Southampton University Libertarian Society


What exactly do Labour have against the poor? by sconzey

Caveat Lector: These views are my own, and do not reflect current or planned LPUK policy. Originally posted here.

Alcohol duty?

ALCOHOL DUTY?

Right, we all know that consumption taxes are regressive if not done correctly. Specifically, consumption taxes are regressive on goods with low demand-elasticity — things where people’s demand does not vary much with price; essentials like bread and (in the west) meat, and cigarettes and alcohol.

As a poor student, going out much is out of the question, but a bottle of plonk in front of a movie with the significant other makes a pretty damned good substitution. For those poorer than I, vodka and supermarket cola is a cheaper alternative to wine.

Now Labour want to double the price of alcohol, in the name of “tackling binge drinking.” FFS: can’t you see that thanks to your regressive taxation and burdensome regulation, getting rat-arsed on cheap supermarket booze and passing out under a bench with your hand down some skank’s skirt is the only entertainment some people can afford?

Labour, far from being the “party of the poor”: you have done more damage to the worst off in our society than even the most reprehensible of the cold-hearted capitalists of Dickensian London. Only the puritans of prohibition New York could be more evil; those who saw society’s poorest dying, poisoned in the streets through drinking alcohol cut with strychinine while the richest quaffed Scotland’s finest:

  • Consumption Taxes on spirits and tobacco rapes the pockets of those enjoying Englands last two legal vices.
  • Fiscal drag — inflating the economy with cheap credit whilst not raising tax thresholds, effectively dragging more and more of the real income of society’s most vulnerable into the pockets of the political elites.
  • Drug Prohibition fuels gang violence, prevents those with serious problems from getting the help they need and criminalises whole generations of young people in our inner cities.
  • Minimum wage forces society’s most vulnerable — those who’s contributions to the labour market are minimal, like students and the disabled — out of the labour market altogether, forcing them to rely on the charity of others, or state benefits.
  • Working week mandates prevent the diligent and hard-working from recieving their fair share of the compensation for their efforts.
  • Entrenchment of Unions leading to seniority-based promotion, and a more inflexible workforce, which in turn leads to lower wages for the able, and more dismissal of the less able, as well as other negative effects.
  • The NHS is a doyenne of the altruistic left, yet society’s poorest, those least able to pay for private healthcare would — in some cases — be treated better in the Third World.

I could go on — complex regulation preventing the poor from setting up their own business, tax on petrol penalising those who cannot afford a new car and must commute long distances — but I won’t.

Vote the same, get the same.

The true party of the proliteriat, the only party which will stand up for the common man against the monopolists and moochers, is the UK Libertarian Party.

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The concept of a “gateway drug” is a logical fallacy by sconzey

Now, here’s why: suppose you didn’t like fox hunting, a peculiar British sport where country-dwellers dress in red and gallop across fields on horseback with a pack of dogs after a fox. It’s been banned in this country, but many similar activites are still legal such as chasing a pre-laid trail of fox musk, or chasing a toy doped in fox musk and dragged by another horse. All very well and good, economic substitution at work, however a small amount of illegal hunting continues.

It comes to your attention that everyone who participates in illegal fox hunting started off by learning to ride horses, so you ban horse riding — it’s clearly a gateway to illegal fox hunting.

“But that’s stupid!” you cry, “And nothing to do with drugs!”

But wait: Here are the facts — nearly everyone who currently does heroin started off with a “soft” drug such as ecstasy or cannabis.

You can argue about this two ways — that smoking dope makes you more likely to shoot up smack, or that the kind of people who shoot up smack are the kind of people who would start off smoking dope.

Both result in the same correlative evidence, but one is a causal relationship, and the other isn’t. How would you tell the difference?

Back to fox hunting. There are large numbers of people who participate in riding-related activities that aren’t fox hunting. If riding did really “cause” fox-hunting, then we would expect a far greater number of people who do riding also doing fox-hunting.

Now consider drugs; consider drugs in Portugal, where both cannabis and heroin have similarly declassified legal statuses. In 2006, heroin use occurence amongst 16-18 year olds was 1.8% and cannabis occurence was 15.1%, using Bayes law, even assuming that every heroin user also used cannabis, and in the knowledge that heroin and cannabis use do not equate to usage, the probability that any given cannabis-user also uses heroin is 0.12. Interestingly, when drugs were decriminalised in 2001, heroin usage dropped, and cannabis usage rose, strongly implying a fact that seems obvious when applied to horse riding:

If horse riding were illegal, then less people would ride horses, but those who did ride, as they were already breaking the law, would be more inclined to participate in fox hunting.

The evidence from statistics in favour of the “gateway drug” concept is weak indeed, but argument from anecdote is weaker still. I saw a program the other week where a panel discussed the potential legalisation of drugs, and despite having some excellent rationalists on both sides (Tim Carpenter of LPUK is the only one I can remember), the debate devolved into an argument between a medical-marijuana user and a former drug addict.

Come on gentlemen.

Grow up.

Repost of something I already wrote here.



Reflections on “that” Question Time by sconzey
October 23, 2009, 6:43 pm
Filed under: Current Affairs

Listening to some people call in to Radio One, and reading a statement from Nick Griffin reposted by the times, it seems that the beeb have played right into the hands of the BNP narrative of “the left-liberal media trying to silence the troof”.

Lets face it, most britons — as Bonnie Greer said — find the BNP’s historical narrative and philosophical foundation fundementally unpaletable. There was no way Nick Griffin was — through his oratorical prowess — going to sway the opinions of vast swathes of the british public.

The Beeb could have done one of two things with the question time: they could have had a “business as usual” affair, whereby current affairs questions were asked to a panel, with Mr Griffin providing a slightly unusual perspective. As it was, they chose the second option: “Lynch the Racist” whereby the questions and audience members chosen were intended to establish the narrative that the BNP are crazy racists.

In my opinion, the first option would have been more damaging. Those who are willing to believe that the BNP are crazy racists already think so; QT was preaching to the choir. The problem was that along with the actual crazy racists, those viewers at home with slightly racist views were tarred with the same brush and a few hundred marginal voters felt a little more affinity for the party.

However their policies on immigration are not the most ludicrous thing about the party, and indeed many of their most ludicrous sail dangerously close to Old Labour territory: Unions, Protectionism, Public Ownership, etc.

A lot of people think something like “Them immigrants; taking our jobs,” and yelling “RACIST!” at them isn’t terribly constructive. Carefully explaining that whilst a job-loss is a terrible thing, it is this same process worldwide which means they can pop into Curries and buy a widescreen TV for a few months wages is a much better option.



The Local Mafia by sconzey
August 31, 2009, 2:36 pm
Filed under: Current Affairs, Views | Tags: , , ,

This weekend I worked at a rural music festival. Chatting to one of the organisers as the event wore on, we discussed the Cost of Things.

“You know what the single largest expense was?”

“No.”

He gestures to pairs of burly young men standing throughout the grounds. Well dressed in a black jacket, tie, smart trousers and shoes; high-viz jacket and their signature hard-hats. “We had to tell them how big the event was, and then they tell us how many of their guys are needed to ¬†protect us, and send us an invoice.” Continue reading



On Teenage Pregnancy by sconzey
July 9, 2009, 7:32 pm
Filed under: Current Affairs | Tags: ,

Epic fail. Only after spending millions do the government realise that their cunning plan to reduce teenage pregnancy is actually encouraging more pubescent girls to get up the duff.

Fail 1: You’d assume that the gov’t would pilot the scheme to check it reduced teenage pregnancy before rolling it out across the country.

Fail 2: Even if through some statistical fluke teenage pregnancy went down in the pilot school you’d expect them to compare it to the most basic of teen-pregnancy-reduction methods — handing every childless girl a great wodge of cash on her eighteenth birthday.