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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
Thanks for your concern. My fiancée and I have not rushed into this. Respect for each other’s sensibilities, if mutual, is a good thing but rest assured neither of us will have to try to be anyone different!
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No apology necessary! I did not read it as a criticism. I agree with your analysis. And yes, modern sensors’ capabilities are fantastic for such circumstances.
Toggle Commented Nov 8, 2018 on A road trip to Northern Ireland at THE LAST DITCH
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Thanks. I like it. The grain suits the subject matter I think. 1/50 at f5.6 and 12800 ISO. It might be worth a run to NI. It’s pretty and the roads are good. I’ve never had a motorbike (though I’ve thought of it) but I think it would be fun to ride one there. Bike roads and Ferrari roads are similar!
Toggle Commented Nov 7, 2018 on A road trip to Northern Ireland at THE LAST DITCH
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I returned yesterday from an impulsively-organised road trip to Northern Ireland. For those of us who grew up during the Troubles, it's not an obvious tourist destination. The names of its towns and villages meant nothing to me but violence and – Giant's Causeway apart – I had never seen... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2018 at THE LAST DITCH
LOL I guess but, in fairness to the young gent, apart from being well-dressed, his taste in cars was the only thing I found to commend about him based on our brief acquaintance. :-)
Toggle Commented Nov 6, 2018 on Two disappointing conversations at THE LAST DITCH
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That’s certainly a consequence of victimhood culture. It may even be the objective. If people think of themselves as children — as vulnerable victims or potential victims — then they will cling to mummy’s apron strings. Would-be rulers love to pose as kind old mum; always thinking of their welfare, always ready to protect them and justifiably, lovingly stern when they get out of line.
Toggle Commented Nov 6, 2018 on Two disappointing conversations at THE LAST DITCH
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We both mentioned the word, trust me. Islamism in the West is only a threat however because of the unholy alliance with the Left. Not for the first time in history, our leftists support forces that seek the downfall of our civilisation — because they seek it too.
Toggle Commented Nov 5, 2018 on Two disappointing conversations at THE LAST DITCH
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This week I had two conversations; one with a valued and respected friend and one with a total stranger. I found both of them profoundly disturbing. My friend is Jewish. In the course of a conversation over lunch he told me that he and his wife have decided to leave... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2018 at THE LAST DITCH
In comfortable, middle-class West London I am surrounded by the smug. The local websites recently erupted in prissy anger, for example, at the notion that the site of a local scrap yard (I am surprised we still have one) is to be redeveloped as apartments. "It's not green" or "it... Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2018 at THE LAST DITCH
Whether something is right or wrong is always the first and often the only question James.
Toggle Commented Oct 7, 2018 on Truth, morals and democracy at THE LAST DITCH
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I don’t offer an alternative. I’m not sure there is one. The US is in a better position as its Constitution was formed at the high point of classical liberal thought. But it’s constantly under attack from those who want the same untrammelled power to screw with others lives that our politicians have. The intellectual hog cycle is scarily short. My own children — still gradually replacing the lies of their Marxist lecturers at Cambridge and LSE with experiences in the real world — dismiss my life experience as irrelevant ancient history from a dead world. It may take a Corbyn government for them truly to understand just how stupid, dangerous and damaging socialism is, which is a dispiriting thought. You’d think Venezualans had made that sacrifice for their generation but apparently it wasn’t enough. All future efforts at reform should be directed at purging the enemies of free markets and Western civilisation from education institutions. Teachers and lecturers are the enemy within as that young fool ranting at the Labour conference showed. They are to blame for warping young minds. In a way Margaret Thatcher had a better opportunity to save us when she was Education Minister than when she was Prime Minister, but she was mainly miffed at being given a “women’s job” and too focussed on achieving one of the great offices of state. Some of the lecturers peddling lies in the great universities are more dangerous foes than the idiot Scargill and his soon-to-be irrelevant miners ever were.
Toggle Commented Sep 29, 2018 on Truth, morals and democracy at THE LAST DITCH
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Democracy does not determine right and wrong. Democratic outcomes are not necessarily correct. If you live in an unfettered democracy like that of the United Kingdom, you will often find yourself on the wrong side of majority decisions that are misguided at best and quite often wicked. Classical liberals must... Continue reading
Posted Sep 28, 2018 at THE LAST DITCH
I would welcome immigrants to a libertarian state because there would be no welfare. People would only come to work and contribute so that would be fine. If they couldn’t or wouldn’t work they’d starve. Any that posed a military threat would be dealt with under the defence of the realm heading. Any that commited crimes would be dealt with by the police — with no need for any special provisions as all humans would be equal before the law. As long as being in receipt of full welfare benefits in the U.K. puts you in the top 10% of the world economically, then immigration controls are unfortunately necessary. In a democracy they need to be the subject of open honest discussion.
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You’re on! I’ll send you a guest author invitation
Toggle Commented Sep 1, 2018 on Of truth, reason and persuasion at THE LAST DITCH
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Stop the Khanage by Tom Paine. The link above will take you to more pictures from this morning's protest in Parliament Square. I had chipped in £50 towards the cost of the Sadiq Khan balloon caricature and went along to see it launched. The organisers were "Make London Safe Again"... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2018 at THE LAST DITCH
This article is another example of confirmation bias. Thugs beat an immigrant = evidence of the spread of a particular political viewpoint – in this case "far right". Immigrant thugs beat a local = an example of individual misconduct, suggestive of mental health issues and to see any pattern in it or draw any wider conclusions is "racist" or "islamophobic" or (ironically) "far right" In fairness, many who hate and/or fear Islam will play this wicked incident down in the same way as the left plays down Muslim violence. Either both incidents can be read as evidence of a group problem or both are individuals behaving badly. "A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest." "Like the others, the priest saw only what he brought." https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/germany-migrant-beaten-with-iron-chain-as-farright-violence-spreads-fkj6870tt?shareToken=c21bd9dc08d4672cd656326a73ab5326
Toggle Commented Aug 30, 2018 on Of truth, reason and persuasion at THE LAST DITCH
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I was there. It was them. They are lying.
Toggle Commented Aug 30, 2018 on Of truth, reason and persuasion at THE LAST DITCH
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To my surprise, I found a relevant point in a book I read today called “Why Photography Matters” by Jerry L. Thompson. He quotes Henry Adams on his 1892 visits to the memorial he had commissioned to his wife by the artist Augustus Saint-Gaudens. “...numbers of people came, for the figure seemed to have become a tourist fashion, and all wanted to know its meaning. Most took it for a portrait statue and the remnant were vacant-minded in the absence of a personal guide ... The only exceptions were the clergy, who taught a lesson even deeper. One after another brought companions there, and, apparently fascinated by their own reflection, broke out passionately against the expression they felt in the figure of despair, of atheism, of denial. Like the others, the priest saw only what he brought. Like all great artists, St. Gaudens held up the mirror and no more.” I agree a great artist holds up a mirror and (ideally) no more. I am sickened by artists who hold up what purports to be a mirror but is only their warped caricature of the world. But if everyone only sees what he brings, then the cynical post-modernists may be right and life may be worthless. I’m not having that. Are you?
Toggle Commented Aug 29, 2018 on Of truth, reason and persuasion at THE LAST DITCH
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If there was ever a post on which I’d hope you’d weigh in, James, this was it.
Toggle Commented Aug 29, 2018 on Of truth, reason and persuasion at THE LAST DITCH
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CherryPie — click the link in the original post please. I was there. I witnessed violent intimidation. They were guilty. The campaign is Marxists trying to rewrite history to sanitise violence
Toggle Commented Aug 29, 2018 on Of truth, reason and persuasion at THE LAST DITCH
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The more I think about religion, the less likely I seem to rediscover my lost faith. The path to that is not through Reason, or my reason at any rate. So, for the sake of my immortal soul (if any) perhaps it would be better for *you* to write about it as a guest author here? The Catholic Church is at a dire point in its history. Attendances at the Papal Mass in Ireland were about ⅓ of the last such occasion and calls for Comrade Francis’s resignation abound. I’m not one of those indulging in schadenfreude over the church’s travails (though I openly revel in those of the Red Pope). The Church does much charitable good in the world — for example as the single largest provider of genuinely free healthcare. If it is not to fail entirely (and I think that’s more likely than you might think) good Catholics like yourself will have to step up to demonstrate that it’s *not* the force for evil the Leftist Establishment and its media now claim.
Toggle Commented Aug 29, 2018 on Of truth, reason and persuasion at THE LAST DITCH
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The Foundation for Economic Education has an article on pretty much the same point I’m trying to make https://at.fee.org/2wi2XC7
Toggle Commented Aug 28, 2018 on Of truth, reason and persuasion at THE LAST DITCH
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Interesting. No, I don’t know for certain there is no God. I live on the working assumption He doesn’t exist because no one has adduced evidence He does. Mankind has an evident psychological need to believe, as witness the rich variety of supernatural (and now ideological) trumpery around the world, but there’s no consistency to it. Accident of birth and upbringing determines which imaginary friend a child has. When one has been replaced by another (eg the Inca by Jehovah) very human agencies (eg conquistadores and Jesuits) were visibly at play. Religious institutions are similarly more easily explained by the evident self interest of their human members than their stated purpose. Pope Francis is more able to shape the world to his wicked Leftist ideas in his current career than any other he was likely to have. The motivations of the Princes of the Church are easily explained without reference to God. Look at their wonderful lives! As for their underlings, we now know that the calling of many thousands of priests was to sexual opportunity not service for example. Their lives are lies from soup to nuts. If the Church is here to speak for God He’s saying some odd thinigs to Man at present. Or He’s turning up the difficulty of His credulity test called “faith”. A test I was already failing. All I can infer of the nature of God from the conduct of your church is that He values childlike credulity over rational thought. He has the same taste in people as a con man. Hmmm. You pose a false choice between God and self. I know I exist. There’s a sense in which — as my consciousness is the only tool I have to experience life — that I know nothing else. But I don’t worship myself. I often don’t even like myself very much. There are many people I respect more than me. You, for one. This blog exists for such debates. Thank you for attempting to answer my questions. You’ve focussed predictably on my minor reference to religion but feel free to answer them more broadly too.
Toggle Commented Aug 28, 2018 on Of truth, reason and persuasion at THE LAST DITCH
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I am not expressing myself well. I apologise. I am not calling all people of faith barbarians. That would be silly. Our civilisation (the opposite of barbarism) was largely formed by (or at least against the background of) Christianity. I am saying that there is a spectrum. At one end there is civilised religion (which I sought roughly to define as not presenting a threat to innocent third parties). At the other end there is barbaric religion (e.g. the kind that throws sinners off roofs and condemns those who leave it to death). I am surprised you think you don't have a problem with Mr Hitchen's test and I am now very curious to hear your answer to his questions! You're being less than genuous in saying "there is no proof of the absence of God". There is no proof of the absence of Iron Man or Thor either. If you want us to engage in a discussion as to whether they might be real (and who wouldn't like them to be!?) rational people will politely ask you to offer a prima facie reason to suggest they might be. If you ask us to take your organisation's stories more seriously than Marvel's, please offer a reason. Your problem, because "faith" is explicitly NOT based on proof (and that *is* the definition, whether you have ever said it to me or not) is that you can't. Here's the first definition presented by Google, for example. "Faith: strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction *rather than proof* [my emphasis]" So the discussion simply doesn't begin. Your religion is worthy of historical study because of its influence in shaping our society, but its tenets are – as far as I can see – every bit as contrived by humans as those of the Ancient Egyptians or the Vikings. Or Marvel. Incidentally, on the subject of proof and religion, there's a fascinating lecture here by a Christian scholar on the origins of Islam. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAq22E3E_Us&feature=youtu.be I spent over an hour listening to it tonight. Christ lived. He believed himself to be the Son of God. Some people at the time believed him. Eye witnesses wrote two of the Gospels. It seems however that Mohammed may just have been made up more than two hundred years after his supposed life in order to serve the contemporary political purposes of a ruler. h/t James at http://www.nourishingobscurity.com/2018/08/islam-a-reasonably-complete-guide/
Toggle Commented Aug 27, 2018 on Of truth, reason and persuasion at THE LAST DITCH
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There's a spectrum of religious views from civilised to barbaric, surely? Just as there is for secular ideologies. Christopher Hitchens had fun asking the religious how many religions were wrong (to which they would of course answer all except theirs) and then asking them whether it was worse for him to be a disbeliever or a follower of a false god. The relatively trivial point to which you take exception was that being (as you put it) "courteous" to the civilised (i.e. harmless to innocent third parties) end of the religious spectrum might raise an expectation of similar "courtesy" at the barbaric end. It certainly gives rise to the problem of drawing a line between civilisation and barbarism. In today's world, as BoJo found out, that can be characterised as "discrimination" or worse. "Respecting" faith eventually comes up against calls for criticism of it to be silenced. In England we abolished the law of blasphemy in relation to your Jehovah only now to face pressure to restore it for their Allah. As to being "fully rational", I hate to disagree with you but surely faith is – by definition – irrational? Faith *means* belief without evidence, no? Faith to a believer is an insight or perhaps intuition *superior* to rational judgement, isn't it? Or in some cases, it's based on an actual spiritual "meeting" with the object of belief or one of His angelic or saintly agents. If you tell me you have met Jesus, Jehovah or the Virgin Mary, I can only reply "I haven't." I know the Mother of Christ has a penchant for occasionally appearing in person to young French and Spanish girls and the odd group of Irish villagers, but the rest of us are left to find Fatih without any such help. And that seems to be an intentional test. from which I am puzzled that they were exempted. Finally, I am astonished that you have made the post-modernist argument that in the end all our judgements rest on mere belief. If there are no facts, no verifiable truths to be found or inferred by Reason, then we can all certainly skip off happily into any of the extant religions, civilised or barbaric, or indeed into any new religion we would like to conceive. Or we can become "trans-sane" and believe any damned thing that we like – e.g. that gender is a social construct and that a man can menstruate if he only truly believes. Marx's "scientific socialism" having failed so conclusively. it's quite alarming how the post-Soviet Left is lurching towards a quasi-religious ideology where belief combined with status trumps not only difficult-to-understand science but even the bleeding obvious. Even the Catholic doctrine of original sin is echoed in the inherent privilege and racism of white people in general and white men in particular. I'm disappointed to find you their fellow-traveller on this anti-factual odyssey. For myself, unless the Holy Mother would like to give me the privileged French or Spanish teenager / Irish peasant treatment, I'd rather stay cis-sane and look for factual evidence before committing to anything.
Toggle Commented Aug 27, 2018 on Of truth, reason and persuasion at THE LAST DITCH
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