Monday, October 27, 2008

But it's something that I never was...

Britblog Roundup #193 is over at A Very British Dude's place, and I feel that I should answer a couple of comments thrown at your humble Devil.
Devils Kitchen, a rightie monomaniac, thinks it's not the welfare state, It's those dastardly eurocrats, and anyone who thinks the Tories are going to be any better are "delusional".

Apart from the concept that the Tories won't be significantly better than NuLabour, this sentence is almost entirely incorrect. I wouldn't call myself a "rightie monomaniac" (some might, but coming from Jackart, it's a bit rich frankly) as I write about a number of subjects on this blog, and maintain an interest in considerably more areas outwith it. But, Jackart is entitled to his opinion.

Aside from that, I have argued many times that the Welfare State is at the heart of our problems, even so far as to say that it has changed the culture and attitudes of the British people for the worse. I don't think that anyone could accuse me of giving the Welfare State an easy ride.

Furthermore, I certainly didn't mention EUcrats in the post that he references. It is, however, no secret that I believe the EU to have such a stranglehold on our legislation that not one of elected representatives can make any significant changes. As such, voting for any party which is pro-EU (which all of the Big Three are) seems utterly pointless unless you want more of the same (or very nearly the same).

Lest anyone should have forgotten, what I did say in that post was this:
And for all of Jackart's nit-picking—especially as to who the real Guido Fawkes was and what he was fighting for—this is what V manages to do: he not only makes people understand what has been done to them (one of the hardest tasks) but he unites people in indignation and gives them the inspiration to do something about it. It is for that reason that I find V For Vendetta so very uplifting.

And then, of course, the film ends and I am back in a depressing world where people barely comprehend the state control being stealthily imposed upon them, where no one can be bothered to do anything about it, and where alien-voters and their fucking Party tribalism effectively neuter protest and keep the same gaggle of corrupt rulers in power.

I think that I make it fairly clear where the blame lies, although I could have put more emphasis on the fact that the people themselves are very largely to blame. But then, I have posted that speech from the film of V For Vendetta enough times, have I not? But the relevant bit is this:
Who's to blame? Well, certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.

My contention has long been that the Welfare State has been instrumental in the cowing of the British people—whether I have approached it from the position that we are now all in hock to the state and must thus dance to its tune, or from the stance that the state allows people to abdicate responsibility to other human beings (instead of seeing someone homeless on the streets, the thought is not "what can I do to help a fellow human in distress", but, "why hasn't the state done something about that?")—I have never been one to avoid blaming that (possibly) well-intentioned construct.
To which I point to America. If libertarians are going to have any traction, it is as a strong wing within the main parties arguing against authoritarianism, wherever it is found.

Why should I do so within the main parties? And what voice would I have? Some time ago, the Nameless Libertarian—once a Tory activist and now a member of that LPUK that Jackart so despises—wrote an article about the futility of this idea.
I've said before but I'll repeat it here again - there is no point in winning power if you have abandoned the ideas and policies that made you seek power in the first place.

I don't see that anything has changed since he wrote that piece.

As it is, over the six months, I have occasionally visited universities and sixth form colleges to talk to the people there, most recently to the Cambridge University Conservative Association (and I am back there on Tuesday evening with my LPUK colleagues). Maybe they will make a difference to the Tory policies, and maybe not.

But what could I do? Were I to be in a position to influence policy, I would also be in a position to be worth gagging. And I am The Devil's Kitchen first and foremost, and I will not toe any party line.
It is not going to be at a Libertarian party, which will be a talking shop, never to be elected and eventually foundering in a nightmare of inter-faction warfare.

Maybe: maybe not. We shall see, for it is early days yet. We are just finding our feet and are immensely grateful to those who have supported us thus far. Next year is when we shall start getting into action properly: these things take time, especially when you are learning.
By abandoning the Tories, Devils Kitchen and his ilk are leaving the party likely to form the next Government to Nadine Dorries' ilk with their obsessions about controlling human reproduction.

It is those who continually elect people like Dorries to be their representatives that are the ones at fault here, Jackart: those in your party. Now, go fight them: you don't need a loose cannon like me.

On another point, I have never been a Tory. I have never been a member of the party and, although I have voted for them, it was because I disliked them the least. I hated the social authoritarianism and I couldn't stand their pro-EU stance: they just happened to be the least offensive people on the podium.

Finding libertarianism was like coming home: it is the first time that I have found a political philosophy that I agree with in its entirety. Because the very foundation of libertarian thought is that you should live your life as you wish, as long as you harm no one else. To be able to vote for a party espousing that view will be a relief—no longer will I need a pair of Polly's famous nose-pegs.
Do you want the Tories to look like a post-McCain republican party purged of moderates and existing to further the interests of a narrow religious, authoritarian world-view?

If they are so close to it that that is a possibility, my dear Jackart, then there is little that I can do to stop it: let us not make the mistake of thinking that because I am a big fish in the tiny political blogging pond, that I have any influence on Call Me Dave, or the vast majority of the Tory activists out there presently.

If I have influence, it is on the youth of the party (although most do probably view me as a "rightie monomaniac") and on those who would not otherwise vote; or, of course, on those who, like me, voted for the Tories for the lack of anything better.

Well, now there is something better and, if people vote for us, then it will show Call Me Dave and his cronies that there is concrete support for a free society; just as voting for UKIP in the EU elections will show the Tories that there is a real and potent desire to leave the EU. There are only two things that will make politician change their ways: cut off their money supply or remove their votes (and the former often leads to the latter).

It's the only language, as my father used to say, that these teddy-boys understand.
You're an intelligent guy and a brilliant writer...

Why, thank you...
Why can't you use your talents where they might be useful?

And I do: I use them to try to convince people that freedom is good for everyone; that freedom also means tolerating those things that you disapprove of and not just the things that you like; I try to show that the state does things badly, that politicians are corrupt and that they lie; but mostly I try to make people think about what they believe, to wonder if maybe they are not being a little close-minded or out of touch with reality.

Whether or not I succeed in those targets, I don't know for sure—in many cases I do know (from the emails that I receive) that I have at least made people think again about their positions or encouraged them to be more active in making their voice heard. For many people, I have been a comfort, as they have realised that they were not the only ones who were angry enough to rail at this world.

And that is where my talents as a writer lie—if, indeed, I have such skills—and it is to this purpose that my talents are best employed. Some may take on board my rantings and decide to join the LPUK; some, of course, may (like you, Jackart) think that the Tories—as those most likely to get into power—hold out the best hope for freedom. Some may choose to do nothing at all.

It is not my place to tell them what to do (although I am happy to advise!); I seek only to get people to question their beliefs.

It worked for me: why not for others?

UPDATE: Patrick writes on a similar theme at the LPUK blog...

9 comments:

Guthrum said...

What choice is there really now ? They all belong to the Corfu Yacht club.

Anonymous said...

Your quite right Devil. I was a Tory party member for some time but, frankly, there are few friends of liberty in there - many of the people I knew hated the dry, Friedmanite wing of the party and where really social authoritarians who didn't like commerce.

Anonymous said...

The EU may not have caused all of our problems on its own. But it is locking them into the system. So we have to get out of it as step #1.

enoughisenough said...

Bravo DK.

I want my freedom and for all others to be free too.

For sure we will make mistakes and regret them, but learn from them.

You have my respect and my support and vote.

Furry Conservative said...

"Do you want the Tories to look like a post-McCain republican party purged of moderates and existing to further the interests of a narrow religious, authoritarian world-view?"

People say this all the time, but it has never happened. They said it about Clinton winning power, and the Republican Party did not collapse into a religious fervour. They are pragmatists.

Budgie said...

Anonymous said..."The EU may not have caused all of our problems on its own. But it is locking them into the system. So we have to get out of it as step #1".

Absolutely true.

When we leave the EU, the porkers in Westminster will be made responsible for our laws. That means we will know exactly who makes our laws. We can then hold them to account. There is political apathy, at the moment, because we do not really know who is responsible for what.

Miss Snuffleupagus said...

You make me think, DK. But it is different with kids. They need control and guidance. I generally agree with your position on the welfare state, but when it comes to kids, they need looking after.

And where you make me think, is where the line is, when it stops being acceptable to look after someone.

xelent said...

"And I do: I use them to try to convince people that freedom is good for everyone; that freedom also means tolerating those things that you disapprove of and not just the things that you like; I try to show that the state does things badly, that politicians are corrupt and that they lie; but mostly I try to make people think about what they believe, to wonder if maybe they are not being a little close-minded or out of touch with reality."

I do hope I don’t sound patronising when I say.. Through all your bluster the above sums you up very well.. I for one have seen you take a long journey with your thoughts over the years.. A journey that has seen you move ever closer to those ideals you mention above..

My thoughts on the LPUK are somewhat further removed... As I cannot see how freedom can ever be achieved by playing the same party political game as the rest.. No offense meant to all the wonderfully intelligent minded souls that lie within its heart.. But the rules have been set by the corrupt and the corrupt crave power almost as much as you crave freedom.. As Libertarians we hold ethics in high esteem and the ‘non aggression principle’ is one that is fundamental to our values.

Politics is about lying and deceit.. Democracy is about divide and rule.. Personally I don’t see how we can ever achieve 'non violent' principles within a political movement.. And in all seriousness can you honestly say that the LPUK can dismantle the behemoth of govt if it were to ever achieve power?..

I do concur the view that the LPUK can bring this wonderful philosophy to a larger audience and in that, one cannot complain.. I just struggle with the idea that playing the same dirty game as the degenerates in power somehow demeans your goal..

However, I am an anarchist at heart and as such would much prefer to see people choosing 'freedom' as a way of life.. Where they could find real happiness and an inner confidence that they can do things without the aid of a govt or political party.. And in so doing will eventually realise after a catastrophic failure of govt that freedom from govt’s will be the only way to go...

Devil's Kitchen said...

"I do hope I don’t sound patronising when I say.. Through all your bluster the above sums you up very well.. I for one have seen you take a long journey with your thoughts over the years.. A journey that has seen you move ever closer to those ideals you mention above.."

Not patronising at all: I have thought and learnt more about political and philosophical ideas over the (nearly) four years that I have been blogging than I had in the previous twenty. There are many other bloggers to thank for this -- some who are still going, many who have since given up -- but also all of the commenters here.

"I do concur the view that the LPUK can bring this wonderful philosophy to a larger audience and in that, one cannot complain.."

If we can do that, and people do indeed chose freedom (as I would hope) then it will all have been worth it.

"I just struggle with the idea that playing the same dirty game as the degenerates in power somehow demeans your goal.."

Don't we all. When people ask me if I would stand for election, my response is in the negative: "if I got elected, I would have to wake up every morning and despise myself." Although, if I must stand, I will do so -- albeit reluctantly.

But can we dissolve the state? I hope so. Would we? Yes, definitely.

DK