Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Capitalism vs Socialism - Which Has Killed the Most?

It's often bandied about that one ideology is responsible for more deaths than the other, and this is often used by proponents of both ideologies as a means of justifying the adoption of their chosen ruleset. However, most of the information on the Internet seems to be highly subjective and/or biased. For example, I've read some calculations that attribute all the deaths of both World Wars to capitalism. Really? What about the casualties along the Eastern Front? Russians fighting in support of a Communist regime killing and being killed by Germans fighting in support of a National Socialist (Nazi) regime. How on earth can they be attributed to capitalism?

So I thought I'd try to answer this question, as objectively as possible.

The first stage is define what a death caused by an ideology is. I would argue that the following definition is pretty good:

'A deliberate death caused by a State, or an organisation acting with the support of a State, where the government of that State was following the given ideology or one of its derivatives, and the death arose as a result of action predicated by that ideology alone'.

I've excluded non-civilian deaths caused by the World Wars, as I think these two conflicts were far too complex to simply attribute the deaths to one ideology or an other - both wars were more about establishing the rule of law between nations and enforcing limits on how governments can treat their own people. They were about conflict between nations, but also between the state and the individual. However, I have included figures from the Holocaust, as these were effectively deliberate State-sanctioned murder.

This also excludes death arising as a result of extraneous issues, such as imperialism and colonialism, which transcend both capitalism and socialism. There have been historical examples of capitalist states which have been colonialist/imperialist (i.e. the British Empire and arguably the United States), but it is also fair to say that the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were also aggressively imperialist, despite both being socialist states.

Finally, it excludes accidental death by negligence, for example, death by hunger, disease etc. I've tried to include figures where wilful negligence or omission to act has caused deaths.

Socialism
Socialism was first proposed by Karl Marx in the 1840s, but the first real socialist state was, in effect, the USSR, which was founded in 1917 after the Bolshevik Revolution. I've limited my historical analysis of socialism to that point, covering several major events and governments:

USSR 15million
Nazi Germany 11million
Khmer Rouge 2million
Maoist China 5million

North Korea 2million
Others 600,000

This brings socialism's death toll over the last 97 years to 35.6 million, and it's fair to say these are conservative estimates.

Capitalism
Capitalism obviously goes back a fair way before socialism, with people exchanging goods and services for profit since ancient times. However, for the purposes of this analysis, I've limited my analysis to mercantile capitalism, which was the first to include a significant degree of State involvement. This basically goes back to the Early Modern Era, or Tudor times:

Atlantic Slave Trade 11million
Suppression of Native Americans 2million
British Empire 11million

United States 5million

In the case of the Native Americans, although the colonisation of the Americas resulted in approximately 95% of the indigenous population dying, this was mostly as a result of their lack of immunity to disease. Europeans, having a culture of living very close to other animals, had been exposed to strains of smallpox, typhus and influenza, and thus had developed an immunity to many of these strains. The Native Americans, having a very different culture, had not developed such immunities.

The British Empire figures also include many deaths which occurred from deliberate refusal to act, e.g. famines in Africa and India, as these were driven by profit motive. The figures for the United States mainly comprise deaths accorded by its interventions into South America, which to some degree are imperialistic, but have a clear profit motive in terms of control of narcotics.

Obviously, these are again conservative estimates, but I've tried to apply the same rationale to capitalism as to socialism.

Capitalism's death toll therefore comes in at 29 million, behind socialism. What is interesting is that this rough glance goes back nearly 500 years for capitalism, and only 97 for socialism. Socialism has killed an average of 367,000 people a year, whereas capitalism has killed about 58,000 a year.

It can't be said that capitalism doesn't kill people. But it certainly kills less. Socialism remains the most murderous ideology ever devised. Can we stop pretending it's nice now?

Thursday, 27 November 2014

The Right to Free Speech

One thing that really disturbs me about our society is the unpleasant habit we have collectively developed of closing down a debate because the subject matter is offensive to us.

For example, a debate to be held at Oxford University over the pros and cons of abortion was recently halted due to threats of interference from feminist students. They were upset that people could ever consider that there are disadvantages to abortion. On that particular point, I might ask them to enquire how the aborted foetuses feel about it, but that's for another time.

The point is that just because a viewpoint is offensive to some, does not mean it shouldn't be debated and scrutinised.

There is an increasing tendency for this postulation to be met with the response: 'the right to free speech doesn't mean the right to a platform!' In other words, you can say what you like, but you can't force others to publish your views or to even allow you to utter them on their property.

I'll admit, there's some logic in that argument. But I still have a few big problems with it.

Firstly, it seems to imply that giving a platform to unpalatable views, or indeed, sharing a platform with someone who expresses them, somehow condones those opinions. This logic is taken to absurd length when some people actually call for a BBC journalist to be sacked because he had a photo taken with a by-election candidate for Britain First. No, I'm sorry, that's complete nonsense. Sharing a platform with, or providing a platform to someone, does not mean that you condone their views at all. It simply means that you are allowing them to express their opinion, that's all.

But what if their views are so utterly repugnant that they can't even bear to tolerate them being expressed? I suppose that some people don't even want to take the risk of even being associated with such opinions, and therefore refuse to publish them.

People might not have an automatic right to a platform to express their views, but if they are denied any platform whatsoever, then de facto they are being denied freedom of speech. We must, therefore, as a society, have some platforms which are guaranteed - where no subject is taboo, where anything can be debated without fear or favour. Parliament is one such institution - MPs are traditionally protected by Parliamentary privilege - a device which allowed them to participate freely in debates of great import without having to fear persecution or prosecution on the grounds of treason or sedition. Even today, Parliamentary privilege is used to protect MPs from court proceedings during the discharge of their offices.

Universities should be another. Seats of learning and centres of education and debate which have formed one of the cornerstones of our culture for centuries. And yet, Oxford students felt compelled to close down a debate on abortion because they found it 'offensive', and they didn't want things being discussed at 'their' university.

Well, I'm sorry to say, folks, it's not just your university. You study there, but you are subsidised by the taxpayer to do so. The university itself, whilst it theoretically could become entirely private, is rooted in hundreds of years of British history. Kings have studied there and granted it Charters. It has produced knowledge which has benefited us all. Universities are for the public sharing of knowledge and learning for the greater good. They belong to us all, not merely the people who study there.

And finally, regardless of whether an opinion is regarded as toxic or not, regardless of whether it is regarded as offensive or not, that opinion must be heard. An attempt to close down or suppress opinion merely because it 'offends' is the worst example of groupthink - a desire for harmony and conformity which leads to irrational decision-making and ultimately, bad choices, by suppressing opinions that challenge assumptions, stereotyping of challengers as weak, evil or stupid and an irrational sense of moral supremacy against such challengers.

Sound familiar?

So to anyone who considers closing down a debate because they're 'offended', I'll say only this: have you considered the possibility that your opinion is wrong?

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Why I Am Not a Feminist

So with feminism seeming to be headlining the news again, and lots of men being asked 'are you are feminist?', I thought I'd give my answer.

I'm not. I dislike feminism, and the myths that seem to roil around it. Here's a few of them.

1. Feminism is just supporting gender equality!
Really? Is that actually true?

First, let's look at the word itself, shall we? Feminism derives from the Latin femineus, meaning 'of or pertaining to a woman/women'. The ism suffix is typically applied to Greek loanwords, 'denoting action or practice, state or condition, principles, doctrines, a usage or characteristic, devotion or adherence, etc.' (Dictionary.com). So the very word 'feminism' means 'for the women'.

If feminism purports to support gender equality, then why does the very word itself refer only to one gender? That is, by its very nature, sexist. Of course, historically, and indeed in many countries throughout the world, feminism and gender equality have been the same thing. Women have traditionally been an oppressed section of society, and therefore furthering their rights has been synonymous with approaching gender equality.

But that is now not the case in the modern Western world. Throughout the Western world, women enjoy the same civil, political and employment rights as men. The pay gap is closing, if it hasn't evaporated already. In fact, it is now becoming quite apparent that men and boys actually face quite significant and serious social impediments.

I cannot think of one single example of when I have heard of a self-declared 'feminist' standing up for men's rights. How, then, can feminism be held up as an ideology which supports gender equality?

2. Women need feminism because they are oppressed.
No, they are not. Certainly not in the Western world. Women have the same civil, political and employment rights. They are no long beholden to men - they can vote, work, join clubs, do whatever they like. Men-only clubs are now compelled by popular demand to admit women. Organisations like the Freemasons are increasingly seen as being old-fashioned and out of touch. This, to me, does not signify a climate of oppression towards women.

Of course, this does not mean to say that sexism against women is a thing of the past. The stereotypical image of builders whistling at a pretty girl passing by still happens. But it is hardly symptomatic of a widespread social malaise aimed at oppressing women and girls - the 'Patriarchy' to which so many feminists laughably refer. A bunch of ill-mannered yobs whistling at a girl is precisely that, nothing more. For every one of them, you'll find ten men that think such behaviour is ludicrous.

There is a demographic which suffers severely from the tenets of modern society. They are:

  • More likely to be victims of crime;
  • More likely to be driven into crime;
  • More likely to be falsely accused of crime;
  • More likely to receive custodial sentences;
  • More likely to under-perform at school;
  • More likely to be denied custody of their children;
  • More likely to sacrifice high proportions of their income to support their family;
  • More likely to pay higher taxes;
  • More likely to die early;
  • More likely to be unable to receive quality healthcare;
  • More likely to commit suicide;
  • More likely to have their genitals mutilated;
  • More like to work in hazardous occupations.
Of course, I refer to men. But it's women that are oppressed(!).

3. What about the pay gap?
The pay gap is an observable phenomenon where women tend to get paid less for doing the same job as men. This is seized upon by feminists as evidence of systemic sexism and discrimination against women. It is certainly true that, prior to the passing of the Equal Pay Act 1970, women did face systemic discrimination in this regard. However, they do not any more.

The remaining 'pay gap' can be explained. Consider that men and women, by virtue of their biology, tend to play different roles in the rearing of children. Women bear children, and so in most cases, there is a presumption, both on their part and on society's, that they will perform the role of primary carer for any children they have. As a result, women with children tend to have significant career gaps where they have been caring for children, typically for 1-7 years. This represents up to 17.5% of a woman's working life. Is it any surprise that women tend to get paid less?

If you want to truly assess whether there is a pay gap which is solely down to gender discrimination, then you need to compare the pay of childless women against the pay of childless men, and women with children against men with comparable career gaps.

 There is no pay gap. Some women get paid less because they haven't been working as long as their male counterparts, that's all.

4. What about female shortfalls in male-dominated professions?
This is the idea that women and girls are 'guided' down certain career paths from a very young age, again with the idea of keeping them in their place.

Years ago, this was no doubt true. Girls generally studied arts and crafts at school, whereas engineering and science with the exclusive preserve of boys. However, this is no longer the case. Girls are not denied access to careers in science, engineering, law or politics, any more than boys are denied access to careers in teaching, nursing, hospitality or social work. However, there is a constant focus on so-called 'male-dominated' professions, with this being held up as another example of systemic bias.

The truth is the men's brains and women's brains work in a fundamentally different way. Their neuron distribution patterns are markedly different - they approach problems in different ways, they make choices in different ways. As such, it is perfectly reasonable to conclude that women will tend to make different career choices to men. This does not mean that such career choices are less valid, or that the careers are less important or fulfilling. I would submit that teaching and nursing are just as important as any other field of human endeavour, yet we do not fixate on the apparent 'shortage' of men in those fields.

By all means, focus on equality of opportunity - but attempting to engineer equality of outcome is an exercise in futility.


5. Girls are subjected to soft discrimination though!
Soft discrimination is the idea that girls especially are manipulated by the media, toy manufacturers and others into a certain way of thinking during their formative years, especially through the use of so-called 'girly' toys, such as dolls and pink things. The cry of feminists in this regard is that companies should have 'gender-neutral' goods and marketing, so that girls are not compelled down a certain route.

This is just complete fantasy. I'll let you in on a giant, humongous, secret as to why products marketed to women and girls are usually pink, or dolly-associated: because they are more likely to sell if they are.

Companies are in the business of selling their products. As such, they are responsive to market demands. Girls and women tend to like pink things, hence a company manufacturing goods for them will tend to make them pink. Likewise, if they make anything for men, it tends to be black and featureless, because many men find a simplistic aesthetic to be quite attractive. There's no giant conspiracy.

I have a son and a daughter of very similar ages. My daughter, having a slightly older brother, has had various choices of the toys she has been able to have and to play with. I have never forced or guided her into liking any particular set of toys that could be defined as stereotypically 'girly'. She has always had the option of playing with Lego, action figures, toy guns, swords and things like that - and her brother has always been willing to share. But when presented with the choice, she often plumps for dolls with pretty dresses. Why? Because she is pre-disposed to do so. There's nothing wrong with that - it doesn't make her inferior. It just means she kind of likes pink, that's all.

6. Women still do most of the housework!
Again, true - women are more likely to be the primary contributor in terms of domestic chores compared to men. But women are also more likely to be in part time work and more likely to be in jobs with little or no physical demands. This, therefore, is not really a matter of gender, but a matter of contribution. If your partner has longer hours and earns more money than you, then you enjoy a lifestyle which is in effect subsidised by them. It is not unreasonable under such circumstances to pull your weight by doing jobs around the house.

And yes, blokes - it swings both ways. If the missus works longer and harder than you do and/or gets paid more, get your bloody marigolds on. If I was married to a woman bringing in more than me and working longer hours, you can be damn sure that the house would be immaculate and there'd be hot food on the table when she got home.


7. What about cultural expectations?
There's cultural expectations around men, too. For example, it seems perfectly reasonable for a woman to describe herself as a 'full-time mum'. Any such attempt from a 'full-time dad' would almost certainly be met with raised eyebrows.

If you want to talk about cultural expectations, how about the representation of men in the media, especially advertising? They're almost always portrayed as an imbecile or a comic foil to the clever woman outsmarting them.

How about the 'mother knows best' philosophy pervading our culture regarding childcare? As if, by implication, dads know fuck all? My experience of ante-natal and post-natal care of my children was one of disdain - health visitors and midwives looking at me helping with the raising of my children as if to say, 'what's the sperm donor doing here? He's done his bit.'

How about the disadvantages and discrimination fathers face in family court proceedings? During mediation with my ex-wife about contact and residence, it was put to me that she was a better parent simply because she was a woman. By the supposedly impartial mediator. They were rather surprised when I savaged that assertion for the naked sexism that it was.

Cultural expectations affect both men and women, so I hardly see it as an exclusive 'the-Patriarchy-are-keeping-us-down' issue.

8. The female body is used to sell everything in advertising! It's demeaning!
Our obsession with the female body isn't so much symptomatic of the Patriarchy objectifying women, but more the innate way that human sexuality works.

On a biological, instinctive level, men are programmed to want to have sex with women. This gives them the evolutionary advantage of having as many children as possible, thus ensuring that their genes survive the ravages of natural selection. Men tend to be attracted to women who manifest physical characteristics associated with child-bearing - wide hips, young-looking (incidentally, grey hair is not as noticeable in blondes, which therefore makes blondes look younger), big breasts (usually), healthy curved figure. No great mystery there.

On the same, biological, instinctive level, women are programmed to want to have children. Obviously, they also tend to be attracted to males who exhibit physical characteristics likely to produce healthy offspring. However, on that instinctive level, they also tend to want to attract and most importantly retain a man to provide for her and her offspring once she has given birth. In order to do this, women tend to have a biological desire to make themselves attractive to men.

That's why humanity is obsessed with the female form. Because it's in our DNA. Note, of course, I am not talking about our modern society, simply ancestral and evolutionary instincts which have developed over millions of years.

Personally, whilst the evolutionary theories explain this phenomenon quite satisfactorily, it appears to me that we should be making a moral choice as a society to lessen objectification of people, regardless of gender. But again, the immediate feminist leap is that it is evil men responsible for the objectification of women. In actual fact, the biggest culprits are usually women themselves.

Look at women's magazines. Usually edited and written entirely by women. You wouldn't think they'd objectify themselves, would you? And yet, virtually every women's magazine cover has a woman on the front. A woman who normally conforms to the above evolutionary stereotype of attractiveness.

Look at the way hair and beauty products are marketed. Normally by women. In some cases, very famous, wealthy women, exploiting the insecurities of other women to make even more money. Men are not solely responsible for this exploitation - it is a phenomenon that women are equal participants in.

And in case anyone suggests that men are not objectified in the same way, Diet Coke and fireman's calendars obviously don't exist then.

In short, sexual objectification is not an exclusively female issue, nor is it deliberately engineered by the non-existent Patriarchy. It is a problem which all of modern society needs to get to grips with.

9. Women are pre-judged based on what they wear.
Yeah, sometimes. It works for men, too. See what happens when they wear dresses in public. We're all guilty of pre-judging people based on their appearance. Again, it's not an exclusively female issue - it affects us all.

10. Feminists try to raise awareness of other equality injustices as well!
Really? They seem to spend an awful lot of time banging on about how terrible things are for women in the Western world, and ignoring huge injustices like the systemic oppression of Jews and Christians in the Middle East (both men and women), the sexual enslavement of women and children by Jihadist militant groups, the correlation between certain cultural groups and sexual grooming of children and the challenges that men face due to prejudice as well. All I seem to hear from feminists is how terrible they have it.

So there you have it. I'm not a feminist, because feminism only looks at one narrow part of human inequality, and often seeks special concessions in favour of that inequality rather than addressing the problem directly. It is a divisive, aggressive ideology that masquerades as something benign, where it is often simply used as cover to try and implement and justify continued prejudice against men.

It is also inherently hypocritical. Just the other day, a scientist who had just landed a probe on a comet was ridiculed by feminists for wearing a comic book shirt with some pretty ladies on it. So let me get this straight - men aren't allowed to criticise women for what they wear, 'cos that's sexist, but feminists are allowed to criticise men for what they wear...? Right.

Nope. Not a feminist. I like equality too much.

Friday, 19 September 2014

English Devolution

So, the referendum is over. After all the highs and lows, after panic and elation, Scotland has voted resoundingly to stay inside the United Kingdom.

The offer of further devolution to the Scottish Parliament has been a key feature of the campaign, and this, together with the unionists' commitment to the much-maligned Barnett Formula, the method of allocating funding to the devolved assemblies, has raised the question of English Devolution again.

The basic premise is, if Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own assemblies or parliaments, why cannot England? Why can't the United Kingdom be a federal union, operating on a similar basis to, say, the United States?

The simple answer, of course, is that England doesn't need devolution.

Consider the United States. Each state is, in effect, devolved from the Federal administration in Washington. They have pro rata representation in the House of Representatives, and two seats each in the Senate. Why can't we apply their system to the UK?

Quite simply, because it wouldn't work. The US system is built on the assumption that each state holds relatively equal sway, due to the fact that there aren't massive variations in things like population and GDP. Of course, there are at the extremes - New York holds far more of both than, say, Wyoming. But we're not talking orders of magnitude, and the sheer number of states within their union means that such discrepancies can be averaged out. No one state holds sway over the entire union.

This is not the case with the UK. One state dominates the union, in terms of population, GDP and representation. That state is England.

England represents about 82% of the UK population, 82% of its elected representatives and 79% of its GDP. England bestrides the United Kingdom like a colossus. If England were devolved, it would literally make the Westminster Parliament utterly irrelevant, because it would be unable to impose its will upon a separate English Parliament.

The only way for a federal union to work in the UK would be for England to be divided into about nine or ten mini-states. As it happens, England does divide quite nicely along cultural and historical lines - Northumbria, Yorkshire, Lancashire, the East and West Midlands, the Home Counties, Greater London, the West Country and East Anglia. This would probably give enough diversity for a federal union to function, by effectively breaking up England's block vote. However, England hasn't historically reacted well to attempts to partition it.

Even if the worst case scenario - from an English point of view - were to be presented. Imagine that every Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MP clubbed together to vote for a bill in Parliament that would apply 100% Income Tax to every Englishman, with the money being exclusively reserved for non-English use. Even if they all voted the same way, they would still only amount to 18% of the votes in the House of Commons, and they need 50% to pass a bill. In other words, even if the other home nations wanted to enforce a bill on England, they would require the consent of 40% of the other English MPs. Not to mention the support of the Queen. Who is also English.

We could amend Parliamentary procedure so that Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs cannot vote on England-only matters, but it wouldn't really make a huge difference, because they'd always need English support to pass a bill concerning England anyway. On top of that, it is actually incredibly rare that the House of Commons passes a bill which only concerns England. It's happened less than 1% of the time since Scotland was devolved. Normally, a bill affects at least one other of the home nations, depending on the level of devolution they have. Usually Wales, as they have an historically closer legal system, since Henry VIII moved the Principality completely into English jurisdiction.

England doesn't need devolution because, by virtue of its size, representation and economic clout, it effectively holds a veto over every bill that passes through the House of Commons. England also doesn't need devolution because it already has an English Parliament. Since the time of the Plantagenets, the English Parliament has been held in London, on the banks of the Thames. It's still there. We call it the Palace of Westminster. It is an ancient, noble and proud institution which has served us well for centuries.

If we want the English Parliament to work better for the English, we could start by not packing it full of fucking tools every five years. But having English votes for English laws probably wouldn't be too disruptive. Unless you happen to be the Labour Party. Given that they have 40 MPs in Scotland, they'd have a significantly reduced majority in a future Government trying to pass England-only laws. But the answer to that is simple, isn't it? Get more English votes.

Friday, 22 August 2014

The EU's Priorities

The European Union, whether we like it or not, is regarded as one of the most important international institutions in the world. Its members have a combined economy bigger than the United States, it is host to two permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and accounts for nearly one billion people.

So, in a time when the Ukraine, on the EU's eastern border, is engaged in a civil war with a secessionist region acting as a proxy for Russia, when the Middle East conflicts are burgeoning out of hand, with conflicts in Israel, Syria and Iraq posing a threat to world security, when many Eurozone countries are sliding back into recession, when the EU itself is in dire need of democratic and systemic reform to shore up its crumbling financial system and end the corruption which mires it, what do you suppose the EU's priorities are?

Limiting the wattage of vacuum cleaner motors.

I despair.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The Proportionality of Rape

So, Richard Dawkins (who is hardly my favourite person at the best of times) has got himself into a spot of bother on Twitter for the suggestion that some cases of rape are worse than others.

Cue the rent-a-mob from the outrage bus decrying him. Cue me saying 'actually, the bloke's got a point'.

I will lay out my position as clearly as possible.

In our criminal justice system, we generally recognise that crimes have degrees of severity. Wider circumstances surrounding the crime, such as motive, method, planning, consideration, provocation, previous good character etc. are treated as either mitigating or aggravating factors in sentencing. A man murdering his wife because he found her in bed with someone else is likely to be treated more leniently than a man abducting and murdering a woman he doesn't know for no apparent reason. His state of mind at the time is likely to be considered as a mitigating factor.

We accept this proportionality quite readily, being prepared to accept that some instances of crimes are worse than others, and should therefore face tougher sentences.

Except rape.

Whenever rape is mentioned, all logic and objectivity seems to be thrown out of the window. Of course, by it's very nature, rape is a highly emotive subject - but that is all the more reason why logic should not be abandoned. It is a basic principle of our jurisprudence that those who are aggrieved cannot sit in judgement, as emotion can cloud objectivity. The oft-heard cry is that 'rape is rape' - that all rapes are equally severe. By extension, this implies that all rapists should receive the same sentence, regardless of the circumstances.

This flies in the face of the concept of proportionality which I have described above, and strikes me as having no basis in logic or law.

Let me be absolutely clear. Rape is a vile crime for which there is absolutely no justification or excuse. It is - and rightly so - classed as an extremely serious criminal act, which carries with it a heavy criminal sanction of imprisonment. That being said, there are some conceivable instances of rape which are worse than others, due to aggravating factors such as motive, method, planning etc. For example, I would argue that a serial rapist who has raped and assaulted someone with a knife, causing serious damage to their body in a pre-meditated and predatory attack should face a significantly higher sentence than a first-time offender who took advantage of a drunk semi-conscious girl. That does not imply that the second instance is an acceptable, or 'mild' act - it is not. It is still deplorable and inexcuseable. But you would certainly expect the perpetrator in the first instance to suffer a significantly higher sanction.

That being said - that you would expect someone to receive a higher sentence for a more serious instance - it follows that the mantra of 'rape is rape' is invalid. There are circumstances when you can conceive that tougher penalties should be applied. This does not seek to diminish the experiences of 'date-rape' victims, or try to justify the awful experience to which they have been subjected. It simply says that there are conceivable circumstances where one rapist should receive a tougher sentence than another, and that therefore, some rapes are more serious than others. None are mild. None are justifiable or excuseable. But some are so severe that they require higher sanction.

Because of this obvious fact, rape, like all other crimes, is proportional.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Soap Box Moment - Why I'm a Baby-Eating Tory and Proud of It

You know, I get sick to the back teeth of people just assuming that Rightists don't care about things like education, healthcare etc. Of course we do! Despite the Left's best attempts to paint us all as hideous baby-eating monsters (usually rich ones, at that), most of us are actually ordinary people who care about the same things.

The fact of the matter is, however, that these valuable benefits don't just magically materialise out of thin air - they need paying for, and there has to be some restraint in what things are paid for by the State, otherwise we'll go bust. Like we nearly did in 2010 because of Labour's utter economic incompetence. Far from voting to squander these privileges, I'm voting to preserve them, because although the Tories aren't perfect, at least they keep the fucking bailiffs from the door!

And as for the tired, pathetic caricature of Tories being rich toffs, I am a card-carrying Tory. My Dad was a factory worker, my Mum was a dinner lady. I went to the local comprehensive school, and a former polytechnic uni. I am about as far removed from privilege as is possible. Meanwhile, the Labour benches went to the same private schools and universities as the Tories people purport to despise! But that's OK, because being a Tory makes you evil.

I'm fed up of it. I'm not evil - I'm just a working bloke who pays his way, and gets sick and bloody well tired of people accusing me of being a bastard, and trying to freeload on the back of my tax money. I'm sick of having to pay for other people's pensions when I can't afford my own. I'm sick of seeing my tax money being pissed up the wall by Labour's blind stupidity. I'm sick of having to pay tax so that people who can't be arsed to work can buy plasma TVs that I can't afford. And I am sick of Labour's anti-growth attitude that drives people overseas, reducing tax revenues and making it less likely that we can afford decent quality public services!

So you're damn right I'll keep on voting Tory, and I'll keep on donating to them, and do everything I possibly can to keep that lying, hypocritical, incompetent, sleazy pack of rat shit commonly referred to as 'The Labour Party' out of office.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Gun Controls

I was saddened to see this article in the Telegraph earlier. A four-year-old girl in Detroit managed to get hold of her grandfather's gun and accidentally shot dead her cousin. A terrible tragedy. However, the end of the article bothered me, citing that America's liberal gun laws mean that more people get killed by guns each year.

Well, of course they do. Here in the UK, we have very strict gun controls, and as a result, not many people get shot. But do less people get killed? Do strict gun controls actually result in a lower murder rate?

A link here to a list of countries by murder rate, i.e. number of murders relative to population size. It quite clearly indicates that Africa, South East Asia and South America generally have very high murder rates relative to the rest of the world. Now, if gun ownership is to blame for high murder rates, then we would expect those same areas to have very high rates of gun ownership, yes?

Except they don't. Africa, South East Asia and South America generally have low rates of gun ownership. Conversely, the countries with the highest levels of gun ownership tend to have lower murder rates overall. Including the United States.

So, is there a factor which does correlate with high murder rates? Yes. GDP per capita. Overwhelmingly, the poorest countries in the world are in Africa, South East Asia and South America. These countries have the highest murder rates, despite having low rates of gun ownership.

In other words, guns don't kill people. People kill people. Murder is a psychological, sociological and economic issue, and has very little to do with the availability of weapons.