James Delingpole

The best things in the world have always sprung up by accident. Take the internet, for instance

2 January 2016

9:00 AM

2 January 2016

9:00 AM

Since no one has bothered to ask what my must-read book of last year was I’m going to tell you here: it’s Matt Ridley’s Evolution of Everything.

I don’t think it has appeared on nearly so many recommended lists as his previous bestsellers Genome and The Rational Optimist, nor has it been so widely reviewed. And I have a strong inkling as to why: its message is so revolutionary as to alienate pretty much everyone across the spectrum, from Christians and Muslims to corporate bosses, historians, feminists, educationalists and conspiracy theorists, from Greens and socialists all the way across (if there’s a difference) to Conservatives like George Osborne and David Cameron.

It also happens to be, in my view, as near as damn it to 100 per cent right about every subject it broaches, from the internet to bankers, from crop circles to education, from the nurture vs nature debate to religion. And no one likes a smart arse — especially not when he’s an Eton-educated smart arse with a title, an estate (built on coal-mining) and an unfortunate reputation as the man who was chairman of Northern Rock when it had to be bailed out by the taxpayer — do they?

What I find almost more interesting than the book, though, is the way it has been reviewed by those of a bien-pensant persuasion — most notably John Gray in the Guardian. He hated it. So much so, it’s pretty clear to me, that he couldn’t even bring himself to read it. Or if he did read it, he was so consumed by righteous rage that he couldn’t bring himself to address any of the utterly disgusting points made in the book.

There’s lots of invective and lofty contempt: ‘bumptious and tediously repetitive tract’; ‘if he was a more serious and reflective writer, Ridley might…’ [‘if he were’, surely?]; ‘a dated and mechanical version of right-wing libertarianism’. Plus, there’s a whole paragraph of ad homs, majoring on Eton, titles and Northern Rock. Precious little on what the book actually says.


Basically, what it says is that evolution is a phenomenon which extends far beyond Darwin to embrace absolutely every-thing. The internet, for example. No one planned it. No one — pace Al Gore and Tim Berners Lee — strictly invented it. It just sprang up, driven by consumer need and made possible by available technology. As Ridley says: ‘It is a living example, before our eyes, of the phenomenon of evolutionary emergence — of complexity and order spontaneously created in a decentralised fashion without a designer.’

Which is what, of course, is such anathema to control freaks everywhere, from the Chinese, Iranian and Russian regimes to Barack Obama, who famously declared in 2012: ‘The internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the internet.’

This claim, as Ridley demonstrates, is at best moot, at worst flat-out untrue. In fact, government was actually responsible for postponing the internet. One of its early forms was the Pentagon-funded Arpanet, which until 1989 was prohibited for private or commercial purposes. An MIT handbook in the 1980s reminded users: ‘sending electronic messages over the ARPAnet for commercial profit or political purposes is both antisocial and illegal’. Only after it was effectively privatised in the 1990s did the internet take off.

Similar rules apply to hydraulic fracturing (aka ‘fracking’), another technology often ascribed to government-sponsored R&D. According to a meme disseminated by California’s Breakthrough Institute, it was based on microseismic imaging technology developed at the federal Sandia National Laboratory. Hmm. Up to a point. Ridley has done some digging and found that the actual funding for this research came from the entirely privately funded Gas Research Institute, which hired a technician from Sandia. ‘So the only federal involvement was to provide a space in which to work.’

You can be sure, though, that the false meme will persist, because it suits the narrative which so many of us prefer to believe — that without direction from on high, nothing would ever get done. In its rawest form, this is the impulse that has, throughout history, led mankind to ascribe events to deities — whether it’s Aztecs cutting out the beating hearts of prisoners to boost their harvests, or modern governments ordering that hilltops be transformed into industrial wind Golgothas to appease Gaia. But you also find it everywhere from the Great Men theory championed by many historians to the way companies’ share prices rise or fall when they get a new CEO.

It all stems, I fear, from an innate mistrust so many of us have of the unutterable amazingness of our own species. Personally, I’ve long believed that left largely to our own devices, we will tend to do far more good than harm — if only out of mutual self-interest. But up till now I’ve found it hard to come up with the perfect rebuttal to the line I often hear from those of a less classical liberal persuasion: ‘You don’t like government. So what would you prefer — Somalia?’

Well now, thanks to Ridley, I do have my answer. We’d both of us concede, I’m sure, that there is a place for very limited government. But what the weight of historical evidence shows us overwhelmingly is that almost everything good in the world has sprung up by accident, and almost everything bad is the (largely) unintended consequence of utopians with too much power trying to plan the world into a better state.

From the latter, Ridley notes, we got the: first world war, the Russian Revolution, the Versailles Treaty, the Great Depression, the Nazi regime, the second world war, the Chinese Revolution, the 2008 financial crisis.

From the former, we got the growth of global income, the disappearance of infectious diseases; the clean-up of rivers and air… the use of genetic fingerprinting to convict criminals and acquit the innocent.

Yet still our entire global system is geared towards top-down directives that invariably make things worse. We never learn, do we?

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10


Show comments
  • Phillip2

    Another great article James.

    • Todd Unctious

      Was the enormous state driven effort to defeat the Nazis an accident, or simply yet another bad thing?

      • Tamerlane

        Don’t be churlish.

        • Todd Unctious

          You are back at work a day early Tammy. Do the Barclays pay their shills double time in Sundays?

          • flydlbee

            You start each of your replies with an insult. Cut it out, Yvonne.

          • Todd Unctious

            Who is Yvonne? Only the staff of the Spectator would know this. Shill. Does my defence of the NHS upset you, or is it my disbelief at Ridley’s cod theory?

          • flydlbee

            On your discus profile it gives you as “@yvonnebarrystuarthargreaves”
            Oh, you ARE a silly troll, aren’t you?

          • Todd Unctious

            I was asked to change my name as it was too long for the computer to cope with. I see my broad general knowledge is too much for you. Sad and narrow minded.

          • flydlbee

            Rubbish. You’ve been blown. Probably by Barry.

          • Todd Unctious

            I have postedposted as Todd for over four months on a daily basis. How have I been blown? I just have Tammy and his paid shills trollingmy posts to spread lies . I should be flattered you devote so much time to my modest challenges .

          • flydlbee

            I am enjoying baiting you. You get so stroppy and exhaust your limited vocabulary so easily. You really should have finished school.

          • Todd Unctious

            I left at age 22 to pursue bores like you.

          • Todd Unctious

            I see baiting. I guessed you weren’t being . I knew it was just wa wind up. Nobody could be that stupid.

          • Tamerlane

            He’s a Respect Party activist and he is indeed Yvonne/Barry Stuart Hargreaves. He was outed as working for Respect and changed his name repeatedly after that. Glad to see it didn’t do him any good though.

          • Todd Unctious

            ….and you are the boney King of nowhere.

      • Daniel Jeyn

        The better question is do you think the military machine stood up to defeat the Nazis should be a model for everything else government does? I’d say it was highly inefficient, but more or less succeeding at killing people and breaking things, with a few million deaths in collateral damage here and there. Necessary, but not a paragon of anything other than what it was.

        • Todd Unctious

          Do you honestly assert that defeating Hitler was not a good thing?

          • Zalacain

            The reason capitalism works better than socialism/communism, is motivation. You can clearly see that people that work for companies tend to work harder than those who work in state bureaucracies, look at Cuba. War is different because everybody is very, very motivated. So Stalin’s Soviet Union could beat Germany, but after the war could not provide a reasonable standard of living to it’s people.

          • Todd Unctious

            Blimey. Rocket science. Oh ye who is wise in the ways of the free market.

          • Zalacain

            I know simple, yet some people don’t seem to understand it, incredible though it may seem.

  • Steven Whalley

    Try explaining to the committed socialist that top down control cannot result in innovation nor can it manufacture creative spontaneity, and you will be met with a blank wall stare. Governments in their view are instituted with circumscribed bounds of knowledge, and progress can only be made from whatever is within that defined scope. The notion that people are capable of offering something better, or creating that which does not already exist in the government bubble, always provokes a negative reaction.

    A top down or hierarchical approach will never concern itself with what might lie beyond its own walls. This is why socialism never gave us the personal computer, the Web, Facebook, or spreadsheets, but did give us the Lada and the Trabant. Reason enough in the nineteen eighties to look over the real wall and see your neighbours with their Golf Gts and M3s, to want to tear down that wall and embrace the dynamic world of capitalism and the individual.

    • Leon Wolfeson

      Top-down control is just as common under capitalism, of course.
      As you show your lack of knowledge of Socialism.

      PS, you are aware of the Free Software movement, right? You are aware that it’s anti-capitalist and anarchist, right?

      • Zalacain

        Yet, most free software used in the world is owned by Google, Facebook and Microsoft.

        • Leon Wolfeson

          Incorrect. Not even remotely close.

          Also, you’re not quite clear on free software and ownership, are you?

          • Zalacain

            Most free software used, the important word is used. There may be lot’s of software that is not owned by large companies, it just isn’t used as much.
            Free: Meaning we don’t pay to use it.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Ah, another word, “used”.
            Hmm.

            As you deny how prevalent open-source software is.
            Try reading up on this.

          • Zalacain

            No facts no names just empty denial.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Yes, indeed, thanks for your post. And the moving goalposts you apparently favor.

            I did a short, very small cross-section of some projects two posts ago, of course.

            Let’s take one;

            Linux (and the LAMP stack) runs most of the web servers in the world.
            Linux, which android runs over, is the prevalent mobile OS.
            Linux is embedded into large numbers of devices, too…

            http://www.w3cook.com/
            etc.

          • Zalacain

            Everybody (who uses a computer) uses Google and huge numbers use Facebook, Twitter, Skype and WhatsApp. I’m all for free software, but to deny the huge amount of free things we have thanks to companies is odd.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            ….
            How is that relevant?

            The fact remains that Copyleft and Free Software are anarchist in their principles.

          • JabbaPapa

            The fact remains that Copyleft and Free Software are anarchist in their principles.

            And those “principles” lead to software developers being exploited instead of getting the kind of salaries that their work deserves.

            Maybe I’m privileged in never having had to pay for a non-imbedded copy of Windows since 1999, having had free copies from Microsoft of XP, XP x64, Vista, 7, and 10 … but the utopian fantasy that software should be “free” costs people their jobs and their careers.

            Certainly, new business models are needed as a result of the internet revolution, but “copyleft” and anarchy are not solutions — they’re a core part of the problem.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            “software developers being exploited instead of getting the kind of salaries that their work deserves.”

            What complete rot.

            There would not much of today’s internet without Copyleft and Free Software. Certainly nothing like the crowd, as you call them most of the problem. I’m sure the few, utterly propitiatory walled gardens where you can have new models of “business” – i.e. fleecing customers for far more than today…

            Do you also support the ITU running the internet?

          • JabbaPapa

            Linux, which android runs over, is the prevalent mobile OS

            A majority of devices use it, but describing it as “the prevalent” OS is nevertheless a bit of an exaggeration.

            iOS which is built around a UNIX core (similar in many respects to Linux, but still not the same thing) and Windows are 36 + 3 = 39% compared to android’s 57%, and whilst iOS’ share is more or less stable, the Windows share is growing, very slowly but still steadily, to the detriment of android’s — 0.5% to 3% in 2 years.

            The days of the majority of mobile devices using android are numbered.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            So a fact is an exaggeration? Hmm!

            You’re using old figures. As you make up myths about Android shrinking – it’s quite stable, actually.

    • JabbaPapa

      Corporatism has the very same defects.

  • Todd Unctious

    The NHS was no accident. It has led to UK life expectancy increasing by 20 years. Sewers, motorways, airports, reservoirs, the national grid, universal education, old age pensions, street lighting. None of these are accidents and none are “bad”.

    • Prolix

      Good point. One of the sad aspects of our modern life is that so much has to be seen in pure binary terms. Either all good or all bad. Delingpole is correct in putting forth the idea that much has sprung up from the creativity of the world outside of governments, but that does not mean that government does not have a role. I find his writing most tendentious when he gets into this black/white mindset. Acknowledge the good that comes from both sides and seek structures where government can do what good it can while allowing the marketplace of ideas to make the world flourish.

    • bobby_r

      You ascribe the increase in life expectancy to the NHS? Why?

      • Todd Unctious

        Do you believe the death rate falling by 70% and infant mortality by over 90% since 1947 was a coincidence?
        The NHS attends to 25 million patients a year. The ambulance service attends 6 million accidents. Pharmacies issue 750 million prescriptions. 1.6 million are treated at home. One in eight babies gets special care. There is cancer screening, heart and kidney transplants, vaccination programmes that have eradicated crippling childhood diseases.
        Not accidents and the major contributor to longevity.

        • bobby_r

          The problem is that you think that all medical advances, the spread of nutrition knowledge, sanitation practices etc are down to the NHS. Of course they aren’t.

          Then you talk about the statistics of what a huge army of doctors, nurses and administrators can get done in a year. Yes, fine. But the question you should be asking is: how much *more* could they get done if the health professionals were organised under a more efficient system than the communist one used by the NHS?

          Criticism of the inefficient, wasteful structure of the NHS is NOT criticism of health professionals who work under that system.

          • Todd Unctious

            No. Bobby you have the problem. To suggest the NHS is communist is patently ludicrous. The USA spends much larger sums for much poorer outcomes. Do you really think infant mortality would be zero and we’d all live to be 120 if the greed of the free market was allowed free rein?

          • bobby_r

            “To suggest the NHS is communist is patently ludicrous”

            Well, a communist system theoretically operates according the motto “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”. Let’s look at it.

            The NHS is funded from general taxation, the greatest portion of which is income tax, which is paid according to ability to pay. It theoretically provides healthcare according to need, assuming you can get past the queues and waiting lists which are a natural consequence of the terrible system. So calling it a communist system is quite accurate.

            “None of us should take a lecture from this ivory tower toff who presided over the worst bank failure in British history”

            You mean Gordon Brown? He was a disastrous, idiotic PM, but I don’t know if he was a “toff”.

          • Todd Unctious

            Gordon Brown did not run Northern Rock. Ridley did. This intellectual who fails to grasp the point in his recent book, failed to grasp the black swans of bankers greed too. As for income tax being based on ability to pay. Income tax makes up only 21% of Government Revenue. The NHS is supposedly paid out of NICs. This is levied at 12% on all,except the rich who pay 2%.
            The Marxist quote about from each…to each….only applies in a fully developed Marxist economy. The NHS cannot be communist in a poorly developed crony capitalist system like the UK.
            You need to go away and rethink . Your basic knowledge is too sadly wanting to rant in this manner.

          • bobby_r

            “The NHS is supposedly paid out of NICs”

            Let’s assume you’re right. National Insurance, as you point out, is a percentage. Therefore the more you earn, the higher the absolute amount paid. My point stands.

            “The NHS cannot be communist in a poorly developed crony capitalist system like the UK”

            Why not? It is perfectly possible to have a subsystem run under communist principles in an otherwise capitalist system.

          • Todd Unctious

            So you are abysmal at maths too. Someone earning £25,000 pays 8.1% of their salary in NICs. Someone on £75,000 pays 6.2%. Someone on £250,000 pays 3.3% All three pay VAT at 20%. Of course the rich pay a higher absolute amount. Ten per cent of £20,000 is £2,000. But 2.1% of £100,000 is £2,100.

          • bobby_r

            Someone earning 100k pays c. £5,500 NI, not £2,100 as you have suggested.

            And what do you mean “Of course the rich pay a higher absolute amount”. That sounds dismissive, but the absolute amount is what it’s all about. My point stands.

          • Todd Unctious

            You are cloth eared? I have not said that someone on £100 k pays £2,100 in NICs. I said someone on £75,000 pays 6.2%. That is £4,660 for the hard of learning. I then compared some stats to show you how someone paying a smaller percentage can end up paying more overall. God help us. I pray that you do not have a job with any real responsibility.
            I am definitely not dismissive, but I fear you can barely read.

          • bobby_r

            “I then compared some stats to show you how someone paying a smaller percentage can end up paying more overall”

            That was my point to begin with: that the absolute amount is relevant and not the percentages. On a sliding scale such as that used for the calculation of NI, a higher salary will always result in a higher absolute amount. Therefore what I said at the start holds true: the NHS is funded from all taxpayers according to ability to pay, and services are allocated according to need. It is a communist system.

            You have failed to disprove my point and simply shown yourself to be confused, hostile, and in need of a good hug. Happy new year!

          • Todd Unctious

            No. Your point was that the NHS is communist. You said according to ability to pay. Why should someone on £75,000pa pay 3% and someone on £25,000 8%? The richer person has greater ability to pay…..why let them pay less?

          • Zalacain

            All defendants of the NHS speak as if the only alternative to it, is the US system. Maybe there are other alternatives?

          • Todd Unctious

            Defenders. They are not being accused of any crime.

        • Tamerlane

          Doctors doing their job eh? Whatever next…
          If these wonderful improvements were unique to those countries with state funded health services you would have a point. Since they are pretty much uniform to all post war developed countries you’re talking, as per, b@ll@cks. Oh…and by the way… vaccination, cures for disease etc are thanks to the wonderful power of lovely, lovely pharmaceutical companies operating their fabulously brutal form of capitalism and you be sure to thank them for it Yvonne/Barry.

          • Todd Unctious

            You make it sound like the NHS is unique. Sixty nations have universal health care. It is no surprise these include most of Europe, Canada, Australia, N Zealand and Japan, but also Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Botswana, Tunisia, Malaysia. All countries with low infant mortality and high life expectancy. The NHS is a marvel and should be less sneering.

          • Tamerlane

            Universal health care is not the same as the NHS. Get your facts right. Two of those countries provide 100% state funded health care (UK and Cuba), none of the others you mention do anything of the sort. Do not ride piggy back on the triumph of capitalism to justify your flawed opinion. Interesting you omit the others countries with 100% state funded health care systems – Zambia, Mozambique, Angola…slip your mind did it? Wonder why.

            Once again your flawed theory falls at the first hurdle, but then that’s because it’s flawed so hardly surprising.

          • Todd Unctious

            Come on then Barclay shill ,explain for the girls and boys how the sinister NHS is neat evil run by Communists. What desperate folk you are. Do also tell us how the 88,000 victims of car crashes each year would be just fine without an ambulance. Tell us how your daft ideology would be better.

          • Tamerlane

            You’re trying to move the goal posts Yvonne/Barry. You made the silly and farcical argument that post-war health improvements in the UK are due to the wonders of the NHS. But for the fact the same health improvements were seen in the rest of the developed world regardless as to the nature of each country’s health care system you’d have a point.

            Next time check you have a coherent argument before making a fool of yourself – it helps.

          • Todd Unctious

            Never sure which bit I dislike most about you. You lieing idiot. Is it the lies or the idiocy? At no point did I claim that all post war health improvements are due to the NHS. I said it is not credible to portray the NHS as bad, as in Ridley’s dim theory . Ridley suggests all good things are accidents. All bad things are top down designs. I disagree. I happen to believe sewers are a good thing and were state sponsored. The NHS too has been a massive force for good regardless of how much penny pinching grinches like you wish less was spent and more could die.
            I assume your previous free market would arrange for our excrement to be removed more efficiently. If not, why not? Is handling excrement too close to home for those who talk it?

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Except one. For the reasons you’d know if you bothered checking.
            Blaming others..

          • Todd Unctious

            Tammy works for the Spectator and/or Telegraph. His remit us to latch on to and hound anyone who gainsays the Barclay Brothers warped view if reality. He does it by using insult and sneering contempt. He is particularly bad at basic general knowledge and at relating facts. He is a spinner. But luckily he is useless at it.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            More likely he’s paid by Farrage, tbh.

          • Terry Field

            The hit-squad knows where you are Wolfs. Save yourself by confessing, and TAKE the MEDICATION!

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Ah, so threats from you as you spew on about poison.

          • flydlbee

            I was in a car crash last year. The ambulabce took me to the NHS. The first question they asked was whether I had been to a public school. When I replied “yes” they lost all interest in me. The newly-qualified eastern-european doctor missed my broken pelvis, and insisted I try to stand. When I fainted I was told I was putting it on. They dumped me back home within 20 hours, and lost my file. I sat in a chair unable to move until I got DVT.

            My vetinary friend told me that any vet. who treated an animal like that would be struck off. So much for the NHS.

            Come on, tell me how much better it would be if George Galloway ran it.

          • Todd Unctious

            Great education then. Riddled with spelling mistakes. Were you concussed in the crash?
            You seem unimpressed that your misfortune was met by an ambulance a hospital at no cost. I can onluy imagine your self entitled arrogance showed through the veneer of your accident. How is the ethnicity if the doctor relevant you twerp?
            Oh and despite your persistent lies ,I have nothing to do with Galloway , I am in Mebyon Kernow.

          • Zalacain

            “You seem unimpressed that your misfortune was met by an ambulance a
            hospital at no cost. I can onluy imagine your self entitled arrogance
            showed through the veneer of your accident. How is the ethnicity if the
            doctor relevant you twerp?
            Oh and despite your persistent lies ,I have nothing to do with Galloway , I am in Mebyon Kernow.”

            Judging by your post above, I wouldn’t get too cocky about spelling and grammar.

          • Todd Unctious

            Can you not spell either? Toff schools not what they were.

          • Todd Unctious

            Was my grammar wanting?

          • flydlbee

            You can’t spell either, Yvonne, and I doubt very much that you are anywhere near Cornwall. You are just another Respect troll, shilling for George Galloway and the Left.

          • Todd Unctious

            I only get to spend about a month a year in Kernow now. Most if it has been bought up by the toffs. I have to rent from an old Etonian to visit my homeland. Overrun with English immigrants with baying accents and a ridiculous love of killing wildlife.

          • Tamerlane

            So long as you pay your rent. Good boy.

          • What is a “public school” in Britain, please?

          • flydlbee

            Private school. Explained here:-
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osY8Ynk7DOM

          • Todd Unctious

            A public school is a place where the 1% send there kids to seek to perpetuate an elitism they perceive to be crucial. It is really a private education . About 6% of people send their kids there thinking they will join this elite by association. The aspirational types who want to show off their wealth. Most kids are sent to such schools to reaffirm the parents high opinions of themselves.

          • Tamerlane

            A private school. The state schools aren’t very good so if you can afford it you send your children privately. As you can see from the other response to your question, those whose parents couldn’t afford to send them to a private school can be quite bitter about it.

          • Todd Unctious

            Many state schools are excellent despite the unlevelmplaying field where the toffs spend four times as much. Not sure why Tammy thinks 1% go private , latest figures are 6% and falling. Any increase comes from foreign millionaires kids. My psl used to be the bursar at a top toff school. Each September the Russians came with their little princes fees in cash in a shoebox. Corruption breeds corruption.

          • Tamerlane

            Like I said – some whose parents couldn’t afford it are still bitter many years later. QED. And it’s a sunny morning too!

          • Todd Unctious

            I’m not sure many are bitter, other than a handful of deluded nearly rich who wish they could stretch to the fees. I have seen too many of the halfwit sons of toffs who had £200k plus spent on Latin and rugger to no avail. Toff schools are more about segregation than education.

          • Tamerlane

            You are the gift that keeps on giving Yvonne/Barry. That’s QED again (Latin dontcha’kno?) and it’s not even pumpkin hour.

          • Todd Unctious

            So nothing to say as usual. Is it just wishful thinking Tammy? One day you might come up with something worthwhile beyond singing the toffs praises for money. A paid liar is a shill.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Ah yes, the triumph of….well, what? Bribery? Corporatism? Insider Trading? Corruption? Etc.

            As you call healthcare for the 99% flawed, right.

          • Tamerlane

            But you see only stealing, as you support the state theft from the poor.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            No, I don’t support the Tories.

          • Todd Unctious

            Is there a type of theft from the poor you prefer?

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Not allowed for you, right, as you ignore the models of funding which are not like America’s, of course. As you want less vaccines and cures, right, as you get confused between the market and capitalism.

          • Tamerlane

            Ah, so you want no health care for the poor, as you ignore the realities of health care… But facts.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            You’re randomly blaming me for your plans, as you admit the facts are not with you.

            Incidentally, I also oppose murder.

          • Tamerlane

            As you admit you support denying the poor health care, as you see only bogey men in every corner.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            No, I don’t support your views, bot, but thanks.

          • Todd Unctious

            You empty failure. Please disappear for another three weeks. Shame on you.

          • Terry Field

            More drivel from the insane asylum of Leon Wolfson.
            YOU escaped you MANIAC – the nurse has called the police, Homeland Security is looking for you and they will SHOOT ON SIGHT Wolfie.
            Give yourself up, come clean, and the life sentence may be commuted.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            So you scream endlessly on, spewing far right, social darwinist, totalitarian crap – all because I don’t agree with your love of dictatorships, and hence to you are mad.

            As you threaten me with your silly little…

          • Terry Field

            Drugs will help you!
            TAKE THEM!

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Ah yes, you’re trying to give other people your prescription drugs again.
            Stop.

            Really.

          • Terry Field

            Stop denying your condition Wolfeson YOU ARE ILL!!
            You NEED the nurse’s treatment
            Here she comes!
            ACCEPT the TREATMENT!

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Yes yes, you want to poison me blah blah, screaming that disagreement
            with your pro-dictatorship line is mental illness, in your hard right,
            social darwinist, totalitarian view of the word.

        • Terry Field

          You are a propagandist of Goebbels-like absurdity.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            You think he’s like you? Well now that’s nasty!

          • Todd Unctious

            In what way? Please point out the blatant factual inaccuracies in my comments.

    • Terry Field

      You are silly to ascribe length of life extension to the NHS – the NHS has proven murderous, suboptimal, soviet-style, a poor allocator of resources when outcomes compare to the best of the more civilised first world countries.
      Other countries and their populations – at least the educated and aware ones – know perfectly well just how bloody dreadful the NHS in comparison to their own health delivery systems.
      Your observations on all other systems prove the point of Delingpole – in Britain most of those utilities are poor, and the result of incompetent top-down maladministration, and soviet-style we-knpw-best bureaucratic guesswork.

      • Todd Unctious

        But I have not ascribed all life extension to the NHS. I have merely said it is a force for good. You however, cleave to Ridley’s nonsense and suggest it is murderous and bloody dreadful. This is based on nonsensical dogma devoid of compassion, or what we clever folk call Tories.

        • Terry Field

          I do not cleave to anyone, except my extensive international experience of many different health delivery systems.
          As for you observation in your first sentence, you confirm your lack of awareness of the reality of poor-performing investments – that of the opportunity cost of avoiding a much better alternative model. You sound like a little local parochial Brit.
          Poor you.

          • Todd Unctious

            We are proud of our NHS and do not need foreigners like you sneering at our achievements.

          • Tamerlane

            Ignore him, he’s a well known Respect Party activist around here, used to call himself Yvonne Barry Stuart Hargreaves but then he got busted as an activist. V nasty piece of work.

          • Todd Unctious

            Not. Liar.

          • flydlbee

            Another post from a Respect activist.

          • Todd Unctious

            I believe you belong to the BNP and glory in fieldsport bloodlust. Creep.

          • flydlbee

            Your beliefs are touching. The BNP is for oiks, and I have never hunted. Do you always resort to insult when you run out of argument?

          • Todd Unctious

            You have accused me five times of being a Respect activist and not once offered any argument you hypocrite.

          • flydlbee

            Not hypocrisy. Truth.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Ah, the BNP are too leftist for you, right.

          • flydlbee

            The BNP are a Nationalist Socialist organisation, and as such, belong to the left wing.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            So you call the far right BNP “left wing”, showing exactly how extremist (and a historical denier) you are.

          • flydlbee

            Yes, I do. Their economic policies are pure socialism. You are an extremist reality denier.

          • Todd Unctious

            You are revealing that you are even dimmer than we first thought. Best jog on.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Ah, I’m like you, you say, as you show your ignorance of what socialism is.

          • Todd Unctious

            No they are not. The BNP have no socialist credentials at all. They are racists.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Ah, so you’ve got experience in sabotaging healthcare. Right.

            As you hate on the British as usual, and want to make more money off the backs of British workers…

        • Zalacain

          How can you judge whether the NHS is a force for good? I mean, most lives are saved by the most efficient use of limited resources. Is the NHS the most efficient way to distribute healthcare? Is there no possible alternative?It could just be that we have no way of comparing with alternatives, or that we are not very imaginative.

          • Todd Unctious

            Only a bean counter would be more concerned at saving money, than saving lives.

          • Zalacain

            Saving money is saving lives. It means you can spend more money on other people. Amazing you don’t understand the simplicity of that.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            No, saving lives is saving lives.

          • Zalacain

            If you have 100,000 pounds and it costs you 10,000 pounds to save one life you are not going to save as many lives as if it costs you 5,000 pounds per individual life, no? What is so difficult to understand about that concept? Efficiency allows you to save more lives with limited resources.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Let’s take medical triage.

            Does it prioritize;

            Who’s injuries are worse? Or…
            Who’s cheaper to treat?

          • Zalacain

            You are avoiding my point, which must mean you concede it.
            As to the new point you are raising, all hospitals in the world private or state owned prioritize the worse injury, naturally.
            The way you are talking I can tell you never visited a hospital in old Communist Europe, you’d soon change your tune.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            I directly addressed your point.
            You would do the later, in your system.
            Unlike, as you note, every hospital.

            No, it’s clearly not correct to go purely on a financial basis in healthcare.

          • Zalacain

            Yet you provide no reasons, you do not debate, you just assert what you believe.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            So you don’t read my posts. Okay.

          • Todd Unctious

            Crushingly thick.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            The alternative being driven is in many ways worse than America – it’s got lots of state funding, but does not obligate companies to keep providing services, they can walk away at any time…

            If you have a coherent model – what is it?
            Remember the high level of poverty means that up-front costs will have a major impact on people being willing to (and we already are quite low users) visit the GP – the up-front costs of dentistry cause higher long-term costs as people don’t go until they’re very sick…

          • Zalacain

            Actually America has huge state funding, people forget that.
            I think that the alternative is is for all health providers to be private. For most of us to pay for our own health. Then, through taxes to pay for those that cannot afford their own. But I see no reason to have state owned hospitals.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            Ah, so an even more expensive version of America’s system, with poor care for the poor, a few hospitals in London, maybe, for the poor…

            And owned by profit-making bodies to ensure that they make a good profit off said poor, right.

          • Zalacain

            You make lots of baseless assumptions. Why more expensive than America’s? Why poor health care for the poor? Why different hospitals? Why all profit making bodies? Charities, wouldn’t be allowed?
            In Europe nobody thinks that people should go hungry, and if there is danger we find food for them. But nobody in their right mind would nationalise supermarkets.
            Think before answering and don’t put words in my mouth or make senseless assumptions.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            No, I’m looking at history.

            Your system takes the worst of the American system.
            Underfunded care for the poor, and only the poor, is delivered poorly.
            There’s no way hospitals would accept the very low rates for the “poverty care” system if they have a choice.
            And the reality is that charities, even in the American system, behave just like private companies.

            Plenty of nobodies want to ensure people go hungry.
            There’s also the UK government, who have an *explicit* strategy in sanctions of causing hunger and damaging people’s health. (Read the documents on this!)
            Food is not magically found – indeed, malnutrition cases in the UK are rising rapidly.

            And I’m not making assumptions that this time it’ll magically work, no, I’m looking at history. As I said.

          • Zalacain

            “Plenty of nobodies want to ensure people go hungry.
            There’s also the
            UK government, who have an *explicit* strategy in sanctions of causing
            hunger and damaging people’s health. (Read the documents on this!)
            Food is not magically found – indeed, malnutrition cases in the UK are rising rapidly.”

            You have gone to gaga land. I think this is the end of our debate. Good night.

          • Leon Wolfeson

            So you call facts about UK government policy and about some vulgar libertarians policies… “gone to gaga land”. as you whine off rather than admit the facts.

            http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13611707.It_s_official__benefit_sanctions_harm_health_of_claimants/

            Etc.

        • flydlbee

          You clever Respect activists, you mean.

          • Todd Unctious

            These efforts to paint me as other than I am are a wearisome example of how desperate the Barclays staff are to denegrate the NHS. How sad that you would stoop so low. Sadder still that you have no real argument only crass dogma.

          • flydlbee

            Ordnance on target!

          • Todd Unctious

            Very deep comment from the shallow gene pool.

          • flydlbee

            Very poor. Very poor. I would have expected better from Respect.

          • Todd Unctious

            I tried not to use words with too many syllables ,as you are a slow learner.

      • Leon Wolfeson

        So you blame the very capitalist utilities…

        As you deny the NHS’s statistics, right, and ignore the issue of funding cuts and diversions from patent care for the Government’s privatization agenda…

    • Daniel Jeyn

      Your fallacy is claiming that the structure of NHS is essential to improving health care. I’ve seen a lot of health care, too. You can claim to have the experience of worldwide health care and claim that the NHS is better than France, the Low Countries, and Germany. You can claim that boiled beef tastes better than steak tar tar. That’s the beauty of the Internet.

      • Todd Unctious

        Did you mean Steak tartare? I have made no claims for UK health being better than others. I have merely disagreed with Ridley’s assertion that it is a bad thing.

        • flydlbee

          You are a Respect activist, Yvonne.

          • Todd Unctious

            No. Never have been. But I find your alter ego cringeworthy, Shill.

          • flydlbee

            Oh dear, back to the personal insult. Donlt you have anything else to offer, Yvonne?

          • Todd Unctious

            Where?

        • JabbaPapa

          tartare or tartar — but no, not “tar tar” indeed …

  • Nige Cook

    The internet was a secret cold war project by Paul Baran of Rand Corporation who invented the internet in an 11 volume 1962 report series, as a way for military communications between air bases and missile silos to survive the EMP and radio signal disruption from nuclear bursts in WWIII: http://www.rand.org/about/history/baran.html This is why it was secret: they didn’t want the Russians getting an internet. If you look at the Russian internet propaganda, you can see why.

    • JabbaPapa

      yep — and the university professors they needed to develop it into something that actually worked only agreed to help in exchange for information exchange capabilities of their own.

      To describe this as happening by “accident” is ludicrous.

  • Terry Field

    I disagree with Mr Delingpole on climate change but he is correct and insightful concerning this book, and spot-on about top down damage.

    • Todd Unctious

      No. He is very, very wrong. Ridley is clueless.

      • flydlbee

        Still here, Yvonne/Barry?

      • Terry Field

        No YB you are a fool and he is correct. You are too tedious to engage with. Piddle off

  • Daniel Jeyn

    I was going to say this is a great article with great points, and I was going to lament that James’ points will be lost in the white noise of how often his work is just trolling the Left wing nowadays. However, seeing the bees’ nest that got all shook up, to judge by the comments here, I suppose it is necessary.

  • rbw152

    Ooh thanks JD. I’ll be buying it soon. Anything to add to the dinner party armoury one seems to have to take wherever one goes these days.

    I always find it tedious that if you express even a moderate right-wing view/opinion/inconvenient fact, it is always subjected to the most forensic analysis. You have to have evidence, sources and corroboration for everything and even then it’s still not accepted. Yet my left-wing friends seem to think they can just waffle on with guff, slogans and anti-right vitriol unchallenged.

    This isn’t going to change any time soon so the only way to deal with it is to have everything to hand ready to go. It won’t ‘win’ the arguments but at least you can show that you’re not just making it up or parroting what you’ve read in your favourite newspaper – like they do most of the time.

    Having facts ready to quote won’t make life easier ether, I’ve actually lost one or two friends because of wanting to stick to the truth (and nothing but the truth so help me God) – but frankly, that’s a price worth paying. Far better than trying to hide the cognitive dissonance which arises from appearing to agree with things you know are bunk all the time.

    Anyway, books like these really help.

  • Will Sylvander

    Cheese, whisky, whiskey, beer, roast pig, etc

  • fredimeyer

    sounds interesting but it cannot be any good. it is not found anywhere on pirate bay or usenet. so that means the nerds think it is rubbish

  • peartree1

    A little confusion there between Internet and the Web. Tim Berners Lee had jackshit to do with the Internet. And not that much to do with the Web either, just implemented mark ups to link documents, which then became widespread technology accessible by browsers.

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