Tim Worstall was born in Torquay in 1963, raised in Bath and Naples (from a Naval family), educated (in so far as that has actually happened) at Worth and Downside Abbeys and then the LSE. As an adult he's lived in the USA (twice), Russia for seven years, the UK and now Portugal. Along the way he's washed pots, waited table, tended bar, owned a deli, sorted used ink cartridges, distributed newspapers, created computer games, run a telemarketing company and he currently runs the international scandium oligopoly. He is not rich and has been closer to bankruptcy than he would like more times than he wishes to remember. Tim blogs at Tim Worstall.
Why do you blog? > It's my scream at the universe.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Finding that people, some people, some of the time, enjoy reading that scream.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > You will make mistakes and the correct response is just as Mother always told you. Admit it, apologize, make what amends are possible and promise not to do it again. This has a somewhat wider usefulness than blogging of course.
What are your favourite blogs? > Chris Dillow, Devil's Kitchen and, very oddly, just at the moment Ezra Klein. I'll admit to rather trolling that last recently, as I find it amazing that such an obviously intelligent person never quite manages to see that the methods he argues for won't get him to the goals he desires.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > P.J. O'Rourke, Bernard Levin, James Buchanan. An odd mix I know but they all put forward, with varying levels of scientific and intellectual rigour, the point that our rulers rule for themselves, not us.
What are you reading at the moment? > Hitler's Beneficiaries by Gotz Aly, Attila the Hun by John Man and Watching the English by Kate Fox.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > Not really a novel reader (except for fluff) but best book would be The Gulag Archipelago. I was living in Moscow and holed up in my apartment during the second coup, the one where Yeltsin shelled the Parliament building. It was all there was in the place to read and I devoured it, wondering rather that people were outside fighting to reimpose that sort of system.
What is your favourite song? > 'Call me the Breeze', J.J. Cale version.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > Yes, abortion. I used to be pro- and am now vehemently anti- (for humanist reasons, not a hangover of the Catholic education).
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > Economics matters.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > That it doesn't.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > As above, Gulag. It shows what can happen (will happen?) when we ignore the individual and organize things for the benefit of The State.
Who are your political heroes? > Cobden, Wilkes and an institution, the jury system.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > O'Rourke's advice at election time. All politicians are stupid, all politicians are thieves. Always vote against the incumbent as it will take the new guy a few years to learn how to steal your money and there might be a new election by the time he does.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Leave the EU.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be Prime Minister, who would you choose? > I'm not sure I want anyone to have the power that post currently possesses.
What would you do with the UN? > Abolish it.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > Best is yet to come. Undoubtedly.
Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own? > I am.
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > Many but not all. The polite lies, certainly ('Does this suit me?') but not the important ones ('Are you married?').
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > Yes - for one, I'm a culturalist. I do believe that via trial and experimentation we've found that certain modes of living are better than others.
What is your favourite proverb? > Many a mickle macks a muckle. No idea what it means but still love it.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Watching TV.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > Yes, at 20 I had a pocket (almost suitcase, earned from waiting table and tending bar in Washington DC) full of money which I spent on a five-month trip around the US. Looking back I would come back to the UK with that and buy a flat outright and do the travel a couple of years later.
What would you call your autobiography? > It's all obvious or trivial except...
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Poland, on the Baltic coast.
What would your ideal holiday be? > Who takes holidays away from Portugal?
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Reading.
What talent would you most like to have? > Music. I played a lot when young, got through Grade VI (trumpet), loved playing trad jazz live, but simply didn't have the ear to go any further. Had all the right training and practice; sadly, missing something innate that would have allowed me to go further.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Over the past couple of years, since I started blogging, I've been changing my profession, from vaguely unsuccessful businessman to vaguely unsuccessful writer. I'm still astonished that people wish to pay me to tap on a keyboard and I think I've found my ideal alternative.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > Not a great deal. A larger house and garden, drink a better class of wine perhaps, but there's little I want to do that I don't for lack of money.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Nelson, Cochrane and my father. If I am to have access to such a time machine why not offer its use as a present?
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of all the profiles to date, and the links to them, can be found here.]