July 2007

31 July 2007
“F**kwit Flambé”
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From Theo Spark

18 July 2007
Bob Dylan.  I think he’ll go far

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The cover of Blonde on Blonde
Why isn’t Bob Dylan bigger than he already is?  Yes, I know he is a living legend an’ all but… well, it’s only recently that I’ve started getting in to him.  I bought a couple of his albums (Bringing it All Home and Highway 61 Revisited) when I was a teenager - as you do - and although there are some pretty good tracks on them - Love Minus Zero/No Limit is my personal favourite - the dirges, caterwauling and incomprehensible, slash, up-his-own-arse lyrics rather put me off.

Until recently.  Thanks to the wonders of Napster - download as much as you like for a tenner a month - I’ve been able to explore Dylan’s music to my heart’s content.  Oh boy.  If only I’d stuck it out to Blonde on Blonde.  Or given some of the early albums a shot.  And there’s all the 70s stuff still to come, which holds many a gem.  Apparently.

What impresses me is the unpretentious way in which he reveals his genius.  He just sings the songs and lets you discover them for yourself.  Or, as in the case of All Along the Watchtower, lets someone else discover them.  Many has been the time I’ve been vaguely listening to a Dylan song when I think: “This is a bit good” and then find the tears starting to well up inside.

Or maybe I’m just getting on.

07 July 2007
Went to see the Lives of Others the other day. Thought it very good. So did Adriana who has some personal reflections on life under communism.
06 July 2007
The Volga is one hell of a river

I was reading a more-than-usually-depressing article on Russia when I came across this:

THE TVER REGION, which lies two hundred kilometers to the north of Moscow…

(My emphasis).  And then…

The Volga runs through the city of Tver…

“Hang about,” I said.  “The Volga runs through Volgograd.  And that used to be called Stalingrad.  And Stalingrad was in the south.  Surely some mistake?”

No mistake.  The Volga is one hell of a river.

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01 July 2007
Can we get rid of the state entirely?

I mentioned Stefan Molyneux’s Free Domain Radio a few times last year.  I gave up listening to the anarchist libertarian’s podcasts after they started to get a bit samey and because of the difficulty in referencing them.  So, I was pretty glad when he took up blogging.

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For the most part I am a minarchist - if the state could just confine itself to matters of national defence, keeping the streets safe and running the courts I would be happy.  But I appreciate the contradiction here.  If I accept that the state is useless and immoral everywhere else shouldn’t I also accept it in these areas?

I don’t because I am not aware of any precedents for it.  To abolish the state would be a huge leap in the dark.  So, it helps when someone offers to light the way.  This is why I am particularly grateful for two Molyneux pieces on dispute resolution and private defence. I think I should probably also add in his piece on why non-state defence organisations wouldn’t re-create the state.

All these pieces are well-argued, thoughtful and (most importantly) answer my questions and objections.  And yet… I still can’t quite bring myself to embrace them.  I suppose the reason is that if it were true that if the state were abolished it wouldn’t come back then why doesn’t it collapse right here and now?  To which, I think, the answer is that the vast majority of people continue to believe in it.  Now, if that’s true, then if the state were to be abolished tomorrow those millions of people who still believed in it would probably find a way of re-creating it.  So, if we want the state to disappear we have got a lot of persuading to do.

One, excellent way of persuading people would be to create some experiments.  As I understand it there were a number of attempts at this in the 1970s, in which free-market anarchists would attempt to settle on some remote unclaimed island in the Pacific.  On every occasion one state or another stepped in to crush it.

What were they scared of?