medway charter of the unimpressed

“garranteed basic wage
for non-werkers

the rite to bed

the rite to wank

 the rite to plentifull
supplies of good food

the rite to alcaseltzer
all the essential

the rite to raise late
retire drunk

the rite to free water
solid shoes

the rite to lack
all the rest

the rite to good women
good men
to the toothless
the ugly
the dumb

the rite to discuss
points of view
as people
not sex
or colour”

 Billy Childish*, The Deathly Flight of Angels, Hangman Books 1990, p. 38-39.
(*B. Childish is dyslexic, this poem appears as written by the author.)

[Re-posted from The Old Site, original dated 26-02-2008. No changes at all, too much respect for this memory.]

I couldn’t have put it better, & I didn’t: “the right to lack ambition, religion and all the rest.” ‘Decadent!’, say the people according to the opinion conceived in them that freedom is a thing to fear, a thing to consume in small portions & at designated times. Decadent it is …

Our evolution ís a free fall toward the center of human gravity: boundless imagination. Imagination that never ever will be exhausted. There will always be sets of sentences unexpressed waiting to express a meaning. We fall from the functional grace whether we like it or not – & we know we do not like it a lot. Unavoidably we become more dysfunctional; we compensate. or try to, by inventing new functionality.

But the game is lost. The rules are arbitrary. Fighting for them is an urge we’ll always have to fight. Unimaginatively function within arbitrary rules will – over & over – be fought for. The bloodiness expands as our imagination expanded, to be used unimaginatively, against our nature.

It is not our nature to be functional. Nor to achieve. Nor to aspire if aspiring is towards something somebody else might aspire to as well. Radical individuals are the future, their aspirations are not a function of others but the results of their interactions with others: non-exclusive, not to include or help others out of a sense of responsibility but to not exclude others by claiming or desiring a thing by virtue of it being claimed or desired also by others.

Man, this is it – free from ambition, condemned to life of imagination.

[Written whilst listening to some Big Band music.]


19 responses to “medway charter of the unimpressed

  1. Aljas de Paljas

    The only comment I can have to this is whether we are evolving into the right direction as you are naively purporting (or so it seems), if we consider the 20th century that had so much ambition and religion playing out in disastrous ways, as a function of how society evolved and people were impregnated with the wrong set of goals. The real challenge is whether we collectively can unlearn quickly enough, rather than learn. With the (right) unlearning comes the freedom.

  2. It is a mystery to me how so many anarchists can get all worked up about the violation of their freedom in paying some taxes and at the same time be so rapid in denying other people the freedom to be naïve and not feel guilty about it.


    Anyway, I think the empirical evidence is on the side of cultural optimism. But if you don’t look past mass wars and the emancipation of modern indivduals and get mesmerized by the loudness of fundamentalists and disregard the history of massive mini-wars, you might be disregarding some of that evidence.

    Sorry, it’s not because I’m sometimes willingly naïve that I can always avoid being nasty, even if I don’t want to be.

  3. Aljas de Paljas

    I looked up some empirical evidence. Looking at and , the following conclusions are made regarding 19th and 20th century war related death tolls:

    Approximately 4,126,000,000 people have died during this (ed: 20th) century from all causes. If man-made megadeaths account for 185 million of them, then one out of every 22 (or 4.5%) human deaths during the 20th Century have been caused by fellow humans.

    Regarding 19th century deaths, the following statements are made:

    Forty-five million unnatural deaths would be 1% of 4.3 billion deaths (or 1 out of every 96), considerably less than the percentage for the 20th Century. Counting the famines would bring the percentage to 2% or 1 out of 48.

    Initially the seemingly similar amount of total deaths in both centuries is very counterintuitive, nevertheless it makes sense if you see that life spans have doubled from one century to the next (by no means do I imply that we need to get back to 19th century here). Also the real acceleration in population takes only place after 1940 or so, most of these people did not die by 2000.

    Ignoring for a second the perils of linear extrapolating, nevertheless, with this empirical evidence, the direction from a freer 19th century towards a less free 20th century seems not to inspire a lot of confidence.

    Ultimately over the long horizon (say a few centuries), I think you will be proven right (in the end also slavery was abolished). However few of us are likely to live long enough if this particular cycle will not end itself abruptly. The rising of a new (in some places) authoritarian empire in the East does not inspire too much optimism for the next couple of decades. I hope I am utterly wrong.

  4. I can reassure you: you are utterly wrong.

    First, as you indicate yourself, the time interval selected needs to be sufficiently long. But more importantly, death by war is not the best indicator. It is much worse to die from misery (in slavery for instance) and it is – at least in my idiosyncratic point of view – even worse to have to live in ignorance and dependence.

    Your point in the time period being such that one is unlikely to live long enough to measure yourself a noticeable difference is well taken. It is why we need to take the Kantian argument for an after-life seriously. Even if we know it is wrong, there has to be a reason to invest in the progressive insight even if there is no reason to believe you will ever profit from that investment. This is where I am struggling. I know there has to be a reason because I know cultural optimism is a fact, but I have not found a conclusive and convincing way of putting it.

    (thanks by the way for regularly stopping by, it makes this feel a little bit less unreal)

  5. Aljas de Paljas

    Thoughtful points and we are getting to some interesting conclusions.

    On your first point, deaths by war (besides being immensely immoral if morality carries any value – it certainly does to me) typically would kill people in their 20s or early 30s. With the current primitive state of education and resulting false needs for ambition, religion, states or any other ridiculous entities, I don´t think it is reasonable that any of the people killed in wars has any realistic chances to unlearn the damaging thoughts inflicted on him/her during childhood and early adulthood. It is tragic but the reality is that even the brightest among us don´t get this until their late 30s at best (I certainly did not).

    In terms of the very interesting second point, as you say cultural optimism is a fact. I would compare this to the progress in science. When Galileo got the ire from the Catholic Church, his optimism was relentless since he knew that what he believed in, was not to be undone by whatever human, not even the Church. In the end, his beliefs were entirely based on objectively verifiable data. In the end, the Church gave in, a few centuries later, something which was entirely predictable based on the facts.

    Now I have to admit that applying the rigorous standards of rationality and consistency in philosophy is rather novel, and in that regard it feels that philosophy is at the scientific equivalent of something like the 16th century, at best. However knowing that it can be done leads to an immense sense of relief (most people indeed believe rightfully that philosophers are rambling idiots of no use in their lives) and is incredibly motivating. Also, applying rationality of some kind can already be of great benefit to one´s personal life (even if we get robbed every single month by an Evil Entity) because it can help us to unveil false beliefs in those immediately surrounding us. It gives us the freedom to disassociate from those people that are not willing to yield to rational arguments while trying to forge ahead with those that are willing to see the needs they believed in, for what they really are.

    The optimism, for me, can absolutely not lie in believing in an After-Life that cannot be proven since this would mean that you let your life be guided by a set of Irrational Believes. I think that optimism can only come from believing in the one and single objective reality. This reality is that it is possible to construct an internally consistent set of rules that are universally applicable to all humans and that are the objectively provable “right” rules to live by (just like Galileo and Kepler discovered the set of rules governing the planets).

    The fact is that rationality can lead to such rules which will end up destroying the need for State, Religion, Slavery and many other false absolutes. I also believe that we are only at the beginning of the collective human journey to understanding that this is possible, and therefore optimism really looks unavoidable.

    Now to your point, what does this mean for our lifetimes? Well, we are a long stretch away from this perfect destination. But to continue using my comparison, if you were Galileo, would you rather associate with Kepler or with the ruling Pope? Right now, we might be better served in learning to apply this new set of rational beliefs in our personal lives (e.g. disassociating from irrational people) that to worry on when this set of rules will be completely govern the world: we can to a large extent live free of those bounds if we carefully make the choices in our personal lives.

  6. This is fun (and sorry for the delay – an Evil Entity took over my life this week).

    Let me apply the second point to the first: are the facts with the hypothesis that people over time need to ‘unlearn’ less (& therefore achieve real freedom earlier)? I think so: in medieval times only a small percentage of the happy few (themselves less than a small percentage) were able to ‘unlearn’ at all during their lifetimes. Even in the 19th century you really needed to be a Darwin (of good descent) to be able to achieve enough free time to take your mind on a walk to whereever the hell you wanted to go. But nowadays almost all people from a significant part of the world have a chance to go walking their own way; and all evidence is that this is an accelerating movement of liberation from the absolutes.

    This being said, I think you are still captive of one absolute: the idea that rationality will come up with provable rules to live by. By generalizing philosophy into that which is best known (the blablabla of those that take the incomprehensiveness of the main philiosophers as thé important feature rather than as a limitation of the things they were able to make comprehensible) you miss the liberating idea that rationality can set formal constraints but cannot determine an agenda of content – and you are consequently vulnerable to a scientistic interpretation of morality, life and value.

    (that’s my view, and I haven’t been able to clean it up so don’t take it as pontificating because the last person I would want to associate with is the Pope, see also this)

    Now as to the after-life, give me a break. I’m not talking about a classical conception of that. I’m talking about what you are talking about: that we’re a long stretch away from a world which is even remotely bearable for most people but that despite that we’re willing to spend times on talking about how to get there.

    (and what’s with the tax reference? if you have done away with ambition, who gives a fuck about being robbed? the problem it would seem is with the great many who do not have the resources to get systemtically robbed rather than with those getting robbed and still maintaining adequate resources to be doing what we’re doing. just sayin’)

  7. Aljas de Paljas

    Good that the Evil Entity did not swallow you wholesale, we would miss you over here….
    My initial point was that for even for the happy few in current times the new concept of freedom is not coming until maybe late 30´s, it may be easier than in the past but at the same time we are more exposed to organised brainwashing at school towards false absolutes. So the hurdles are rising to some extent although the “establishment” is certainly in horror that these hurdles can be much more easily overcome with blogs, podcasts etc. that have a radically new voice.
    For the rest, I actually agree with you that rationality does not set the content part but can check boundaries, consistency and integrity. As such I would see the (few) rules by which to live as don´ts, not as do-s. Now “don´t steal” and “don´t kill” make rational sense if you assume that moral rules by which to live should be universally applicable. E.g. stealing is an act that is contradictory: usually someone who steals wants to assert property rights over his stolen object (he wants to use it) which means a conflict with the property rights that the original owner would have had.
    So allowing for stealing leads to a conflict with the universality principle that would have to be a necessary condition for moral rules.
    Based on the fact that stealing is an internally inconsistent action that cannot be rationalised, therefore I would also condemn any form of taxation. Besides, if taxation were beneficial to all citizens, why not make it voluntary?
    None of the above should condemn the fact that anyone would have any ambitions in a particular domain other than some rules which would be incompatible with the boundary checks imposed by rationality. However States (with its inherent tax) and many Religions (which mostly preach mass killings or forcefully trying to convince the non-believers) are clearly immoral entities.

  8. Maybe the reason why we can’t understand what keeps young people busy is a sign that the brainwashing is wearing off …

    I like your stealing example but I don’t think it’s quite there. I think you only establish that there is inconsistency between the universal right to steal & a universal right to property. Establishing this is establishing something; neo-liberals at least then cannot defend property as an absolute and at the same time claim the right to steal from those that happen to be shit out of luck. But establishing this is not establishing anything against a speciifc act of stealing or, for that matter, pro the specific act of protecting one’s property because either act is not a matter of merely subsuming a particular under a universal; it requires judgment and a balancing act between the two in the dirty domain of everyday life. If for instance somebody would protect their property by force (violating the normal rules of free exchange of property) then there cannot be at the same time an absolute ban on stealing (some of that) property.

    Even granting that taxation is a form of stealing; the latter reasoning applies. The rich unduely protect their property and therefore the poor need some protection in at least partly challenging that. In a non-ideal world (a world where the rich hold on to their property as if it were the most important consideration of all) one is to allow for non-voluntary actions. If not we would come into an inconsistency: only the will of those with property would count, and they would have license to de facto coerce the poor into whatever ensures their (the rich people’s) continued, exclusive relationship to property.

    The latter taken in the extreme is why most anarchists would regard property (following Proudhon) as theft – your reasoning is why most libertarians regard taxes as theft. My reasoning is aimed at demonstrating that there is intuitive basis to both claims, no matter how contradictory they are, but that both are strictly false.

  9. Aljas de Paljas

    You are absolutely right in your logical reasoning and by the way, anarcho-syndicalists have little appeal to me, I would rather turn to the anarcho-capitalists for valid ideas.
    Now, to your points, I personally think that in a perfect world, property rights would be universal. Now of course this is not the reality today and there are different shades of grey in current societies.
    Regarding your comments on liberals (taking liberals in the traditional European, not North-American definition), it is true that capitalism can quickly turn crony e.g. because governments typically will favor bigger firms over smaller ones (I think there is little doubt in this regard even though I don´t have the evidence at hand). It is entirely true that this is usually for the worse of the “poor”. Three years ago, if we had been living in a truly anarchist society, GM would have gone bankrupt and the “rich guys” running the shop would have suffered. It was the government that helped in maintaining this disequilibrium. What is the result? Ultimately over a larger time span, this will lead to less efficient car manufacturers, hence higher-priced cars if you factor in the costs that government and ultimately the little guy has to pay. It is very obvious that there is incestuous relationships between governments and the big money; what is the more interesting part is to argue that governments are not needed to begin with. This is where liberals and anarcho-capitalists have radically different viewpoints.
    Finally, arbitrary arguments about “the rich” and “the poor” make absolutely no sense to me. You can barely define the terms, and to charge them emotionally is a dangerous path to travel if you want to stay rational.

  10. You are most definitely in your Hayekian phase. But I thought that anarcho-capitalism was exactly what we trie.

    Anyway, I agree that (too) big (to fail) companies are the current problem. Marx was absolutely right in this & it would be more honest for capitalists to own up to the fact that after having it their way for more than a century the consequence is what we have today: concentration of capital, lobbying and elections ‘guided’ by the power of fundraising.

    But that does not mean it is anything else than moronically stupid to let something as GM fail because the shop-runners would not be hurt at all. They would have been able to ‘diversify’ their portfolio enough. The ones that would have been hurt are just: a lot more of the kind that are hurting today.

    Before I am going to probably piss you off big time, this: it is beyond me how people can rationally make a difference between a government administration and a company administration. I can dig that the Western propaganda has imprinted the view that the former is like Russia under Brezjnjev and the latter like a small & hard working plumber; but a little reflection should show that there is only one essential difference in efficiency: big vs. small. The bitch is that for some things we want to do as human beings we need some things to be big and then they spin out of control and become GM or Facebook or MSFT or Google, or some nightmare like that; but the virtue is in keeping things small.

    The difference between public and private is a completely arbitrary one, unlike that between rich and poor. The latter is only arbitrary for those that are rich, like us (and it is adding insult to injury to not only be rich but also not realize how coincidentally lucky you are compared to all others). If that’s being emotional, well – I am terribly proud to have emotions ;-(

  11. Aljas de Paljas

    I am afraid that your beliefs are an effect of your passion and social relationships, in line with how David Hume would have put it (I have had to resort to summaries of what his work was about, so this might be wrong; anyway you would get the point).
    I think that we should challenge this all-too-common misconception that public and private are evil conceptions of the same kind. Let us try ask ourselves a question: how many companies do you know that exist for 150 years? And, how many states do you know that exist since 150 years? Or even more accurately, out of the universe of currently existing companies, what percentage have existed since 150 years? And what about the states?
    I think the observation should lead to the conclusion that the states are powerful monopolies that are hard to die. On the other hand, there are very, very few companies actually survive over 100 years. Quoting from Businessweek (

    “The average life expectancy of a multinational corporation-Fortune 500 or its equivalent-is between 40 and 50 years. This figure is based on most surveys of corporate births and deaths. A full one-third of the companies listed in the 1970 Fortune 500, for instance, had vanished by 1983-acquired, merged, or broken to pieces.1 Human beings have learned to survive, on aver-age, for 75 years or more, but there are very few companies that are that old and flourishing.”
    The reality is that (i) companies have very little chance to survive in the long term; (ii) they often survive or remain bigger than they are due to a mercantilistic government. Companies have to adapt to their customers and one mishap can be deadly.
    Now you might still say that in the short run, they can inflict a lot of damage. Let us take the case of Microsoft: do you really believe that all law suits against Microsoft with its perceived monopolistic threats add a lot of value to humanity? Taking a historical perspective, Google or the next tech giant will probably knock Microsoft off its stand, just like IBM knocked off Control Data Corporation in the 1970´s and Commodore and a suite of others in the late 1980´s.
    My point is that in the short and long term, companies can only survive if other people feel the need to do business with them. They might be painted by some people as monopolies (some companies are obviously monopolies appointed by the state, but let us ignore those for a second), but they will live and die by the grace of people making a voluntary choice.
    Now I don´t want to have any business with the state that I belong to (more accurately, for most people, it is a question of residency), but yet I will still be extorted no matter what. In other words, I can choose to end my relationship with MSFT any time (and buy nothing or go for Apple), but yet there is no way in hell I can end my relationship with the local Evil Entity.
    Now, does it mean that companies are always wonderful entities? Well, obviously not. But let us not forget that we are humans and it is easier to loose a reputation than to gain one: Enron, Bre-X, Barings Bank, Arthur Andersen, Lernout and Hauspie, Parmalat, Union Carbide (Bhopal) is just a small sample. None of these is more than a shade of what it used to be.
    On the other hand, any government related scandal never leads to anyone question the state as such, while the issue is exactly the same. Of course, the fact that this Evil Entity has police and an army to send to civilians who are not even allowed to defend their own homes to this Evil Entity is the chief reason. The big companies might lie, cheat and abuse; but I think they ultimately are more likely to have the consequences and face immediate extinction. And if they survive, like some Big Banks a few years back, it is most likely due to the fact that bribed “officials” have oversized powers that the State grabbed for them by force.
    I think calling the public/private distinction gargantuan is an understatement.

  12. You clearly have not read Hume and I am not about to read Business Week – if I feel compelled to read a bible, I’ll find one that is at least well written and once in a while not completely one-sided.

    (& the average age of a state is not much longer than the average age of multi-nationals; if capitalists would effectively endorse a maximum company size I wil be listening, until then I’m going to continue to assume that neo-liberals are intellectual cowards, even if they call themselves anarcho-capitalists)

    See, I wanted to say sorry this morning for what I wrote yesterday because ‘Why go there?’ and now I wind up being sarcastic which is of no use to anybody (and certainly not to me).

    So to close this on a Humean note: “You don’t need a God to feel compassion but if you’re unable to feel compassion then you are a devil.”

    Nuff’ said – to other and better threads 😉

  13. Aljas de Paljas

    You refuse to see the reality in terms of the evidence I provide…. Looking at you will see that only around 50 status out of 203 have been in existence for less than 50 years. That is the average lifespan for companies as pointed out in BusinessWeek. Some countries like Egypt go back for millenia.
    But if there is no point in starting from the facts, I am not inclined to have a discussion in the first place.
    I am not advocating some totally arbitrary rule like maximum company size; this is even more ridiculous since the largest company is around 2 million people large; the largest nations are above 1 billion.
    Get awake from the brainwashing the “society” has inflicted upon you. Get awake from the lies that lie in your confused brain.

  14. Hey Aljas, Never mind. I should have not brought you to this point. You are not trying to convince me, you are trying to convince yourself. And as I am not trying to convince anybody, I leave this (and the other) discussion as a warning to myself of the type of discussion I should not have. This being said: I do hope your voluntary interactions may continue to include myself.

  15. Aljas de Paljas

    You might be right, but never mind about life spans of states and private (this is far from the core issues). At the end it boils down to voluntary interactions indeed. And my main regret is that this sort of voluntary interactions as on this web site are not possible in the relationship state-citizen. I agree that people are people and that means that people in the private sector are not necessarily better by default and they will indeed fall prey to the same power abuses just like in the private sector. So far I think we are in line.
    Where we differ in opinions is where I would assert that state is an inherent monopoly that people cannot defend themselves from (I cannot have my own army in most places in this world), so the system can typically grow like a cancer; only when it is fully out of control (think Rome in 450 A.D. or Germany in 1938) it can ultimately collapse, but that is usually a fact accompanied by wars, famine or something similar.
    Finally, if the state is that beneficial, why would anyone have to be forced to belonging to one?

  16. Again: “Oh come on. Don’t be such a drama queen.” I mean: “Yeah, life sucks, but man up and deal with it.” You start from a misconception of the individual. There is no individual if there is not first a group in which this individual’s personality can grow. So you can’t have it all your own way. “Get over it, already.”

    I have issues with things that become too big. I have issues with any organization. I have issues with people expecting me to try to get along with other people. I have no issues with the state if it is sufficiently diffuse in its impact to limit its claims on me to money and refraining me from getting into violent arguments.

    But I do have the practical concern that anything that gets too big has too much of a part in the decision-making. That’s why big companies are scarier than the big democracies. The former channel their power to a few people that can have a disproportionate weight on what I’m expected to do whilst the latter are de facto not concentrating their powers in a few crazy people with for instance anti-tax ideas (or any other idea for that matter).

    Not that things cannot be improved with governments. Things will improve because their record is ultimately one for public scrutiny. Companies just grow and claim a corporate culture that you have to be ‘in’ on and then they are ‘too big to fail’ or at least ‘the system’ is too big to fail; and all of that happens behind curtains – & in the spirit of an almost complete corruption of morals. But things could be worse. Things could still be the way they were when BP didn’t have to worry about the reaction of the public through its combined democratic power.

    [I’m going to actually start making new posts again – this has not gone well but thanks for de-escalating; there’s much we agree on although most concrete things you say about politics seem to come more from a place of anger than from the place of reason. I can dig that; some things just do drive you crazy mad.]

  17. Aljas de Paljas

    Hey Guido, this is a great post of yours and it helps to get into your brain.
    First of all, what is so bad with things becoming big? In and by itself, I don´t believe anything big is necessarily bad. Of course, big entities are drawn to abuses, or more practically speaking, people that have a major stake in any one of those entities are more likely to be able to abuse of their power.
    As I said in my earlier post, I don´t see a big difference between private and public sector in that respect, people have cooked the books in the private sector while in the public sector, countless ministers and prime ministers have been bribed. Now if I try to get into your head and exemplify what you are saying, you seem to refer to people in the private sector that might have “crazy” ideas that they try to push, e.g. if I had made a huge amount of money in my private company, I would be able to make a big campaign for some “crazy” idea. On the opposite side, a minister or so would in your opinion not have that power or money to the same extent.
    If you were a guy with almost infinite money from a big corporation, would you push an idea that you knew that only 0,1% of population supports (e.g. no more taxes and government)? If I think as a business man, what would be the cost/benefit of that? Don´t tell me that you would spend the money on bribing politicians, because then you actually confirm the suspicion I had from the beginning.
    Also, if I switch on the TV, I think I am 100 times more likely to see a minister talk rather than a big company guy. I suppose you will agree that big companies are less influential in mainstream media compared to the public sector (even if a big company owns a media outlet, politicians will typically prevail in air time, except a few specialty business channels).
    Now I agree that companies in many cases become utterly immoral. I think that in fact in recent years we have seen many big banks (and recently BP) to be extremely irresponsible and immoral. Guys in big corporations have greedily taken big bonuses and then claimed their companies to be “too big to fail”. What they deserved was to be actually fail (I would suspect that it would be logical to let BP fail under the current circumstances as well). If you look to the banking system in the U.S., it are only the small banks that are allowed to fail and the big ones stay in the game. It is exactly this intervention that is revolting in my opinion; it means that the greedy big bad companies don´t get what they deserve.
    In summary, this intervention is actually helping power to be concentrated into a few big companies.
    On the other hand, where I can´t read your mind is where you say that some companies can have a large weight on what you are expected to do. I don´t feel any of that weight from any company, on the other hand there are tens of thousands of pages that explain what I am expected to do for the state; this can become scary because there is no way to be able to really even know all those rules.

  18. You know, Aljas, I feel emotionally compelled to answer but I think we’re as far as we’re going to get on this one. Sure, politicians can wreck more direct havoc, but on the other hand rich people just don’t need to answer to public scrutiny. Both are worthy of our mistrust. In capitalist democracy it’s the Davos crowd that’s most dangerous. In China it is the government. One would do well, I repeat, to be less heavy on the words and recognize, with e.g. Hayek, that the risk is in both. Don’t see the risk as an overt and conscious doing-wrong; it’s rarely that. Mostly people that have too much power and that are unchallenged in this power think they’re doing ‘the right thing’. The problem is not with their intention, the problem is with the fact that they’re unchallenged and have too much influence.

    We can go all Stalin/Hitler here but I’d propose to stop (you can have the last word if you acknowledge I need not feel bad in not answering it) – for me there is no essential difference in rich people funding election campaigns or lobbying politicians in line with what their personal opinion of what is ‘right’ and dictatorship (there obviously is a difference in the culpability of the person itself but there is no difference in the impact of the actions. That’s why I have nothing against rich people as long as there are rules in place to avoid that they have a disproportionate and unchallengeable power to influence the direction of public policy (think Berlusconi – if you need an illustration via an extreme case).

    It really is a nuanced point I’m trying to make here. Not one of ideals and utopianism but one of step-wise improvement (think Kropotkin).

    To come back to the poem: there is a right to do as one pleases and still not be starved to death or brainwashed whether in state camps or corporate culture.

  19. Pingback: Tuesday Hatred: Greek Holiday Schedule « The Weblog

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