Monthly Archives: February 2012

Greece’s history holds its hope for the future

PEOPLE say that Greece used to be great. That’s not quite right of course. They mean Athens. Ancient Greece was a jumble of city-states, some even worse than the political and economic disaster of Greece today. Sparta was a totalitarian state, a role model for the Nazis. Continue reading

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Filed under Economics, Finance, History

Licensing journalists – it’s just not very British

OUR national poets understood how much freedom matters. Milton! you should be living at this hour: England has need of you – William Wordsworth sighed at the dawn of the nineteenth century. In the second decade of the twenty-first, when British journalists are rounded up by the police in dawn raids and both a senior Labour politician and the editor of a national newspaper have publicly floated the idea of the state licensing journalists, John Milton is due another resurrection. Continue reading

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Filed under Freedom, History, Human nature, Liberal education, Literature, Politics, Publishing

Don’t allow politicians to read Dickens for us

WHAT would Charles Dickens do? If he were alive today, support everyone’s favourite cause it seems. In the author’s bicentennial year, everyone wants a piece. Schools minister Nick Gibb announced this week, referring to shocking levels of student illiteracy, that there are “shadows of Dickens’s world in our own” and called for more ambition in state schools. Actor and recent Dickens biographer Simon Callow said that Dickens should be remembered as a journalist and that in today’s London he would have been up with the anti-capitalists at St. Paul’s and exposing scandal wherever it lay. Continue reading

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Filed under Economics, History, Literature, Politics, Publishing

Free trade and property rights come naturally

THOSE who dislike the idea of individual freedom often accuse its proponents of dishing up just as artificial a plan for the human race as that offered by social planners. “There’s no such thing as a free market,” they say. “It’s all culturally determined.” Continue reading

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Filed under Economics, Freedom, Human nature, Science