David Thompson


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June 15, 2017



First as tragedy...


First as tragedy...

Those who learn from history are condemned to suffer the same consequences as those who fail to do so. And those who point this out get a double dose of denial. I think if I any non-STEM teachers show up at my next school reunion, Imma gonna slappa the sh*t out of them for having wasted my youth on their BS.


Somewhat related.


Free speech is so old fashioned though.


R. Sherman

As Solomon noted, "As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly."

Proverbs 26:11, (KJV)


Tom Wolfe had some similar thoughts. (Although he was too optimistic about the 21st century.)

Here's the question, though: does every age have to relearn this stuff? I'm starting to think the answer is yes, but that's rather dispiriting. Free speech, in particular, I thought was a settled issue, its logic obvious to all; so it's been very dispiriting to see it rejected by the same people who were fighting for it 15 years ago.


does every age have to relearn this stuff?

My teenage niece’s boyfriend recently told me that one of their friends had announced that her “hero” is Karl Marx. This was apparently a statusful thing to say, even edgy, at least among my niece’s social circle of school-leavers. So far as I could fathom, the young woman in question has little, if any, grasp of Twentieth Century history, or its greatest horrors, and even less understanding of Marx’s own, rather revealing behaviour – which gives the lie to his ostensible pieties, and much of which has served as a blueprint for every subsequent generation of middle-class Marxists.

Needless to say, a lively exchange ensued.


This seems apposite – Samizdata’s Natalie Solent:

Socialists always start by seizing the property of the rich to give to the poor, because that’s where the votes are. They always end by seizing the property of the poor to give to the rich, because that’s where the money is.

And what use is such power if you can’t indulge in spite, as a pay-off for all that tiresome egalitarian theatre?


Excerpt from blog by Ed West:

I like to look at the children’s history books when I take my kids to the library each week, and these are raising a generation of true believers. Although far more deal with the Marxism of race, with a number of hagiographies of Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela, I picked one up the other day explaining the Chinese Revolution. Mao is described in bold letters as a ‘social visionary’ and I could find no mention of the millions who died, only a figure of 35,000 attributed to conflict during the period.

R. Sherman

So far as I could fathom, the young woman in question has little, if any, grasp of Twentieth Century history, or its greatest horrors...

Much, if not all of that, is deliberate. It is a feature of the Long March through the educational system. Ignore those parts of the past which conflict with the narrative; purge a references to the troublesome bits; endlessly drill the narrative into the next generation; and punish those who dissent. After a couple of generations, the Past is what those in power say it is.


Mao is described in bold letters as a ‘social visionary’

Do we think the young lady above knows much about the event to which she smilingly refers? Anything at all?


@ David

I'll take a bet that the answer is no.

And if she were educated as to the facts, would she care to change her mind?

I'm assuming the answer is no.


Some things never change:

"As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wobbling back to the Fire;

"And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!"

-Rudyard Kipling, from "The Gods of the Copybook Headings"


Yikes, David.
Don't know how that happened.

Off to the re-education booth. Which seems ever more topical.



Don’t worry, I’m feeling benign. With luck, no-one saw your howling blunder, of which we will not speak, before it vanished.

Right, I’m off to be unconscious. I’ve prepped a batch of ephemera that should materialise just after midnight.


David, your benevolence overwhelms me.

May you sleep the sleep of the just.

Lancastrian Oik

...does every age have to relearn this stuff?

Some never grasped the point at all.

An old university chum (50-something, read a STEM subject at a "red-brick") whom I like a lot, works as a management consultant for a privately owned organisation which teaches "dynamic leadership" or some such BS to "future leaders of the NHS" ("Future leaders of the NHS"= well-paid bureaucrats to thee and me). He once told me, without being prompted, that in a good year he can pull in over £200k doing this.

Yet, according to his Facebook feed, he is on every SWP-organised march in the northern city where he operates, including the many where they protest about "privatisation of the NHS".

He isn't the only example of such cognitive dissonance; at the moment FB is just a stream of virtue-signalling and disingenuity, especially when it comes to the tragic fire. It's not the "Two Minute Hate" anymore, it's the non-stop 24/7 hate.

Thank God for this place- a small but thriving oasis of sanity, with decent curtains and a bar top that isn't sticky.


"And if she were educated as to the facts, would she care to change her mind?"

She'd probably scream that those facts were fake news...


"Thank God for this place- a small but thriving oasis of sanity, with decent curtains and a bar top that isn't sticky."

But stay away from the liquor cabinet!


Every age? Why yes, of course. Some with a harder, longer, deeper, and more thoroughly rough lesson than others.

Thus the term, which I just made up a minute ago, historyfucking.

And reality only laughs at your safe words.


Not seeing how your friend is confused, Lancastrian Oik. He clearly knows that, with privitisation, his would be one of the first services booted (or at least savagely cut).

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Related to Natalie Solent's quote.


Disagree there Ted. Not totally familiar with the specifics of the case at your link, but sounds like standard eminent domain. Real estate is a very different kind of property than a car, a business, or even a house. Those things most definitely belong to the owner. Land, OTOH, is inherently controlled by the state. I certainly would not support the excesses of ED such as have been taken over the last couple of decades, but the idea that you actually own your land just like you own your car or your money, etc. is fundamentally flawed. It is without a doubt in the best interest of the state to mirror real estate property rights similarly to other property, but in instances such as this where ostensibly someone is simply being obstinate, to do so is folly.


I don't know. More support for socialist policies amongst young people is common. And one gets the impression of there being large numbers of them. But the most enthusiastic for socialism are always the loudest, and they tend to create an impression that they represent everyone else. But it's never true. There must be many young folks quietly getting on with their jobs who could be won over by a decent right-wing government. Clearly Theresa May failed in this.

Obviously the young-vs-old dynamic was strong in this election though. However. With all of this simmering resentment, and with the Tories being a two-term government already, what's the best Corbyn could do? He still came short. And now he's posing as the 'stable' alternative while patently trying to tear the government down.

R. Sherman


I've done quite a few eminent domain cases over the years from both sides. Your comment is real estate--which includes fixtures like buildings of any sort--is different and "controlled by the state" is incorrect. The state can regulate use--up to a point--and can tax ownership, but ownership still rests absolutely in him to whom it is granted. The entire premise of eminent domain rests in the U.S. 5th Amendment which requires due process of law to divest someone of any property.

I watched the Dallas vid and the reaction of the Councilwoman is typical. Public entities want to run roughshod over landowners and loathe having to pay for the privilege. I'm not familiar with Texas law, but in my jurisdiction, if the city wanted the land, it would file a suit, the judge would appoint three neutral appraisers to assess the fair market value and then the city could obtain immediate ownership by depositing that amount of money to the registry of the court. If either the city or the landowner disagreed with the neutral appraisal, they could request a jury trial with evidence and have a jury render a judgment. In my state, if the city went for years without having the property it would be because they wanted to hold on to the money, not because the landowner was recalcitrant. In other words the delay on putting in the water line would be the city's fault absolutely.


OK, my mistake on mixing "real estate" with land, specifically, though i tried to differentiate between land and a house on which it sits. This isn't a law issue. It's a matter of reality. Unless one has an army, one cannot control land. Other kinds of property can be relocated. Land is defined by the state by its very nature. Less so on frontiers and such where there is very little reach of the law and the land owner actively defends it. But to your point about nuetral appraisers and judges and such, those are entities of the state or sanctioned by the state, not the land owner. Fail to pay your taxes and you lose your land. You cannot hide it, you cannot relocate it, you cannot redifine its purpose.

R. Sherman

"Real Estate," "Real Property," "Land" are synonymous. They all include the dirt and the stuff attached to the dirt, like a house, barn, etc. I'm not sure what you mean by "defined by the state." Certainly there are conventions regarding conveyances and land ownership that go back centuries, but those conventions existed without reference to a sovereign. They were ultimately codified by the sovereign to make sure everyone was on the same page and conventions were uniform. The fact that sovereign enforces those conventions does not place the sovereign "in control." The rule of law is what allows private property to exist in the first instance. (Even today, deeds in the U.S. contain language the origins of which goes back to pre-1066 A.D., though most of the uniformity originated with Henry II.)

If by the word "defined," you mean how land is described within private conveyances, that still is not a matter of control, It's true that the sovereign established a uniform means of description, at least in the U.S. Even then, the uniformity didn't exist in most of the country until after the Louisiana Purchase. Again, the fact that the sovereign defined the means land was described--see, e.g. township and range lines, etc.--does make the government "in control." Rather it provides a means for enforcing private ownership.

As for the government's ability to divest a landowner of his interest, there are only two means by which that can occur. One is Eminent Domain, a/k/a "Condemnation." It presupposes ownership on the part of someone/something other than the sovereign. That's the reason due process is required and the landowner must be paid fair market value based upon "the highest and best use." For example, I had a case where my clients' crappy two-bedroom house had to be appraised as if it were commercial land instead of residential or agricultural. That increased the value by a factor of five. The other way is a tax sale, but again, there are rather major restrictions on what the government can and cannot do. In fact, at least in my jurisdiction, tax deeds are meaningless and generally a waste of money for the purchaser.

With respect to land use, violation of land use regulations--which must be reasonable; the sovereign cannot prohibit all use, lest the sovereign affect a "taking" requiring due process and the procedure outlined above--the sovereign cannot divest ownership for using land contrary to regulations. The best the sovereign can do is to enjoin the misuse. But again, due process is required, i.e. a court case and a judgment. Which BTW is how a private person can divest another of real estate, as well.

Your argument seems to be that because the government is involved in some fashion, that private property does not exist or that there are procedures which allow the sovereign to divest an owner of his property. That's true with anything, however. The only way around it is to abrogate the Rule of Law and let it be every man for himself.

R. Sherman

Oh, and I forgot to mention, of course, the 4th Amendment presupposes individual ownership of land which precludes forced government entry on land without a warrant issued by a judge upon probable cause. One may argue about how those requirements are met, but that's a question of implementation, not the existence of the rule/right, which according to our political philosophy pre-exists the sovereign.


with decent curtains and a bar top that isn’t sticky.

Industrial degreaser and vigorous sponging. The curtains are down to Big Mary. She has an artistic eye, despite her formidable upper body strength.

Patrick Brown
My teenage niece’s boyfriend recently told me that one of their friends had announced that her “hero” is Karl Marx.

Most teenagers are instinctive socialists because their entire life experience so far is as children, where they live in an environment where they are looked after by an authority who makes sure none of the siblings get any more than the others.

Daniel Ream

Given the international nature of this blog, I think it's important to note that the laws are very different between the USA and the two British Commonwealth countires I am familiar with, the UK and Canada.

In the USA, eminent domain can only be exercised if the land is being taken for a public good, although the definition of a public good has stretched so far as to be almost meaningless (cf. Kelo vs. New London, CT). In Canada, they don't even need that fig leaf - we do not have private property rights, and the government can simply expropriate any real estate it wishes on any pretext. As a matter of not boiling the frog too quickly, though, it's established by precedent that they will grant some compensation for the taking. They aren't required to, though; see also Pellat, Henry and Sir Adam Beck.

Lancastrian Oik


What is my friend engaged in, if not "privatisation"? It could also be described as "rent-seeking". I don't think he is a bad man- far from it. He just hasn't got a clue about how wealth is created and has a naive and simplistic, virtually Manichaean world view. And a very nice house in one of the better suburbs of the city. All in all, a typical middle-class public-sector Leftie.


R. Sherman,
We are talking two different things here. I speak of reality and the limitations of such, you speak of the law, a function, a construct of the state that quite often pretends it can thumb its nose at those limitations. Again, not knowing the specifics of the video but if someone has a piece of property that is in the way of the government providing fundamental services, apparently in this case water, to a large number of taxpayers and potential taxpayers, and the property owner makes unreasonable demands, the property owner, even within the context of the laws to which you refer, loses. But my fundamental point here is that land is very different from cars, boats, corporations or any other tangible property which you completely own, operate, and can do with as you please. I very strenuously object to what went on with Kelo, etc. And especially, though one I don't see it much mentioned in discussions on ED, but Wickard v. Filburn is one of the greatest legal catastrophes to ever perpetuate for generations. I have seen governments abuse ED for unjustified reasons. But ED is, by nature, a necessary element of any form of government. That's literally what ED means. Supreme Dominion. Big Kahuna. What have you.

The law works best when it acknowledges reality. A balancing reality, as I stated above, is that it is in the government's best interest to permit land owners to do what they please with their land, within reason.


One thing that stymies all hopes of "progress" -- whether progressive "progress" or progress away from progressive delusions -- is that we keep enumerating new humans into the system, and it's surprisingly hard to keep them up-to-date on the things that happened in the system before. It gets even harder when you consider that the people most likely to know about it keep getting enumerated out of the system.


it's been very dispiriting to see it rejected by the same people who were fighting for it 15 years ago.

They were fighting for THEIR speech, not free speech.

Or as Muad'Dib said: http://68.media.tumblr.com/8af5471ea884302c4875ee16253a8e30/tumblr_mp62hhAo1Y1rl43cyo1_1280.png


It's good to know that DC is still "on the go", as we codgers say.

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