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Tom
London, England
An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about threats to liberty in Britain
Interests: liberty, travel, photography, writing
Recent Activity
Neither can I. And if a child is orphaned or abused, other family members should take care of it in preference to state intervention.
Toggle Commented 39 minutes ago on Of Left and Right, Reason and Faith at THE LAST DITCH
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I am as socially conservative as you in how I choose to live. But I am not socially authoritarian. The more things you want a state to regulate the bigger it must be. And history shows us that big states do more harm than the social ills you want them to suppress. THAT is where we differ. We could live as neighbours without ever scandalising each other I assure you!
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I am anything but a progressive, but then maybe it’s just a badge word with no real objective meaning. Authoritarian leftists use it as a euphemism for their Marxism and conservatives and libertarians use it as a term of abuse. Like when an antifa calls someone a Nazi it’s really just a bombastic way of saying “you’re wrong”. And I know you think I’m wrong and it’s ok because I would like to be.
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You are a good man and I genuinely like to agree with you, but I struggle here. To agree "we were made" for X and Y, would require, I think, my agreement on the existence of a Maker. I would like to agree on that, but I can't. Friends of faith are praying that I may be able to one day. The best I can say for now is that it is objectively better for children to be brought up in a marriage staffed by both major varieties of human. I already went so far as to say that I would not willingly have brought children up in any other way. That's not always a choice and one of my best friends in the world is womanfully, with great love and noble intent bringing up a splendid young gent of whom I am very fond entirely on her own. It wasn't her first choice but she's doing her best and I have high hopes he's going to turn out well despite the disadvantage of having no full-time male role model. Decent males of her acquaintance are deputising when they can. One of them is me and I only wish she lived closer so I could do it more. Given your disagreement with my ideas you may be happy he's not over-exposed to my role model! Other friends are doing their best in sub-optimal family circumstances. Of the nature, nurture and free-will tripod, one or more leg is wonky for their children but there's plenty of evidence from children brought up in worse circumstances that a one-legged tripod consisting of just the child's free will can produce good results. For example I knew one of two brothers brought up by a tragically useless single mother in appalling circumstances. With no educational or financial advantages, he made a decision to rise above his upbringing. Before he died he raised a good family. His children have no valid complaints of disadvantage and his grandchildren are now prospering too. His brother on the other hand turned out as a good Social Justice Warrior would have predicted - drugs and crime and dissolution. There were no differences in their circumstances or upbringing. One just accepted he was a victim and the other refused. I don't deny life is unfair and that certain starts in life offer advantages. I simply hold robustly to the practical view that every sane and healthy man has a powerful choice in how to play the cards he's dealt. All a poor child in the United States has to do to join the ranks of the world's lucky is to finish high school and not conceive a child until married and able to support one. I doubt the bar is any higher in Britain or any other Western country. That's in anyone's grasp if he is not discouraged by people who tell him that he's a hopeless victim. The greatest evil Leftists do is tell young people they have no chance because of their class background, sex, sexual preferences or ethnicity. Legislating for virtue is pointless. Firstly legislation is essentially unvirtuous because it involves violence. Secondly legislators are no more (I would argue they are less) likely to be virtuous than any random parent. And thirdly, virtue compelled is not virtue at all. Good intentions matter and going through the motions of virtue is a vice. Marriage is not a magic spell. It's not a ritual incantation to be made every day over breakfast to invoke the protection of the gods. It is, as the order of service makes clear, a difficult thing and not to be undertaken lightly. You cannot seriously be arguing that the imprimatur of a state will make a thing better than your God can on HIs own surely? The kind of "encouragement" a state can offer is weak stuff. If you marry because it buys you a tax relief, what kind of mother or father are you likely to be, for goodness sake? Finally, my neighbour's child is important, yes. But I would be an hypocrite if I claimed s/he is as important to me as my own. I help my neighbour's child where I can, out of a natural inclination entirely unshaped by the state. Anyone who needs to be compelled by state violence to do what my nature inclines me to do is best kept well AWAY from children. You're one of my most rigorously intellectual interlocutors, but you are making the common error of assuming the violence of the state can be directed to good ends. All non-defensive violence is bad. Government is a necessary evil and evils must be kept to an absolute minimum.
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It is statistically correct that children thrive better if brought up in a marriage. That's how I chose to bring mine up and I would never have done so in another way. Such generalisations are useful in making ones own choices but not so much in inflicting them on others. Not every child is lucky enough to grow up in ideal conditions. That does not mean they are doomed. Children from the same environment often turn out very differently. There is nature, there is nurture and there is free will. For the most part, attempts to use the state to inflict ones ideals on others are likely to do more harm than good When the early Church converted European nations from the top down - evangelising their kings and having them impose the Church's world view on their subjects – it committed an error (you might say a sin). It gave the keys to the definition of a range of human relationships to the State, when they should have been matters for the humans involved in them (and their God and/or Church if appropriate). I am not a libertine. I value stable human relationships. I simply respect my fellow men enough (and have enough humility) NOT to believe I am entitled to inflict my views on others using state violence as my proxy. Nothing in my experience of life suggests to the contrary.
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Yes, the reaction to Rees-Mogg's honesty was informative. The Left believes that to permit is to condone. I condone very little of what people do. I have my own fairly strict rules as to how I think life should be lived, but I would permit almost everything, short of the initiation of violence and fraud. A new aspect of this odd world view of those who would be our masters is that it's not enough to accept others' foibles. One must now endorse them, approve them, encourage them or one is - again - assumed to condemn them. I neither care, nor accept any obligation to care about what others do as long as they are not initiating force or fraud.
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Left and Right are not useful labels any more, if they ever were. They don't even mean the same things everywhere. I am “right wing” (I would just say right) when it comes to economics but a liberal in social respects. For example I literally do not care who does... Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2017 at THE LAST DITCH
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Life is tough at the bottom of the equality heap | The Spectator. I am catching up on last week's magazines as I was away on my road trip when they were delivered. I only just got to the linked article in The Spectator. The first anecdote in Melissa Kite's... Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2017 at THE LAST DITCH
Thanks for those contributions. The fact that not a single po-mo person shows up to explain my errors is rather an index of my failure as a polemicist. Professor Peterson and Milo's posts are not only interesting in themselves but in the responses they elicit from those who would (were the boot on the other foot) be called trolls. So lacking in self-awareness are the po-mo brigade that they usually make matters worse for their side of the argument. If you don't believe in Reason, I guess you have no incentive to be reasonable but surely a bit of persuasiveness might be in order? There was an interesting observation by someone in the context of the scandal of the teaching assistant who secretly recorded her Star Chambering by three academics at her US university for presenting a video by Prof. Peterson as one side of a balanced argument – without approval but also without ritual denunciation. This gent commented that so complete is the dominance of the Left in academia that many have never had to argue their case before. For lack of practice, they are simply useless at persuasion. That is an optimistic thought. Those of us in real life who have had to negotiate for a living, or even just argue for a pay rise, justify a budget or talk our way out of being fired for underperformance (!) likely have more useful debating skills than these bullying propagandists.
Toggle Commented Nov 22, 2017 on The post truth era began long ago at THE LAST DITCH
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If I have blogged very little of late, at least on political topics, there are two reasons. Firstly I have been toiling through a very difficult book, which I wish I had read years ago. It explains so much of what I have written in the past — while often... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2017 at THE LAST DITCH
If you are interested you can see an album of photos from my road trip at the link below. Tom in the Carolinas 2017. Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2017 at THE LAST DITCH
My day started well with a walk on a windy beach and a photo I liked. Then a motel breakfast lowered the tone as it will. I soon cheered up as I hit the road and drove through Kitty Hawk and back over a bridge to the mainland. My touristic... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2017 at THE LAST DITCH
Thanks. I am happy to hear it. It is an extraordinary place and I wish I had spent more time there. I wanted to visit the “lost colony” of Roanoke for example where the first English settlers, sponsored by Sir Walter Raleigh no less, were abandoned and forgotten long before Plymouth Rock.
Toggle Commented Nov 15, 2017 on In Blackbeard's wake at THE LAST DITCH
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The only friend I have who lives in North Carolina today commented on Facebook that he has never heard of these islands. All the more kudos then to my Austrian-American lawyer friend in Georgetown who suggested I should drive back via The Outer Banks and not (as I had planned)... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2017 at THE LAST DITCH
I wish I could travel the American Road all the time! I am glad you enjoy the posts. Thanks for the spell check!
Toggle Commented Nov 14, 2017 on Charleston, SC and Beaufort, NC at THE LAST DITCH
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You probably don’t need me to tell you that Charleston is a beautiful city. It was one of the great cities of the British colonies in the Americas. It was a major port and naval base. 40% of black Americans can trace their ancestry to slaves sold in its little... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2017 at THE LAST DITCH
I adapt to my environment, I guess. ;-)
Toggle Commented Nov 12, 2017 on Arriving at the wedding venue. at THE LAST DITCH
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On the Great American Road Trip of 2013, the Quarterback (remember him?) told me it was wrong that I felt so at home in the United States and saw it as part of my culture. "These people", he said, "formed their nation in rebellion from yours". So, indeed, they did... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2017 at THE LAST DITCH
I was two and three quarter hours from Camden, SC – the venue for this weekend's wedding – when I woke yesterday morning. I loaded the car, said farewell to my Russian hostess as she went out to her gym and then breakfasted with her American husband at the development's... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2017 at THE LAST DITCH
Thanks for the suggestion and good wishes. I fondly recall our lunch meeting on my Great American Road Trip of 2013. I hope you're as well and happy (political irritations aside) as I am.
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Metropolitan :: 1111 Metropolitan Avenue, Suite 300, Charlotte, NC. 28204 :: 704-552-1700. The city of Charlotte NC was nothing to me but a word in my address book until yesterday when I met another old Central & Eastern Europe buddy there. I was surprised by the skyline as I approached... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2017 at THE LAST DITCH
Battle of Appomattox Court House - Wikipedia. I have not blogged for a while. The political situation in the UK cannot please a sensible person of any persuasion and I have really had nothing to add to the mix of bitterness, fake news and witch-hunting that characterises the Brexit interregnum.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2017 at THE LAST DITCH
68,000+
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Thanks. I’ll look into that.
Toggle Commented Sep 17, 2017 on Tilting at windmills at THE LAST DITCH
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I have not blogged since Friday because my home in Porrera, the otherwise excellent La Icona del Pont Vell did not have wifi. An old friend and I (a German client from my lawyering days in Poland and Russia) shared a two bedroom town house on the village square, conveniently... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2017 at THE LAST DITCH