Monthly Archives: May 2009

Freedom vs free markets

Any individual freedoms – to trade freely, even to own guns – are in principle libertarian. But I think we all recognise that freedom is not so simple.

If someone beats me up and takes all my stuff, that’s an expression of their freedom; but I don’t think anyone who doesn’t live in a bunker full of canned beans would regard that as a legitimate one. Continue reading

On Hugo Chávez


Chávez’s attempts to manipulate the electoral system to stay in power are egregious, but the hysteria he generates amongst the free-marketeers is a little overwrought. He’s not Hitler or Stalin. He’s not even Bush. How many wars did he start? How many people has he killed or tortured? He’s just messing with some people’s preferred economic system. Continue reading


At music school I was too old to be a young turk, but I used to hang around with them; and we used to say “Resolution is death!” – a reference to the serene uneventfulness of the tonic chord compared to the violent, interesting confusion of the (unresolved) dominant chord, or of simple dissonance itself. Continue reading

Arcata, California


Hippies, like other fundamentalists, usually believe the world is about to end, continually revising the date as it fails to occur (currently December 21st, 2012). In this part of the world, that belief is melded with right-wing libertarianism, so that one’s apocalyptic preparations should include a bunker full of guns and tinned beans. Nonetheless they are extremely friendly people, surrounded by giant redwood forests full of elk. Continue reading