A Deepening Cultural Crisis

I was watching Margaret Thatcher, Death of a Revolutionary, today. What interested me about it was not so much Thatcher herself, but the accompanying political analysis, which went something like this:

Post-war Britain had a post-war political consensus. Much of industry – mines, ports, railways, communications, etc. – had been taken into state ownership by the Labour government. And the Conservative party, which was largely made up of the wealthy and aristocratic landed classes, accepted this because they were no more economically liberal than Labour, and saw it as their job to run the country from the top down.

But the new monopolistic state-run industries soon became outdated and over-manned and uncompetitive, and Britain became the Sick Man of Europe.

Enter the economically-liberal grocer’s daughter, Margaret Thatcher, who managed to oust the wealthy and aristocratic Conservative party leadership, and then be elected Prime Minister, and go on to de-nationalise most of the state-run industries, transforming Britain’s economy.

But 12 years later, in a counter-coup, she was herself ousted by the wealthy and aristocratic Conservatives she had largely sidelined throughout her administration.

Since the programme was about Margaret Thatcher, the political analysis did not continue through to the present day. But what it seemed to suggest was that the post-war political consensus had been restored, with the slight difference that most of her liberal economic reforms were retained by both her Conservative and Labour successors. There was no re-nationalisation.

And so now we have an Eton-educated, upper-class, Conservative Prime Minister with an Eton-educated cabinet. It’s just like Britain in the 1950s. And furthermore, just like then, the Conservative government hasn’t been rushing to undo what Labour did under Blair and Brown. There’s been no real change.

But if state-run Britain in the 1950s and 60s was economically illiberal, it was culturally highly liberal. You could think what you liked, write what you liked, and sing what you liked (and grope who you liked). So while Britain’s exports were dwindling, and its economy declining, it was exporting the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and quite a few other cultural products.

And while in 1964 we had a largely state-run economy and a liberal culture, in 2014 we have a liberal economy and an increasingly state-run culture.

And nothing symbolises this more than the smoking ban introduced in 2007. This is a kind of state control of culture which would have been completely unthinkable in 1964.

And it’s not stopped at tobacco. State control is extending to alcohol, diet, and sex (e.g. Dave Lee Travis conviction for groping a woman 20 years ago). Conformity is now expected in more or less every respect, including belief in the doctrine of Global Warming. And there are more and more rules and regulations about everything, mostly emanating from the EU superstate. Because we aren’t just state-run these days, but superstate-run.

And, in fact, state controlled political culture plus economic liberalism now seems to be the global model to which almost every country adheres. It’s the EU model. And it’s the Chinese model. It’s the Russian model. And it’s largely the US model too. The authoritarians among us have shifted from trying to control the economy (which they were never any good at), to trying to control and modify cultural values and beliefs.

I never had the sense, back in the 1960s, that Britons were being brainwashed into adopting new values. But in 2014, I strongly believe that the government and the media are working as hard as any East German government to propagandise and regiment citizens into conformity. It’s the principal reason why I no longer watch TV, listen to the radio, or buy newspapers.

Back in Britain in the 1974, we had a deepening economic crisis. But what we now have is a deepening cultural crisis. Are we to have the cultural freedom to think what we like, say what we like, write what we like (and also grope who we like), or is it all to be dictated to us by an army of bureaucratic busybodies in Brussels and the UN and NGOs (like ASH)?

Because I suspect that having a liberal culture is just as important as having a liberal economy. Because the two aren’t separated from each other. A liberal free market economy also needs liberal new ideas, new hopes, new aspirations. Innovative new products require innovative imagination. In what way can a nation of conformists ever dream up anything new, ever step ‘outside the box’, or ever hope to storm the world like the innovative and imaginative Beatles and Rolling Stones once did?

We don’t need a new Margaret Thatcher to transform our economy. We instead need something like a new Margaret Thatcher to transform our culture, and restore the freedoms we’re currently losing hand over fist.

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About Frank Davis

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31 Responses to A Deepening Cultural Crisis

  1. smokervoter says:

    In certain ways this also applies to the recent history of my state.

    The Beatles, and more so the Rolling Stones, really shook things up and changed the world. But it was the Yardbirds who were totally outside-of-the-box. Think of Jeff Beck’s fuzzy-sitar lead intro to “Heart Full of Soul”. His incredible lead solo on “Shapes (of things to come)” was out of this world at the time as well.

    And above all, as a garage band lead guitarist I was tasked with trying to recreate the long, fuzzy, note-sustaining lead riff on “Mister Your a Better man than I”. Learning it and trying to duplicate that crazy sound was one of the most challenging undertakings of my teen days.

    To this day Jeff Beck continues to represent the very best of Britain with his ever changing, always new, never stuck-in-the-mud guitar virtuosity. It all started with the Yardbirds. And with Great Britain.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Britannia Rules the Sound Waves.

    • Some French bloke says:

      “Britannia Rules the Sound Waves”

      Indeed, and in addition to the Beatles, Stones and Yardbirds, the 1965 to 1975 era yielded these – mostly British – milestones of popular music: The Who, Led Zep, The Kinks, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, The Doors, Procol Harum, King Crimson, The Cream, Genesis (the incredible 1972 to 1976 period), Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, The Beach Boys…
      1975?… Is it mere coincidence that the amazing chemistry that made these acts possible started to vanish ever since that insane project called ‘The Godber Blueprint’ was formulated and, sadly, generally embraced and implemented?

    • Frank Davis says:

      The Yardbirds seem to have been the nursery for at least 3 great guitarists. Clapton, Beck, and Page. Of the three of them, Jimmy Page was my personal favourite, but maybe Jeff Beck was actually the most accomplished guitarist of the three.

      But it all came bouncing back in spades. The Electric Prunes’ I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night was astonishing. Unfortunately it seems to have been pretty much the only thing they ever did. I used to play it at 33 rpm.

      • nisakiman says:

        I used to play it at 33 rpm.

        What, a 45 rpm single? That must have been quite bizarre, sort of like being on acid. :)

        • Frank Davis says:

          Yes, it was rather bizarre. But I never took any LSD, so I’ve no idea whether it was like it or not.

        • nisakiman says:

          Heh! I get the distinct feeling, Frank, that any of those psychotropic drugs would have been superfluous in your youth. You seem to have a natural ability to access those parts of your brain without any chemical assistance. :)

      • smokervoter says:

        Very close call there, Frank. I have oodles of respect for Jimmy Page, the man is an awesome talent. He certainly gets the nod for songwriting ability. Beck hasn’t written very much over his career. He said in an interview that his favorite composition was “Where Were You”. And it’s hard to disagree with that.

        But for out and out sound (Tone !!!) and technique there is no one that can approach Beck.

        One of the reasons I’m so glad to be able to YouTube once again with my Windows XP computer is so that I can study and watch Beck’s picking and fret-working machinations. The cameraman on this video did us guitarists a huge favor by his tight-in focus shots.

        Can you believe some of the sounds that are emanating from that Fender Stratocaster of his?

  2. smokervoter says:

    How’s about a little California-bashing session to round out the weekend.

    I found this story amusing and quite frankly I don’t blame people for feeling the way they do about California and its horrid influence on the rest of the country, and nigh, the rest of the world for that matter.

    The comments are great, too. I think I advanced the idea of selling the state to China to settle our 2 trillion dollar debt to them to Frank some 4 years ago. I opined at the time that they would soon regurgitate it due to the repressive governance and overly-Socialist tendencies of their adopted electorate. There’s comments to this effect.

    My favorite one though occurs down at the end. Here it is:

    “The people who have ruined this incredible and unique state, have for the most part been non-native Californians, before you give us to the Chinese , deport all the people not born there, this would give us an even shot at changing the lunacy……Just add it to the wish list.”

    Forget Secession. Americans Want to Boot California from the Union.

    • marieengling says:

      California is the primes motor in all bans of the world – isn’t it?

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Eugenics: the California connection to Nazi policies

        ahrpDOTorg/infomail/03/11/10DOTphp

        Eugenics: the California connection to Nazi policies_SF Chronicle

        Mon, 10 Nov 2003

        On Sunday, Nov 9, the San Francisco Chronicle published an extraordinary, most informative article by Edwin Black, that sheds light on the role played by the American eugenics movement in the Nazi extermination policy. Eugenics is a pseudoscience whose purported aim is to “improve” the human race, while eliminating that portion of the race that eugenicists deem “undesirable.” The article is adapted from Black’s recently released book, “War Against the Weak,” published by Four Walls Eight Windows.

        Black shows that American eugenics played a decisive role in the adoption of racist and even lethal public policies in the US and then in Germany. Black writes: “Eugenics would have been so much bizarre parlor talk had it not been for extensive financing by corporate philanthropies, specifically the Carnegie Institution, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Harriman railroad fortune. They were all in league with some of America’s most respected scientists from such prestigious universities as Stanford, Yale, Harvard and Princeton. These academicians espoused race theory and race science, and then faked and twisted data to serve eugenics’ racist aims.”

        “Stanford President David Starr Jordan originated the notion of “race and blood” in his 1902 racial epistle “Blood of a Nation,” in which the university scholar declared that human qualities and conditions such as talent and poverty were passed through the blood.”

        “The Harriman railroad fortune paid local charities, such as the New York Bureau of Industries and Immigration, to seek out Jewish, Italian and other immigrants in New York and other crowded cities and subject them to deportation, confinement or forced sterilization.”

        The influence of American eugenicists was even more sinister. American eugenicists influenced the Nazi sterilization, experimentation, and extermination policies–including the medical atrocities first conducted on institutionalized disabled human beings–adults and children. What’s more, the scions of American philanthropy financed German eugenicists and actively supported their pseudoscientific research institutes.

        Therefore, no useful discussion about medical and behavioral research ethics can take place without an examination of the American eugenics movement. Yet, American bioethicists have studiously avoided a critical analysis of the eugenics movement, its lethal ideology, and its inevitably lethal “solutions.” By their silence, American bioethics seem to be attesting to the lingering, but covert influence of eugenics within the American healthcare and research community.

        Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Long Island, was a eugenics center founded by the Carnegie Institution. Among its activities was the stockpiling of “millions of index cards on ordinary Americans, as researchers carefully plotted the removal of families, bloodlines and whole peoples. From Cold Spring Harbor, eugenics advocates agitated in the legislatures of America, as well as the nation’s social service agencies and associations.”

        • smokervoter says:

          David Starr Jordan was born in Gainesville, New York, and grew up on a farm in upstate New York. His parents made the unorthodox decision to educate him at a local girls’ high school. No comment but just WOW, f-ing wow.

          Jordan arrived at Stanford in June 1891 and immediately set about recruiting faculty for the university’s planned September opening.

          I might be wrong but I think he was 40 years old when he first set foot in California. Sorta’ like Stanton Glantz.

          Once they get here everyone seems to forget where they lived during their formative years.

          None of my many California born and bred friends are freedom-hating antismokers nor eugenicists, they’re quite the opposite actually.

        • caprizchka says:

          “Yet, American bioethicists have studiously avoided a critical analysis of the eugenics movement, its lethal ideology, and its inevitably lethal “solutions.” By their silence, American bioethics seem to be attesting to the lingering, but covert influence of eugenics within the American healthcare and research community.” Bingo.

          My perverse analysis: http://caprizchka.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/the-naval-orange-and-the-perfect-woman-the-ironic-failure-of-the-california-eugenics-movement/

          Thank you to all for the music recommendations! My vote goes to Jeff Beck.

          P.S. Please don’t deport me from California! I came here seeking political asylum from my family in 1977. Thank you!

        • smokervoter says:

          @caprizchka

          Judging by your avatar I’d be more amenable to importing rather than deporting you.

          I don’t know if you’re familiar with my prior comments here, but I’m the resident native California defender/basher on board. I’m well aware of how F’d up the state is politically at the present time, but it wasn’t always that way, not by a long shot. You couldn’t ask for a finer childhood/teenhood/adulthood than I’ve had here.

          BTW, I Was a Teenage Navel Orange Citrus Ranch Hand (Werewolf). A long term high school sweetheart of mine’s daddy was one of the Big Shot Orange Farmers in town. He was grooming me to enter the biz after I presumably married his daughter upon graduation. I’ve done everything to a navel orange except have carnal knowledge with one.

  3. Marvin says:

    I think the post-war liberal culture was more to do with the experience of the generation that had endured the war years, the fighting, the rationing, the deprivation of freedoms, the hatred towards the ruling class (Churchill was despised by many), witness the Labour landslide victory of 1945 with the promise of the nationalisation of the “commanding heights” of the economy, the introduction of the NHS, state pensions etc. The nationalised economy was very rational at the time and enabled much faster reconstruction and coherance, than would have been possible with an unplanned, chaotic, “free market” system. It was in effect the continuation of a planned, socialised, war economy, but for peaceful purposes and the social cohesion that existed in the war years (across all classes) largely remained intact. With a stable, planned economy, cultural freedom could develop and did.

    This is in sharp contrast to the so-called “free market” economics of the Thatcher years and beyond, when people are forced to compete against each other in the name of “business efficiency” (destroying sociability and class solidarity), are anxious about keeping their jobs (due to “rationalisation”) and “greed is good” (encouraging the ruthless), it results in the atomisation of society and everyone loses, except big business and the ruthless.

    • junican says:

      Too simplistic. The ‘free choice’ of millions of people would dictate business success, provided that the choice was ‘free’. To be ‘free’, the choice needs to take account of advertising influences,
      It is remarkable that the Government allows ‘Public Health’ to use advertising tricks and exaggerations to promote anti-tobacco propaganda (like tumours growing on cigs and red blood turning black). Such appeals to emotion should be anathema to Public Health because they are, essentially, lies. In Public Health, only truth and facts are important.

      The answer to ‘Big Business’ is competition. But the EU is anti-competition in that it demands conformity to ‘standards’ which it dictates.
      There is a mess, wholly created by the contradiction between the idea of competition (equals innovation) and standardisation (equals structuralisation). What that means, in general terms, is TOTALITARIANISM (one size fits all).

      I doubt that our lobotomised elite zombie party leaders realise how much they are being used.
      Fools.

    • Frank Davis says:

      With a stable, planned economy, cultural freedom could develop and did.

      That suggests that Britain enjoyed little or no cultural freedom prior to 1945. And I don’t think there’s much truth in that. In fact I think that there’s almost always been very considerable cultural plurality, with all sorts of ideas and beliefs being very freely expressed. So while on one hand there’s Adam Smith and a long line of classical economists, there’s also Marx sitting in the reading room of the British Library writing Capital. And while there’s Ernest Rutherford studying the structure of the atom, there’s also Madame Blavatsky and the spiritualists. And of course, long before that there was William Shakespeare.

      So I think that post-war cultural freedom was a continuation of a pre-war cultural freedom.

      And I don’t think that Margaret Thatcher was the enemy of cultural freedom. She was primarily an economic liberal. As for people being ‘forced to compete against each other’, the two of Britain’s post-war cultural products that I mentioned – the Beatles and the Rolling Stones – belonged to a highly competitive pop music industry, where artists and bands were in powerful competition with each other to sell records (and yet who were nevertheless friends who would meet up at parties), and in which there were a few winners and lots of losers (most records didn’t get to the top of the Hit Parade), but the world as a whole benefited from the great music they all produced. That’s how capitalism works. If we had had a planned music industry, along the lines of the steel industry, we’d probably still be listening to Frankie Vaughan or maybe even Vera Lynn.

      I’d also add that, in the USA, the musicians that the Beatles and the Rolling Stones idolised (Little Richard, Chuck Berry, etc,) were almost all black artists, and I suspect that it was these artists who did more to break down racial barriers than Martin Luther King. So one kind of cultural freedom served to produce another kind of freedom.

      No, the atomisation of society that I’m talking about wasn’t a product of the Thatcher years. It was something that began in Britain on 1 July 2007, with a piece of top-down, totalitarian legislation.

      And I should add that I didn’t like Margaret Thatcher.

    • waltc says:

      @Marvin
      Cultural freedom is the partner or father or offspring of economic freedom. They’re in the same ball of wax. (On the socialist extreme you’ve got the censorship and political correctness imposed by for instance the Soviet Writers Union or Mao’s Little Book.) the market lets me choose from a menu of ideas, places, groups, things. Would even now let me choose a smoky bar which, in turn, would be of economic benefit to its owner and employees and the economy at large Even to the tax base. Further, I am sick of the imposition of an officially (media and gov’t) approved set of attitudes and values. The socialization of ideas.

      As for the rest, competitiveness and acquisitiveness are an endemic part of human nature and, when freed, lead to innovation which in turn leads to prosperity for everyone. When suppressed, they lead to cultural demoralization. No matter what you think of Ford, or for that matter, Gates, their ideas produced far reaching prosperity for millions of people up and down the social scale. Nor does free enterprise stifle either empathy or cooperation. It’s not a Manichean Either/Or.

  4. Interesting post and comments, but our whole lives have been regimented much more than we think. Talking of 60s music, in 2011 I wrote about The Controlled Music Industry and “Counter-culture”. The music was to fuel the sexual liberation desired by the social engineers to degrade society.

    ‘Vee’ in the comments goes into much more detail and writes about the Frankfurt School’s Herbert Marcuse,

    “In his book An Essay on Liberation, he proclaimed his goals of a radical eroding of values; the relaxation of taboos; cultural subversion; Critical Theory; and a linguistic rebellion that would amount to a methodical reversal of meaning.

    “Marcuse preached the “Great Refusal,” a rejection of all basic Western concepts, sexual liberation and the merits of feminist and black revolution.

    “He may be the most important member of the Frankfurt School in terms of the origins of political correctness, because he was the critical link to the counter culture of the 1960’s. His objective was clear: “One can rightfully speak of a cultural revolution, since the protest is directed toward the whole cultural establishment, including morality of existing society…” His means was liberating the powerful, primeval force of sex from its civilized restraints, a message preached in his book, Eros and Civilization, published in 1955.

    “Marcuse became one of the main gurus of the 1960’s American teenage sexual rebellion; he himself coined the expression, “Make love, not war.” With that role, the chain of Marxist influence via the Frankfurt School was completed: from Lukacs’ service as Deputy Commissar for Culture in the Bolshevik Hungarian government in 1919 to American students burning the flag and taking over college administration buildings in the 1960’s.

    “He was the pied piper of sixties radical youth, feminists, black militants, homosexuals and the alienated and asocial. He openly encouraged sex and drugs and introduced the idea of “polymorphous perversity” where all moral and cultural order is rejected. He also called for a “repressive tolerance” but this was to be applied only to the Left.

    “Previous societies had been subverted by the written word, but Marcuse believed that sex and drugs were infinitely superior weapons.”

    • Frank Davis says:

      The music was to fuel the sexual liberation desired by the social engineers to degrade society.

      …the Frankfurt School’s Herbert Marcuse,

      The Beatles and the Rolling Stones (and the entire 60s pop culture – of which I was a fully paid up member) first appeared in Britain in around 1962. I doubt either of them had ever heard of Herbert Marcuse at that time (and maybe ever). Marcuse didn’t write One Dimensional Man until 1964, and only attained any fame or notoriety at the end of the 60s, and then more in California rather than London.

      Marcuse (and others) were late-comers to a party that was already well under way, and who latched on to an existing non-political pop culture, and infiltrated it with Marxist ideas, with the result that by the end of the 60s pop culture had been transformed into a left wing political movement with John Lennon as one of its spokesmen.

      This sort of entryism is how Marxists work. They wait for some cultural process to gather momentum, and then climb aboard. It’s happened since then with the environmental movement, which has also become a left wing political movement. Or what James Delingpole describes as Watermelons – green on the outside, red inside -.

      If you really want to argue that 60s pop culture was all a Marxist plot, you need to find a few Marxists in the Cavern club or Eel Pie Island, teaching John Lennon and Paul McCartney how to write good Marxist-Leninist song lyrics. Because I don’t think that “Love Me Do” really cuts it.

      • Not sure when Marcuse’s influence started, but he was born in 1898 and wrote ‘Eros and Civilization’ in 1955, but there was and is an untold number of such characters.

        I was a fully paid-up Beatles fan as well. It wasn’t until the 80s that I collected all their LPs (and EPs!). Never got around to the singles.

        ‘Love Me Do’ is a dire song. Not sure why they chose that one as a single. It’s not just the lyrics, but the drug-fuelled, promiscuous nature of these cult figures, which infects others. Before the Lennon-McCartney compositions came along (many written solely by one or the other, Paul’s being the best IMO), they were borrowing songs from the American rock ‘n’ roll and R&B scene as were other Cavern regulars.

        Either way, I think we agree that these phenomena are taken over by the PTB.

    • beobrigitte says:

      “He was the pied piper of sixties radical youth, feminists, black militants, homosexuals and the alienated and asocial. He openly encouraged sex and drugs and introduced the idea of “polymorphous perversity” where all moral and cultural order is rejected.

      The open sex/drug ‘revolution’ was the subject of a discussion I had lately.

      “Marcuse became one of the main gurus of the 1960’s American teenage sexual rebellion; he himself coined the expression, “Make love, not war.” With that role, the chain of Marxist influence via the Frankfurt School was completed: from Lukacs’ service as Deputy Commissar for Culture in the Bolshevik Hungarian government in 1919 to American students burning the flag and taking over college administration buildings in the 1960’s.
      Actually, Marcuse had nothing to contribute other than the famous ” Make love – not War” phrase. It was musical “experimentation” that started this so called sexual revolution and hippiedom.
      I grew up with the hippie-leftovers who by then were a minority. One of them introduced me to the english group ‘Magna Carta’. Lord of the Ages is from 1973.

      “They don’t give no mortgage on a castle in the air”

      “Two old friends of mine
      Is this all life has left of you?
      Who took the laughter, the times
      We said what we were going to do?
      When we were grown and ready
      To take on the world, with a song
      And now the tune is one
      You can’t remember ”

      Why can’t I think of how things used to be when I listen to this song?? WHO cared about anybody smoking? Who cared about anybody not smoking? We were still a group of people joining a long started experiment. And we did feel FREE, ready.

      Ask a German of the age of 65 – 70 if he/she knows the name Markuse. Ask a German if he/she knows the phrase “Make Love not War” – you will discover that people think that this phrase refers to the Vietnam war.

      If we allow the healthists to continue:

      “Two old friends of mine
      A dripping tap
      And a broken old chair
      And if I read between the lines
      Someone’s lonely
      Someone doesn’t care
      If it’s all gone by tomorrow
      For tomorrow’s been and gone
      Like a bird
      That has no home”

      is what we are looking forward to.

  5. Of course, we all felt a lot more free in the past, because the enslavement process is gradual. The fact that the subversion is going on throughout the West via sexual ‘liberation’, mass immigration, UN (and EU, etc.) ‘agreements’, regulations and fake ‘human rights’, smoking bans, etc. is proof of global government (largely) behind the scenes.

    They control both sides. I realised this when I started discovering that the main figures in “alternative” media, like Jones, Icke, Dice and Ventura all seemed to be working as double agents.

    Clearly, the same people are running the Tory and Labour parties, hence all those ‘terrible’ laws the ‘other’ side enacted while in government are rarely repealed when the ‘opposition’ gets in. For example, why is fox hunting still banned? The only one I can think of is Section 28, which Marge Thatcher introduced to stop the “loony left” Labour councils promoting homosexuality in schools in the 1980s. Now, even the Tories are grovellingly apologetic for having been so ‘homophobic’.

    Thatcher was despised (and hated) here in Scotland, but I sometimes tell people that Section 28 was her most popular policy up here. Brian Souter (he and his sister founded the Stagecoach transport empire), ran a private referendum, Keep the Clause campaign, where 7 out of 8 Scots who voted wanted to keep this protection for children.

    Even then, you can see the disdain the SNP leadership has for what they were recently describing as the “sovereign will of the Scottish people”.

    Mainstream politicians, including the Scottish National Party (which Souter has supported) largely ignored the poll result, and disputed whether it was a true reflection of public opinion.

    The 1.1 million people who voted to keep Section 28 are rubbished by the SNP, but it’s a different case for the 1.6 million who voted for ‘independence’. Salmond was even talking about declaring independence anyway.

    Mainstream parties in all Western countries have a prior commitment to cultural subversion.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Clearly, the same people are running the Tory and Labour parties, hence all those ‘terrible’ laws the ‘other’ side enacted while in government are rarely repealed when the ‘opposition’ gets in.

      Well, that is one possible explanation.

      The other possibility is that the Conservative and Labour parties share a lot of their thinking, and that their thinking gradually co-evolves. In the Margaret Thatcher video, the shared thinking was that firstly the aristocratic Tories regarded themselves as Britain’s natural rulers, and secondly the Labour party wanted top-down state-controlled industry. i.e. They were BOTH top-down ruling parties. And this shared characteristic allowed them to co-exist in government.

      This “peaceful co-existence” came to an end with the arrival of Thatcher – at which point the Labour party began to be torn apart. But it now seems to have been restored. And now, in addition, there’s the top-down rule of Brussels on top of all that. And if so many Labour and Conservative politicians are so thoroughly enamoured of the EU, it’s precisely because they share dreams of top-down control with EU bureaucrats.

      And of course the smoking ban is a prime example of top-down control.

  6. carol2000 says:

    Two hotel guests robbed while taking outdoor smoke break
    By Sam Cusick. Madison.com

    Two hotel guests got more than they bargained for while taking an outdoor smoke break late Saturday night, after two suspects attempted to rob them, according to a Madison Police Department report.

    The victims exited their room shortly before 10 p.m. Saturday evening to take a smoke break outside the Comfort Inn and Suites hotel, located at 4822 E. Washington Ave., when two suspects confronted them with weapons and searched them, according to the report by MPD Sgt. Jason Sweeney.

    After searching the victims, the suspects fled the scene on foot before police arrived. Police are still searching for the suspects.

    Read more: http://host.madison.com/news/local/crime_and_courts/two-hotel-guests-robbed-while-taking-outdoor-smoke-break/article_008b1985-a07d-594b-89e8-eb317ef85529.html#ixzz3FI0RittD

  7. harleyrider1978 says:

    The truth about Ebola in America: an epidemic, or even an outbreak, is extremely unlikely

    Posted on October 1, 2014 by admin

    CDC_worker_incinerates_med-waste_from_Ebola_patients_in_ZaireFor months now, we’ve been reading the scary facts about the west African Ebola outbreak — far and away the largest recorded since the virus was characterized in 1976 as a distinct entity. To summarize, as of this week there have been about 6,000 cases recorded, and about 3,100 deaths: but these are widely believed to be gross underestimates, given the meager epidemiological resources of the involved area (Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and, to a lesser extent, Nigeria). Americans, especially the media, wondered and worried: might it spread here?

    Until this week, the answer seemed to be “no.” In retrospect, this dismissal seems like wishful thinking, given the travel proclivities and ease of international movement these days, plus the lack of early identifying signs and symptoms of the disease. Those infected are asymptomatic for anywhere between 3 days and 2 weeks before becoming ill, and the earliest signs are quite similar to any other viral illness, such as the flu.

    This is just what happened a few days ago when a patient was definitively diagnosed with Ebola in a Dallas hospital. (A report issued only today indicates there may be a second case, related to the initial one). The gentleman flew to Dallas on 9/20 from Liberia and, according to information supplied by the CDC, only became clinically ill on 9/24, while staying with family and friends. Unfortunately, despite seeking medical attention on 9/26, he was not diagnosed and was sent home with antibiotics (which of course have no efficacy whatsoever against viral illnesses). When he became desperately ill, he was rushed by ambulance to the hospital on 9/28, having exposed an unknown number of contacts during the several days (9/26-9/28) when he was contagious. (Thankfully, the virus does not spread while the patient harboring it is not him/herself ill).

    The disease is not easily spread, even when the patient is communicable, ie., sick. Casual contact will not do it, some contact with bodily fluids is needed: blood, urine, secretions, sputum, nasal effluence, diarrhea are communicable items. Semen as well, although the likelihood of a man sick with Ebola transmitting the disease sexually seems remote. In Africa, consuming “bushmeat” — meat from a dead animal — is also a hazard, one unlikely to present a problem in our country (similarly, burial rituals often transmit the virus in Africa).

    ACSH’s Dr. Gil Ross had this comment: “Screening all those coming to our shores from the involved African nations for fever is a simple enough procedure, and worked quite well during the SARS epidemic in 2003 — once the nature of the illness became clear. We at least already know quite a lot about the natural course of Ebola infection, but this episode does remind us that a few contagious individuals will slip through anyway. However, with heightened scrutiny and intensive contact tracing and isolation as appropriate, the chances of any widespread outbreak here are minimal to none, in my opinion.”

    ACSH’s Dr. Josh Bloom argues that it is too soon to know how this will play out. He says, “We are now having the first real test of the actual risk of outbreaks in the US. It is premature for the CDC to say that there is nothing to worry about. This may be true, but the most problematic scenario is pretty much what happened. An infected, but asymptomatic person enters the country and becomes ill once he is here. Once he is ill he can now infect others during the interval between first symptoms and isolation. The problem is that early Ebola mimics norovirus quite well, the second most common infectious disease in the US (30 million people per year). Many people will get off planes and become ill within a few days. Almost none will be infected by Ebola. But, how can you tell?”

    We should also remind our readers that the CDC hasn’t exactly been inspiring much confidence this year. You can read Dr. Bloom’s unflattering Science 2.0 piece, “Smallpox in a Big Box With no Locks” here. While that was really a different issue than tracing and isolating people with Ebola, it speaks to the issue of competence— something that seems to be in short supply at the CDC.

    (An added “program” note: ACSH’s Dr. Gil Ross gave his perspective on an Indianapolis-based radio interview during “drive time” this morning: listen here).

    http://acsh.org/2014/10/truth-ebola-america-epidemic-even-outbreak-extremely-unlikely/

  8. garyk30 says:

    “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Britannia Rules the Sound Waves.”

    Oh Dear,
    Let’s look at the number of ‘Gold, Platinum, and Ultra Platinum’ records that have been awarded over the years.
    1.Elvis Presley = 167
    2. Beatles = 114

    The most popular single record of all time is Bing Crosbey’s “White Christman’ with 50 million sold.

    • Some French bloke says:

      I think Smokervoter meant the word ‘rule’ on an artistic level first and foremost: in spite of being a comparatively small country, Britain’s contribution to popular music during this golden era we’re reminiscing about has been awesome.
      The word ‘competition’ has negative overtones, and rightly so, and when discussing these ‘rivalries’ between musicians (Beatles/Stones, Clapton/Hendrix, Beck/Page or, in another realm of music, Liszt/Chopin), the word emulation should be mentioned at least once.
      E.g. Jeff Beck has been far less commercially succesful over the years than Jimmy Page, yet commenters here clearly think that both men are on a par, or even rate Beck higher on some levels. Yet for all that, Beck doesn’t at all look, or sound, like an embittered man.

  9. beobrigitte says:

    Are we to have the cultural freedom to think what we like, say what we like, write what we like
    Does this apply to all people or just ASH et al & friends?

    (and also grope who we like),
    If any man gropes me, he gets a smack before being shown directions to Spec Savers.
    If any man gropes my daughter I better call an ambulance straight away – it will be weeks before solid food is on the menue again for this guy!!

    Although girls back in the 60s and 70s expected groping (for some it was a great thing to be noticed for their boobs as otherwise there was little chance to get noticed at all), not all girls liked it then. I didn’t. However, it became a rather enjoyable ‘training session’ to deal with the gropers!!! Police involvement??? You’ve got to be joking!!!! A good kick in the nuts did the trick!! And then it was forgotten.
    It really annoys me that GROWN WOMEN come forward 20, 30, 40 years later to drag an arsehole to court for groping them 20, 30, 40 years ago!!! Life stopped the minute they were groped? REALLY????

    or is it all to be dictated to us by an army of bureaucratic busybodies in Brussels and the UN and NGOs (like ASH)?
    REAL cultural freedom is a comfort zone, it is none of ANY government’s business, less even NGOs!!!!

  10. waltc says:

    Cultural socialism: The Nudge

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/im-an-adult-stop-nudging-me/article20925672/

    If you read the embedded link to the Waldron essay, you might want to skip to sections 3 and 4.

    God, I detest those “We’s.”

  11. caprizchka says:

    @smokervoter,

    Are you *objectifying* me like some sort of juicy seedless imported-from-Brazil fruit? Well I do declare. I’m sure my Daughters of the American Revolution grandmothers would be appalled by such a thing. So much the better. Saudações.

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