It comes as no great surprise that the esteemed blogger DK has finally called it quits on Devil’s Kitchen. The phrase ‘end of an era’ springs to mind, and it certainly does seem an age away that people like me were discovering its exotic delights and other such libertarian blogs, which were forging ahead into unmapped territory, and leaving the dead-tree press and their online counterparts far behind.
There’s an old joke that sex is the only sport in which the amateur is still more respected than the professional, but in the springtime of Devil’s Kitchen, it seemed also true for the bloggers, if only amongst themselves and their readers, and it was amateur in the literal sense, done not for pecuniary reward but for pleasure, as long as we define the latter broadly enough to encompass such motives as catharsis, and the venting of spleen.
In this great democratisation, we learned that writing skills were not so narrowly dispensed as the columnists and mainstream media egos would have had us believe. Certainly, no one blog could match the resources of a newspaper, but taken all together, and given the fact that amongst the bloggers were lawyers, engineers and all manner of people with experience of life and hard-acquired specialist knowledge, once we got past the 5% of actual news and into the 95% of opinion, the blogging guerrillas could often outfox and out-manoeuvre their regimented foes. It seemed to me the blogs climbed very high, and only stumbled when they looked back to see how far they’d come. Then, like the end of a Spike Milligan sketch, everyone looked at each other and asked; “what are we gonna do now?” Although marginalised throughout the establishment media, individualism had seized a commanding redoubt in the bloggersphere, but could it be converted into anything more concrete? Did it mark a turning-point in the political culture of the country?
100 years of ever-expanding state power, but at such a leisurely pace, that the conservatives now defend, as if it were Magna Carta, all but its most recent acquisitions. This has brought us from the old maxim; “All that is not prohibited, is allowed”, to the new; “All that is not yet prohibited, will be taxed, regulated, monitored and/or subsidised”, whether it be industry or our private lives.
The internet has shown us that libertarians can win in the free market of ideas, that we need not be beholden to what our establishment media gate-keepers wish to let pass, that we can bring to bear great divisions of knowledge and wisdom from across the world and back from the near-forgotten past, writers like Mises, Bastiat and many more besides no longer gathering dust in library storage, that we have a fine tradition, that it comprises the best part of our Western civilisation, for is not liberty better than tyranny, and freedom better than serfdom, even if tyranny wears a velvet glove and material comfort is no longer denied the serf?
So let us mark the passing of Devil’s Kitchen, and acknowledge that if everyone who read, learned from and entertained themselves in its pages were to buy the author the drink he most assuredly earned, the poor fellow’s liver would probably end up looking like a washed-up whale, rotting on a beach, which is the last thing I would wish him, and as hyperbole seems to have overcome me somewhere during the writing of this piece and it’s far too late to salvage myself from that pitfall, I’ll paraphrase Churchill, and declare this is not the end, nor the beginning of the end, but rather the end of the beginning. The bloggers showed us we have a libertarian stasis. What we must now do is create a libertarian movement.