Apparently Paul Staines  is angry with the UK Government’s foreign aid budget, and has pulled a stupid stunt harassing old ladies. To highlight the injustice of wealthy Briton’s being taxed to give aid to poor Indians, Paul tried to hijack a joint aid event.
Apparently India has a third of the world’s poor. Although precise numbers are hard to come by, if Wikipedia is to be believed several hundred million people live on less than a dollar a day, the international poverty line. The Indian Government spend some money on a space programme. In my view this is almost certainly a poor use of resources in such a poor economy. There is the possibility that a space programme has positive net spillovers fir India’s economy, given its relatively large IT sector, but I doubt it.
However, frankly, Paul’s position is silly on a number of levels. Conceptually, morally, and pragmatically, for a self-styled libertarian, and morally for someone
One of the primary driving forces behind the introduction of a space programme was national defence. India wanted missile technology to defend itself from Pakistan, and other aggressors, and a space programme, in part grew from this. The military is one of the few roles those on the extreme right seem to support. So that is Paul’s conceptual problem.
Substantiatively however, we have a more major problem. Paul seems to be arguing that if Indian peasants are taxed, which most libertarians would argue is akin to theft, and that money is spent on rockets and satellites then they need to have what little support they have withdrawn. Being so poor, and being so exploited, the work DFID are doing in India is providing these people with a level of autonomy and freedom which they would otherwise lack. Being ruled by terrible shits is not a strong argument in favour of abandonment.
Finally, pragmatically Paul’s plan seems somewhat dubious. I imagine an aim of his is to see India’s stupid Space Programme end. Only a concerted effort from the poor of India could topple what is now a very well connected interest group. As Robin Hanson points out, the poor don’t revolt, those that have recently become better off revolt. Continuing the work of the DFID, not stopping it, is the best way to end the Indian Space Programme.
Although I agree with Luis Enrique , that similar stunts are perhaps too easily lauded when “our” side does them, I’m not sure Paul’s (and it seems’ Old Holborn‘s) activities are even internally consistent on their own terms. A lot of aid is skimmed off, but a lot of aid work is also done directly with those in need. If Paul and Old Holborn like liberty and autonomy they should argue for more of DFID’s money to be spent locally, not that it should be scrapped.
 I’ve always liked the naming conventions of the Internet. In academic work people are referred to by Surname. Bloggers are either referred to either by their first name, i.e. Sunny, or by their psuedonym, i.e Unity.
Unless, that is, they are a blogger you don’t like. In which case you use their first name even where they prefer to be known by their pseudonym. It’s the blogging equivalent of calling George Osborne Gideon.
 If you’re reading this Luis, when do you finish your PhD so you can get a blog?