, Zimbabwe or other countries and regions around the world? These stories are also inherently neutral, as there is nothing to report apart from perhaps talking to a grieving family (and using that to gain ratings). So, essentially I see no argument to say that BBC news is either neutral or high quality. Were it a newspaper it would be a tabloid and a centre-left one. I don't think that anyone could really dispute that without defying either the facts or the very definition of those terms.

Why should anyone be forced to pay in part for programmes like Songs of Praise (with S4C levels of viewer-ship) or 'Would I lie to you?'. If you want to watch such programmes, surely you should either be prepared to pay for it yourself or endure the advertising to make it possible to remain free-to-air. I should not have to pay for other people to watch entertainment shows, like I should not pay for other people I do not know to go to the cinema or buy their DVDs. I should not be forced into paying for other people to enjoy themselves for myself to be privy to separate entertainment to which I may also be paying for personally and choosing to do so. I can understand if it was just news and BBC Parliament or other services that might help to educate a population with little to no knowledge of what might come under 'current affairs'. But it is not, and until it is, the argument of neutrality should be ignored. A drama series may be neutral, but it is simply entertainment – it does not provide citizens with new knowledge. Similarly panel quiz shows tend not to enhance the knowledge of the average citizen, and these seem to be an increasing part of the BBC's bland productions.

So why does the BBC exist as a public sector company, paid for by the equivalent of a poll tax? It can't be because they produce similar, average quality dramas or other entertainment programmes as everyone else (incidentally, taking viewers and thus money from those other companies, hindering their ability to produce better programmes of their own). It can't be for their low quality news services. It can't be for their biased news coverage, which of course is heavily statist. It can't be for any of this, so why? For equal coverage of party political broadcasts? For the vague and incorrect idea that the BBC is somehow neutral? What is it that allows us all to be forced to pay £145 a year for? What justifies this, exactly? I cannot find an answer to this question. How can you justify a £145 poll tax for an average quality broadcaster in direct competition with companies who get no such help. If the BBC was special, did something special or aided the expansion of knowledge I would understand, I would still find the forceful taxation for them immoral, but I would understand. Instead, they win the right to show Family Guy, then proceed to censoring out episodes which might be deemed too 'offensive'. Congratulations, your money is being wasted with excellence only matched by Labour Chancellors.

Monday, 23 August 2010

New Blog

After much putting off, I have finally made a place to put my obsessive ramblings on economics, politics or similar matters thereof. So, the title, after most names I came up with were taken I decided to go with the 'Capacity of Liberty', the aim being with this blog (apart from a place to do the aforementioned rambling) would help to show the capacity or greatness that can be garnered by embracing liberty in it's fullest extent. This means embracing it whatever the perceived costs will be, without the intrusion of others declaring what one can and cannot do (even if the one being talked to is harming nobody, save perhaps himself). The freedom to choose.

So, I thought I might start by defining liberty, but then I decided that those guys at oxford probably did that well enough for me.


Pronunciation: /ˈlɪbəti/

noun (plural liberties)

[mass noun]
the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's behaviour or political views:compulsory retirement would interfere with individual liberty
the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved:people who attacked phone boxes would lose their liberty
the power or scope to act as one pleases:individuals should enjoy the liberty to pursue their own preferences
Philosophya person's freedom from control by fate or necessity

So, liberty is the ability to choose what you do for yourself, and so long as you don't actively harm others, morally, this seems to me to be the optimum state that a society can achieve. Where people have the maximum ability to shape their own lives as much as possible without forced interference from others. This is not to say that people cannot help each other, it means that people should not enforce what they believe if 'help' on others. This is the essence of what I want this blog to be about. That and incessant percolations of thought.