Sunday, November 11, 2007

I've been a naughty bloggertarian

My spat with the oh-so-frighteningly erudite Paulie has led to his posting of an article on DSTPFW defining "bloggertarian".

It's not a terribly interesting piece, but the comments are quite enlightening. One of the main things that you will notice is how many of those regulars who refuse to engage in any way with substantive points thrown at them by "our lot", with the exception of a good comment by Pootergeek. There's also a reasonable comment by Jura Watchmaker which I wished to reply to; however, it appears that the comments are closed, so I reproduce my piece below.
Jura Watchmaker,
"Talking of Sweden, it’s worth pointing out that there have been relatively few private schools opened there since the introduction of the voucher scheme. Parents, it seems, are by and large happy to continue sending their children to community schools, in which there is far less state interference than in the UK."

Pootergeek linked to a May 2007 Economist article (which I have also linked to a number of times when advocating a voucher system) which, on the subject of Sweden's voucher system, states the following...
"The result has been burgeoning variety and a breakneck expansion of the private sector. At the time of the reforms only around 1% of Swedish students were educated privately; now 10% are, and growth in private schooling continues unabated."

Now, it may be true that relatively few new private schools have opened there, it must be the case that the existing ones have expanded.

It is also important to note that a crucial part of your point (and with which I agree) is that "there is far less state interference than in the UK." Very true.

Such is the state's stranglehold over education in the UK that politicians constantly use people's lives—if you stuff up someone's education you severely lower their life chances and reduce social mobility—as a political football, sometimes in the most cynical way.

I dislike politicians for this particularly. But then again, this is what Paulie refers to as a "electoral considerations": the politicians will do what they have to do to get re-elected and it is easier, for instance, simply to make exams simpler (or change their nature) to show good results than it is to radically alter the system.

So, the "electoral considerations" fail children, and fail the adults that those children grow into too. As such, and because of the political realities that Paulie refers to, politicians should have as little direct control over the education system as possible.

And if that applies to the education system, then it applies equally to other systems. Many of the frontline bloggers—teachers, doctors, nurses, etc.—complain of many the same problems: the most recurring being the imposition of arbitrary "targets" which then make the target more important than the intrinsic job that the service should do (educating children, curing people, etc.).

This is the basis of my libertarianism: I am more of a "consequentialist" libertarian that a "rights theorist" (as Wikipedia defines these two factions).

Sorry if any of you find the above unpalatable, but I felt that I should stick my oar in. I do apologise for the absence of swearing and the notable lack of praise for the Tory party.


I might deconstruct Paulie's post further but probably not as I fear that I will simply end up resorting to the vast generalisations that he makes. However, I will say one thing: other than over abortion, I fail to see any substantive difference between my declared beliefs and those of Tim Worstall from whom, after all, I gained much of my economic understanding.

The main difference appears to be that Tim is a "decent libertarian blogger" and I am "a particularly ugly version of this [bloggertarian] breed".

Each to their own, I supppose...


Peter Horne said...

"however, it appears that the comments are closed, so I reproduce my piece below."

I'm not sure comments have closed. Never mind, they took their ball home long ago. Shame. It was good knock-about fun while it lasted.

Longrider said...

Paulie is a twat - probably not worth bothering further...

Prodicus said...

True, though, you are bloody ugly.

Oh, wait... Mrs Prodicus is instructing me to say that she disagrees with me in the strongest possible terms. But perhaps we are talking about different things.

Ian said...

I think your views on immigration might differ a little from Tim's, and I don't mean that in any unkind way, either to you are Tim, both of whose blogs I read.

Clovis Sangrail said...

To return to the issue, please keep it up, DK. The screwing up of tens of thousands of peoples lives for the sake of electoral gain has been making many of us angry for far too long.

It's not forgivable and that's why you should rant and rage.

I thought that the evils of WWII, Stalin and Mao Tse Tung taught us not to acquiesce to evil, but apparently for many that is a tasteless and irrelevant remark.

Paulie said...

A-ha Longrider! I see that you have played the cunning ‘he’s a twat’ gambit with one of your Pawns. Let me see … that ties up your ‘his arguments are childish’ Bishop and clears the way for me to checkmate you with my ‘takes one to know one’ Rook.

DK, I see that you've taken the trouble to read the first paragraph of Wikipedia's definition of 'libertarian' in order to support your post-hoc rationalisation.

I've been looking around since our last exchange and haven't found anything 'libertarian' of substance that couldn't better be explained as right-wing negativism.

Still, some hyperlinks would be worth a look? In your own time....