Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The Non Blue Eyed Son

Watching four hours of Dylan on the telly recently sparked vivid memories for me from thirty years ago and more.

In those days, as a seventeen year old living with his parents, listening to music was not like it is now. Turn it off, for God's sake was a parental reflex action, unlike today where teenagers are often disgusted to find their acts of high decibel rebellion can be trumped by pretty much anything from the parental back catalogue.

"Guns and Roses? You should listen to Led Zep. Greenday? Where would they be without the Clash? Dance Music? I remember when New Order invented it"

Thirty years ago there was no such overlap, it was a rare parent prepared to walk the line from Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Black Sabbath, the Stones, Fairport Convention, The Grateful Dead and the Mahavishnu Orchestra to blues, jazz, R and B (in the old sense) traditional folk, country, older popular song etc and find some common ground. And it was an even rarer teenager prepared to walk it with them.

My old man was a curmudgeonly old bastard, funnily enough, and I was a not untypical arrogant, selfish up his own arse teenager, so in our house tensions ran high at the best of times. Added to that, my father held a bizarre conviction that evil entered Britain with Bill Haley and the Comets, so the various drug addled long hairs adorning the covers of my records or strutting their stuff on the Old Grey Whistle Test were guaranteed to send him into apopletic rages.

But once he walked in on me listening to A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall and he did a sort of double take. The insistent guitar played and those mesmeric words tumbled forth:

Oh, what'll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what'll you do now, my darling young one?
I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin',
I'll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest,
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty,
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters,
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison,
Where the executioner's face is always well hidden,
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten,
Where black is the color, where none is the number,
And I'll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it,
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it,
Then I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin',
But I'll know my song well before I start singin',
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

My old man didn't say anything, but he picked up the blue cover of More Bob Dylan Greatest Hits and perused it until the end of the track. Then he put it carefully back on the table and left. We never spoke of the moment again and it didn't herald the beginning of a new understanding or anything like that, but my copy of Song and Dance Man, the Art of Bob Dylan went missing for a few days and I like to think that he read it.

Friday, September 23, 2005

That About Wraps it up for Anarcho Capitalism

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I do love all things Libertarian, especially those whacky anarcho capitalists. I particular adore the Austrian School with their insistence that economics is just another branch of maths and that everything can be subject to their rigorous logic.

It has been noted by others that Libertarians love to squirm, shifting the burden of proof to their opponents, or, in extreme cases, rejecting evidence and real world argument altogether. Over at the Kid's comments boxes, Paul Coulam is a particularly fine example of this.

As much as I love 'em, though, they've got to go. In a sane universe, Libertarian thought would be the indulged child - we would look on affectionately at its antics, smile and laugh in the right places, tell it to blow its nose and take no notice of what it says whatsoever. We certainly wouldn't have it influencing proper politics.

But this is not a sane universe. Even Labour governments these days have Libertarian foibles. In his latestGuardian Column the Chief Moonbat reveals that the government is resisting regulation over global warming in the name of the free market - or rather, The Free Market -
despite the fact that many players in the market are arguing for regulation.

It is no accident that the climate change denier movement is fuelled by Libertarians of various hues. You might think this is simply because they are a bunch of greedy fuckers who don't want governments interfering in the serious business of making money. Or you may think that their ideology sees its purest expression in this issue. You might believe that they are so hoplessly blinkered by that ideology that they can't entertain a notion that puts the primacy of their beloved Free Market in any sort of doubt.

All of these things play their part, but it goes way beyond that. Being excessively logical people, they fear for their very existence. They fear that what Oolon Colluphid tried to do to God will actually happen to them. A paradox will be created and they will simply vanish.

It is beginning already with those corporate chaps the chief Moonbat mentions demanding regulation and the government refusing it. Imagine if governments gave in to the demands and regulated effectively. The market for green technology would open up and as the evidence for climate change stacks up, the momentum would grow, more and more corporate types would realise regulation does not signal the end of the world as we know it and that long term benefits actually outweigh short term losses. Like Winston Smith, but without the rats, they would come to love the enemy. Why not? The market benefits.

This is a logical impossibility to your anarcho capitalists and they would dissolve into the ether.

Of course, if climate change is denied for long enough and regulation avoided, this unhappy state of affairs will never come to pass. The world will turn to shit and maybe some anarcho capitalists will be around to cash in at the end of it all.