Saturday, May 31, 2008

Paternalist twat of the week: Alex Singleton

I know that it is probably bad form to launch an attack on someone who has bought you wine, but this article by Alex Singleton, doyen of the utterly ineffectual and irrelevent Globalisation Institute, constitutes a first strike, as far as your humble Devil is concerned.

You can tell, as soon as you see the title, that it is going to be an article of quite staggering stupidity.
How Libertarians undermine liberty

Oooookaaaay; this is going to be a cracker, isn't it...?
What is it that encourages ordinarily sensible people to start niche political parties?

Well, I know that this may seem difficult for you to understand, Alex, but it may just be so that they can vote for a political party that they actually believe in. You alien-voters may be morally bankrupt, but that doesn't mean that all of us are.
I can see the merit in independent candidates fighting local elections—they can bring together communities wanting the fixing of a local problem which has escaped the view of the national parties.

What the fuck? Seriously, Alex: are you really this fucking thick?

Why the hell should someone campaigning for one, local cause have the power to change the way of life of everybody in the country? Why the fuck should they want to? Should they not lobby their local councils, or their MP? Isn't that what these bodies exist for?
But when people come up with the idea of establishing national parties to be more ideologically pure than the main ones, I roll my eyes.

That's because you are a smug, treacherous cunt.
Why didn’t their friends advice them to set up a campaign instead?

Because, you fuckhead, unlike your guy campaigning for one, local issue, we want to change the entire country, not save one cottage hospital or stop a new development being build in our nice village.
Then, rather than wasting their time on futile elections, they would have an opportunity to influence the mainstream just as groups like the Countryside Alliance, Liberty and the Taxpayers’ Alliance have done.

Oh yes, the Countryside Alliance did really well, eh? I haven't noticed the fox-hunting ban being repealed, nor your precious Tory Party pledging to do so.

What the fuck have Liberty achieved? Precisely fuck all. Every now and again, the laughably inept Shami Chakrabarti gets wheeled out to make some fatuous statement, or make an arse of herself on Have I Got News For You, and they have achieved...? Nothing.

The Taxpayers' Alliance have been rather more successful, it is true; they are hitting around four hundred media mentions a month, which is none too shabby, but ultimately they are motivating ordinary people, not politicians.

And this is the point: the TPA have motivated ordinary people, who now feel that they are paying too much tax and that the "nanny state has gone mad" but there is not one single party pledging to do anything about this. Maybe they would like to vote for a party that will?
After all, small parties do not do well in British politics, even when they have deep pockets like James Goldsmith’s Referendum Party which fought the 1997 General Election.

That is a very odd example to choose, Alex; the Referendum Party actually achieved its aim, i.e. all of the main Parties were forced to pledge a referendum on joining the Euro. And how did the Referendum Party do this? By securing enough votes to have the three Statist Parties running scared.

But generally, you are correct: small parties don't do that well. However, that is at least partly because of moronic Tories like you wailing that "a vote for what you believe in a niche party is a wasted vote". You are a cunt, Singleton; you and all your ilk.
Unfortunately, such advice does not seem to have been given to the Brits who have been to the Electoral Commission and registered the Libertarian Party.

Actually, it was, tit-face. You yourself advised me to go down the campaign route: is this article born out of sour grapes because I didn't follow your advice? I explained to you some time ago why we were going down the party route (and I shall expand on it later).
Yes, a party with the same name is the third-largest in American politics, but it has been getting nowhere:...

Apart from being the third largest party in American politics, you mean?
... its best showing in a presidential election was in 1980 when, with the financial support of its billionaire vice-presidential candidate David Koch, it secured a little over 1 per cent of the vote.

But the Presidential election is not everything; the Libertarian Party has a couple of hundred of elected local representatives and, as we all know, those representatives hold more power in the US than their rough counterparts here.
The British version of the party does not have that sort of money, relying on the support of a small number of members and a following on the blogoshere.

Quite so. Because, you see, we realised that the reason that there were so many libertarian bloggers, railing against all parties, was because they had no one to represent them. Do you see?

LPUK member locations, determined by the first part of their post code (outcode). See here for more detail.

So, why not use this new(ish) medium to start a party? And it is the reason why, despite our lack of funds, we have members all over the country, from Nothern Scotland to Northern Ireland; from Cornwall to Kent, from Wales to York. As we draw near to two hundred members, what has it cost us? Time and the price of the membership packs: nothing more.

What it will do, like the Libertarian Party has done in the United States, is to tarnish the libertarian brand, allowing the crazier aspects of libertarian thinking to come to the fore, and achieving nothing of any merit.

What, crazy libertarian ideas, you mean? Ideas like the legalisation of drugs—that that crazy Camilla Cavendish put forward in that well known crank-rag, The Times—and prostitution (both of which are also supported by those loonies at the Institute of Economic Affairs)?

Or maybe you speak of our insane pledge to abolish Income Tax—that temporary tax introduced on the very rich in order to fund the Napoleonic War—even though your old boss, Dr Eamonn Butler of the Adam Smith Institute, pointed out that lower government spending over the last ten years could easily allow that abolition?
If the government sector had grown only in line with inflation, rather than far above it, taxpayers would be £200 billion better off – enough to abolish income tax, corporation tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax. Just think what that would do for our international competitiveness.

Is it those kind of lunatic policies that you mean, Alex?
Libertarian thinking is already a force in party politics, as one of the strands of thinking in both the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats.

Oh, do fuck off. The Conservatives are not, and never have been, libertarian: they are social authoritarians. Now, I know that you are interested in their keenness on economic freedom, as evinced by your Globalisation Institute, but I couldn't really care less: economic freedom without social freedom is not fucking freedom, you moron.

The trouble is that you are a typical Tory paternalist: your "libertarianism" only goes as far as tax cuts so that you, personally, will be better off.

My libertarianism (for all that readers here might disagree with it) is based on the belief that more freedom will make everyone better off. I believe that the poor are fucked over by disporportionately high taxes, that they are infantilised by the Welfare State, that children raising children is a stupid thing to encourage, that the benefits trap that keeps people on benefits is deeply immoral and unproductive (not just because it costs the economy, but because those people never have a chance to better themselves), that people who take drugs are harming no one but themselves and should therefore not be criminalised, that people should be free to live their lives without constant government surveillance or social engineering.

You, on the other hand, are an arsehole, out for nothing but his own gain; and that makes you a mirror of the majority of those in the Tory Party (and certainly of the leadership).

Further, I believe that the EU controls so much of our legislation that any party that pledges to remain in it will be unable to deliver any significant change in British policy.

So fuck you, and the Eurostar you rode in on, Singleton; fuck you and your EU supporting chums. It is you who reduce liberty.
The objective of libertarian campaigners ought to be to strengthen those strands.

Yeah? I know poeple in the Tory Party who have tried this: I know of at least one Tory MP who have turned down a front bench position, i.e. a position in which he could get anything done, because he didn't want to be forced to toe the party line. Good for him, but that is what happens to libertarians in the main parties: they never get a chance to enact their beliefs.
The lesson from American politics is that when libertarians create parties, they end up undermining liberty by diverting campaigners’ efforts way from the mainstream.

Seriously, Alex, really go fuck yourself.

No one is stopping people like you and The Dude campaigning for Libertarianism from inside the Tory Party except that... well... I don't see much campaigning going on, frankly.

And I don't see much sign of libertarianism coming from the Tories, or from the LibDims. In fact, we can see precisely the sort of libertarianism that is coming from the Tories in the actions of Cameron's creature, Boris Johnson, i.e. less freedom and more nannying.

Fuck campaigning: how best to drive the main parties towards libertarianism? Well, as the head of an economic think-tank, Alex, you will know that incentives matter, right? Good. How do we give the Big Three an incentive? We show them that people are willing to vote for libertarianism: in short, we take votes from them.

Now, you alien-voters can bitch and moan about "wasted votes" and "ensuring another term of Labour" but you know what? Fuck you.

I am sick and fucking tired of voting for a pro-EU, socially-authoritarian, corrupt bunch of bastards: I want to vote for a party that I believe in.
Perversely, the Libertarian Party in the United States has undermined liberty: if it becomes a noticeable minority party, the British equivalent will do the same.

That is a total non sequitur, Alex, and you fucking know it. This is what has dimished liberty in America.
In The Simpsons ‘Treehouse of Horror VII’, one of their annual halloween specials, one of the shorts involves two aliens from outer space. After kidnapping Homer, they learn that to conquer the Earth,all they need to do is kidnap the two presidential candidates, emulate them, and then take over the world.

On the eve of the election, both doppelgangers are stood before a crowd.

‘From the sky comes a scream, as Homer is crashing right into the
Capitol. A few footsteps later, he comes running down the stairs.


Homer: America, take a good look at your beloved candidates. They’re nothing but hideous space reptiles. [unmasks them]

[audience gasps in terror]

Kodos: It’s true, we are aliens. But what are you going to do about it? It’s a two-party system; you have to vote for one of us.

[murmurs]

Man1: He’s right, this is a two-party system.

Man2: Well, I believe I’ll vote for a third-party candidate.

Kang: Go ahead, throw your vote away.

[Kang and Kodos laugh out loud]

[Ross Perot smashes his "Perot 96" hat]‘

It is that attitude that has dimished liberty in the US and, thanks for fuckwit alien-voters like you, it is what is diminishing liberty in this country too.

Because, fundamentally, you have three main parties: all are pro-EU, pro-state funding of parties, pro-Welfare State and pro-infantilisation and control of the population. All that they quibble about is what massive fucking proportion of your hard-earned money they should take.

If people like Alex fucking Singleton got their way, those would be your only choices, folks: does that feel like liberty to you? Because it doesn't to me.

And, do you know what, Alex? I'm not alone.

We are not the ones undermining liberty, you stupid cunt; it is people like you, Alex: Tory stooges wearing libertarian pants on the outside of your trousers, in order to disguise your lack of balls.

So, one last time, fuck you, Singleton: you are an enemy of liberty and a total tosser to boot.

UPDATE: entirely coincidentally (even though Singleton is one of the writers there) his article is quote of the day on Samizdata. I am glad to say that the actually libertarian Perry de Havilland does "disagree with Alex completely".

UPDATE 2: Harry Haddock (who is a Libertarian Party member) parodies the article rather well.
‘Why do sensible people start niche parties? For instance, in the UK we have the ‘don’t murder me’ party, when there are already non-murdering sentiments in the mainstream parties. The Tory’s only want to murder your mum, and the Fib Dems promise to think about only murdering your dad. Fringe parties such as this only tarnish the brand with crazy ideas such as ‘let’s not murder anyone’.

Nicely...

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Could this be one of the best defences of genuine democracy ahead of civil submission I have ever read?


It may well be.

nadine dorries' vagina said...

Surely your mate Martin is the paternalist cunt of this week, & every other week this century.

Ian B said...

Well if it's any consolation, the article motivated me to

1) Tell Alex on his blog that if he thinks there is libertarianism in the three main parties he must have his head stuck up his arse.

2) Send the LPUK my tenner.

You know what they say about there being no such thing as bad publicity...

Seriously, I'm getting sick to fucking death of these people who think that because they want tax cuts they're libertarians, and then argue that anyone in favour of social liberties are "cranks".

I'm also mightily in favour of your argument based on libertarianism as beneficial to all. This needs to be the basis of a libertarian argument. The Randian "conceit of the (self declared) ubermenschen" has to go.

Andrew Roocroft said...

The comparative example of US proves something, but not what Singleton thinks; the efforts of libertarian/fiscal conservatives in the United States to reduce the size of government through the major parties have been universally unsuccessful, even in those periods which are traditionally associated with 'small government conservatism' - ie, the Reagan years (as was admitted when I asked Hugh Hewitt, a Reagan apparatchik, after a speech a few months ago). The only minor 'sucesses' have come due to a coincidental gridlock between the Presidency and the Congress in the mid-to-late 90s, which have failed to persist since there has been Republican control of both institutions. The libertarian leaning conservatives who persist in the Republican party have had no lasting impact, and, as we see at the moment, are the main targets of criticism from the dominant big government faction: "The greatest threat to classic Republicanism is not liberalism; it's this new brand of libertarianism, which is social liberalism and economic conservatism, but it's a heartless, callous, soulless type of economic conservatism because it says "look, we want to cut taxes and eliminate government"."

Now, turning to the US Libertarian Party, Singleton neglects to mention the biggest obstacle to national achievement there: ballot access. Even more so than in the UK, the total dominance of the system by two parties, imposes great burdens on the LP to get on the ballot, especially for Presidential elections. Now, however, they're on 48 state ballots, and have selected a very serious candidate, Congressman Bob Barr, a well-recognised apostate from the big-government Republican party, who already polls at ~8% (despite only winning the party's nomination last weekend). There's an extremely realistic chance that he will ensure that the Republican Party loses the Presidential election, if only by swinging votes in sufficiently many states to give Obama the edge, and thereby - from outside of the party - will force them to abandon their neglect for libertarian conservatives.

If the libertarian party can achieve solely this, then it will have achieved more than all the free-market think tanks in the last 20 years combined. If Singleton thinks that their record - 40+% of GDP in government spending, burdensome regulation, international protectionism and monolithic public services - are something to be proud of, then he has a very odd metric of success.

Two minor additional points: Singleton is far from libertarian. Take, for instance, his proposal to make illegal the sale of a computer with an operating system pre-installed ("This paper’s recommendation is that the European Commission should require all desktop and laptop computers sold within the EU to be sold without operating systems.").

The other appertains to that horrendous post on this blog, entitled "Isolationism's Time Has Come." You really shouldn't let this be published under your banner, DK. No paragraph spacing? How amateur. (Seriously, though, it was like a BNP-style rant about 'foreigners, coming here, taking our jobs.' That's a bigger error than Singleton's tactical criticism.)

Kay Tie said...

Don't blame me - I voted for Kodos.

Ian B said...

Andrew,

thanks from this commenter for the link to the "unbundling OS's" pdf. It's deleriously wrong headed. :)

Kit said...

From the Samizdata thread Bob Duckman says:

"Could anyone conceive a more hypocritical political ideology of that of trying to democratically elect libertarian government?"

That sums it up.

Dan Vevers said...

From the Samizdata thread Bob Duckman says:

"Could anyone conceive a more hypocritical political ideology of that of trying to democratically elect libertarian government?"

That sums it up.


Er, how?

Steve_Roberts said...

Glad you're back, DK.
Err, great post too

Anonymous said...

top post DK! and bang on.

ever notice how the Tories wont commit to ANY mention of tax cuts or what their tax policy will be when they get into power.

now, why the fuck would you vote for a party that wont even TELL YOU how much they are going to rob off you?

at least the Libertarian Party seems to be dead honest and upfront. and that is refreshing!

mitch said...

With nary a cunt hair between the 3 "main" parties we are actually voting in a one party state.

I will join yours and send my tenner!

Anonymous said...

With respect to the Countryside Alliance, I believe you are wrong. They achieved a victory.

You may remember that the leadership of the Countryside Alliance changed part way through their campaign. The new leadership was strangely NuLabour friendly...

In fact what they did was to negotiate with the government. In return for stopping campaigns against Labour MPs, the government sabotaged it's own bill. They could not withdraw it altogether, but it is now useless for prosecuting people for fox hunting.

Shug Niggurath said...

tenner sent

Tomrat said...

DK,

This post gives me an idea for a polling poster for Henley:

"60% of you didn't vote in the last general election.

NuLabour got in on less than a quarter of the available vote.

YOU ARE NOT IN THE MINORITY.

LPUK: PUTTING INDIVIDUALS FIRST"

Awesome article DK - any idea when the second meeting is yet?

Anonymous said...

Diablo, a solid article. I believe that people are waking up to the true state of this nation - and a full blown recession will hasten that moment.

Whether they turn on the big three parties remains to be seen. I imagine that the more fringe and vociferous parties, such as the BNP, will pick up the seriously pissed off idiot labour voter, but where the rest of the potential votes will fall are up for grabs.

I subscribe to your views on personal liberty (and the severe lack of it in this country) and wish you well with the new party.

Letters From A Tory said...

"they are motivating ordinary people, not politicians"

Actually, the TPA have been having a huge impact on the political agenda and are influencing a huge number of MPs. Just because you don't read about the political links of the TPA in the newspapers, that doesn't mean it isn't happening.

Happy TPA member said...

"but ultimately they are motivating ordinary people, not politicians."

The TPA's official mission statement states that their aim is to provide the people with a voice in the corridors of powers (i.e. influence politicians on behalf of the people), so obviously you are talking complete bollocks DK.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Wow! From these last two comments, anyone would think that I didn't know those who run the TPA and wasn't aware of their mission.

I know what the TPA do and how they do it (probably rather more than most); my point was that, however they might influence certain politicians, we have yet to see any firm commitments from any of them...

DK

Happy TPA member said...

"we have yet to see any firm commitments from any of them..."

Um,except for the IHT cut pledge from Osborne that the TPA received the deserved credit for.

I guess they forgot to mention that to you when they were letting you know 'more than most'!

Devil's Kitchen said...

*yawny yawny yawn-yawn*

Wow! The Tories will raise the personal allowance for IHT to £1 million! Well, whoopee-fucking-do!

Do you know how much IHT raises? Last year, it raised just under £4 billion, or about 0.7% of government spending: on the Tory costings, we taxpayers get to keep an extra £3 billion out of more than £600 billion of government spending.

The changes to IHT, whilst better than nothing, were absolutely fucking pathetic.

The Tories were able to throw this bone, to the TPA and to us, knowing full well that it would make people disproportionately happy (apart from anything else, the TPA had done a survey showing the IHT was the second most unpopular tax (after Council Tax)) whilst meaning that the statist bastards could carry on pissing away the vast proportion of what they extort from us.

Besides, I remember John Major pledging to abolish IHT. That didn't fucking happen, eh? But then we all know that manifesto pledges really aren't "subject to legitimate expectation"...

DK

Anonymous said...

Singlecunt is such a douche. This is common knowledge.