Sunday, 10 November 2013

Never hit on Vice Squad- Why I'm not for Same Sex Marriage

(This piece was published in the Irish Daily Mirror but not all Mirror articles are made available online)
I was arrested once for chatting up a big, burly member of the Vice
Squad, wasting his time chasing gay guys like me. Every time I hear proponents of Same Sex marriage telling me that they want the state to endorse and validate our relationships I think of that night. I want to keep the state out of my relationships, and, as much as possible out of my life.


Same Sex Marriage is not some warm fluffy equality bunny, it’s a bare-faced state power grab. The state gets to entirely remake marriage, not as the man/woman/child model we’ve inherited from 10,000 years of history and across all cultures but as an anything-goes irrelevant partnership agreement between adults.

Only a man and a woman have children despite every fantasy the gender-busters want us to believe. Every child has a right to that natural life. Same sex marriage asks us to ignore reality and children’s rights to a mother and father. Marriage will be made irrelevant because this re-make says that, for the first time, children and parenthood has no natural place in marriage. If you have children, the kindly, benevolent state will set your relationship with them.

If you don’t want a gay marriage don’t get one? Everyone gets one because, in the eyes of the state, marriage will be about adults, not about a man and a woman committing to making and raising children
.
Politicians love us to believe we belong to some victim class so they can save us. I’m a gay man, I am not a victim and I reject this notion that traditional marriage should be drastically altered for some fantasy. Yes, gay people need to give legal force to their relationships but for that we have civil unions, not a one size fits all marriage, emptied of meaning to suit the romantic whims of adults.

People get married for their own reasons but we have marriage because marriage has a meaning and does a vital job not just for individuals but for society. Claiming that equality demands that men and women be as interchangeable as Lego blocks shows you don’t understand men and women, marriage or much else. Profound ignorance is a poor basis for massive change.

Redressing historical wrongs may be worse basis. Yes, gay people had a hard time. The night I was arrested was brutal, terrifying experience and a terrible waste of Garda time but that was in long ago, in a very distant galaxy. Ireland is a very different place for us now: pretending otherwise is to trap gay people in a damaging victim culture.

We can ignore reality all we want but the out-comes for children are not the same across all family models. Marriage of a man and a woman gives children the best chance. That doesn’t mean there are not great parents in other circumstances, just that the weight of evidence is stacked against them.

Chocolate is good, more chocolate is better; living on chocolate would be great. You can get from one simple proposition to a very wrong idea very fast. The politicians who say they will save me with Same Sex Marriage are doing just that.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

The Seanad: Reform or Kill?

Halving the amount of examination of what Government does and removing 60 Oireachtais members from the process of oversight cannot be described as reform. It is an anti-democratic deform, stupidly sold as a big idea from a man without a trace of one.

Democracy creates not just a market place in ideas but in trust and reliability. Ideas can't be sold on lies because too many voters may realise that they are being sold a very mangy pup to make the sales pitch profitable in votes. This has not stopped the Abolish The Seanad campaign from using a much exposed lies on costs and savings to sell the very bad idea of abolishing the second chamber. No, Richard, it doesn't cost €20 million a year and what money it does cost will be spent on a newly deformed Dáil. No savings and the estimated €9m annual cost of the Seanad could be paid for 5-6 years for the cost of this referendum? Even Barbie says facepalm.

The Irish Seanad, the Second Chamber of our Parliament is an unlovely beast. Elected by county councillors and university graduates from some (but not all) universities, criticising its processes is like taking pot shots at Patrick Neary's tenure as Banking Regulator. Unlovely beasts can be still effective and unlovely constitutional beasts can be reformed.

The problem for Seanad Eireann is that some believe parliament and its procedures are effective in so far as it allows Government its immediate and unopposed will. Delay, debate or second opinion are at best fripperies not to be countenanced and may, in many circumstances amout to treasonous activity. Fettering politicians to even vestigial discussion is seen to undermine their abiility to act swiftly in their awesome wisdom.

Seanad Abolition was an idea born in opposition and desperation. In 2010, languishing behind a failing Fianna Fail in the polls, losing ground to Gilmore's Labour and widely regarded as a drag on Fine Gael's prospects, Enda Kenny needed a BIG IDEA. Without either the method, means or philosophy to find one, FG used a sequence of focus groups to probe what might work with an electorate hammered by recession. The proposal to abolish the Seanad was taken to the party's conference in Killarney but, with little ability to sell the bad idea, party hierarchs cancelled the debate on the issue when opposition surfaced and replaced it with a speech from Kenny, imposing abolition as a policy by fiat. Mr Kenny has
been chickening out of debate ever since. 

How have Irelands problems been caused by an excess of democracy, surfeit of debate or a overburden of enquiry? When the Dáil expressed it's confidence in Willy O Dea as Defence Minister despite the accusations of perjury, it was the prospect of a well informed seanad Debate that triggered his fall. The ONLY justification for abolishing the second chamber is that we need FEWER people challenging the Government in the Oireachtais. It is very hard to share that confidence in the government, that belief that it was examination of policy and implementation that led us to this tragic meltdown. 

In the English speaking world unicameral or single chamber parliaments are the exception, only New Zeeland operating on one chamber. That may help account for the fact that only one unicameral country is richer than Ireland in GDP/GNP league tables. Delay and discussion work. 

It is conservatively estimated that the Seanad saved the country €300m per annum in its oversight and examination of legislation coming from Dail Eireann. ( a figure never disputed by the abolitionists) Thus in 10 years this “radical and revolutionary idea” will cost us €2.75b. of course you may believe that the Dáil will get its legislative pants pulled up...

In the end what is most disturbing about this proposal is the base and cynical view it demonstrates of elected politics. Every single argument for abolishing the seanad is just as good an argument for abolishing the Dáil. Yes, we could appoint a commision of 12 or 8 wise minds to govern and do away with all the expensive waste. Come to think of it 1 person would run the entire show much more quickly and cheaply.... And if you think that go read Hayek's classic "The Road To Serfdom".

With this base view of politics it is hardly surprising that the proposed "reforms" of the Dáil are all methods of handing power and influence to vested interest groups and disadvantaging citizens in the legislative process. Odd too that this government believes the Dáil can be reformed ( even if their proposals to do so are pants) but that no reform is possible of the Seanad? Kenny's declaration that there will be no reform if the public vote against abolition is the futile utterance of a small and spiteful man. We are not dependent on Enda Kenny for constitutional reform.

Tomorrow we have a choice: back a base, limited view of democratic politics, sold on a lie, and hand the power of speed and silence to the cabinet or retain a working institution which we can reform. A wrong decision will leave us much more at the mercy of the idiots we elect.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

We are older, not any wiser, just more experienced. The children orphaned must, in many cases, be young adults. The unbearable grief of bereavement has become a burden carried for twelve years by families.

Twelve years ago savage fanatics murdered thousands in an atrocity intended to provoke global war. They got a war, indeed up to Obama's blithering failure on Syria in the last 48 hours it had looked like America was committed to endless, futile war. Maybe the failure of a vacillating, incompetent and underwater president marks the real end of that sorry episode?

In that pursuit of an Armageddon the 9/11 attackers saw the murder of three thousand people not just as collateral damage but as a bonus.  Islam has not properly addressed the warped morality of the attack or the evils of Wahabism. When the Christianity's outstanding mind and figure attempted to engage Islam in a vital debate on the central issues of faith and our relationship with, and the nature of God, Pope Benedict's Regensburg address was attacked, misrepresented and vilified by a media so corrupt and stupid that we must doubt the possibility of any useful public debate on any issue occurring.

The purpose of terror is to terrorise and because government uses every excuse to expand, because the rabid secularists, for whom all religions are equally evil, and equality pimps insist that NO judgements can be made, and because the wahabists are still plotting we remain terrorised. Catholic pilgrims from the Marian shrine at Lourdes are forced to empty holy water from their luggage lest they smuggle explosives. Endless queues for security at every airport are a reminder, a people-snake monument, not a defence. The best answer to random terrorism may be sensible security alongside a recognition that terrorism is the fault of the terrorist.

We have lived twelve years with the images and memories of what was done on this day. On the anniversary each year I take a moment to remember Jimmy Gray who died with his colleagues of Ladder 20
when Tower 1 collapsed. Jimmy's father was from Kilkenny, his grandfather Paddy, asked my mother to pray for his missing grandson the next day. His body was not found and that November  his eight year old daughter, Colleen, spoke the memorable, heartbreaking, line at his memorial service: "Daddy, if I knew you were not coming home, I'd have let you tickle me harder."

The pain inflicted on the families of the victims will last as long as Colleen's and her sister's lives. For the wider society the twelve years that have passed should allow us the space to look at 9/11 with older, if not wiser eyes and minds. We owe Jimmy Gray, the men of Ladder 20 and every other person whose life was stolen, that we at least try to understand the impact of what we commemorate.

Part of that impact was revealed by the revelations of Edward Snowden to be the utterly enormous data and spying apparatus built by the American government to compliment the airport people snakes. No government can or should be trusted with the private business of every person. Carte blanche to spy on citizens in the name of security is permission to undermine democracy, law and rights. The administration that used the I.R.S to target opponents can hardly be trusted with with universal eavesdropping.

Men wore Jimmy Gray's name and those of his colleagues in battles with wahabists in Afghanistan, Ladder 20 was a T-shirt worn with pride. Those soldiers believed they were fighting for the most fundamental rights, life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It would be a grave betrayal of them, the men of Ladder 20 and all the 9/11 victims to justify stealing every persons privacy in their name.


Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Resigning Is Only Defiance Left. My Resignation From The Ruins of Fine Gael


Dear Sir,

I had no idea how hard this letter would be to write. Despite the fact that I'm like a man who has found half a worm in the

apple he has bitten, I've gone to far, done too much, lived to long in Fine Gael to find repudiating the party a simple task. In my father's house being part of Fine Gael stood for a type of political morality: we supported Fine Gael because we did not want the largesse of the state because we did not want the taxation, bankruptcy and corruption that largesse entailed. In his house tacit support was no support at all so I have canvassed, campaigned and been director of elections, certain the party I supported was the best option for the country.

Our loyalties in a party are not an abstract idea or even the policies it from time to time it holds, but rather to the men and women we know, trust and with whom we are willing to share a political foxhole. We identify ourselves by a political affiliation and form bonds in our own small community that reaches across generations and into the wider country. We believe in the party because we believe in our neighbours, friends and families who belong with us. Severing ties of such depth is done at personal cost, only when the ties that bind are corroded to the point of unbearable pain.

This government was elected with a mandate for change, the people who voted for Fine Gael expected the cost of Government to be lowered and economic freedom increased. Canvassers and voters alike knew the country was bankrupt but they expected and were promised political courage and honesty. We did not get the change for which we campaigned; the electorate did not get the change for which it voted. Almost every Quango created in boom time folly still exists. Simple, popular, eminently workable promises, such as the one to replace FÁS with a voucher scheme, have been disregarded while the party has begun an agenda of social destruction for which it received neither votes, nor mandate nor support. If there was a sizeable constituency of voters with the opinions upon which the party now insist then Eamon Gilmore would really be Taoiseach and Fintan O'Toole, Tanaiste. We grumbled but those ties of loyalty held longer than they should.

In the last months and weeks those ties have been burnt, melted and ruined by the Abortion Bill and the actions of the party leadership in forcing it through.

Fine Gael promised, Enda Kenny promised, we promised on doorsteps that Fine Gael was a pro-life party. Those promises were broken. By being a member and a canvasser I was made complicit in the breaking of those promises. I've listened to a Senator describe the bill as "pro-life" and been lied to, publicly and fluently, about the pre-legislation situation, by a Cabinet Minister. Lies only made the shame worse.

This is not an argument about a bill which introduced abortion and which the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party knows introduced abortion. The party leadership lost all those arguments on the merits of the bill but by possessing and abusing the power of the whip, and with the support of a radical faction within the party, have still triumphed. This triumph is pyrrhic victory, but King Pyrrhus knew what was happening to his army,  Fine Gael leadership seems blind to the effect on Fine Gael's core vote and membership.


For those of us who oppose abortion having the party for which we campaigned break every promise it had made on the issue, and introduce abortion in legislation, was a shocking betrayal. How could we continue with Fine Gael now that abortion was the party's policy? The fact that it was policy adopted not democratically and with discussion, but by fiat of a small, powerful, and stupid cabal neither diminishes the damage nor excuses the wrong.

If that betrayal was ferocious, it was made infinitely worse by the application of a three line whip to the bill. Abortion legislation cannot be anything but an issue of conscience, a subject alien to the party whip. Hare coursing was an issue of conscience to for Alan Shatter, that abortion was not for Fine Gael makes a double mockery of the broken promises and any pretence the leadership had to moral authority. In the most cynical analysis, the use of whip deprived the party of diversity or ambiguity so useful in an election, but the more profound effect was to morally bankrupt the party. The leadership cabal are without any polictical morality, the party's conservatives revealed as spineless cowards.

I need not remind you that Fine Gael members choose their candidates who must then be ratified by the parties National Executive. The party leader has neither de jure nor moral authority to announce the de-selection of Oireachtas members. TDs and Senators are being threatened and  targeted for defying a whip that should never have been imposed in the first instance. When Fine Gael's candidates for the last General election signed the party pledge, Fine Gael was a pro-life party, a position re-iterated publicly by the party leader. Mr Kenny has stuck rigidly to his position that that those TDs and Senators will not be candidates in the next election. In this he has defied both the rules and traditions of the party and exposed the leadership’s lack of confidence in its own argument. Eternal damnation is extremely poor politics and has no at all place in a democratic party.

If functioning opposition is needed for good government then far more important is opposition to bad behaviour and ideas within a political party in government. We saw for far too long where tolerance of bad behaviour in the ruling party took this country. That no voice was raised, that no opposition coalesced, no fight was offered to the leadership on this shocking and brutal crushing of conscience, that totalitarian bullying passed unremarked, is a terrible sign of the abyss into which Fine Gael has been plunged.

The consciences of members are vital to a political party, the twentieth century has shown us enough of the evil to which lands fall prey when the power of political parties is harnessed to a disregard of individual conscience. Each individual enriches the decision making structures with their own moral outlook, protecting party, politics and country by applying their own, individual judgement to issues. If sceptical individuals with moral consciences have to be convinced, there is much less chance of bad ideas gaining sway. This is a powerful restraint on unfettered power of political cabals and a guarantee that parties themselves will not become prey to extreme, minority opinion. Fine Gael has now made a precedent of the brutal crushing of conscience and that precedent will not be easily unwound. The damage to Irish politics is as least as deep as the damage to the Fine Gael Party itself. The damage to the nation is beyond explanation.


Much of this damage has been facilitated by the rise of professional political hangers-on, both elected and not. Between the spoils of political office and the insistence by party leadership that it controls the fount of nomination, there now exists a class of people who see themselves dependent on the party leadership for grace and favour. These people know no loyalty except to their own immediate interest; know no conscience except that informed by the leader's need, no political wisdom except personal pragmatism. They are reed bed through which any fashionable political opinion may sound if puffed by power but they offer nothing in sustenance or electoral success. They are leeches but with the temporary power of numbers and party apparatus. 

There was, in this rubble, still the vestigial signs of the party to which I had willing given my loyalty. The TDs and Senators who braved the worst bullying ever seen in Irish politics since the Civil War, who refused to subjugate conscience to convenience, who sacrificed career sooner than vote harm, those were my Fine Gael and I'm immensely proud that I was lucky enough to call at least one of them a friend long before this. The treatment of this brave seven makes it impossible for any pro-life member to stay within Fine Gael. The party is now a cold place for people with pro-life or socially conservative views, war has been declared on us and we are refugees in a Damascus of the mind.


Loyalty is a a valuable gift and virtue, a basis for much of our free society. Like all virtues loyalty can be perverted and it would be deeply perverse to allow loyalty to family, friends and the memories of those I loved to be perverted into the service of evil. 


I cannot remain a member of a party that so easily breaks promises, disregards conscience and is openly and ferociously hostile to the values I hold. 

I will not remain a member of a party that introduced abortion.

I resign.

I resign but in truth there is nothing left from which to resign, Fine Gael has died. The Abortion Bill killed the Fine Gael for which I hung posters, knocked on doors and pored over tally figures. The party to which my inherited loyalty was given no longer exists. In their arrogance the leadership cabal have created a political tragedy. Act I has been performed, the rest of the play waits grimly in the wings. 


I am, 


In Sorrow and Sincerely,

Paddy Manning



Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Fascists, Hacking & Youth Defence

So we are here again. 
This place, where we see clearly the split between those who value freedom & the followers of every bad or mad idea which damages freedom.


Last night the site of an anti-abortion organisation Youth Defence was hacked. This article is not about Youth Defence, their aims, methods, critics or anything else because in the end the hacking was not about Youth Defence at all. The hacking of a website with which the hackers disagree is all about the hackers and their belief in their right to dictate the speech of others. Hacking a site in this manner is a direct attack on free speech, on the very underpinnings of a democratic society. This is the rule by mob, not by law, the fascism that creeps through the acceptance of evil in small doses. 

Sadly there was not a single voice raised from the pro-choice lobby to protest at this blow against free speech. Bonhoeffer's words might be remembered but doubtless the words of a Christian Pastor executed by Hitler have little purchase with people who set themselves up as the ultimate arbiters of what can or cannot be said. Yet, when the sites they establish, or with which they agree, are taken down and this has become the norm, we all will have lost much more than the right to have a site with which others disagree. 

Sadly, we are a long way down that road of limiting speech. Hacking of Youth defence was acceptable because they are "hateful", anything said about Same Sex Marriage is "hate speech" and Britain regularly prosecutes for twitter or FaceBook postings. This makes the defence of freedom far more vital, endangered species need more care. 

Free speech means just that, that speech should be free, whether we agree or disagree with the ideas expressed. If speech is to be limited by offense to some party, group or individual then no real freedom exists. It is the very freedom to express the unorthodox, the reverse of accepted wisdom, that makes free speech the valuable jewel in our freedoms.


I should not have to defend free speech as an idea but social media was full of gloating fools celebrating the discomfiting of Youth Defence. Reminders that this was a blow, not against Youth Defence but against a liberal democracy, were greeted with accusations of membership of the group targeted  There exists a body of opinion not just that freedom of speech is limited to those with whom the socially left agree, but that a defence of free speech has no place in our discourse. 


Voltaire was not much of a philosopher but his maxim "I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" is vital to a functioning democratic society. If we use weasel words to explain that some groups should not have freedom of speech or some things should not be said or if  we don't even believe that a defence of free speech should be mounted, as many supposedly liberal people did today, then we have crossed a dark and lost society.

So many now believe that freedom of speech is a luxury or a fuddy-duddy notion which inflicts others unwanted opinions on them, abysmally ignorant of the value of intellectual diversity and how it is achieved and protected, that we may already have crossed over into that place. 

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Two essays

I wrote these for The Edmund Burke Institute a while back and put them here because because I liked them long after I wrote them. Nick Sorrentino at http://www.againstcronycapitalism.org gave the first one considerable publicity. Even in the light of the Arab Winter it does a job.


This is Mohammed Bouazizi and He Started a Revolution

Strange that a conservative website call attention to him but Mohammed only wanted to be allowed do the job he had carved out for himself, selling vegetables from a handcart. 
He was the breadwinner for his family off eight. His ambitions to own a pick-up truck which would bring quantity and speed to his small operation, improving his family's lifestyle, mark him as an a grocer, if not from Grantham, from some same country of the mind. Those ambitions made young Mohammed a capitalist in a society dominated by state socialist mouthings, under the cover of which the ruling elite operated a vicious, corrupt kleptocracy.
On December 13th a policewoman from Tunisia's notoriously corrupt police force confiscated his handcart and supplies, insulted and fined him. 
His livelihood in the balance he tried to get the cart back at the municipal headquarters. When that failed the 26 year old returned with a can of petrol. 

Mohamed Bouazizi set himself alight, took nearly a month of lingering agony to die and started a revolution that has been named The Arab Spring.

The dictators, including Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia who was ousted on the 14th of January, ten days after the young man's death, all have in common corruption, state interference and a refusal to allow the people economic freedom.

 All of them play from a socialist game plan that insists the state knows better than people's own voluntary choices in free markets. They all rob billions of dollars from countries they refuse to allow grow or develop.
Mohammed Bouazizi wanted to the freedom work, invest and earn. Mohamed Bouazizi was a capitalist who wanted not to be trapped in poverty. Tragically for him that was not possible in the corrupt kleptocracy of Tunisia. 

Economic freedom is the answer to poverty. The Heritage Foundation defines it as:
Economic freedom is the fundamental right of every human to control his or her own labour and property. In an economically free society, individuals are free to work, produce, consume, and invest in any way they please, with that freedom both protected by the state and unconstrained by the state. In economically free societies, governments allow labour, capital and goods to move freely, and refrain from coercion or constraint of liberty beyond the extent necessary to protect and maintain liberty itself.

Not content with merely defing economic freedom the Heritage Foundation research and publish a league table of countries economic freedom. In the Index of Economic Freedom published in January Tunisia was ranked 100th. Ireland was ranked 7th place.
These measurements matter. The The Heritage Foundation again: Countries that score well demonstrate a commitment to individual empowerment, non-discrimination and the promotion of competition. Their economies tend to perform better, and their populations tend to enjoy more prosperity, better health and more positive measures on a variety of quality-of-life indices. A score of 80 or higher merits the designation of “free economy.” Those who score in the 70s are considered “mostly free,” those in the 60s “moderately free,” those in the 50s “mostly unfree” and those that score less than 50 “repressed.”
Tunisia scored 58.5 while Ireland scored 78.7. There is no room for complacency because we were down a whopping 2.7 on 2010. We do not want to be converging with the worst but emulating the best economies.
If the Tunisia really wants to honour the man whose sacrifice gave her back her freedom then claiming a top ten place on the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom would be a practical, real and suitable monument to a young man that wanted to drive his vegetable barrow. We in Ireland should remember the price that is paid for the lack those freedoms in the form of national poverty. We can care for our own prosperity by caring for our economic freedom. It won't involve self immolation, merely bring some pressure on our politi cians to move in the right direction. Recognising calls for special treatment and protections for some groups in the economy s a way of robbing the rest of us helps too.
This is Mohammed Bouazizi, he started a revolution and he is a hero to anyone who believes in freedom



Viva Las Vegas!

Nothing gives as good a view of the gulf between those who believe in economy controlled by an all wise benevolent state and those who believe in private capital and a free economy as The Two-Mile Borris Casino. If you were to dream up a litmus test for the difference you could not do better than a schlock fest gambling casino in rural Tipperary.

It rings every bell, pulls every rat's tail of the statist crew, stirs every paternalistic twitch in their chicken hearts. 
Gambling? Save the poor infants from the road to ruin. 
Tipperary? So unsuitable, so rural, so lovely, ooooh look daddy there is a peasant in that field and he has a tractor! 
A replica of the White House ? Oh the sheer utter vulgarity of the thing, we would be so much more tasteful. 
Private capital being invested to make a return? Not while the leftists know better!
And there lies the nub of their problem.

While the sensible of us go about our own business in the secure knowledge that the owners of capital, will, in general, make better decisions about its use than some commissar for state investment and happy to let the private enterprise do what it does, if left to its own devices, make us all better off, the left-wing-state-knows-better crew explode in disgust because they KNOW BETTER.
They know how to invest the considerable capital (€460 million at last estimate) much, much better than its owners and so protest loudly and shrilly at its waste. Clearly the notion of private property ceases to exist at large sums and the very notion that neither they nor the state has anything like a record of doing anything but wasting confiscated capital is irrelevant.
But it is not just the Economic know-betters that are out spouting. An Taisce, that repository of statist wisdom has, as one would expect, come out strongly against the plan waving the “sustainability” card. Sustainability is of course, the super-Pokemon, meaning whatever the user wants it to mean and killing all discussion when played. It comes bearing little wisps of CO2 and and the noxious stench of hypocrisy.
The Well Meaning Know Betters are now in full rant. The project is seen as everything that is bad and rotten and must be eliminated in the New Ireland Workers Paradise. If it was not bad enough that these horrid people were building a casino, they will encourage others to drive cars to get there! Oh the horror, the greenhouse gases! The letter's paper to the pontificating Irish Times is the platform of choice for many of WMKB brigade.
In a rant of studied passion and even more studied economic ignorance an Emer Colleran asks “Do we need a Las Vegas-style casino when so many of our people are out of work and trying desperately to meet their mortgage repayments and feed their children?” An Austin Power (no not the Mike Myers character, that was Powers, final “s” pronounced, pay attention) asks plaintively “Do we not have enough monuments to our Celtic Tiger folly?”.
Best of all is the lecture on economics from a slightly demented Public Choice view point of one Peter Malone “It must surely be the case that private spending on gambling must be one of the most economically unproductive forms of output. In terms of economic welfare, gambling is surely a dead loss. At this time of constrained private demand, why is the Government facilitating such a large extraction of capital from the private economy (and into the pocket of Mr Quirke) when this money could be put to much better economic use?”
Don't you just love the idea that the Government could appoint an expert like Mr Malone to the job of Investments Commissar and he would sort things like that out. He or his ilk would find productive uses for “a large extraction of capital from the private economy” Down with private property! Down with Greedy Capitalists! Viva the heroes of '68!
I am told that Europe is under-casinoed by a Man Who Knows Gambling and that it Two-Mile Borris could do well. In truth I neither know nor care. If men want to invest their money that is their business. If it does well they will make more money. If it does badly, as many a business started with high hopes and hard work does, then they will lose money.
It is their business, their risk, their money. We all prosper when private capitalists invest their own private capital in projects and ideas that they believe will work. They are not always right BUT it is their money and Government has neither the right nor the ability to do that job. Just as the value of any good or service is what pepole are willing to voluntarily pay for it so to the the same system of voluntary exchanges we dub "the market" can decide what is worth investment and what is not. Government and the WMKB brigade interfere with this process to all our peril and poverty. If Mr Quirke and his co-investors are stopped in Two-Mile Borris by the WMKBs the investment can go elsewhere . The reaction from the left would alternate between "Good, better poverty than freedom" or "We must make the export of investment illegal". Either response are a road to ruin but ruin rarely bothers the WMKB as they can usually afford it better than the rest of us.
The question we must ask every objecting voice is simple “Do you believe that somebody has the right to their OWN money, to make their OWN decisions in their OWN business?” 
If not then why not and how not? To what extent is the coercion of the state to be extended to change those rights? Who is to make the investment decisions if not the owners of the money? 
These may seem such simple and basic questions as to be nearly pointless but they are real and necessary. Either we believe that the investors in Two-Mile Borris White House Schlock Fest have the RIGHT to invest their money in a business as they see fit, or we do not. If not, then we believe we are owned by the state and serve not our own ends but that selected for us by the Commissars.
The beauty of the Two-Mile Borris test is it's all encompassing nature. Taste, paternalism, climate change, productive use of capital, they are all in their in one lovely Blue and Gold test tube. The Left in all their statist guises hate Two-Mile Borris and all it represents.
As for me I raise a glass to those brave and sturdy men who have €460 million and are willing to spend it in the hope of making more. I love their courage, their willingness to have a go and their unbridled capitalist optimism but mostly I love the poke in the eye to the WMKB brigade and the litmus test for freedom that they have inadvertently established. Viva Las Vegas!

(I originally wrote that the casino was planned for Borrisokane and am indebted to Simon Tuohy  for the correction: it is off course planned for Two-Mile Borris. The essay has been corrected to reflect the facts.)

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Free the Trade!


Over the next two years, at immense cost and with a carbon footprint to rival Al Gore's, thousands of bureaucrats & hundreds of even more useless politheivans will engage in negotiating a trade deal between the EU and the US. No simile or metaphor I can imagine can do justice to this idiocy.

A DEAL IS NEEDED ONLY BECAUSE THE SELF SAME CROOKS RESTRICT TRADE! I cannot shout it any louder. This deal is a scam piled on a a crime. 

Trade, the decisions of countless consumers with their various needs and values, needs NO politicians or bureaucrats to make it work. Every single decision that is taken out of consumers' hands and placed in the hands of the polibureaucazi is an impoverishing, corrupt restraint of trade.

The polibureaucazi promises to make trade "fair" but free trade is fair by the only metric that counts, the free choices of consumers. Free trade works for the general prosperity but some people, some groups lose the advantage they possessed in a restricted market.  Those groups  fight for advantage not by improving their product but by looking to the polibureaucazi to protect them from consumer's choices. What the crooks mean when they say "fair" is that they will disadvantage the consumer in order to advantage cronies using tariffs, quota restrictions & the coercive might of the state. Helping companies who find the going to tough is a corrupt theft from the pockets of the general public.

Free Trade is cheaper, better and more effective than any bilateral trade deal. Bilateral deals lead to the insane pretence that trade is unrestricted while creating an enormous market in political favours. Your tomatoes not as cheap as the Mexican tomatoes? Complain about "dumping". Your windows getting knocked out by superb product from a Lithuanian joinery? Look to have wood product imports quota restricted. The polibureaucazi are have the power to grant advantage so cronyism grows at the consumers expense. We make a mushroom farm of trade.

This system of regulated trade robs us of all the benefits of free trade. Instead of forcing the re-allocation of resources to the best producers, the system favours bad producers with political clout. The wonderful, positive disruptive force of free trade is is chained and negated. 

Little work has been done on examining corrupt trade in the EU but the American journalist James Bovard has produced a searing, damming book "The Fair Trade Fraud" and followed it up with a series of articles since publication. He reveals that not alone is the system of government regulated trade regulated by political corruption but that the regulations on quotas and tariffs are secret so that neither US citizens nor foreign producers may  know how product prices are manipulated. 

Brussels has produced no Bovard but have we any reason to believe that the EU is cleaner on trade than the US? Now these two corrupt behemoths propose spending vast money negotiating a corrupt bilateral agreement that continues the cronyism of corrupt trade.

Free trade is the greatest weapon for prosperity and poverty reduction. It is a crime against all of us, particularly the worlds poor, to restrict trade. On this crime the powerful and corrupt now want to build a bilateral scam. We need to stand up to the polibureaucazi and demand it takes its foot off our neck and its hands out of our pockets. Set the the consumer free!

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