Sunday, September 21, 2008

A declaration - draft 1

If Ronald Reagan were still alive, there would be plenty of interviewers that would like to ask him if he still thinks that....
"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help."
And, up to $700 billion later, reading this and this, I thought it would be asking you - my readers - to help me compose a certificate that could be sent out to every Thatcherite and right-wing libertarian that you have contact details for.

I'd like to write it up in a nice font, give it a pretty border, and turn it into a pdf that can be printed off, signed and framed, and hung over a well-appointed desk as an acknowledgement of recent developments.

The wording I've got is as follows - let me know what you think?
An Acknowledgement: Draft 0.9

For much of the past thirty years, there has been a consensus that deregulated capitalism provides a just moral framework. One that promotes fairness, efficiency and social progress.

I have been a vocal supporter of this position. I have opposed improvements to welfare safety-nets on the grounds that they would interfere with the workings of the markets. I have advocated a 'meritocracy' in which we all enjoy the rewards of our enterprise and take the consequences of our mistakes.

For decades, I have stood by while millions of people who were not born with my material advantages have been forced to bend over and take it like a man while I have continued to enjoy the fruits of my advantaged start in life. I have always argued that poverty is, at least in part, the consequence of irresponsibility and poor judgement, and that to relieve that poverty would be to reward these shortcomings.

I have always reassured myself that the iron laws of the market show that there is no fairer way of organising human relations.

Furthermore, I have argued that taxation is, somehow, almost a form of theft, and that no situation is so bad that it isn't made worse by government intervention.

I am now happy to concede that the leading lights of modern capitalism are the more deserving of the label 'thieving bastards' than anyone else alive. In a month in which people such as myself have received the kind of bail-out that I have refused to countenance for others who are less advantaged than ourselves, I am now willing to concede that I am - and have for a long time been - a worthless cheating parasite of the highest order.

If the families of the unemployed have suffered terribly over the years for their relatively minor lack of responsibility or good judgement, then in a fair world, I would be spending the next couple of decades up to my eyeballs in raw sewage for the wanton irresponsibility and stupidity that I have long advocated.

If I had even an ounce of honour, I would retire to my study with a generic bottle of blended scotch and a revolver in order to relieve those around me of the burden of having to gaze upon my hypocritical countenance for a moment longer.

But failing that, I now, at least, have the decency to acknowledge that a generous universal safety net funded out a general taxation would be a minimal concession to make given the huge bailout that democratic governments have handed to the leading institutions of capitalism.

Furthermore, I am now prepared to accept that the kind of market liberalism that I have advocated for many years is entirely impractical in a modern democracy - and that effective liberal democracy is that only thing that stopped the entire population of my country, and it's neighbours, from suffering the consequences of my long-standing stupidity, greed and dishonesty. I now concede that elected governments, and not larcenous shitheads such as myself, should drive public policy for the foreseeable future.

Signed: ...............................................

Name: .............................................. (block capitals please)

Date: ...............................................

Whaddaya think? Does it go far enough? Or should I make it a bit more penitent? And let me know (Shuggy) if there are any shortcomings in the grammar and punctuation and stuff? I've probably overdone the split infinitives and that.

(Cross-posted at The Trots)



This debacle was ALLOWED to happen, even MADE to happen, by the Government and its regulators. Dilution of the currency by reckless credit expansion has been used by successive governments to let themselves off various hooks. So I don't see government as the answer. But don't worry, you're watching centralisation of power at lightspeed. I can only hope that your belief in the wisdom and goodness of government is correct, and that my deep misgivings are entirely wrong.

Matt Buck said...

If you'll excuse the link spam from one of those 99% of political cartoonists (and self-styled satirists) who suffer from a half-witted narcissism.(I plead guilty). Do feel free to use the image at the URL below, if you find it fits with your own particular prejudices about what is happening in the US at present.
ps. got here via chicken yogurt...

Peter Risdon said...

Just curious - would you allow any facts to get in the way of this assertion that the libertarian right is to blame for the actions of the democrati left?

Paul said...

Yes, a very fine first draft. I just have a couple of matters of detail.

I assume the 'raw sewage' you are advocating is an oblique reference to Divine Comedy, and the punishments meted out in Dante's hell. However, immersion in human excrement (eighth circle) is reserved for flatterers. A more appropriate punishment is, elsewhere in circle 8, meted out to your 'thieving bastards', who are chased around by snakes and turned into all manner of abhorrent beasts on an everlasting basis. Yours 'twenty years' does seem rather lenient, I have to say.

Secondly, a little more detail may be warranted, not just on how the thieiving bastards have screwed the poor in the past but, by being bailed out for 0.7 trillion dollars or so, also promise to screw the poor well into the future. That, added to the existing US debt of $10 trillion, makes the current US debt about $35,000 dollars per American citizen, which is 120 odd years' salary of a Bangladeshi garments worker. And Kissinger called Bangladesh an economic basket case!

Paulie said...


If your argument runs along the lines of 'the market has failed, we need more markets', could I point you to the final bit of that post where I outlined the view that unregulatd markets are not compatible with representative democracy?

If you think that elections should be abandoned altogether, I'd be interested to hear the argument, of course...

Peter Risdon said...


No, my argument is really that while I don't blame the crisis entirely on the Dems and the left for their intervention in the US mortgage market - which led to poor credit applicants being accepted for mortgages for political reasons - I don't think you can blame people who have argued unsuccessfully for less government intervention.

Guido Fawkes said...

A re-draft:

"Greed -- for lack of a better word -- is good.

Greed is right.

Greed works.

Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.

Greed, in all of its forms -- greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge -- has marked the upward surge of mankind."

Anonymous said...


AIG did not have to be nationalized because Freddy Mac gave loans to black people, you sad sack of shit.

The vileness of you and your ideological ilk is second to none.

JuliaM said...

"AIG did not have to be nationalized because Freddy Mac gave loans to black people..."

There seems to be a bit missing in your statement there - 'AIG did not have to be nationalized because Freddy Mac gave loans to black people who couldn't possibly afford those loans, out of some twisted political correctness, regardless of good business sense...'

Fixed it for you.

Peter Risdon said...

Anonymous, there's no substance to reply to in your little dribble of bile.

ejh said...

and for a long time have been for preference.

Paul said...


Let me just get this clear then. You are saying that an aspiration to home ownership on the part of lower income people is a bad thing?

Will you be renewing your membership of the Defend Council Housing campaign, or will you be too busy with the Workhouse Free Trade Association?

Anyway, this whole mess is the poor's fault - at least that's now clear.

notshuggy said...

"...and its neighbours..." (no apostrophe), since you ask.

Simon said...

Anyway, this whole mess is the poor's fault - at least that's now clear.

You are correct, especially -

the work-shy and shiftless on incapacity benefit

single mums in social housing because of deliberate pregnancy

plus of course IMMIGRANTS


Risdon'sgjost said...

open your eyes people liberal hand-wringers are introducing more stealth taxes because they ar ebarely human its time we put tehm in a rocket and fire them in to teh sun it s all brown s fault

Gordon Clown Out Now -- Big Brother Government

guidostinybellend said...

In my opinion commyleftyliberals are just helping their cronies because they want to turn Britain into an islamic state!. Mark my words get out of the eu and get our country back!!. That would certainly cause a bit more care to be taken!??

Risdon's crackdealer said...

"poor credit applicants being accepted for mortgages for political reasons"

Risdon's smoking PCP again. What we need is *more* capitalism.

The reason poor credit applicants were accepted for mortgages had everything to do with making shitloads of money and huge bonuses insulating traders from the consequences of their insane greed.

Anonymous said...

Oooh, risdon and juliam managed to get on-message quickly, didn't they?

See here for details

Risdon's crackdealer said...

Black people took our money so give us $700 billion please.

Tim Almond said...

The problem is that this action isn't a free-market solution, but a corporatist one. Businesses who run themselves badly and fail should go to the wall, not be propped up by government. Plenty of banks didn't get into the Crock situation.mb

Peter Risdon said...

Crikey. I have a gjost and a crack dealer. I must hang out here more often.

I'm all for aspiration of every kind, Paul. In fact, that's exactly what I am for.

The current financial crisis is a complicated thing, but you can't blame it on an absence of government involvement (we have lots of government involvement in finance), and there was a move to lend to people who would otherwise have failed credit tests.

Peter Risdon said...

I ought to clarify - I'd let the bankers go to the wall, preferably without the protection of limited liability. What we have now is private profit and public loss. In fact, if that were the norm, their minds would have been a bit more focussed on not screwing up.

Allan said...

"poor credit applicants being accepted for mortgages for political reasons"

No. The reason loans were given to people too poor to afford them was because it was very profitable. As long as house prices are increasing then you can't loose: lend money for a mortgage, then either the person honours the debt, or they default; in which case you get the house to sell which by now has increased in value. Add in the fact that doing this on a large scale increases the amount of buyers and so driving up the value even more. This was why the price of housing increased so much over the last few years. Unfortunately it's a kind of pyramid scheme, which eventually will collapse when there are no more new buyers coming into the market. This is exactly what happened.

So to say it was for political reasons is slightly disingenuous.

Also I’m rather puzzled why you should think that it was a political decision not a profit based one? Financial institutions aren’t known for their social policies. It’s not the mortgage lenders that you find funding soup kitchens and pushing for more support for the poor and disadvantaged.

The Plump said...

I'd let the bankers go to the wall, preferably without the protection of limited liability. What we have now is private profit and public loss.

This is consistent with your political outlook, but there is a problem in that the consequences of a failure of the banking system would not simply affect bankers. It would produce a crisis that would affect people who were no part of the decisions that led to the failure. We would all be collateral damage. So the consequences of bank failure would result in both a private and public loss. Thus governments were faced with a dilemma and decided that the consequences of failure would be so catastrophic that they needed to take action to rescue those that had failed.

Secondly, I am touched by your faith in human rationality, however, you need to look at the mentality of the gambler and the prospect of loss does not deter recklessness in pursuit of gain. Especially if they can convince themselves of the infallibility of their system.

And on responsibility, I agree with Allan.

Paulie said...

As someone with a wife, kids, a mortgage and no family pile to fall back on, I spend most of my cash on necessities. No flash car, no lush holidays, and so on.

I absolutely object to big decisions effecting the future of society being taken by some semi-autistic upperclass single male who will spend his rewards on luxury items (and failure is measured in a lack of new fast cars this year).

It's a bit like the question of living with a drug addict that we discussed (elsewhere Peter R) yesterday. Gamblers don't just hurt themselves.

Oh, and do you know what the Gamblers Anomymous motto is?

"Bet you don't know who we are!"

Anonymous said...

Risdon'sgjost said...

THE EU IS USING MY WHEELIE BIN and the establishment is betraying our magna carter freedoms! THE ONLY SOLUTION IS TO PUT THEM IN LOONY BIN. Here come the pc brigade and the nanny state! New Labour is getting away scott free because they hate our freedoms. Come on burn them alive and lect jeremey clarksroom for president.

punkscience said...

Poe's Law all over this place.


Risdon wrote:
I'm all for aspiration of every kind, Paul. In fact, that's exactly what I am for.

Forgive me for stereotyping you from your comments in this one thread but what your type believes in is giving people aspirations without any chance to fulfill them. That's what keeps the masses dreaming as they work the checkouts, call-centre computers and production lines. You're happy for the carrot of success to be dangled just out of reach in front of them. God forbid you'd ever share any of your privileges in favour of some talented upstart from a council estate.

Risdon'sgjost said...

sad but true i couldn t care less but council estate scum are terrorising our streets isn t it obvious abolish tax this worries me

going_to_the_dogs -- here not _ Uliebioredom

punkscience said...

A few lines could be added to this version of the document laying out how the conservative mindset has resolutely resisted electoral reform as a tactic to maintain undemocratic systems that favour them.

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