by John Kersey
Let us begin with the Bible – for that is where, as Christians, we must always begin. And I must crave the indulgence for a moment of those who do not share my faith, but who will perhaps acknowledge that it has been directly formative upon the character and culture of our isles, and therefore has a place, however restricted, in our public discourse.
Psalm 14: 1 puts the matter very succinctly: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” This seems by any standard to be a condemnation of atheistic belief, not merely in itself, but in terms of the character which such belief – and it is belief, not “the absence of belief” as Dawkins’ followers sometimes tautologically argue – engenders in its adherents. Continue reading
Various prominent British libertarians seem now agreed that The Endarkenment approaches. The signs have been increasingly clear for some time. The fact that liberty is the mother of order and not its daughter is inconvenient for those that mean to boot the vast majority of Mankind – except themselves – backwards, cruelly, painfully and hard into pre-enlightenment misery, starvation, disease and servitude.
Being a scientist myself by training and thought-modes, and therefore by definition not an intellectual – I have never figured out why humans get to want to bring about – and worse, specifically for others than themselves – what I described above.
It always seems after careful analysis of their plans, that they would like to visit upon the whole of humanity what Churchill described as “the torments that Dante reserved for the damned”.
[Incidentally, I think that "intellectual" (the noun) is is a mere imaginary literary concept, applied by primitive pre-scientific mystics to themselves and their friends who still work according to neolithic non-tribe-male-skull-crashing theories of how to behave towards others, and are driven by emotion and wishful thinking. This may become the subject of another discussion, but perhaps I may accidentally have defined "conservatives" as definitely not these people. We shall have to see, when I have time to try to write something again.]
Various commenters on recent postings here have said things like this, and this, and this. In the darkness however, someone said this, and Continue reading
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by D.J. Webb
After reading unpleasant news today, I have to say the first thing I would do if I were in power is to release the Marine framed for a “crime” in Afghanistan and sentenced to life imprisonment today . I have clarified repeatedly that libertarianism has nothing to do with the idea there should be no nations and no borders. There need to be borders so we can defend our nation and its culture. Freedom can only be realised as part of a free society, not a ragbag of individuals, and so that society needs to be defended. There are going to be foreign opponents of the UK that our soldiers confront in battle – it is irrelevant for my purposes that the stated objective of bringing democracy, sweetness and light to Afghanistan was unachievable from the outset and had no connection to our national interests.
By D. J. Webb
I haven’t had much time to write on politics recently, for which I apologise to readers of the LA blog.
I want to address a problem today that I see frequently. You can call it the Daily Mail mentality, or big-C conservatism, or the smug middle class. This mentality is even exhibited in some of the pro-free market think-tanks that rail against the fecklessness of the benefits scroungers and the young in general, hoping that, by cracking down on benefits, a tax cut for the well heeled can thereby be afforded. This sort of thing can often pass for libertarianism.
Let me use the example of my mother to illustrate the problem. She condemns her grandchildren for not getting jobs and running up payday loans. Apparently, the young people today don’t want to get on the hard way, by working for your living. They want it all now, handed to them on a plate, without having to work for it. I think many readers of this blog will recognise the theme, which appears to be a regurgitation of some of the worst articles on the Daily Mail website. Warming to her topic, she has been known to wax lyrical on the social obligation to pay the council tax. Is she a budding libertarian? Continue reading
by D.J. Webb
We have seen a spate of accusations of sexual assault, and even rape, against people in the public eye. It seems clear that celebrities are often surrounded by groupies, people who expect to be subject to some kind of sexual contact, and it also seems clear that, even where such contact is unwelcome, accusations made many years after the fact contravene any possible concept of justice. There is no way to prove any of any individual historical accusations. Instead what we have is a “weight of evidence” approach, where accusations from 100 people claiming to have been groped in the 1970s are considered to more or less prove the case, although none of the individual claims can be proved or disproved. This removes the burden of proof from one of “beyond all reasonable doubt” to the one of the “balance of probabilities” accepted in civil cases. In many cases, the balance of probabilities is that some kind of repellent behaviour did go on, but that does not mean that our criminal justice system should find people guilty of serious crimes on the basis of such “evidence”. Continue reading
by D.J. Webb
Steve Davies constantly intervenes in public debate to argue for what he sees as free markets. However, in the absence of wider economic reforms, some of his arguments may end up, however inadvertently, supporting skewed markets, markets skewed by government intervention, rather than genuinely free markets. As Education Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), he may represent the views of the IEA more broadly, and the IEA is an organisation with a reputation for libertarianism. But it is important that libertarians argue for a wholesale restructuring of the economy, to remove existing distortions, and not simply oppose further intervention while retaining existing distortions, because otherwise we may unintentionally end up supporting government intervention that currently works to deliver unearned gains to the well-heeled. Continue reading
by D.J. Webb
We were told today by the Office for Budget Responsibility that rising longevity will mean another blow-out in the public finances by 2062. Health, pension and social care spending will all rise rapidly.
I am not trying to play devil’s advocate in the Libertarian Alliance here, but to flag up a necessary discussion. All libertarian analyses so far have tended to just affirm that privatising everything will solve this problem. True, if health, retirement provision and social care provision are all privatised, and presumably income tax and national insurance abolished, it would remove the implications for the **public** finances of demographic ageing.
But the implications are still there for the economy as a whole. The difference is that, after privatisation, it becomes a private financial problem. However these matters are handled – this is the key point – spending in these areas will have to rise as a proportion of GDP. Even if that spending is purely privately undertaken, it will still need to rise as an overall percentage of UK GDP. Continue reading