I beg your pardon?

Capitalism requires a layer of cheap, flexible labour to operate optimally. It is not a coincidence that the most successful global economy, by any traditional capitalist measure, is an authoritarian quasi-communist state.

You what?

The successful economies, by any traditional capitalist measure, are places like Singapore, Hong Kong, the US, UK, Luxembourg, Germany and so on. The rich as shit places. And barring Hong Kong’s status as an island of neoliberal orthodoxy in a communist state I can’t see that any of them could be described as an authoritarian quasi-communist state.

What he means of course is China but no, we don’t hold that up as a successful capitalist economy. For the glaringly obvious reason that it’s still pretty poor. Which ain’ty the point at all: it may be growing quickly, true, but that just shows how badly fully authoritarian communist states work.

107 comments on “I beg your pardon?

  1. But it is true that China would currently be the best place to make quick and easy money. If they would let you take your money in. And, more importantly, out.

  2. “The great lie, peddled by Thatcher and Reagan, was the idea that we could all be middle class, white-collar professionals within a neoliberal economy”

    Evidence please. Otherwise I’ll dismiss it as a great lie.

  3. The irony being, how may horny handed sons of toil read the Guardian, as opposed to middle class, white-collar professionals? That’s what all the fuckers who read the Guardian are or aspire to be.

  4. Well I’d say we’re pretty much an actual communist authoritarian State ourselves here in the UK. People’s incomes, particularly at the lower end are entirely down to ‘need’ due to the effects of the benefits system. Someone did a study a while back and proved that a single mother working in three totally different pay grades in the NHS ended up with virtually identical take home pay after Tax Credits. You need State approval for just about everything these days, the State has capricious power over every single one of us, there are constant examples of it. Business is vilified by the State apparatus daily.

    There was a post over at Counting Cats the other day that made the point – if you compare how free we were in 1913 to today we really are living in a communist authoritarian State. Thats how far we’ve come, and we don’t seem to even realise it.

  5. Many of us here do, Jim. I was going to make much the same point as you, before I saw you’d got there first. But we need to remember, statist authoritarians have learned from the bad PR of the 20th century: no more jackboots or goose-stepping. So the outward signs are not as obvious. And they don’t use mass brutality so much as the threat of ruin, dispossession, separation from family and children.

  6. which is worse, the moronic Guardian article (quite why capitalism quakes at the prospect of a few people having their debts cancelled is beyond me) or the lunatic commentators this blog attracts “I’d say we’re pretty much an actual communist authoritarian State ourselves here in the UK”?

  7. Well I’d say we’re pretty much an actual communist authoritarian State ourselves here in the UK.

    Are you using the words “actual”, “communist” and/or “authoritarian” with the normal English meaning or does the abbreviation “UK” refer to something other than the United Kingdom?

    People’s incomes, particularly at the lower end are entirely down to ‘need’ due to the effects of the benefits system.

    Eh? Surely the benefits system mitigates, not causes, “need”?

  8. Eh? Surely the benefits system mitigates, not causes, “need”?

    I think (hope!) that you may be misinterpreting a less-than-felicitously constructed sentence. I would parse it as, “Due to the effects of the benefits system, people’s incomes (particularly at the lower end) are entirely down to ‘need’.” Which is at least a plausible proposition worth discussing both as to its truth and its desirability, as opposed to the clear lunacy you identify.

  9. we’re not a communist state here in the UK, that’s exaggeration, hyperbole, &c.

    We are pretty authoritarian, though. Compare the many, many things you can be taken to court for now to the things you could be taken to court for at the turn of the 20th century. Now, some of them are good; it’s generally a bad thing for eg men to rape their wives or people to beat their children. Rigid quality control of things that people are going to ingest, or environments where they are going to work is usually (with exceptions for burdensome over-vigilance) a good thing.

    But nevertheless, and the benefits aside, you’d be hard pushed to argue that state regulation hasn’t leapt and galloped its way into people’s lives to a degree unimagined in 1901.

  10. It depends on what you mean by capitalism. If you mean free markets, the criticism is wrong. If you mean the statist, cronyist clusterfuck we actually live under, the criticism has some degree of validity.

  11. Well I read the article for the optimistic scenario.
    1. Patient needs medical help, too ill to worry about cost.
    2. Huge bill can’t be paid.
    3. Drs & nurses not very good at collecting debt.
    4. So they sell it to Wall St at a discount.
    5. Wall St does the usual slice and dice, syndicates debt to mug capitalists.
    6. Capitalists realise debt will not be paid, write down value to small %.
    7. Anti capitalists pay them money, cancel the debt.

    Remind me why Obabacare is necessary again.

  12. Philip, I wouldn’t argue with a claim that the UK’s benefits system has perverse effects, e.g. no incentive to work up to 16 hours on minimum wage (because earning £1 reduces benefits by £1), with diminishing returns for working over 16 hours, and additional complexity and potential hardship if on hours that vary week by week.

  13. LE & UKl

    In 1913 you could roll a cheese down a hill and no one in authority would try and stop you, not so easy now. You will perhaps dismiss that as trivial, which is the problem, soul by soul and silently the state’s less than shining bounds increase.

  14. Thornavis, believe me I do understand that in some ways we are less free than in 1913 (and in some ways we are more free). When I criticise one opinion (in this case Jim’s) it doesn’t mean I support some other opinion I didn’t mention. HTH.

  15. So in 1913, you could pretty much say whatever you pleased, publish whatever you liked, most people were exempt from income tax, you could smoke anywhere you wanted, and most drugs were legal.

    Doesn’t sound bad to me.

  16. Steve, don’t forget you were also perfectly entitled to carried a firearm to protect yourself, as immortalised in the Sherlock Holmes stories – ‘Bring your revolver Watson!’
    And the State had very limited powers to enter private property – A Man’s home is his Castle etc etc.

    The rule of law meant something, it applied to everyone, not just the ‘little people’ the way it does today.

    Its the old ‘boiling frog’ story – incremental reductions in freedom that no-one really notices, and generations grow up knowing nothing different.

  17. @ Jim

    I can’t be bothered to look it up, but there is a rather wonderful story about some policemen in the late victorian period chasing a malefactor and – upon discovering he was carrying a pistol, and not (of course) having guns themselves – borrowing a brace of revolvers from passers-by until they captured him. Upon which they returned them, with thanks.

    Which I think is rather excellent.

  18. You poss mean the 1907 bank robbery along the Tottenham Court road by armed (leftist) “anarchists”. The TCR police station had a gun cabinet but it had rusted shut and they went out in the street and asked passers-by for the loan of their firearms. Lots of people were indeed heeled and lent out their guns and several volunteered to come along and help, which they did. The bank robbers were run to earth and captured after a short non-lethal shoot out.

    I prefer that sort of freedom to our increased “freedom” of today–ie the state is more accepting of (some) sex habits.

  19. Mr Ecks yes! I too yearn for the days when people carried guns on the Tottenham Court road and gays were locked up.

  20. @ LE

    I think you’ll find that in Tottenham people do still carry guns, and aren’t massively accepting of gays. Swings and roundabouts.

  21. Luis, just to repeat my usual schtick, remember that the anti-gay laws were introduced late in Victorian times by social purity/progressive movement, so should be seen as an early-ish manifestation of the authoritarian state we now live in, rather than as something “traditional”. They are one of the few authoritarianisms of that time that have been thoroughly repealed. The rest of the suite- from censorship and suppression of prostitution to State alchohol controls from Temperance- remain in force to various degrees, are currently intensifying again, and are the backbone of the socially interventionist State.

    Suppressing “gross indenceny” was seen as modern, radical and progressive.

  22. Luis Enrique:

    I did not suggest that homosexuals should be locked up or express approval of the fact that they were. I pointed out that the state having a change of mind about (some) sex habits is not freedom. When the state has even so much as an opinion about only a very small range of topics then freedom may be approaching.

    I imagine that anyone reading our previous posts on lots of issues will find that you are far more of a friend of the state than I am.

  23. In 1913 … publish whatever you liked

    Unless it was obscene, or subversive, or the Lord Chancellor didn’t like it.

  24. I think you can pretty fairly put the blame for the increasing power of the State during the 20th century on two World Wars. During the First, the State took increasing control of the economy – directing where people could work, which industries should receive raw materials etc, and found that it was rather agreeable. There was an attempt at rolling it back in the ’20′s and ’30′s but along came WW2 and in with rationing, ID cards, surveillance and much of the paraphernalia of the modern State we know and love.

  25. cuffleyburgers,

    @UK liberty – in what way would you say we are more free?

    It depends on the “we”. Here are some ways:
    there was the marital exemption from rape;
    wives could not divorce on same grounds as husbands;
    male homosexual sexual activity was illegal;
    more than half the population didn’t have the vote;
    women couldn’t be lawyers, magistrates, judges, or jurors (or enter any ‘profession’ iiuc);
    it was legal for employers to discriminate on the grounds of ethnicity or sex;
    you couldn’t stand at Speaker’s Corner and talk about sexuality or insult the Union Jack;
    publishing anything with expletives or about sexuality risked imprisonment.

  26. @UKL: so why cannot we have all those freedoms AND the ones we had previously too? Why does not locking up gay people mean we can’t take drugs, or abolishing marital rape demand we ban firearms as a quid pro quo?

  27. ukliberty – “there was the marital exemption from rape;”

    How was that an extension of freedom? What we have now is the State intruding – and questioning, evaluating, judging – right into the bedroom of every couple in the land. We had a tiny, virtually non-existent problem (with better, and less intrusive solutions) and we all lost a massive amount of privacy. How is that an improvement?

    “wives could not divorce on same grounds as husbands;”

    Still true. Except these days it tends to be the other way around. Wives can expect prizes and sympathy if they allege abuse or domestic violence. Husbands, not so much.

    “male homosexual sexual activity was illegal;”

    But virtually never prosecuted. Homosexuals were perfectly able to go about their daily lives as they saw fit. As long as they did not sue people for calling them poofs.

    “more than half the population didn’t have the vote;”

    That is true. Good times.

    “women couldn’t be lawyers, magistrates, judges, or jurors (or enter any ‘profession’ iiuc);”

    To all intents and purposes they are not these days. And don’t seem to want to be.

    “it was legal for employers to discriminate on the grounds of ethnicity or sex;”

    As it still is. As long as you discriminate against men, heterosexuals, and Whites. Again this is a massive loss of freedom involving the State intruding into every possible commercial arrangement in these Bless’d isles.

    “you couldn’t stand at Speaker’s Corner and talk about sexuality or insult the Union Jack;”

    You probably could. But no doubt sensible steps would follow.

    “publishing anything with expletives or about sexuality risked imprisonment.”

    Good.

    So not a lot of losses of freedom there. You just take the very modern Leftist view that War is Peace and Slavery is Freedom

  28. SMFS,

    ukliberty – “there was the marital exemption from rape;”

    How was that an extension of freedom?

    Er… it wasn’t. The point is that wives are now more free in that respect than they were in 1913. Husbands cannot rape them and claim exemption because of marriage.

    “wives could not divorce on same grounds as husbands;”

    Still true.

    False.

    “it was legal for employers to discriminate on the grounds of ethnicity or sex;”

    As it still is. As long as you discriminate against men, heterosexuals, and Whites.</blockquote
    False.

    “you couldn’t stand at Speaker’s Corner and talk about sexuality or insult the Union Jack;”

    You probably could. But no doubt sensible steps would follow.

    Sigh. Yes, people capable of speech were literally able to speak as they pleased. They did however risk imprisonment by talking about certain things.

  29. “male homosexual sexual activity was illegal;”

    But virtually never prosecuted. Homosexuals were perfectly able to go about their daily lives as they saw fit. As long as they did not sue people for calling them poofs.

    False.

    “women couldn’t be lawyers, magistrates, judges, or jurors (or enter any ‘profession’ iiuc);”

    To all intents and purposes they are not these days. And don’t seem to want to be.

    False.

  30. Sorry Jim, I’m not sure if I understand your comment at 11:52 pm. I’ll take it literally – our constitution doesn’t require freedoms and rights to be traded quid pro quo with other freedoms and rights or infringements or repeals of them. Parliament can make or unmake any law – that’s it. And there isn’t a quorum required for a Bill to be made law. So a sufficiently vocal and sufficiently large number of ‘concerned citizens’ can say something like, “women and the working classes shouldn’t be exposed to DH Lawrence because they’ll be corrupted”, so Parliament passes an obscenity law because it’s politically expedient or their duty or whatever and publishers end up in prison if they break that law.

    Re drugs or gays or even heterosexuals having anal sex, many people don’t believe in letting consenting adults do as they please with themselves do they? They don’t believe that the only legitimate exercise of power is to prevent harm to oneself or others (John Stuart Mill), and believe it is their duty to prevent people from causing ‘harm’ to themselves – or they extend the definition of ‘harm’ to ‘costs to the NHS’ or some abstract notion of harm to ‘society’.

  31. ukliberty – “Er… it wasn’t. The point is that wives are now more free in that respect than they were in 1913. Husbands cannot rape them and claim exemption because of marriage.”

    True. But either you think the State has a right to pry into our bedrooms or you don’t. You seem to think they do. I am rather agnostic on the issue, but there is no denying the massive loss of freedom to the 99.99% of the British population who have no intention or desire to rape their wives, but now have the State in their bedrooms.

    So not a nett gain of freedom is it?

    “False.”

    You know, I am enjoying your double standard – when you can’t win you claim I am not worth bothering with. When you think you can, your replies are not usually this vacuous. Still, it is true. Try going to Court and asserting domestic violence as a man and see where it gets you.

    “False.”

    Such a rich and textured, nuanced even, response. A classic of its time.

    “Sigh. Yes, people capable of speech were literally able to speak as they pleased. They did however risk imprisonment by talking about certain things.”

    They did not risk imprisonment for insulting the Union Jack. Marx was not jailed for the Communist manifesto. Lenin and his pals were not jailed for holding a Central Committee meeting in London.

    People who ranted about sex were probably at a greater risk of being committed as mentally ill. A decision that I might well consider medically sound all things considered.

    ukliberty – “False.”

    Did the police bother Oscar Wilde even once? Not until he was stupid enough to sue. Did the police bother anyone much? Actually no. It is hard to think of a single openly Gay British person who had any problems with the law at all. As long as they kept it to themselves.

  32. ukliberty – “They don’t believe that the only legitimate exercise of power is to prevent harm to oneself or others (John Stuart Mill), and believe it is their duty to prevent people from causing ‘harm’ to themselves – or they extend the definition of ‘harm’ to ‘costs to the NHS’ or some abstract notion of harm to ‘society’.”

    And so some harmless Christians are arrested for openly preaching that homosexuality is a sin and some utterly harmless B&B owners are dragged through the Courts.

    Got to hate the Left don’t you?

  33. SMFS,

    But either you think the State has a right to pry into our bedrooms or you don’t. You seem to think they do.

    What on earth are you talking about? Do you even know? It wasn’t about the state “prying into bedrooms” it was about the futility of a wife making a complaint that she had been forced to have sex by her husband because he would get away with it due to the exemption.

    They did not risk imprisonment for insulting the Union Jack.

    There was a man convicted for precipitating a breach of the peace by insulting the Union Jack at Speaker’s Corner.

  34. ukliberty – “What on earth are you talking about? Do you even know? It wasn’t about the state “prying into bedrooms” it was about the futility of a wife making a complaint that she had been forced to have sex by her husband because he would get away with it due to the exemption.”

    Really? A husband and a wife having sex has nothing to do with their bedroom? Brilliant. You’re out doing yourself. It was about the freedom of the rest of us from having to go down town and explain to a policeman and a judge what we did or did not do with our wives, where, when, in what positions and so on.

    Marital rape laws are precisely about State intrusion into the sex life, and hence the bedrooms, of every couple in the land.

    “There was a man convicted for precipitating a breach of the peace by insulting the Union Jack at Speaker’s Corner.”

    As I said. No problem with insulting the Union Jack. Less so with precipitating a breach of the peace.

  35. ukliberty – “SMFS, plainly you’re a troll or spectacularly thick.”

    In the Griswald decision, the US Supreme Court held that having the State involved asking someone about their use of birth control was an unwarranted intrusion into their privacy. It was described as an intrusion into the bedrooms of the nation. The Court said the State had no right inquiring into what went on between a husband and a wife. Later this was extended to unmarried couples. And the same logic was abused in Roe v. Wade – the State had no right interfering in the private decisions of a woman and her doctor.

    This was further upheld by the Lawrence decision. Which drew on the language of Griswald to strike down a law that, Justice Kennedy said worked “upon the most private human conduct, sexual behavior, and in the most private of places, the home”.

    So do marital rape laws.

    Now you can think that this is a good thing. It is a perfectly reasonable opinion. But you cannot deny it is a massive intrusion of the State into “the most private human conduct, sexual behavior, and in the most private of places, the home”.

    Now I suggest you will be happier if you get over your cognitive dissonance. Either way, in 1904 it would have been unthinkable for the State to demand someone came into a police station and detailed precisely what sort of sexual acts they have been having with their wife and in what circumstances. Now it is routine. As well meaning as the law may have been (and I don’t think it was), there is no denying the massive loss of privacy and hence freedom.

  36. Actually I think UKL has a point about marital rape – but that is a relatively small entry in the positive side of the ledger compared to the massive, and unrelenting entries in the negative side.

    It is also rather pointless to describe the UK as a communist authoritarian hell hole. it is much less free than many of us would like and much less free than most people think and socialistic thinking underpins almost every action of the government and is reported by the stalinist BBC through socialistic spectacles. However we should recognise that there is no gulag and lip service at least is paid to the idea of freespeech and freedom generally.

    so all in all its just floppy, the majority of the population don’t think much about it and the governmental class and its socialistic running dogs can just get on following, possibly even unwittingly their cultural marxist agenda.

    we are deluding ourselves if we imagine there is any chance whatever of a low tax rothbardian paradise in this sceptred isle.

    At least in the US there are the tea partiers who ensure that low tax libertarian ideas at least get some sort of an airing . Over here the BBC ensures that cannot happen.

    in my view the fundamental step that is necessary to start to escape the socialist hamster wheel is the dismemberment of the BBC and its scattering to the four winds.

    That done, movements like Richard North’s Harrogate agenda might start to make some progress. UNtil then there is no hope.

  37. @ UKL / SMFS

    this is the problem, the debate has now been framed in such a way as to play off people’s freedoms against each other in a sort of zero sum game. Ergo, an employee’s right to employ whom he wants gets set against ‘discrimination’.

    And this is why the state slowly gets to encroach more and more, because most people swallow whole the idea that someone’s freedom can be balanced against someone elses. But it’s ballocks.

    No husband’s ‘freedom’ is impinged by no longer being allowed to rape his wife. Any gay man’s freedom is seriously curtailed by not being allowed to have sex with other men. Conversely, the state telling me that I can only choose to employ someone on state-sanctioned criteria, however much of a shit I might be definitely does (It’s my job to give, not theirs). There’s nearly always a simple answer, once you decide the state should be safeguarding freedoms, rather than forcing everyone to be nice.

    I’m not really the target audience, though, as I’d reverse universal suffrage tomorrow, either reinstating the property requirements or instituting some form of intelligence test.

  38. @SFMS

    But either you think the State has a right to pry into our bedrooms or you don’t.

    Rape is a crime. If a husband rapes his wife, it’s a crime. It used to be that a woman simply could not report rape carried out by her husband because it was not a criminal offence. Now it is. This is not about the State, it’s about crime being investigated and where appropriate being brought before the courts, where the decision as to guilt is made by a jury. not ‘the State’.

    I know the punishment is the process to an extent, and I’m in favour of reciprocal anonymity for suspects; but beyond that I’m struggling to find any other way to deal with serious allegations.

    (If you don’t think rape is serious, you’re a bigger cunt than I thought, and I already thought you were a big cunt.)

    Try going to Court and asserting domestic violence as a man and see where it gets you.

    4,000 women were convicted of domestic violence related offences in E&W in 2011.

    This is fewer than men, but various surveys, and common sense, have shown that men are less likely to report. Plus, these things take time; the conviction rates have quadrupled in the last few years.

    To all intents and purposes [women] are not [lawyers, magistrates, judges, or jurors (or members of) any profession] these days. And don’t seem to want to be.

    What spectacular brand of bullshit is this? Go to any court in the land and you will find female barristers with female solicitors sitting behind them, often in front of female judges. I think 60 per cent of new solicitors are women.

    How many doctors are female? Teachers? Vets? My accountant is a doris. My female friend flies 747s for BA; she’s one of quite a few.

    You really are either stupid, or pissed, or stupid and pissed.

  39. SMFS is a really big cunt. When libertarian thought leads you into anarcho-libertarianism you actually end up with at least as much oppression and restriction of liberty as any state can manage. That our movement towards the happy medium involves a smaller state than at present doesn’t mean going out the other side is a good thing.

  40. Do think the lengthy flurry between SMFS & UK Lib rather misses the point. Yes 1913 had some restrictive & to today’s mind, unwelcome proscriptions. But the important difference between 1913′s & today’s restrictions is the State’s ability to enforce them.
    Take pornography. Yes in 1913 censorship legally denied the availability of certain forms of published matter. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t very freely available. (Examples that have survived are now quite collectable & sometimes valuable). The authorities weren’t enthusiastically pursuing porn merchants. Contrast with now, where although the laws are largely relaxed, what is proscribed is enforced with obsessive zeal. So we get an art gallery receiving threats of prosecution for displaying a rendition of Leda & the Swan. People detained by police for possession of holiday snaps of their own children. Dawn police raids & permanent confiscation of computer equipment for suspicion of downloading material the suspect may not even have known they’d downloaded. Note; There’s no mention of formal arrest, prosecution or conviction involved here. The suspect forfeits possessions simply because the police have the power to remove them. They are retained as ‘evidence’. People have even been arrested for sketching ‘inappropriate’ subject material or creating similar CGI.
    It’s not the laws. It’s the enthusiasm to enforce.

  41. And a word on ‘marital rape’.
    It is a totally unnecessary criminal offense created because the sex act so obsesses a certain sort of progressive mind. Sex, like cooking dinners & assembling IKEA flatpacks are the sort of things people expect to do when they get married. It’s nothing special. If the woman doesn’t wish to consent to sex or construct bookshelves, there’s a simple remedy. Leave. The use of violence to compel either, however, is assault & should be dealt with as such.

  42. sam,

    No husband’s ‘freedom’ is impinged by no longer being allowed to rape his wife.

    That wasn’t what I suggested. I suggested the wife is today more free than she was in that respect. The wife was assumed to have irrevocably given her consent to sexual intercourse with her husband on entering into marriage.
    bloke in spain,

    Do think the lengthy flurry between SMFS & UK Lib rather misses the point. Yes 1913 had some restrictive & to today’s mind, unwelcome proscriptions. But the important difference between 1913′s & today’s restrictions is the State’s ability to enforce them.

    Sure, but in the examples I gave it was easier to establish what the law was or is than the enthusiasm or capability of enforcing it.

  43. bloke in spain,

    Sex, like cooking dinners & assembling IKEA flatpacks are the sort of things people expect to do when they get married. It’s nothing special. If the woman doesn’t wish to consent to sex or construct bookshelves, there’s a simple remedy. Leave.

    Leave when?

  44. Dunno, UK lib
    Her birthday? His birthday? Wedding anniversary? Wimbledon men’s finals day?
    When would you consider leaving your wife (if any) because she unreasonably insists on you doing the hoovering? Immediately if she was threatening you with an axe, I’d imagine. In due course if it was just nagging?

  45. She’s fine before her husband forces her to have sex so why leave? Leave while her husband forces her to have sex? She’s being held down, she can’t leave. Leave afterwards? Sure, but should obtain a divorce as well. Because it wasn’t an offence to rape one’s wife.

    you’re comparing rape to being nagged about the hoovering? Sincerely hope you’re attempting humour.

  46. “you’re comparing rape to being nagged about the hoovering? Sincerely hope you’re attempting humour.”

    None whatsoever. Unlike a lot of progressives I’m actually quite progressive about sex. it’s like any interaction between two or more people. Has as much significance as you wish to invest in it.
    She’s being held down? Sounds like assault to me. Reasonable grounds for divorce. Why does the assault involving sex make it different?

  47. UKl

    As someone else has said, the trading of one lot of freedoms for another by the state doling out, sometimes conflicting, positive rights is not an indication of whether or not we are freer now than a century ago. I chose that cheese rolling reference further up thread as an example of how the state now takes it on itself to guide our lives for us. We aren’t to be trusted to do anything for ourselves it seems and this extends right the way from small actions by individuals or voluntary groups through to businesses and even apparently the well being of people in other countries – who must be killed for their own good.

    There was some of that about in 1913, I blame the sentimental Empire builders for a fair bit of it, statists the lot of them. However there wasn’t the same political mindset shared by all the parties, that they have not just a right but an obligation to tell the rest of what’s good for us and to make sure we do it. That’s where the real erosions of liberty are taking place.

  48. Rape is a special kind of assault because it can leave the victim with (unwanted) child or other long-term health issues. It isn’t analogous to being punched in a bar.

  49. On the other point;
    There’s always been laws for all sorts of things. Some of the ones still on the books in 1913 make truly hilarious reading. But it’s whether the State is in a position to enforce them & has the enthusiasm to do so.

  50. “Rape is a special kind of assault because it can leave the victim with … long-term health issues. It isn’t analogous to being punched in a bar.”

    Being left brain dead not being a long term health issue.

  51. bloke in spain,

    She’s being held down? Sounds like assault to me. Reasonable grounds for divorce. Why does the assault involving sex make it different?

    Because sex specifically was a marital right of the husband – she had no legal freedom or right to deny him. They were not considered equal partners in the marriage. Since at least 1736 the woman was considered to have irrevocably given her consent to sex on entering marriage – back then the wife was expected/required to obey her husband in all things. And the law or the interpretation of the law remained like that until 1991, although some judges tried to find their way around it (one of the reasons why it was changed).

    I think you’re arguing about how the law should be or should have been (which I can sort of see) instead of how it was or is.

  52. Thornavis

    As someone else has said, the trading of one lot of freedoms for another by the state doling out, sometimes conflicting, positive rights is not an indication of whether or not we are freer now than a century ago.

    I didn’t say we are freer now than a century ago. I explicitly said we are more free in some ways and less free in others.

    I happen to believe there have been some extraordinary erosions of freedom and privacy over the past couple of decades alone. I have documented many on my site – the number of powers of entry to the home (266) for example, or the variety of ‘civil orders’. Too many to list here and my site is well out of date.

    I agree that the UK is “much less free than many of us would like and much less free than most people think” (cuffleyburgers). I do wonder if there was ever a golden age of liberty, though. AJP Taylor wrote in 1965:
    Until August 1914 a sensible, law-abiding Englishman could pass through life and hardly notice the existence of the state, beyond the post office and the policeman. He could live where he liked and as he liked. He had no official number or identity card. He could travel abroad or leave his country for ever without a passport or any sort of official permission. He could exchange his money for any other currency without restriction or limit. He could buy goods from any country in the world on the same terms as he bought goods at home.

    But suppose you were black or female or working class? You were not as free as a white, middle-class male – you did not have the same freedoms or rights. Suppose you were any class or sex and wanted to voice an objectionable opinion? Freedom of speech (such as it is) wasn’t codified in English law until 1998. You risked imprisonment even if you spoke at Speaker’s Corner – there is a myth that speech has always been protected there, even if it has not been protected elsewhere, which is why I mentioned it. If you conform to social norms sure, you’re free and always have been. If you don’t then you ain’t.

  53. “..she had no legal freedom or right to deny him.”

    So that would be a defense against serious assault? I’d love to hear the learned Mr Lud’s opinion on that one.

    “I think you’re arguing about how the law should be or should have been (which I can sort of see) instead of how it was or is.”

    I was. As I said above, the big change is the means & the enthusiasm of the State to enforce laws.
    On the particular issue of women’s legal rights. Yes, it’s welcome they now have equal rights. Although, now men have less rights, the sum total of rights isn’t necessarily greater. . But the intrusion of the law into the private affairs of individuals isn’t always beneficial. We’re heading back into Minnow territory but with rights come responsibilities.

  54. “But suppose you were black or female or working class? You were not as free as a white, middle-class male – you did not have the same freedoms or rights. ”

    If you’re going to take a class based view of liberty then you will never have a free society or anything like it, there will always be some class or sub group whose freedoms to act are greater or lesser than the average. As I said the modern approach to this of handing out positive rights simply shifts the the advantages around a bit and creates new restrictions and class resentments.

    As it happens I have just been rereading a very interesting book which touches on this in perhaps surprising ways. It’s The Wooden World by N.A.M Rodger an account of life in the eighteenth century Royal Navy, the author draws attention to the way shipboard life mirrored wider society in it’s lack of formal policing its dependency on consent and the potential power of the mob to overthrow authority. This was not a society either at sea or on land where rigid class divisions counted for much other than a general distribution of wealth. At sea sailors could and did have recourse to a whole range of customs and legal protections that enabled them to live in a remarkably free manner*. It’s well worth a read.

    This is the kind of liberty I’m talking about, the freedom to live a life unmolested by the social prejudices of the ruling class. If we are talking about 1913 then yes that kind of society was on the way out and had been since at least the end of the Georgian period but much of it was still intact and now it has virtually disappeared, replaced by a fruitless search for societal perfection.

    * Before anyone mentions the Press Gang, the modern myth of what that was like is wrong in it’s entirety.

  55. Incidentally, on this whole “rights for women” thing I can never understand why you insist on seeing the whole issue as being adversarial.
    Take “votes for women” ( I think we’ve had this argument before.) Of interest to middle class women who wanted to enter the professions or go to university. Of bugger all interest to most of the rest. Working class women didn’t have problems in gaining employment. They had problems not being obliged to be in employment. Most middle class married women didn’t work. When it came to voting, most women’s intentions were the same as their husbands’ because they would have voted in the interests of the family not the individual. What most sensible (ie not Guardian reading) people do today. So the net result of “votes for women” for most women, were zilch. More votes to cast but little difference in the outcome. It’s actually reduction in the voting age makes the difference, because along with changing lifestyle patterns, you get more single voters voting on single individual’s issues.

  56. Rape is a special kind of assault because it can leave the victim with (unwanted) child or other long-term health issues.

    …because violent physical assault never leaves you with long term health issues. Tell that to my friend who was randomly assaulted by some drunks and now suffers epilepsy.

  57. But suppose you were black or female or working class? You were not as free as a white, middle-class male

    Nonsense. Ullage. Arrant drivel. Just as free – there were no laws that said white / middle class people could and black / working class people couldn’t. Of course working class people had less money, and therefore would find it more difficult, but that’s not a freedom issue. They weren’t indentured.

    Well, unless you’re going to start arguing for forcible redistribution in the name of ‘freedom’ in which case I think you’re in the wrong place.

  58. bloke in spain,

    “..she had no legal freedom or right to deny him.”

    So that would be a defense against serious assault? I’d love to hear the learned Mr Lud’s opinion on that one.

    If you mean a beating or kicking then no it wouldn’t, that was still assault whether married or not. It was an exemption for behaviour (forced sex) that would have been a criminal offence if perpetrated against a woman who was not his wife.

  59. Sorry UK Lib. You lose me. How does a man “force” his wife to have sex with him without inflicting physical harm? If you’re saying she does under threat or duress, how does this differ from any other activity under threat or duress? Like “Hoover or it’s the axe, mister!” How about “If you don’t get that thing up’n in me, you can forget about getting your laundry done.” Does that count as male marital rape?
    Or am i having trouble because i don’t see sex as being anything other than a normal uncontroversial activity between adults?

  60. bloke in spain, does force entail “inflicting physical harm”? Surely you could pin someone or put them in a submission hold or tie them to the bed or chair or whatever.

  61. If you’re saying she does under threat or duress, how does this differ from any other activity under threat or duress? Like “Hoover or it’s the axe, mister!” How about “If you don’t get that thing up’n in me, you can forget about getting your laundry done.” Does that count as male marital rape?

    I sure hope you’re trolling.

  62. I’m not big on militant feminists, and it’s very fucking obvious that they overplay their hand pretty much every time they come to the table.

    But.

    Fuck me, are we really trying to defend the kind of man who forces his wife’s legs open? I thought we were supposed to be classical liberals on here?

    Rape really *is* a serious thing. Sex is a serious thing, for most women, most of the time.

    Suggesting otherwise is just to deny the very obvious evidence of our own experience.

    You can get most women to have sex with you, if you want to, but it takes varying degrees of time and effort, and you usually have to play nice for a while first.

    If you don’t play nice, to her definition of nice, you don’t get to have sex. It works exactly the other way, too; it’s just that men are usually less bothered about how nice the preamble is. But men can say no, too. I have done!

    In marriage, you should not be able to force your wife to have sex with you, not least (but not only) because of the context in which she’s saying no.

    Usually, she is saying no because she doesn’t love the husband any more, often because he’s treated her like shite.

    There is no presumed consent to sex in marriage any more. That has gone, get over it. It’s now analagous to coming to my house because I invited you; I can still ask you to leave.

    And whichever twat said she should ‘just leave’ – without even specifiying how, when and where – rather than call the police*, why the fuck should *she* leave? Why shouldn’t he just leave her alone?

    *I’d like to see more proscecutions of false-accusers too, mind.

  63. “I sure hope you’re trolling.”
    Yes, it does get a bit like that Minnow thread doesn’t it?

    But possibly there’s some assumptions we simply don’t share. i don’t have your belief there’s any such thing as ‘rights’ outside a legal sense, for a start. Encapsulated in; your ‘right’ to not have your nose punched does not supersede my ability to punch it. It’s my obligation not to do so that’s important, Because that’s what prevents noses being punched.
    So I’m all in favour of marital rape being a crime. As I’m all in favour of forcing anyone to do anything against their will, by assaulting them. tying them up holding them down or threatening them with such being unlawful. Restraining oneself from doing such things being an obligation the law puts on us. And I’d sort of hope that obligation would apply within as well as without marriage, about all activities. Doesn’t it? So how does a specific of ‘married rape’ change anything?

  64. Almost interesting point of pendantry: in England, the recognition as an offence of rape within marriage came as a result of a case decided in the Lords. It was not a consequence of the legislature explicitly changing the law. And a legal purist would say, therefore, that the judgment of the Lords in that case did NOT change the law, rather it correctly stated the law which had always previously been misunderstood. I’ve never been able to decide what I think of this doctrine, but you’ve got to admit it’s clever. IIRC, the molester at the eye of this particular legal storm protested that his actions were not criminal at the time he committed them, and he was therefore immune from prosecution.

    Back on topic, this is a country of soft totalitarianism, with no strong leader and no uni-directional guiding force beyond the concentric circles of like-thinking progressives, corporatists, socialists and those larger number who depend for their living on any of the previous three. It’s a more nebulous target than the single dictator brooding in his schloss or dacha, and I grant the obvious and important distinction that millions are not being killed in the name of this soft totalitarianism (unless we count anti-DDT victims, those starved in the third world because of the CAP, etc. But those are slightly more complex arguments)

  65. bis: You’ve got it the wrong way round. The special case wasn’t added, it was removed. There’s no specific crime of marital rape, what happened was that the absolute defence of “but she’s my wife” was removed from the normal prosecution of rape.

  66. sam – “this is the problem, the debate has now been framed in such a way as to play off people’s freedoms against each other in a sort of zero sum game. Ergo, an employee’s right to employ whom he wants gets set against ‘discrimination’.”

    I don’t think this is how I would frame it. I would frame it as a massive job creation scheme by lawyers and civil servants. They *could* have chosen any number of ways to improve Britain if they wanted. They chose the ways that created the most work for lawyers and civil servants – and as a direct and intended consequences, reduced our freedom as much as possible. The State is not remotely interested in extending any freedoms to anyone unless they can at the same time take away vastly more from most people.

    “No husband’s ‘freedom’ is impinged by no longer being allowed to rape his wife.”

    I agree. But all of us lose some freedom by having the State stand over every single sexual act with our wives. The State no longer stops at the front gate. It is now right in our bedrooms. All for a problem that more or less does not exist – and could be dealt with in better ways. As I said, you can think that outlawing marital rape is a good thing, or a bad thing, but it is impossible to deny the loss of freedom.

    “Any gay man’s freedom is seriously curtailed by not being allowed to have sex with other men.”

    No law in Britain ever made it impossible for gay men to have sex. There were laws. They were almost never enforced. You really had to beg to be prosecuted to be prosecuted. As with Oscar Wilde. The list of British homosexuals is long and distinguished. Everyone knew. As long as they did not startle the horses, no one cared.

    Interested – “Rape is a crime. If a husband rapes his wife, it’s a crime. It used to be that a woman simply could not report rape carried out by her husband because it was not a criminal offence. Now it is.”

    I do not disagree with any of this. Except that a crime is a social construct. The State used to consider marital rape did not exist. Now it does. So it was not a crime, and now it is. Again, you can think that is a good thing, but it does not change the impact it has on the rest of us.

    “This is not about the State, it’s about crime being investigated and where appropriate being brought before the courts, where the decision as to guilt is made by a jury. not ‘the State’.”

    Actually this is entirely about the State. I have no problems with criminals being charged and convicted. Even if they are guilty of marital rape. I simply observe that the State has taken it upon itself to inquire into what every single one of us does in the privacy of the marital bed.

    “4,000 women were convicted of domestic violence related offences in E&W in 2011.”

    So essentially no one. And this has nothing to do with divorce.

    “How many doctors are female? Teachers? Vets? My accountant is a doris. My female friend flies 747s for BA; she’s one of quite a few.”

    That is interesting. But the most popular career for women is still being a secretary I believe. Women tend to continue to cluster in jobs that other women do. Usually associated with caring. They show few signs of wanting to change.

    “You really are either stupid, or pissed, or stupid and pissed.”

    Possibly.

    JamesV – “SMFS is a really big cunt.”

    More than likely. But I am not a libertarian c*nt.

    “That our movement towards the happy medium involves a smaller state than at present doesn’t mean going out the other side is a good thing.”

    Which is all very interesting but irrelevant.

  67. Edward Lud – “Almost interesting point of pendantry: in England, the recognition as an offence of rape within marriage came as a result of a case decided in the Lords. It was not a consequence of the legislature explicitly changing the law.”

    Australia had even more fun. Various states have specific laws making marital rape a crime. But they arrested, tried and convicted a very old pensioner for a marital rape in the early Seventies. Before it was a crime. They argued that marital rape was not considered a crime because in the old days a woman’s independent existence disappeared with her marriage – she could not own property. But when the law changed to allow her property in her own right, and to vote and so on, the law recognised her independent legal existence. So even though those laws did not intend to make marital rape a crime, they implicitly recognised as woman’s separate personhood and hence normal rape laws did apply.

    Very clever.

    But people capable of arguing that are probably capable of anything.

    “Back on topic, this is a country of soft totalitarianism, with no strong leader and no uni-directional guiding force beyond the concentric circles of like-thinking progressives, corporatists, socialists and those larger number who depend for their living on any of the previous three.”

    Which is in many ways worse. The liberal culture of Britain has disappeared. The default state of mind for a lot of people, perhaps even most people, is this soft totalitarianism. If it was down to one leader, we could have him shot. But essentially it is everyone and especially the ruling class. Which is why we are so f**ked.

    “I grant the obvious and important distinction that millions are not being killed in the name of this soft totalitarianism (unless we count anti-DDT victims, those starved in the third world because of the CAP, etc. But those are slightly more complex arguments)”

    There was a good argument on the internet somewhere that Nehru’s India was guilty of mass murder by choosing the path of low growth. They did condemn three or more generations of Indians to poverty and an early death. But that was not their intent – they thought they were doing the opposite. Guilt in these circumstances seems too nebulous to measure, but guilt, of a sort, there is I would think. I doubt history will be kind to the Licence Raj.

  68. Interested – “In marriage, you should not be able to force your wife to have sex with you”

    I don’t think anyone is going to disagree with that. The question is what to do about it. Some things ought to be illegal, but the trouble with prosecuting them is just too much to be worth it. Some things simply cannot be proved. With marital rape it is always going to come down to a He-said-She-said case. Which go down so poorly with juries anyway.

    We would all agree that Satanic sexual abuse ought to be illegal. But that doesn’t mean the ways that the laws have been applied are sensible.

    “Usually, she is saying no because she doesn’t love the husband any more, often because he’s treated her like shite.”

    Most divorces are initiated by women and the percentage that even allege abuse is low – I have seen figures down around 5%. She may be saying no because she does not love her husband any more, but then the solution is a divorce isn’t it? The marital rape thing seems superfluous in this case.

    “And whichever twat said she should ‘just leave’ – without even specifiying how, when and where – rather than call the police*, why the fuck should *she* leave? Why shouldn’t he just leave her alone?”

    By all means, he should. Even though the Quintessential English Gentleman is dead, we probably are all agreed on where it shouldn’t be. But one sensible alternative to marital rape laws was to agree that consent is presumed in the absence of some strong evidence that it had been withdrawn – like the wife leaving. Or signing a statement saying her consent was withdrawn. That is why. Or changing the locks and locking her husband out if you like. Some public act that would have made it clear sex was no longer presumed.

    Notice how that would have allowed prosecution of the vast majority of such cases, of which there are virtually none, without the State having the right to call us all in and question us on what we have been doing and where.

    “*I’d like to see more proscecutions of false-accusers too, mind.”

    Child abuse allegations are more and more common in divorce cases. I have no doubt marital rape accusations will become more so too. You can’t prosecute people for this because no jury will care. You want to send some obviously hurt and bitter woman to jail for two years for this? No one is going to do it. The solution is not to give the hurt and bitter a shotgun aimed at their husbands.

    Even if you take an extreme case like Kevin Ibbs, another Australian, whose wife asked her best friend to sleep with him, and then allege rape – he is the so-called thirty second rapist because the friend alleged it took him half a minute to stop when, in the middle of having sex, she withdrew consent – neither of the women did any jail time I believe.

  69. “it was legal for employers to discriminate on the grounds of ethnicity or sex”

    That this was presented, without irony, as an example of how there is more freedom today than in the past, is a fine example of the way true freedoms are eroded by the ability of special interest groups to acquire undue influence over the powers of the state. This illustrates the importance of limiting the powers of the state.

    The nearest curry house to my midlands abode is a Muslim affair (i.e. Pakistani) and has an all male staff, almost certainly related and most certainly of the same ethnicity. I support their freedom to staff themselves as they wish, and I enjoy my freedom to dine elsewhere.

    Some local people like to abbreviate the term “Pakistani”, but due to our increased freedoms nowadays, to do so is a serious “hate” crime.

  70. Matthew L – “Ah yes, the “uppity nigger” argument.”

    The sad thing is that you think that is a reasonable response.

  71. No, the sad thing is that you think it’s ok for things to be outlawed as long as the perverts keep their heads down and don’t get prosecuted too often.

  72. Well, it’s all very encouraging the increase in these ‘rights’ that have been gained in the last century. But rights are about aspirations, aren’t they? How people expect to be treated. Much less about the obligations people should feel they owe to others.
    And we have that bloody great elephant standing in the corner all those congratulating themselves are desperately trying to ignore. Since the various Muslim hordes set up camp in various UK cities it’s not so much a steady advance from 1913 as a great leap back to the C14th. Arranged marriages, forced marriages, female genital mutilation (yes that does happen in the UK), women being maimed & disfigured for disobedience, honour killings. Not much in the way of ‘rights’ for the sufferers of that, are there? But then, the religion’s got a book tells it’s adherents they don’t have an obligation to respect ‘rights’ they don’t like.
    Reckon the weighted average gain from all these ‘rights’ won since 1913 would get us…back to about 1700 at a guess.

  73. A sad thing is that we, as individuals, used to be tolerant of what other people did even if we should not have wanted to do these things ourselves. Nowadays we want to see banned everything of which we disapprove.

    Another sad thing is that politicians and officials now see their overriding duty as being to protect the citizenry rather than to defend the freedoms of the individual.

  74. Matthew L – “No, the sad thing is that you think it’s ok for things to be outlawed as long as the perverts keep their heads down and don’t get prosecuted too often.”

    Pretty much the Gay lobby’s view of people who think being Gay is a sin. Except they want to eliminate those traditional values utterly. And they are doing a good job of it. I don’t recall you condemn the police for arresting people for preaching on street corners.

    bloke in spain – “Since the various Muslim hordes set up camp in various UK cities it’s not so much a steady advance from 1913 as a great leap back to the C14th.”

    The annoyance is that we have a de facto state religion. One that you’re not allowed to criticise. Which is more or less exempt from many British laws. Whose preachers are free to call for homosexuals to be stoned without being bothered by the fuzz. One that the BBC and the Guardian treat with respect – indeed the Guardian spent about ten years turning their editorial pages over to them.

    Even though, or more likely because, most British people want nothing to do with Islam at all.

    The Meissen Bison – “A sad thing is that we, as individuals, used to be tolerant of what other people did even if we should not have wanted to do these things ourselves. Nowadays we want to see banned everything of which we disapprove.”

    This is the soft totalitarian approach. And why removing the laws against homosexuals has been such a failure. It would have been possible for us all to get along in a free and liberal society. But of course the trend has been to increased intolerance. So the Gay lobby wants, and largely has got, to eliminate the attitudes they do not like – even though they are shared by a majority of British people. Even though most British people probably think homosexuals are a little strange, they can’t say it. Even though until recently most psychiatrists thought they had a mental disease, they were bullied into saying otherwise. Even though the number of homosexuals who want to go to Mass (or get married for that matter) is tiny, they want to overturn the beliefs of centuries.

    “Another sad thing is that politicians and officials now see their overriding duty as being to protect the citizenry rather than to defend the freedoms of the individual.”

    I am not sure those are mutually exclusive.

  75. “Another sad thing is that politicians and officials now see their overriding duty as being to protect the citizenry rather than to defend the freedoms of the individual.”

    I am not sure those are mutually exclusive.

    In practice they are.

    If I’m to be protected, I have to be protected from myself even if I make a conscious decision to do risky things.

    This is the soft totalitarian approach

    Leaving homosexuality to one side, if I may, what about the ban on hunting with dogs? How soft is that?

    And how about attitudes here to bullfighting? There was a time when we thought that this was a strange and rather unpleasant thing that Spaniards got up to but essentially their business and not ours.

  76. bloke in spain,

    Incidentally, on this whole “rights for women” thing I can never understand why you insist on seeing the whole issue as being adversarial.
    Take “votes for women” ( I think we’ve had this argument before.) Of interest to middle class women who wanted to enter the professions or go to university. Of bugger all interest to most of the rest.

    We have indeed danced this dance before. I still don’t understand what your point is. As you say some women were not interested in voting or becoming a lawyer or going to university. Fine – that’s up to them. But some women were interested in voting or becoming a lawyer or going to university but not permitted.

    You seem to be saying that because some women were not interested in such things we should have carried on denying those things to all women. But this surely can’t be your meaning… can it?

    i don’t have your belief there’s any such thing as ‘rights’ outside a legal sense, for a start.

    I don’t have that belief, I’m not sure you why think I do. I’ve said on other threads here that I don’t think ‘rights’ exist outside a legal sense (or similar sense). I don’t ‘believe in’ natural rights, for example.

    I think Matthew L has answered your question about rape in marriage.

  77. PJF,

    “it was legal for employers to discriminate on the grounds of ethnicity or sex”

    That this was presented, without irony, as an example of how there is more freedom today than in the past, is a fine example of the way true freedoms are eroded by the ability of special interest groups to acquire undue influence over the powers of the state.

    My comments weren’t as absolute as you seem to think. I did say in that comment it depends on the “we” and I did say in a previous comment that we are less free in some ways and more free in others.

    Yes, employers are (generally) not allowed to discriminate on the grounds of sex or ethnicity. That means their freedom has been diminished in that respect. But the freedom of those who were discriminated against has been enhanced.

    The nearest curry house to my midlands abode is a Muslim affair (i.e. Pakistani) and has an all male staff, almost certainly related and most certainly of the same ethnicity. I support their freedom to staff themselves as they wish, and I enjoy my freedom to dine elsewhere.

    You’re probably a white male and can choose between different restaurants. Now try to imagine being a woman or black and being turned away from jobs – work being necessary to sustain one’s life in the absence of other support – not because of your qualifications but because you are a woman or black. Or suppose you don’t need an employer to do the work you want to do but you do need a licence and the organisation that administrates the licenses says you can’t have one because you’re a woman.

  78. Your conclusion is right because Hong Kong and Singapore started as poor as China but you are wring to say the US/UK are currently more successful than China because they are richer.

    They started richer so to be still richer is no achievement.

    Growth rate is what matters and in that China is far more successful than the developed western states,

    Not because China is doing astonishingly well but because we are doing astonishingly badly, purely because of our state parasitism and Luddism. We will match, probably beat, China any time our political class allow it.

  79. @UKLib
    “I still don’t understand what your point is”
    My point on the equality for woman campaign from the early years of the last century is the same as on a lot of pet issues fronted by mainly middle class intellectuals, They either have marginal benefits or end up having untoward consequences.
    It wasn’t women gaining the vote or being able to go to university that changed the role of women. Most voted, like their husbands, for the good of the family, rather than for nascent feminism. It wasn’t as if you suddenly got half the MP’s female, was it? Most women voted for men. Still do. So little net change. it was the societal & technological changes during & after the second war saw women moving into different roles. The pill later changing when & if they had children. Like a lot of things, people themselves bring about change, in their own good time, without needing a lot of intellectuals waving banners.
    As for your ” imagine being a woman or black and being turned away from jobs – work being necessary to sustain one’s life in the absence of other support – not because of your qualifications but because you are a woman or black.”
    I’d love to know when all this was supposed to be happening. A friend’s mum was one of those despised black women got off the boat back in the 50s. Heard loads about that period & how much better it was than the London of the 80s.She got her first job day after she arrived. Story she used to tell. Saw a notice, went in & they wanted her to start then & there in her good frock & shoes. Don’t think I ever heard her use the word “discrimination”. Too busy raising 6 kids & buying a house. But she used to discriminate about some of the second generation. Colourfully & at length.

  80. bloke in spain,

    It wasn’t women gaining the vote or being able to go to university that changed the role of women. Most voted, like their husbands, for the good of the family, rather than for nascent feminism. It wasn’t as if you suddenly got half the MP’s female, was it? Most women voted for men. Still do. So little net change.

    As I said, if they don’t want to vote or go to university or become MPs that’s fine by me – that’s their prerogative. It wasn’t their prerogative back then, it was out of their hands – they were not permitted.

    Your comments are like saying, “well, most people don’t bother to protest so we needn’t codify a right to protest” or “most people aren’t going to be arbitrarily imprisoned so we needn’t have a law against arbitrary imprisonment.”

    I’d love to know when all this was supposed to be happening.

    Come on, really? You’re really not aware of any discrimination against women or blacks?

    The Bristol Bus Company / Bristol Bus Boycott springs to mind.

    A friend’s mum [/ my mum / my gran / my aunt]

    Good for her. Lovely anecdote but a lot of people had different and more unpleasant experiences.

  81. Just on a point of fact: the Women’s Suffrage movement started when only one million (less than one in ten) men were entitled to vote.

  82. Some public act that would have made it clear sex was no longer presumed.

    In the representative case, I believe the couple had been separated for enough time (and sufficiently acrimoniously) that they were arguing whether that was sufficient for divorce under the grounds of abandonment.

    Regardless of the rights or wrongs of marriage, by its very nature, constituting consent for sex (and, no, even if she is still generally willing, she can have a headache, not be in the mood, etc, etc), moving out is clearly indicative that consent might, just, have been revoked?

  83. Another thing: most divorces may formally be initiated by dorises, but that doesn’t automatically mean it’s the dorises who are the drivers of it. I ended my marriage, but am allowing the woman from whom I’ve escaped to petition me for divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour. Rather like the old Brighton hotel routine. I doubt I’m alone in permitting this. It seems a small price to pay.

  84. SE,

    Regardless of the rights or wrongs of marriage, by its very nature, constituting consent for sex (and, no, even if she is still generally willing, she can have a headache, not be in the mood, etc, etc), moving out is clearly indicative that consent might, just, have been revoked?

    It wasn’t. To be able to hold the husband to account for rape:

    obtain a court order or undertaking revoking consent or something to that effect, e.g. a non-molestation order
    obtain a written agreement between the husband and wife agreeing consent had been withdrawn
    obtain a decree nisi
    obtain a divorce (petition for divorce was insufficient)

    Leaving was not enough. Changing the locks was not enough. Aside from divorce, I don’t know how one would obtain such things in 1913 (if indeed it was possible then, it was in the 50s and onwards) or how much it would cost. Divorces cost several hundred pounds – beyond the reach of most people. In a world where the husband controlled the money and the wife had no independent financial support I don’t know how it was possible (same applies to leaving and supporting herself and children if any, how would it be done).

    Then there were the grounds for divorce in that period. The husband had to prove adultery. The wife had to prove adultery and one or more of bestiality, cruelty, desertion, incest or sodomy. No adultery, no divorce – iiuc.

    (And that’s just an outline of the legal aspect. There were strong social pressures, divorce was taboo – divorcees shunned. Some might say that’s a good thing – I imagine a victim would feel different.)

  85. The Meissen Bison – “In practice they are. If I’m to be protected, I have to be protected from myself even if I make a conscious decision to do risky things.”

    But a society that allows freedom for the individual is likely to be more robust and better able to cope with problems that come along. Societies that treat adults like children, get adults like children and so, I would assume, are very vulnerable to all sorts of problems. Look at the typhoon that hit New York. Many African Americans in New York are on welfare. They, by and large, waited. The White New York population was out and about helping their neighbours and raising money and so on.

    “Leaving homosexuality to one side, if I may, what about the ban on hunting with dogs? How soft is that?”

    I don’t know. There are certainly nutters in the animal rights movement who would make Pol Pot look like Gandhi. But it is, I suppose, possible to object to fox hunting on rational grounds. When they start teaching children in school that fox hunting is wrong, and also encouraging the little tykes to denounce their parents for doing it, then we have problems.

    “And how about attitudes here to bullfighting? There was a time when we thought that this was a strange and rather unpleasant thing that Spaniards got up to but essentially their business and not ours.”

    Good old days.

  86. Surreptitious Evil – “Regardless of the rights or wrongs of marriage, by its very nature, constituting consent for sex (and, no, even if she is still generally willing, she can have a headache, not be in the mood, etc, etc), moving out is clearly indicative that consent might, just, have been revoked?”

    Well he could claim that she was just visiting her mother for the weekend. And you’re back to the problem with such laws – it is all He-says-She-says.

    I think there has been a general movement away from the idea that marriage guarantees sex. At least for men. This is despite the fact that marriage has always been an exchange of male finances for female reproductive potential. Now this is all well and good, but unfortunately it means there has been a movement of men away from marriage. With the resulting gift of a large and growing underclass. It is cruel to the children, it is damaging to society.

    Not that there is much we can do about it. Men should not be encouraged to rape their wives. But Britain is headed on a path to every greater dysfunction and social breakdown until eventually people who insist that marriage has some benefit for men will take over. Presumably Urdu will be the national language.

  87. ukliberty – “Yes, employers are (generally) not allowed to discriminate on the grounds of sex or ethnicity. That means their freedom has been diminished in that respect. But the freedom of those who were discriminated against has been enhanced.”

    Generally meaning they can against White people but not anyone else? So we are agreed the freedom of the 80% (or so) of the British population who are not White has been limited?

    As for the freedom of the people this is supposed to benefit, the history of such laws suggest that they do not benefit from them at all. They become trapped in ethnic ghettos of dysfunction and dependency. As seems to be the case with Britain’s visible minorities. But we will see.

    However notice the impact – the British government has taken it upon itself to act as a silent third partner in every hiring and firing decision, every contract, every single commercial undertaking in the British economy is now subject to government surveillance and approval. That is a massive expansion of the powers of the State.

    Whereas discrimination lends itself to a perfect solution for a liberal society. They could have done nothing. In the end the market will force everyone to end discrimination. The market makes sure the bigot pays the costs of such discrimination and no one else. But naturally they did not choose that path. Why would they?

  88. Generally meaning they can against White people but not anyone else?

    False.

    However notice the impact – the British government has taken it upon itself to act as a silent third partner in every hiring and firing decision, every contract, every single commercial undertaking in the British economy is now subject to government surveillance and approval.

    False.

  89. Re discrimination
    ” Generally meaning they can against White people but not anyone else?

    False.”

    Yet it’s quite common to see employment adverts by local authorities (who will trumpet loudly of their equalities commitment to read:

    “Special consideration will be given to members of the – fill in ethnicity, here- community”

    Now I would really like to know how the hell you can not make that discriminatory. Who’s not being given special consideration?

    Oh. And I thought citing Bristol as a reason for opposing discrimination was a hoot. Only a true progressive could do that with a straight face.

    Maybe you don’t like small bits of anecdotal evidence. Who knows? Who cares? Do know one thing though. I lived in London, alongside all sorts of immigrants, from the 50s & the only discrimination I ever heard of was very much third hand from the usual suspects.

  90. Yet it’s quite common to see employment adverts by local authorities (who will trumpet loudly of their equalities commitment to read:

    “Special consideration will be given to members of the – fill in ethnicity, here- community”

    Now I would really like to know how the hell you can not make that discriminatory. Who’s not being given special consideration?

    Rightly or wrongly there are circumstances where the law allows discrimination – that’s why I put “generally” in parentheses earlier.

    Oh. And I thought citing Bristol as a reason for opposing discrimination was a hoot. Only a true progressive could do that with a straight face.

    I didn’t cite Bristol as “a reason for opposition”, I cited the Bristol Bus Company (events) as an example of discrimination because you seemed to express total unawareness that any had ever occurred in the UK – and it’s something said to lead to significant change in the law.

    Maybe you don’t like small bits of anecdotal evidence. Who knows? Who cares?

    I don’t have a dislike for anecdotes but you seem to recount them as if they prove something.

    I lived in London, alongside all sorts of immigrants, from the 50s & the only discrimination I ever heard of was very much third hand from the usual suspects.

    so there has never been any? Is that what you’re saying?

  91. Marital rape laws are precisely about State intrusion into the sex life, and hence the bedrooms, of every couple in the land.

    There are no marital rape laws in the UK. There used to be a legal doctrine of “implied consent” within marriage which the Law Lords finally declared in 1991 to be invalid. The state now takes the same interest in rape in the marital bedroom as in any other form of assault.

    in 1904 it would have been unthinkable for the State to demand someone came into a police station and detailed precisely what sort of sexual acts they have been having with their wife

    Until 1994 heterosexual anal sex was illegal in the UK, even within marriage. So in 1904 the State did, as a matter of statute law, take an interest in precisely what sort of sexual acts a man might indulge in with his wife. And now it doesn’t. In practice, in the absence of a complaint from the wife, the police then, as now, would mind their own business.

    It is hard to think of a single openly Gay British person who had any problems with the law at all. As long as they kept it to themselves.

    Alan Turing. Or was he not openly Gay enough to count?

  92. Turing was robbed by a rent boy and seems to have provided the police with a full account of the circumstances leading up to the theft. Much as I dislike bluebottles they can hardly have avoided charging a man who had just effectively confessed to a crime that was (then) far more serious than petty theft. Whatever the morality it was at that time a crime. Turing must have been some kind of unworldly fool to have gone to the police over this matter.

  93. @ Mr Ecks
    Not petty theft: a £10 note in the 40s was a month’s after-tax income to a lower-middle-class professional. If someone stole £1,000 from you and you did not go to the police then the criminal could assume that he could take unlimited liberties.

  94. @ ukliberty
    While lawyers will claim that in theory no-one may discriminate against white people I have yet to see a white waiter in an “Indian” restaurant (Pakistanis and Bangladeshis seem to tolerate being called Indians if locals pay enough for their food).
    “I don’t have a dislike for anecdotes but you seem to recount them as if they prove something.”
    I have no knowledge about the anecdata provided by bis but the answer is that anecdata cannot prove anything but they *can* disprove stupid allegations. SO you may not dismiss them and need to answer them if you wish to retain credibility.
    I do not think it unreasonable to prefer hiring as waiters those who know the difference between tandoori and vindaloo but it is now deemed unfair discrimination to exclude someone who does not know the difference between a forearm smash and an off-drive.
    [for non-mathematicians these are equivalent when looking at discriminants (technical term) in multi-dimensional vectors spaces]

  95. john77,

    While lawyers will claim that in theory no-one may discriminate against white people I have yet to see a white waiter in an “Indian” restaurant (Pakistanis and Bangladeshis seem to tolerate being called Indians if locals pay enough for their food).

    No lawyer should claim that, because it isn’t true. As I said there are circumstances where, rightly or wrongly, it is lawful to discriminate. One of the examples given is in exactly such a circumstance – to maintain the ‘authenticity’ of the ‘Indian’ restaurant. IMO that’s a crappy thing to be lawful discrimination when other crappy things are unlawful but there we are.

  96. “While lawyers will claim that in theory no-one may discriminate against white people I have yet to see a white waiter in an “Indian” restaurant (Pakistanis and Bangladeshis seem to tolerate being called Indians if locals pay enough for their food).”

    Feast India in Leicester:

    http://feastindia.co.uk/index.php

    has a very multicultural staff, at least as far as the waiting service goes (being a buffet system the service is mostly drinks, place-setting, etc). Chinese, Englanders, Froggies, various Eastern Euros and so on. Men and women, various ages.

    The blokes cooking up the superb food are all sub-continent origin types, but since they’re the best at that game then it makes sense.

    Highly recommended. Fridays and Sats too busy, and early evenings best avoided because of sprogs.

    Also recommend Kayal (only been to Nottingham unit)

    http://www.kayalrestaurant.com/

    Mmmmm, curry; rrrrgghrghghrghghg…

  97. @ ukliberty
    See pjf’s comment
    It is right, regardless of law, to hire a good cook on the expected results of his cooking. But that does not mean that waiters have to be any particular colour.

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>