Cop confusion

Being a uniformed policemen requires few conventional job skills. You certainly don’t require qualifications or experience; the main thing you need is a limited degree of physical fitness.

Given the meagre entrance requirements, policemen are paid notably more than their talents would earn them in any alternative job open to people with the same level of qualification and experience, such as toilet cleaner or roadsweeper. Presumably the reason for this is that policemen are at a moderately greater risk of personal violence than a toilet cleaner or roadsweeper.

If we were morally coherent, then, we’d view a policeman who was shot as no more heroic than a labourer who died in an industrial accident: both people died doing moderately dangerous jobs, because they were willing to trade increased personal risk for slightly higher pay than the minimum wage. The most notable difference between the two situations is that what builders do is unequivocally useful.

So why do we regard people who assault or kill cops as *worse* than people who assualt and kill members of the public?

Posted in Uncategorized

My life is complete

Those fun-loving SIAWites have given this blog a witty nickname (at the end of the post called ‘that was quick’, if the Blogger permalink fails as usual).

This reminds me that I still technically owe SIAW a reply, which is below the fold should anyone be interested in reading it.

First, it’s legitimate to label people who support a given war as being enthusiastic about it. Enthusiasm is defined as ‘great or intense feeling for a subject or cause’. While it might be possible to support a war while not having great or intense feelings about the outcome, I’d question the humanity of anyone who did so (sometimes, I fear that George Bush may fall into this category). If you’re going to favour a war, then you really ought to feel that the bastards being smitten thoroughly deserve it.

Meanwhile, implying that SIAW thought that the antiwar left’s position was entirely due to heartlessness was obviously untrue. However, the article’s focus was on the invasion’s failure to deliver any humanitarian benefits, and therefore the destruction of the "people who opposed the war are heartless about Iraqi suffering" argument that SIAW commonly deploys. The Iraqi people genuinely wouldn’t be any worse off if Saddam were still in power, which is impressive given how terrible he was, and which should at least give pro-war leftists pause for thought (indeed, it was the miserable failure of the occupation that moved me from the pro- to anti-war camp).

Making a trivial mistake about something tangential in the course of making a hard-to-refute statement doesn’t invalidate the statement, and ignoring the latter to focus on the former implies a stronger dedication to petty point-scoring than any kind of engagement of views. Deliberately ignoring the important points to focus on correcting trivial mistakes is the hallmark of a pompous bore.

Posted in Uncategorized

Silly piggy

You don’t get to be a senior policeman without being stupid and authoritarian. As a result, it’s no surprise that Sussex chief constable Ken Jones wants to ban cheap drinks promotions.

There are points to be made on both sides about binge drinking. While the media hysteria about ‘town centres turning into battlegrounds’ is certainly nonsense, it’s probably not good for our livers or minds to be pissed up all the time (this, of course, is none of the police’s business. Their job is to keep order, and it’s unseemly at best for them to blame their inability to do so on the booze industry).

But whatever your position on grog-related disorder, the example Mr Jones cites of the kind of deal that should be banned – Threshers’ "£10 for three bottles of half-decent wine" offer – implies that he has absolutely no comprehension whatsoever of any aspect of British people’s relationship with alcohol.

The people who get drunk and lairy in the streets are not the people drinking mid-priced wine from Threshers. The people drinking mid-priced wine from Threshers tend to drink it either during an evening in, during a house party, or after they get home from the pub.

The people who get drunk and lairy in the streets tend to drink either in pubs/bars or on benches, and tend to drink either beer or whatever alcohol is cheapest by volume, respectively. And while £3.33 for a bottle of wine is budget, it’s a long way from the cheapest you can get – you can get three litres of strong cider for that kind of money.

Perhaps this complete ignorance is why Mr Jones is incapable of keeping order – his officers may well be under strict instructions to round up the wine drinkers first…

Oh, in a final piece of idiocy, Mr Jones claims he’s annoyed about the profit-making alcohol business ‘transferring its costs to the public’. He might conceivably have a point on this, were it not for the £13 billion a year that the industry pays in VAT and excise duty.

Posted in Uncategorized

Drunken Dave’s Diatribes

It’s about time that Dave Weeden set up a sub-blog for his drunken rants. They’re always good comedy, but he always deletes them (or attempts to) in the morning, presumably because he’s attempting some kind of ‘quality control’ thing (nah, I don’t know either). A specific Drunken Dave blog would seem like the best – nay, the only – possible solution.

Oh, since this seems to be a metablogpost, interesting blogs I’ve discovered or warmed to recently include woolly-liberal-ish cultural-ish Waffle, classical-liberal-ish (I don’t mean in a ‘jokers like Civitas’ sense) Squander Two, the poor man’s The Poor Man Sadly No!, photographs of (and rants about) South London from Adam Timworth, and Stephen Newton, who badly needs a less ugly template. Maybe he could use Nick Barlow‘s old one, which Nick has dumped in favour of something hideous and sick-coloured…

Aesthetic considerations aside, links added for all.

Posted in Uncategorized

New adventures in lit crit

I don’t think anyone relies on the Weekly Standard for anything other than a cheap laugh at the tenuous machinations of the extreme right. Nonetheless, their article on Elfriede Jelinek, Nobel literature prizewinner, breaks new ground.

The author bases his critique of her work exclusively on a review of a film adaptation of one of her novels and on a PR quote from her publisher.

Then again, we don’t really need even to consider literary merit. Ms Jelinek wrote a play opposed to the Iraq lunacy, and is a former member of the Communist party – and as we all know, no great writer could ever be opposed to a crazy war, or be a Communist…

(via Crooked Timber)

Posted in Uncategorized

Most deceitful president

From the second presidential debate, it appears that the latest Republican attack strategy is to attack John Kerry by lying about his liberalism, and John Edwards by lying about his law career.

John Kerry is not the most liberal senator, and anyone who believes he is after reading the linked site is wearing highly fetching partisan blinkers.

Nor is tort law a significant burden on American business – in Mr Edwards’s specialty area of medical malpractice, insurance and payouts haven’t been increasing significantly and don’t account for a substantial proportion of costs anyway.

The current administration, lying to smear their opponents? What *is* the world coming to?

Oh, almost forgot: the third prong is going to be another round of Swift Boat Lies. This time, they’ve apparently rounded up Bud Day, the official Best Vietnam Hero Ever for the campaign (a man whose bio reads rather like Christopher Walken’s monologue in Pulp Fiction).

This is bad news. Mr Day is entirely wrong (like many Germans after 1918, he incorrectly believes that America would have won the war had the antiwar left not sold them out), but he’s not a vicious partisan hack like the leading Swifties in the previous campaigns. Shifting the focus from ‘did John Kerry lie about being a war hero?’ to ‘did John Kerry sell out brave POWs like Bud Day?’ can only harm the Kerry campaign, because the latter accusation is a matter of opinion rather than a blatant lie.

Posted in Uncategorized

EU lies exposed, kinda

You know that scare story you read about the EU? Maybe about how it banned whole-life sentences for murderers, or about how how it’s making bosses let workers choose the colour of office carpets?

Well, it isn’t true. Either it was a made-up lie to start with, or the problem was our own army of overzealous bureaucrats.

I don’t understand how the myth of EU overregulation got started. All you need to do is compare India, which runs on the British system of government, with France, Spain, Greece, or Italy – this is strong evidence that our homegrown system is the rule-bound one…

Posted in Uncategorized

Tenuous war justifications #1313

According to the wingnuts who infest Matt Yglesias’s comments (in general, this means that some Rush-esque demagogue has already stated the theory; few have the intelligence to come up with it themselves), the point of the war on Iraq was to prevent Saddam from bribing French officials.

If we were really worried about that kind of thing, couldn’t we have just, err, bribed French officials? I doubt they’d have needed $150 billion…

Posted in Uncategorized

The Good Ship Censorship

Indymedia is a silly place. However, that doesn’t mean the FBI should be seizing its servers. Yey freedom. Yey the West.

Here’s a link to a mirror of the post that attracted the g-men’s attention. Apparently posting pictures of French policemen on the web is now a federal offence.

(via LGFWW, which has a slightly different take on the issue…)

Update: The Register has more. It also notes that the seized servers were in the UK, and that the UK’s anti-free-speech Patriot Act-ish legislation includes non-disclosure procedures. So the main grounds for the seizure might well be mad blind cunt Blunkett’s evil law, but Indymedia’s hosts are only allowed to mention the Feds.

Posted in Uncategorized