And whilst I would agree with you that a consensus is not necessarily correct – because of course there are occasions when it is clear that is not true – to view as you do the process of democracy that reflects, albeit imperfectly, a consensus view on most occasions as illegitimate and unable to regulate because it might (wholly appropriately) restrict the right of the market that operates in the interests of a tiny elite to exploit the vast majority is as I rightly described it utterly repulsive.


He does seem incapable of understanding that the market is simply the aggregated opinions of the populace, doesn\’t he? That as such it\’s a highly democratic institution?

In ways that electoral politics dominated by a tiny elite, in ways that the capture by producer interests of the regulators, is not?

No, I do not argue that \”the market is democracy\”. Rather that it\’s one of the voices of the Demos. A very powerful one, one less likely to be muzzled by elites than the vote for whichever thieving bastard you like every five years of the ballot box.

24 thoughts on “More Murph”

  1. I’m trying to untangle the logic in that statement.

    Am I correct in thinking he is saying that if there is a democratic consensus (ie a majority of people think X) then that X should be implemented, except when it shouldn’t because its wrong? (When its wrong to be decided by RM presumably).

    So if 90% of the people want a Robin Hood tax, then it should be implemented, but if 90% of people want RM exiled to the Gulag, that shouldn’t?

  2. “He does seem incapable of understanding that the market is simply the aggregated opinions of the populace, doesn’t he?”

    So what’s advertising then? And lobbying? Democratic my arse.

    Tim adds: As you would notice if you could read, lobbying is mentioned: the producer capture of the regulators. That’s what lobbying hopes to achieve and that’s was sucessful lobbying does achieve. Which is why I’m against lobbying. For it’s anti-democratic, see? And only possible to capture the regulators when there are regulators.

  3. Jim, I’ll join you in trying to untangle the sentence.

    Because The Murph knows that if he said things in simple straightforward ways he would be laughed at for being so wrong he hides behind complex illogical nonsensical grammar (it gets a score of 42 on the Fog index where 12 is good and anything above is gobbledegook). It took me about 10 attempts at reading it to understand the gist of it.

  4. “And whilst I would agree with you that a consensus is not necessarily correct …

    … majority is as I rightly described it utterly repulsive.”

    As a lawyer supposedly once said: “Objection, that sentence should be taken out and shot!”

  5. One of his commentators writes:
    “So if I understand you correctly, what you approve of = left wing, what you disapprove of = right wing, regardless of its grating with ‘plain english comprehensible to all’? Is that right?”

    …and gets this response from the great man:

    “Well by and large, yes

    An attuned political antennae can work these things out”

    What?!! Seriously?!! The man is out of control.

  6. Arnald-

    So what’s advertising then?

    It’s asking people to trade with you. You don’t like people asking things without compulsion?

    “I have some fish to sell at my shop, please come and buy them!”

    Isn’t that just the most evilest thing in the whole wide world?

    And lobbying?

    Of the government? Not a market activity; solution is to remove the option for lobbying by removing the power of the government to supply favours to special interests. Lobbying is a consequence of regulation.

  7. In his own words he thinks rules based logic is absurd.

    Is it possible to have logic without rules?

  8. I think this gives us a glimpse into Murphy’s psyche: anyone capable of writing such self-negating piffle must live in a world of shadows and contradiction. It’s at the point beyond mere stupidity where one could legitimately ask whether he’s mentally ill.

  9. “incapable of understanding”

    Incapable? I think not.

    He is unwilling – unwilling to concede the truth of the matter. His politics will not permit it.

    Big difference. Huge difference.

  10. Large Government leads to large lobbying. That’s why all the lobbyists have there largest offices in DC and Brussels.

    As the great man observed:

    When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators. ~P.J. O’Rourke

  11. Arnald I would be relieved to hear that RM was ‘taking the piss’, but I can’t see how to get to that conclusion from what he has written. Can you help? My reading is that he is boasting of his well attuned political senses, which would be consistent with his regular boasts about his ‘sound judgement’. What am I missing? Why isn’t he just a self-referencial authoritarian?

  12. I read it as
    “you don’t have to be a political genius to know on which mast my colours are nailed.”

    In fact the comment starts “So if I understand you correctly…”

    So the pisstake is obvious.

    It’s probably why you like Worstall so much. Toilet humour.

  13. [email protected]

    I see. So when RM refers to the political antenae, he is not refering to his own antenae, but basically saying if the commentor had a working antenae it would be kinda obvious where RM stands. Fair enough. It is inconsistent with his other pronouncements on his sound judgement, but I see that your reading is possible (if unlikely because of that inconsistency).

    It just leaves me with another problem though. If that is right, and RM is saying that the commentator is hardly a political genius ‘cos he doesn’t have a working antennae, then we are left with the first part of his response as a standalone statement: “Well by and large, yes” (to the idea that what RM approves of is left wing and what RM disapproves of is right wing).

    Am I listening to some sort of philosopher king who has single handedly redesigned the field of political philosophy on the definition of left/right? “Well by and large, yes” is hardly a classic piss-take line.

    Is there another reading of “Well by and large, yes”?

  14. Jesus Christ weeps, Gary

    How long do you think the man thought about it when he responded. He sees a bit of inanity and makes a bad joke out of it.

    But it can ‘by and large’ can’t it, when one believes in something. I’m sure he wouldn’t subscribe to hard left doctrine, as much as he would agree with some centre right commom sense. It doesn’t make anyone a philosopher king (I can believe you tried to infer that – so much antipathy!) So yeah , by and large.

    I’m not here to interpret him. But it shows how far this godawful pedantry goes. Start picking on worstall’s fuck ups. There’s dozens of them everywhere.

  15. Arnald I think your interpretation is tortured, inconsistent and unlikely IMHO. And that’s why you are getting a little exasperated and changing the subject.

    I think the more straightforward read is that the ‘bnzss’ commentator had to clarify that RM was seriously suggesting that he (RM) was in a position to designate what could be considered left or right wing. RM confirmed that the bnzss conclusion was correct (by and large).
    This would be consistent with the fact that RM has form when it comes to redefining left & right (see link for example of where he pronounces that “the overlap between the LibDems and the Tea Party is strong” and the Orange Book can safely be considered extremist).

    Rather than pedantry Arnald, I think it speaks to the core of the issue that RM regularly sees it as within his competence to define and redefine political boundaries, extremism, logic and ‘sound judgement’ without reference to petty matters such as ‘rules’ (unless it’s rules allowing HMRC to claw back tax it forgot to take the first time round).

  16. oh and of course he (RM) is also perfectly able to divine with the spirits and pronounce on the ‘spirit’ of the law he would have us believe. How could I have forgot such a core competence…

  17. Gary
    Do you not believe the real issue of tax avoidance has sprung into the general awareness over the last decade or so?

    Do you think it is necessary for it to be more widely understood?

    Why the constant attacks? He’s never going to be a politician, only a campaigner for fairer practice and transparency. Somehow you think that foolish. I don’t understand why.

    You seem hung up by ‘rules’. Do you not think for yourself? If someone is campaigning to lift corruption from financial transactions, then they have see why the corruption is there in the first place. If it is there because a set of ‘rules’ is being undermined by another set of ‘rules’, then surely the whole business of ‘rules’ is a load of old wnk.

    Trying to find the ‘spirit’ (and yes it is a crap word for an undefinable) of why the rule was there in the first place is as good a place to start than anywhere. If a rule was there to stop a specific tax dodge, then surely by undermining it using a rule that allows funds to sit in a company shell offshore, contravenes the ‘spirit’ of the first rule.

    Of course it’s a minefield of vagueness, that’s why he spends all his time trying to codify it. His success is that many people are listening to him and the TJN and a whole host of new variances on the theme.

    It cannot be dismissed as readily as worstall believes, after all worstall is just a patronising bag of hot air with no real reference to start with.

    This blog only serves to stoke the egos of similar extremists, people who are counter-intuitively bent on fucking things up for everyone.

  18. Arnald,

    1) Yes I agree that tax has risen in the public agenda, and that’s a good thing.

    2) Why the attacks? because I believe his approach to be fundamentally unserious at best. If he truly believed in Social Democracy, he would identify where it works well (i.e. Scandanadia), and seek to copy almost all of it. He doesn’t. Rather he attacks the defining characteristics of the Scandi model (free market, progressive tax, private provision of public services, etc). Therefore he is either not serious about Social Democracy actually being implemented in the UK (‘cos he resists the practical steps), or he doesn’t understand what it would involve, or he does but wants a new untested/discredited form that accrues more power to him and his.

    3) Rules are the antidote to corruption and poverty. Tastes may vary.

    4) The ‘spirit of the law’ is something I have no problem with. But we have a process for dealing with it already. and RM’s ‘judgement’ is *not* superior to the collective efforts of our judiciary. He doesn’t need to define it. We have courts for that. At best it’s graceless, and more importantly its a Despot’s Charter. History is littered with well intentioned fools who set up structures and rules that depended on the ‘philosopher king’, which simply left an open door for the next passing despot.

    I spy with my little eye another well intentioned fool arguing for a Despot’s Charter. Clueless

  19. Actually, I had my tongue firmly in cheek when I left that comment. I was honestly not expecting such an intellectually dishonest and thoroughly useless response. Not to mention the inherent contradiction in it… he genuinely seems to believe that his definitions of *anything* are representative of ‘plain English’, even if many people openly disagree with those definitions. The mind boggles.

    Oh well.

  20. Hello bnzss,
    I wasn’t expecting you here.
    1) Were you taking the piss as Arnald suggests you might be?
    2) Did I misrepresent you above?
    3) Is it possible that RM was not ‘intellectually dishonest’ but was actually completely honest in his assessment that he was both willing and able to adjudicate between left/right definitions?

  21. I don’t think you misrepresented me; as you pointed out, Murphy has form when it comes to this sort of thing. I say intellectually dishonest because he seems unwilling to look at the issue any farther than ‘what I disagree with = right, what I agree with = left’. Chastising others for not tallying with his view on that basis is perhaps more intellectually lazy (extremely lazy) than dishonest, maybe.

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