No, not the impending cuts of so many public payroll salaries (some of which have jobs associated with them), but rather a certain commonality in the Coalition about the motives for their present course of action.
Nick Clegg has assured the LibDems that he doesn’t want to cut the state for the sake of cutting it. No, he wants to cut it so he can rebuild the state differently. Likewise, Liam Fox has informed the Tories that he doesn’t want to cut defence and nor does David Cameron (cue Tory applause) – but at the moment, he has no choice.
Thus is the libertarian ideal of a smaller state smeared in the eyes of political activists and the wider public as a necessary evil, a stopping-off point to be endured on the road to the sunny uplands of a reshaped and re-expanded State tomorrow.
Unless libertarians can convincingly and appealingly present to the public the truly joyous reality of being able to work (or not) as we please, with whom we please, to offer goods and services we’re proud of to whomever we please, libertarians will remain marginalised and misunderstood. They’ll be seen as an articulate but callous bunch, perversely rejoicing over the wider dislocation and misery caused by the State’s champions ditching the minions they think they can most easily do without.
When faced with people determined to do exactly the wrong thing, Lenin’s “The worse the better” dictum may be an accurate response to their failures. But it’s no way to market anything to anyone.
PS. I note the Tories’ pledge to let headteachers discipline children for misbehaviour on the way to and from school. I leave the last word on this news to John Taylor Gatto:
As schooling encroaches further and further into family and personal life, monopolizing the development of mind and character, children become human resources at the disposal of whatever form of governance is dominant at the moment.