Blog description.

Accentuating the Liberal in Classical Liberal: Advocating Ascendency of the Individual & a Politick & Literature to Fight the Rise & Rise of the Tax Surveillance State. 'Illigitum non carborundum'.

Liberty and freedom are two proud words that have been executed from the political lexicon: they were frog marched and stood before a wall of blank minds, then forcibly blindfolded, and shot, with the whimpering staccato of ‘equality’ and ‘fairness’ resounding over and over. And not only did this atrocity go unreported by journalists in the mainstream media, they were in the firing squad.

The premise of this blog is simple: the Soviets thought they had equality, and welfare from cradle to grave, until the illusory free lunch of redistribution took its inevitable course, and cost them everything they had. First to go was their privacy, after that their freedom, then on being ground down to an equality of poverty only, for many of them their lives as they tried to escape a life behind the Iron Curtain. In the state-enforced common good, was found only slavery to the prison of each other's mind; instead of the caring state, they had imposed the surveillance state to keep them in line. So why are we accumulating a national debt to build the slave state again in the West? Where is the contrarian, uncomfortable literature to put the state experiment finally to rest?

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Global Tax Crackdown = Global Surveillance State & Lower Standards of Living. [Plus Copyright.]

In an effort to mitigate all the good effects of last night’s free trade deal signed for Pacific nations, world governments are moving on their draconian plans to stymie the world economy by adding as much cost as they can to those firms we would, as individuals, otherwise want to trade freely with. The below comment to this NBR piece indicates the source of the problem - statism has won over freedom:

#1 by norman godden   16 hours ago

About time too. I have observed so many multi-nationals reduce profits here by loading up related party debt and unrealistic management fees.

I replied to Norman on that thread, but as ever NBR’s moderation works to stop the free flow of ideas, and it never made it up to the site. This will have been due to it falling through the cracks of their creaky moderation system which sees comments lost, not because of content. As near as I can remember my comment it was as follows – well, expanded:

Goddamn Godden. These firms were operating their tax affairs in our best interests, preferring to use their profits for innovation and lower prices to benefit customers, rather than increase the size of world governments.

Tax is a cost in (at least) two ways:

First tax is a cost to business which will be passed on in higher prices for goods, and via less innovation, less choice. Indeed, when New Zealand soon moves to add GST to all imports – unrelated to this crackdown, but the same impetus - I can see some overseas firms who won’t find it profitable to trade here, not bothering to. So our cost of living will rise, as the quality of life we’ve had through global trade declines.

Second, the money that is extorted from consumers – as they are always the one who pay corporate income tax as well as sales tax – is used by governments that have grown to half the size of their (planned, centrally dictated) economies, to grow themselves yet further via dependence to the welfare state, undermining always the self-reliance required for freedom and prosperity, and the entrepreneurial spirit rewarded by laissez faire capitalism that has given the West the best standard of living of any previous civilisation.

Norman’s comment is representative of the statist gestalt that has won in the West, capturing Left and Right, which produces from our state school system sheeple who would vote for abattoirs if they thought they might get a free lunch on the way to the trucks.


I’m moving further away from Ayn Rand on copyright. I will always hold it as a valid right, but a bad provision of the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) – other than that there are so many provisions and true free trade should be agreed in a single sentence (so this is cronyism on top of free trade) – is the increasing of authorial and music copyright to 70 years after death from 50, as it is in the US. This is retrograde as far as artistic use is concerned. I believe copyright should die with the creator.

Further Reading:

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Arts & Letters Daily – And the Antidote To It.

When Arts & Letters Daily was edited by founder, Dennis Dutton, I was a regular visitor. Since his death, I find the site hard to stomach, until this morning the reason can’t be ignored.

It’s the first time I’ve seen the site openly posting its advocacy of a Left program. Collectivism and Left state authoritarianism is the death of literature. Even that contradictory socialist, George Orwell, understood important art must be an individualist and individualistic enterprise.

... Modern literature is essentially an individual thing. It is either the truthful expression of what one man thinks and feels, or it is nothing.
As I say, we take this notion for granted, and yet as soon as one puts it into words one realizes how literature is menaced.

Orwell was writing against the totalitarian state, however – tellingly - those sentences apply equally today. We are all denied by a modern Progressivism which has the agenda of appropriating art for itself; certainly it is (increasingly) the death of art as a living and vibrant commonplace of my life.

On a similar theme I've been receiving daily emails from LitHub (Google it) over the last six or so months: always interesting but up to a half of the links are to literary cultural Marxism, and its concomitant identity politics.

I have previously written the antidote to this rampant socialism in the arts: but you won’t see links to it on Arts and Letters Daily – I know this because I long ago submitted the link to them, with the only response being the silence of some Marxist or other no doubt sliding to the floor with apoplexy. I’m not a hugely read blog, though am glad to say my disquisition on our modern literature, which doubles as my literary manifesto, is still being daily read, and now has over 5,000 reads.

Read it and my follow up post on our wowser literature that represents only our state-worshiping culture, not counter-culture, anymore, and is thus lost as the essential resistance it needs to be against untrammelled state power and individuals being forced to exist in the prison of each others minds via the tax take:

Still not had enough fresh air, then try an unrepresentative chapter from my novel.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Chris Brown and His Execrable Music Must Proceed.

Here’s the argument for letting Chris Brown in to perform his execrable music.

It has nothing to do with Chris Brown.

He has ‘done his time’ for his crimes. End of.

After that, I don’t want politicians and bureaucrats deciding who can, and cannot, come into New Zealand. It has to be left up to the choice of the individuals of New Zealand whether they want to see, buy tickets, or whatever interaction they desire, with people such as Brown when they are in-country.

The argument he has a criminal record doesn’t wash. Blasphemy is criminalised in Saudi Arabia, and if you are a woman, driving: so should women from Saudi Arabia with criminal records not be allowed in? (Assuming – as you can’t – they have their heads connected to their necks still.) The devout of Saudi Arabia would view blasphemy every bit as evil and repugnant as we rightly find domestic violence. 

Should the countless thousands of Kiwis with criminal records for the victimless crime of cannabis possession not be able to travel freely in the Free West? (Noting that they can’t and that is significant.)

Identity politics wants to disappear Chris Brown. But identity politicos always want to exclude and excommunicate what they see as wrong. And that is always wrong.

I have seen those saying Chris Brown is unrepentant: unless you have talked to him - so that's not a single Twitter account I've seen saying this - that must be an opinion. Excluding him on that ground is purely an emotive one. And that is always wrong.

Free countries have open borders, and not just for immigration, but for ideas and art also. Progressivism and identity feminism, in this instance, and via that, politicians, don’t get to decide who free people associate with if they do no harm (and have fulfilled their punishment for previously doing so). Prohibition is always wrong; is always harmful, and here's why: because of Chris Brown New Zealand is discussing domestic violence. His visit will afford greater light thrown on this dreadful crime.

Next thing we’ll be told a member of the Israeli Defence Force is not free to enter New Zealand and give their side of history in our universities, because campuses have been turned into that anathema of the free-mind: safe places.

Chris Brown must not have his trip banned for the same reason that Ted Dawes should never have had his book banned.

Chris Brown must be free to bring his shite show to New Zealand, because if politicians get to choose who crosses our borders to discuss their ideas, or perform their art - when such people hold no physical threat to us - then New Zealand is not a free land and we all are living in Progressivestan.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Copyright & My Novel | One Chapter [Extract].

LE GUIN: “And you can't live off [writing]. It's hard to live off of any kind of artistic writing—fiction or poetry. And then you do have to wonder how many people are really reading your stuff, so the reward has to be in the work. But it is. There's nothing more rewarding than looking at a poem you wrote and thinking, "Well, at least I think I did it right."

ZADIE SMITH: A writer’s duty is to register what it is like for him or her to be in the world.

I’ve finished editing the first draft of my novel. I didn’t write the novel for money; I don’t need to find a publisher for a living – privilege? Go away; I’ve spent an occupation of choring that’s largely unfulfilling just so I can do what I want with my writing. I mention this by way of saying I was never going to write a story without purposeful artistic, political and economic barbs that will hopefully resonate while entertaining and go somewhat toward meeting the brief of my literary manifestos part I and part II. (Otherwise penning those was pointless.)

My novel is a 133,000 word twenty first century tragi-comedy, moving from the comedic to tragic, and written in four genres – (so … literary fiction). My favourite part to write was Book II written in the format of TV program 24, in which I got to throw Karl Marx under a Fulton Hogan truck in the Christchurch rebuild, reported real time by Campbell Live. Although the novel is not about Marx at all; he makes the singular appearance as a plot device. I’m publishing the below extract from Book III because it gives a thematic micro-view of the macro-manuscript, albeit unrepresentative of the whole (by a wide margin as in this piece I'm largely telling, not showing). Noting I’m at that stage where I should now be querying agents and publishers, but I’m not because I’m finding writing a query impossible. Possibly the reduction to absurdity – recommended query length is 250 words - is a price I don’t want to pay, so I might, yet, self-publish and hope to be sued as my marketing program. Sued (possibly) because of copyright. The publish-ability of my venture, outside if it’s any good – and I have no judgement on that - will turn on how successfully I have written the novel as its own defence. Albeit in its defence, I think the one certain statement I can make is that while my novel examines the notion of whether originality is possible – a surprisingly political question - it will would be, I guarantee, like nothing you’ve ever read, from which few will walk away unscathed.

I make no attempt to provide context to this extract, other than saying it is toward building of character and theme, but off-piste to the run of the story, or style in which the novel is written; also, the first line segues from the previous chapter (so the opening reads uneven). The title of the novel draws on that canon – for overseas readers - of New Zealand literature, Man Alone, with Goodbye to Christchurch a literal reference to leaving that city after the earthquakes that struck from September, 2010, but more importantly, figuratively is a reference to Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin – the latter for reasons the reader would need to interpret from the text. 

[This is a novel and a character’s views are not necessarily my own. Also, other than the plot, there is nothing in my novel that is not true, or law that has been altered; the email embedded from literary agent, AM Heath, is a real one, other than for the opening salutation. Regarding the theme of copyright, while I hold firmly with the principle, there are many shades levels of copyright in the current debate, so you might want to compare the ideas expressed by Daphne Smith, below, and – embedded - economist Eric Crampton, with those of this article (hat-tip Not PC.) You tell me what ‘originality’ is, and if it’s possible, (noting some of my novel elements I thought original, I’ve found since finishing the manuscript, fit into an avant-garde ‘tradition’ called Readymade). Needless to say, this section is not part of the comedy in tragi-comedy.]

* * *

[Extract from Novel: Woman Alone (Goodbye to Christchurch).]

* * *

They’re communal showers in prison. Before Mum and Dad’s weekly visits I try to scrub the feel of this place off, but it’s hopeless.

Their visits are the hardest of what must be endured (as I told Rangi the visits would be.) Yet how can I deny them? We sit across a table that could be from a school classroom, and likewise, school chairs, in a room surrounded by prisoners and their visitors: our going through the motions of the family that Once-Was, reminding me of all I've lost.

This lack of privacy Inside is wearing away the layers of Who-I-Was to a dying centre I’m encrypting (encasing) inside words as they forsake me (as I [also] told Rangi words would). I vainly hope they will be escaping back into the world and living as I cannot. For me, after the Last Word there will be nothing other than my mere sentence to be got on with. Although I’ve made an error of judgement (even) in this singular task left of ordering documenting my life.

With my manuscript nearing completion, the idea formed (or visited me) to rename the characters – I’ve a lot of time to fill – in conformance with the two authors who defined (and confined) my Henry: philosopher/writer/bitch Ayn Rand, I’ve mentioned her at least twice, the woman who led him to his death; and George Orwell who wrote of our collective death. (If you Google character lists for 1984, Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged you’ll see what I’ve done.) Henry was every pig-headed (obnoxious) individualist hero in Rand, while at the same time, logically, every victim in Orwell’s societal gulags. He was Winston Smith at the same time as he was Henry (Hank) Reardon, indeed, in this distorted twenty first century world, because of it.

But the literary agency that handles Orwell’s estate, A.M. Heath, won’t allow use of his characters inside of copyright – which may as well last for infinity, (my life as the reference point). I obtained permission from the prison to query them and this was the reply:

From: Bill Hamilton
To: "Daphne Smith"
Subject: FW: A.M.Heath Website Contact

Dear Daphne Smith,

Thanks for asking.

I'm afraid the estate is unable to grant such use, which cuts across other licenses that are in force.

Yours sincerely,

Bill Hamilton

No ‘can we see what you’re doing?’ No negotiation; only negation. The palming off. I won’t waste my time querying further afield.

Orwell would be incensed at his characters being so state-bound in what has become our constipated literature (echoes of Henry). A literalist state enforced monopoly used to this extent to stymie creativity would be anathema to him - I know this from his essay Literature and Totalitarianism  … although, and I’m punting on this, I don’t reckon such a claim will hold up: the easy one first, O’Lyon cannot be Orwell’s O’Brien, because he’s (also) the slouch and the half-lion, half-man of Yeats’ (out-of-copyright, outworn and over-cribbed) poem Second Coming (he’s not a character at all); Henry Smith can’t be Winston Smith, because he’s Henry (Hank) Reardon, and he can’t be Hank Reardon, because he’s Winston Smith. Hell, I could argue Henry can’t be either because in his willful self-destruction between eras and the grandiosity of his self-deception, he’s the Great Gatsby himself, who in chasing a future dream for himself (for us?), became mired, instead, in a fantastical golden past (which I’m not sure ever existed other than for literature and as ideas in the heads of philosophers). Though a foil for Gatsby as well in that there was no deception to the world about what Henry believed and how he lived. He was Truth - as Tom Larsons found.

The Great Gatsby is on my mind because I got it out from the prison library service, and have just finished reading. My initial interest was technical in it being a story told by near invisible Nick Carraway, not the protagonist. Mine is sidekick writing also, despite I’ve paid a price Carraway never had too. But the story itself soon took over from my academic interest, the last sentence imprinting itself to my memory whether I wanted it or not: ‘So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.’ I don’t know if I agree with that; at least, it’s not applicable to me. In my circumstances beating on, making of myself a dream Gatsbian other-life, something that I’m not, was never an option – Jesus, what a luxury that would’ve been: my life was surviving in a world over which I had no control, as choices were taken from me, paring me down to myself … but too late to save myself, with the past offering not defeat, but a desired oblivion. And so to turn that sentence on itself would be a comment on this age, yet that delivers me to the same precarious ledge my characters balance, in that despite creation is the art of concealing your sources, (Einstein, I think) such finer points in these litigious days would also likely be lost in the internecine trenches of copyright fair use regulations.

To strike out in a different direction, how come I could include the historical persons of Orwell or Fitzgerald in my novel, yet not the significations of their characters? Or if I can argue the above is literary criticism, and this book, then I’m not fair game for the damned lawyers of the publishing houses who despise the ethos of our literature they live off like parasites. And what of the trouble I’ve gone for the rights holders of these long dead authors in order [conceited] I might aid the increase of their sales? I had to contort myself to put a herd of in-milk cows on trucks to be transported to another farm in December: outside artifice (and deception – remember my fronts-piece) every dairy cocky knows this wouldn't happen, but the seeds of my narrative undoing was the need to shift Henry's first blog post to April 4 – why? Go buy 1984 and read for yourself.

A Canadian academic/economist living in New Zealand, Eric Crampton, sums up my problem in this piece copied from think tank (Internet) site, The New Zealand Initiative – (I asked the prison to be put briefly online at the time of querying A.M. Heath, and researched my copyright issues concurrently, a guard watching over my shoulder):

Five years ago, Larrikin Music, who bought the rights to an old Australian folk song, sued Men At Work for including an 11-note flute sequence from it in their 80s-hit, “Down Under”. Where Men At Work had intended homage in its celebration of all things Australian, Larrikin, and the law, saw copyright infringement.

But does that really go far enough? If an 11-note sequence counts as infringement, how much do modern artists owe Pachelbel’s descendants? The four-chord sequence making up the core of his Canon in D has been repeated in dozens, if not hundreds, of subsequent songs. Should evidence produced by Australia’s
Axis of Awesome be used in copyright lawsuits by anyone who can document that, ten generations back, Johann Pachelbel was a great-great- grandfather? It seems absurd.

Even from the perspective of a profit-seeking artist, copyright is a double-edged sword. Stronger copyright both increases the rewards from having produced a piece of work and increases the cost of creating new works. Artistic works feed off each other. New works build on older traditions, reinterpreting old folk tales and old folk tunes for new generations. The Brothers Grimm collected and published older folk tales like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty in the 1800s. In the 1900s, Walt Disney brought those stories to life in a new form. In the 2000s, well, it is hard for new innovation to occur because copyright law, at least in the United States, has frozen the usage of most important works produced since 1923.

Why should copyright be limited? Because current creators draw on a global commons in their artistic creations. And future generations of artists deserve a commons too.

I’d clicked on the link to read this by chance because Mr Crampton has a passing likeness to my Henry … an academic bespectacled version of him:

Don’t get me wrong; if a work of mine was published, and people pirated it peer-to-peer denying me a living, or if an individual tried to pass something I wrote off as their own, I’d rip their hearts out; however, that’s not the issue here – artistic use is.

+ + +

Fucked fact from my research notes: if you sing Happy Birthday in a public place you have to pay a royalty to publisher Warner/Chappell who purchased the rights in the 1980s. I’ve been trying to think of any movies I’ve heard it sung and I can’t think of one; I guess that’s why. How’s that art representing our reality?

+ + +

This is too hard. Always, I arrive here.

Look: Henry was neither Hank, Winston nor Gatsby: he was my stubborn husband who was not persecuted by the state so much as when it came looking for him he decided to be a pig-headed swine, so it kicked his arse. And mine. That stupid, sweet, selfish, principled bastard.  Henry was Henry. For three different estates [Fitzgerald died 21 December, 1940; Orwell died 1 January, 1950; and Rand 6 March, 1982 – the individuals are all dust], to sue my Henry as being each of their characters at once when he was only Henry (or everyman) would be legally a moot and preposterous result, I think. As absurd as an author’s copyright extending beyond the functioning of their mind and the right to negotiate their own art (given dealing with the Suits of an estate will no longer be about the living art, but interning it in the coffins of the deceased so that beneficiaries can morbidly feast upon the rotting flesh). And noting I could simply change all names back to our real ones, only denying myself one level of interpretation (which I could then squeeze back in by leaving this chapter intact (!)). No, I think my defence sound. Intimating Henry was anyone but Henry would be as mad as saying strident, fiery Beth was some construct of a Scandinavian crime series, or Louise from Thelma and Louise, or that she was anyone other than this tiny, feisty woman of blood and gumption who mirrors Henry for the purposes of my novel, and has lived her life, not merely watched it go by. Beth who became my loyal friend. Beth who took Salt’s bullet meant for me. We are real. We exist. Take what interpretations you will from fiction, but remember it’s fiction, and we … I, am not of that: I hurt.

Thankfully when these words stop, I will be free of this writing disease. Better, I will finally be free of hope.

Marion, one of the nicer guards – the inmates call her Maid Marion (don’t ever look for originality in here) - has popped her head around the door to say my extra hour is up; time to amble back to my cell.

F. Scott Fitzgerald died of a heart attack in his early forties, likely the result of drinking too much. He’s on record the words came to him in a bottle; when he wasn’t drinking there was a disinclination to write. Of life’s luxuries denied me, wine is what I miss most; but there is to be no escape of any description, that’s the purpose of my punishment.

… If I could’ve changed one thing about what happened on the Peninsula, I’d have made love with Rangi; God knows we both wanted it. Made love … a deceptive term: had sex. I should’ve escaped to that.

* * *

Update 1:

It’s a funny old world. On the news today, (23/9/2015), Warner/Chappell have been enforcing blanket rights over the song Happy Birthday in error:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that the music publishing company that has been collecting royalties for the song "Happy Birthday To You" does not hold a valid copyright to the popular tune that is sung worldwide.

U.S. District Judge George H. King ruled Tuesday that the copyright originally filed by the Clayton F. Summy Co. in 1935 granted only the rights to specific arrangements of the tune and not the actual song itself.

In invalidating the copyright, King ruled that Summy never acquired the rights to the song's lyrics.

Warner/Chappell Music has been enforcing the copyright claim since it bought Summy's successor, the Birch Tree Group.