Friday, July 17, 2009

Quote of the Day...

... comes from Charlotte "remind me why on earth is she in the LibDems?" Gore, and is just a couple of paragraphs from an article stuffed with quotable bits.
I do actually remember the days when I’d say, “The Government should stop people from doing X” and think, you know, the people who want to do X? They’re scum, aren’t they? Who cares what they think? Sure a lot of people won’t like it, but the greater good will be served.

I used to think like that. Over time, however, as I found myself more and more in the ‘X’ category at the hands of this Government, I began to become more and more uneasy about this sort of thing. Who am I to impose anything on anyone? What if I’m wrong? The reasoning that you had to be a bit fascist if you wanted to be properly liberal stopped making sense. The best way to fight fascism is to promote liberalism, and that means using liberalism as your weapon of choice.

Quite so. One of the themes that I have been advocating over the last year or so—both here and in my occasional public speaking—is that what those in power really do is to apply their own personal morals onto those who may not share said prejudices.

For instance, whilst you might think that the taking of drugs is bad and wrong, I do not. Why should you be able to employ force to make me comply with your morals?

Whilst your beliefs might tell you that having sex with lots of people is immoral, I think that it is great fun. Why should you be able to employ force to make me comply with your morals?

Whilst you might think that giving people oodles of cash simply because they have chosen to have children is a good thing, I do not. Why should you be able to employ force to make me comply with your morals?

And whilst you might think that stealing people's property to fund your vision of society is an a priori good, the society that I wish to see is somewhat different from yours. Why should you be able to employ force to make me comply with your morals?

I only have one moral absolute—that forcing* everyone to comply with my personal morals is wrong. Which is why I am a libertarian.

* Please note that I have no problem with voluntary collectivism—indeed, I think that it is an excellent thing and would always encourage it (or, indeed, take part in it).

31 comments:

Stan said...

So you'd permit people to drive at high speeds through towns? You'd permit people to get as drunk as they like then urinate in the street or vomit in shop doorways? You'd allow people to scrawl graffiti wherever they like? You'd allow people to dump their garbage in the countryside? You'd allow people to build concrete office blocks in the middle of an area of outstanding natural beauty? You'd let anyone drive whether they had a licence or not? Presumably a 12 year old could - as long as they could afford it - buy a 1000cc motorcycle and ride it quite legally? And you'd permit people to have sex with children as long the child was willing?

I'm sorry - but that is just barking mad libertarianism for libertarianism sake. You would fall into exactly the same trap as every other government has since the last war - confusing freedom with liberalism. The very reason the government encroaches on the rights of you or I to pursue our lawful activities is because they tried to allow the very thing you desire and the consequence was that more and more people did more and more things that made life more amd more unpleasant for other people. The response of governments has been to introduce more and more laws that increasingly direct what we can and can not do and install more and more methods to watch, check, track and monitor what we get up to. Your way will be exactly the same - or a complete and utter anarchic mess. Either way it is not a Britain I would want to see.

Anonymous said...

It's not just their morals and prejudices that are imposed, DK. It's also their ideologies and their political constructs and theories that are pushed, often by threat of state violence, on a public that has never endorsed those ideologies and whose opinion has never been sought.

It's easy to focus on things like drugs, drink and smoking - easy and understandable but, ultimately, also a distraction from the even larger assaults on our liberties and our constitution by those who, by virtue of their quasi-religious devotion to this or that ideology, honestly believe that they know what is good for us better than we do ourselves.

Anonymous said...

No, Stan, personal liberty does not permit someone to randomly fire their shotgun into a playground because they feel like it. It does not permit you to harm anyone else or to damage someone else's property (including public property like streets and communal areas).

Go back to labourlist and masturbate over your straw men there.

Mark M said...

Stan
"So you'd permit people to drive at high speeds through towns? You'd permit people to get as drunk as they like then urinate in the street or vomit in shop doorways? You'd allow people to scrawl graffiti wherever they like? You'd allow people to dump their garbage in the countryside? You'd allow people to build concrete office blocks in the middle of an area of outstanding natural beauty? You'd let anyone drive whether they had a licence or not?"

But this happens now, even though they are all outlawed. Anyone who wants to speed through towns already does. Outlawing things doesn't necessarily stop them.

The libertarian ideal doesn't necessarily mean you can do all of what you listed because the one thing is you aren't allowed to restrict another's freedom and liberty.

I don't pretend to be an expert on these matters, but I do know that you don't stop things happening by making them illegal.

Westerlyman said...

Stan you are a tit. What is it about not harming other people you do not understand.

In a truly libertarian society you would be able to successfully sue for damages anyone who hurt you, your family, or your property.

So let a person drive at 100 miles and hour if they want but first make sure that they know that if they harm anyone they will suffer dire punishments like go to prison forever and have all their possessions sold to give compensation to the victims.

If someone drives 100 and kills your kid now what happens. At the very worst a suspended sentence for manslaughter (not murder which is what it should be)and a short driving ban. They would probably get counselling too to deal with their 'traumatic experience'.

Your fascist utopia punishes people for not harming anyone (speeding fines)or themselves (drug abuse)but never punishes those that are actually guilty of harming others.

The Jack of Blades, said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Jack of Blades, said...

Nice straw man, Stanley. You accuse DK of confusing liberty with freedom; truth is you can't tell the difference between liberty and doing whatever the hell you please (which perhaps says quite a lot about your own mentality).

Here's a little J S Mill 'harm principle' for you:

"[T]he only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right... The only part of the conduct of anyone, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign."

To clarify, "the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection.". So you can't tax Peter to pay for Paul's welfare payments and still be liberal.

I'm not fully convinced by classical liberalism, but that's a far more accurate and fair picture than the one you luridly paint of people (as was said earlier) being allowed to fire shotguns into playgrounds because they feel like it. Ass.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Ah yes, the old 'stealing people's property' line, which I take it is a euphemism for taxation.

Now, who is it who ultimately enforces the 'property rights' of land- and property owners? What would land be worth in the absence of land registration, the legal system and the force of the state to back it all up? (clue: look at land values in Zimbabwe).

And if you go to extremes and say "I'll buy a shot-gun and protect my own land", what happens if the other guy has a machine gun and gets you first? Whose land is it then? And even if you heirs have the right to sue him for killing you on 'your own land', who is to decide whose land it is and to track down the baddie and imprison/fine/punish him?

If it's fair for people to enter into insurance contracts for home & contents or car theft etc (which is voluntary - the thing you buy is quite separate from the extra insurance cover*), is it really wildly unfair for the state to cover its inevitable running costs by levying a user charge on those who benefit directly therefrom?

Apart from that agreed, of course, but Stan does make a fair point, there are limits to everything. What about loud music? Where is the line between your neighbour's "right" to listen to music and your "right" to peace and quiet?

* In the case of land ownership, you are actually paying for the legal protection that the state provides, and not the land or property itself. You have absolutely no comeback against the person who sold you the land, short of him deliberately lying about dry rot or something.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Mark,

Now, who is it who ultimately enforces the 'property rights' of land- and property owners? What would land be worth in the absence of land registration, the legal system and the force of the state to back it all up? (clue: look at land values in Zimbabwe).

*sigh*

Look, I appreciate your point. I also have my suspicions that—for a very few things—the state might be the best agent.

But...

Is a centralised state the only entity that you can think of that could administer land registers, or a police force?

"And if you go to extremes and say "I'll buy a shot-gun and protect my own land", what happens if the other guy has a machine gun and gets you first? Whose land is it then? And even if you heirs have the right to sue him for killing you on 'your own land', who is to decide whose land it is and to track down the baddie and imprison/fine/punish him?"

Of course, were I able to convince everyone that libertarianism was right (I do try) and they all agreed to follow the non-aggression axiom, then all of this is moot.

I do take your point that, until this happens, then there is a role for a minimal state—which is why I am a minarchist, not an anarchist.

"If it's fair for people to enter into insurance contracts for home & contents or car theft etc (which is voluntary - the thing you buy is quite separate from the extra insurance cover*), is it really wildly unfair for the state to cover its inevitable running costs by levying a user charge on those who benefit directly therefrom?"

Because. It. Is. Not. Voluntary.

Perhaps the state would like to present me with a contract, stating what its agents will protect and what it is going to cost me? Perhaps I will sign it; or perhaps I won't, and take my chances. Or perhaps I (and maybe my neighbours) shall go and hire some private police instead because the state's version is shit.

All of these things are simply possibilities that I throw out there...

But, tax is theft because there has been no contract agreed between the state and myself. Which is why all this talk of the "social contract" gets right on my tits.

"What about loud music? Where is the line between your neighbour's "right" to listen to music and your "right" to peace and quiet?"

You have no "right" to play loud music. You have no "right" to peace and quiet.

However, there are two main courses open to you, should you object to loud music: the first is to get together with your neighbours, and ask the gentleman to stop playing his music so loudly.

If the gentleman proves intractable (a very small minority, I would suggest), you could take him to a civil court for, if nothing else, stealing from you by depressing the price of your property (you may or may not win).

Secondly, as when one can't afford to pay your cherished LVT, you can just move.

DK

Frank Davis said...

You're a libertarian, DK. Do you know what "libertarian paternalism" is? I came across it here.

Left to themselves, people do not choose to live healthy lives. That is the stark conclusion of a new report on public health from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics. The state must therefore intervene to control or shape behaviour,

It is not so much a case of the ‘nanny state’ meddling in people’s lives, as a dose of desirable libertarian paternalism intended to help people do what they cannot, or will not, do for themselves. In any event, leaving everything to individual choice is too simplistic especially when many individuals suffer ill health or adopt unhealthy behaviours for reasons beyond their control.


Fascism is the word I would have used.

thefrollickingmole said...

If I may offer an alternative view on this statement.

"The very reason the government encroaches on the rights of you or I to pursue our lawful activities is because they tried to allow the very thing you desire and the consequence was that more and more people did more and more things that made life more amd more unpleasant for other people."

I think thats wrong, what happened was the odium attached to people who habitually violated others "private space" has all but disappeared.

Im not supposed to treat (or even feel judgmental) an ex crim gang rapist any worse than a law abiding person.
Years ago half of the "celebrities" infecting the media would have been shunned by society. It wasnt law that made them shunned it was society teaching (yes even in schools) that certain activities DID make you bad people, and associating with those people meant you were bad as well.

Now its "street cred" to hang with so called hard men, and you can have a go at anybody who judges you for doing so.

Social stigma was and still is an extremely powerful tool of social control.
There were less laws in the "good old days" because social death awaited offenders.

Now its "we need more laws because people are behaving worse". Talk about arse backwards.

There were (and still are for pedos, and a few other offences) real social, life wrecking costs to associating with criminal scum before the trendies took over. Imagine if driving pissed was considered as socially unacceptable as wife beating?
Do you think that would have more impact than another 4 laws?

Just for the record, has anyone else here made a good friend choose between a scalley friend and themselves? I have, one of my best mates was a friend with a drug dealing pimp (specialized in hooking 13 year olds and selling their bodies). I told him about his mates activities ("Oh hes allright, just a bit rough, a loveable rouge etc") and offered him a choice, lose the shitbag or lose my friendship.
We are still mates, so social pressure can work.

Dont look to the law as a panacea, look at your own circle of friends, do you judge them? You should.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Frank Davis,

I have indeed heard that term. Here are my views on it (warning: considerable swearing involved)...

DK

James Higham said...

There speaketh the libertarian.

Elby the Beserk said...

New Labour - Getting offended on behalf of those who aren't.

Elby the Beserk said...

One recalls that nice Mr. Blair telling us

"The greatest freedom is security".

Cunt.

If that was the case, why the two words, with clear semantic differences.

I do so wish they would ALL FUCK OFF

Roger Thornhill said...

In a "democracy" it is said that people delegate their decisions to "those who know better". That is ok unless I have to suffer the decisions of someone I did not delegate to.

People then talk about what in truth is Tyranny of the Majority and defend that, even pooh-pooh'ing the term*, but they forget that they are asking me to accept a choice of delegate for moral or ethical judgement chosen by someone who is not capable of making such judgements themselves. It is like being forced to accept the choice of interior designer made by a blind person.

If I am blind, I make my own choice, but should not expect to impose that choice upon others.

p.s. Stan, you TOTALLY miss the point, but then again you sound like a Socialist, so that is, sadly., a gibbon.

* I pooh-pooh their pooh-pooh.

Bodderick said...

After waking up from a monumental night of drug taking and general debauchery, you Sir have set me up for a good day. I am going to forget the fact that there are illiberal fucktards out there, and I am going to do some more of the same today. Life is about having as much fun as possible. Life is an enormous party, and its your birthday every day.

Ivor Bigot said...

I've often fallen into the trap of thinking: "My neighbors have eight kids and I am paying for all of it, he needs castrating."

Whereas of course, the true libertarian viewpoint is: "fill 'er up til kingdom come, you ADHD-raddled cretin, but you're paying for it, sunshine."

Silly me.

The Englishman said...

Ah yes, the old "harm no others" line which is a favourite of the libertarian. The problem is that there are very few types of behaviour not already allowed in western societies that would not harm others, albeit indirectly. Taking hard drugs would harm others through health care costs, the loss to society caused by addiction, the rise in crime that will accompany mass addiction and so on. And with the old "theft" (tax) line used here and by libertarians in general, the response is simple: more people have agreed to it than against it. It's called society. Society is bigger and more important than you. Stop being so damn selfish.
http://theantipolitician.wordpress.com

Stan said...

Anon said: "No, Stan, personal liberty does not permit someone to randomly fire their shotgun into a playground because they feel like it. It does not permit you to harm anyone else or to damage someone else's property (including public property like streets and communal areas)."

I never mentioned shotguns, but presumably "personal liberty" will permit people to tote their shotguns around wherever they like? In which case, how are you going to stop them shooting into a playground? CCTV? Millions more coppers? Stasiland like snoopers on every street corner?

Mark M said: "The libertarian ideal doesn't necessarily mean you can do all of what you listed because the one thing is you aren't allowed to restrict another's freedom and liberty."

Ah - so it's not just about "not doing harm" - it's about restricting another's freedom and liberty. And who makes that judgement? In what way is that not imposing a morality on someone else? And - again, how are you going to stop them doing what they want?

Mark M said: "But this happens now, even though they are all outlawed."

Exactly! How will making fewer things an offence stop people doing them?

Westerlyman said: "So let a person drive at 100 miles and hour if they want but first make sure that they know that if they harm anyone they will suffer dire punishments like go to prison forever and have all their possessions sold to give compensation to the victims."

And how are you going to catch them, Westerlyman? There are already severe penalties out there for a myriad of things, but people still do them in ever increasing numbers. Why will they stop just because we have a libertarian government? If someone drives at 100 mph and kills someone you still have to find out who it was, gather the evidence and prosecute them - and there is no guarantee that you would succeed any more than they do now. Even if you find the car, suppose the car is unlicenced, unregistered and uninsured? You don't have any more of a clue than this current mob that calls themselves "government"!

Stan said...

... cont

For what it is worth, I am not a "totalitarian" or "authoritarian" - I am a conservative, liberal, socialist pragmatist. The issue which you guys are either failing to understand or choosing to avoid is how do you stop more and more people doing bad things?

It's no good saying "the rule of law" because we have that now (nominally) and people still do bad things in ever increasing numbers. The reason why is that they have no fear of being caught and/or properly punished if they are. Those "bad things" do not have to be significant crimes - just things that make life unpleasant for other people - such as walking past a line of cars parked in the street and smashing their rear windows. In your world you will have the same problems that this government has with dealing with that sort of thing - you will have to catch them, prosecute them and punish them - and that hardly ever happens for these sorts of crimes. The only your government could do to control that is the same as this government - more CCTV; more snooping; more databases; more surveillance; more checking; more monitoring - and so on. And with each of these will come new laws to allow you to do that.

If you do not do these things then the country will descend into total anarchy.

Finally - for Jack of Blades who said: "Here's a little J S Mill 'harm principle' for you:"

I'm familiar with JS Mill - ta very much. I have no idea why you think that his should be the definitive opinion - especially considering the era he lived in and the context in which he wrote.

Jack of Blades also said: "I'm not fully convinced by classical liberalism, but that's a far more accurate and fair picture than the one you luridly paint of people (as was said earlier) being allowed to fire shotguns into playgrounds because they feel like it. Ass."

I never mentioned shotguns. I mentioned vomit and urine - somebody else mentioned shotguns. Now tell me - how is the LPUK (or whatever libertarian movement you believe in) going to stop people pissing over your front doorstep while you sleep at night? Your inablity to either get the facts right about what I said or to answer the question and your need to revert to insults tells me all I need to know about your appreciation of JS Mill.

So come on - now you and the other chap have brought up the question of shotguns - how are you going to stop people firing them into playgrounds? Then maybe you can answer the other questions?

I won't hold my breath.

Tomrat said...

DK,

Agree with you on much of what you've written here, but must, as I've dont previously, take you to task on one point you continually mistakenly quote:

"I only have one moral absolute—that forcing* everyone to comply with my personal morals is wrong. Which is why I am a libertarian."

As I've said before this is not libertarianism, this is libertinism; to be unrestrained by morality of any form other than your own self-imposed one. You should know better than most that libertarianism (and minarchism in particular) does not require certain encroachments on liberty for the benefit of all to have life, liberty and keep the fruits fo their labour.

In stark contrast to what we have now government would exist to protect individual liberty by imposiing minimal rules based on protecting infringements on others right to those freedoms. As infringements are a fact of life there needs to be consequences to them - hence liberties can be deprived when found guilty under due process by third party arbitration (i.e. police and judicial systems).

Also even if you dont like the laws on drug usage they are still the law; our contempt of it is one thing but flaunting it only exacerbates the injustice.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Tomrat,

"As I've said before this is not libertarianism, this is libertinism; to be unrestrained by morality of any form other than your own self-imposed one."

No, it isn't.

If my actions impinge on someone else's life, liberty or property without any comeback on me then I am, to an extent, forcing others to comply with my morals.

If I am forced to comply with someone else's moral code—and if I am to be restrained "by morality of any form other than your own self-imposed one" then this must be the case—then it is not a libertarian society, is it?

You, for instance, are a Christian: I am not. Why would you impose your morality on me?

DK

Anonymous said...

Non-scientific studies show that since the beginning of time 18.34326219% of people, evenly distributed across all countries, are cunts.

This is why Libertarianismschismfrism will never work.

Roger Thornhill said...

@ The Englishman : "Taking hard drugs would harm others through health care costs, the loss to society caused by addiction,"

You presume that people are compelled to pay healthcare costs of others. Libertarians want to tackle this for it "justifies" all manner of Socialist bootstrapping such as your post. As to the "loss to society", you are basically saying people are serfs who "owe" "society" or in some way must contribute even if they take nothing from it? You get round the latter by forcing everyone to "get" something (Healthcare, education, housing, "services") and so can turn around and demand your pound of flesh.

This is one dimension of Socialism I detest - the thought within that "the people" are not sovereign at all but chattel of The State. It is dressed up in pretty words and many well-meaning useful idiots push variants that use different roads to the same prison.

@Stan "liberal, socialist"

Non-sequitur

Socialism is collectivist and anti Liberal.

davidncl said...

@the englishman All quotes are from know nothing twat in the following

You say, stupidly, "Taking hard drugs would harm others through health care costs",

1) How? I'm not paying your health care costs in anything resembling a free society.

2) In a free market, very few drugs that people who choose to take have terrible health consequences. Since competition would ensure that the safest, cleanest, most effective drugs where selected for.

3) Most of the personal harm associated with drugs is caused by illegality (for example, they're very expensive so people are driven (not forced) to steal or prostitute themselves. Likewise, serious dealers tote guns, because of fear of cops toting same).

More moronic comment:

"the loss to society caused by addiction",

What loss? Methamphetamine makes people more effective - the US armed forces use it, the 3rd Reich ran on it (argument dodgy here, wave hands) LSD got ya DNA (check it out baby!) and Mary jane makes musicians creative, the blues and jazz ..., Coleridge...

"the rise in crime that will accompany mass addiction and so on".

Are you really such a complete utter total tool?

For one thing the empirical evidence from, say, Portugal, is against you. For another, once again heroin is only expensive BECAUSE it is being suppressed by the state. With guns. At twenty pence a deal I have no need to whore myself or steal.

"Stop being so damn selfish."

You can't make this stuff up, can you ;)

By the way, have you noticed just how effective decades of Prohibition have been? Like, look outside?

Jonathan Miller said...

Stan, I have a great deal of difficulty reconciling the ideas you claim to support, with the ridiculous hyperbole in your initial post.
You said that you wanted to stop people doing bad things. The trouble is, that you seem to want to apply your own ideas of what is a 'bad thing', and make sure other people are punished for doing it. This does not seem very liberal.

You asked how we stop people firing into playgrounds. This is not a terribly common occurrence, which suggests that most normal people have no desire to do it.
I would suggest that we do not try to stop people firing into playgrounds. There is simply no need.
However, we should take severe action against people who do fire into playgrounds, assuming of course that the firing causes harm to other people.
If we take action to prevent all the 'bad things' that might possibly occur, then we end up in a situation where playgrounds are enclosed by security gates, and everyone who wants to approach a child needs a chit signed by the government...
Perhaps you are not so far from this "current mob" after all.

Stan said...

@Jonathan Miller

"You said that you wanted to stop people doing bad things. The trouble is, that you seem to want to apply your own ideas of what is a 'bad thing', and make sure other people are punished for doing it. This does not seem very liberal."

No - I ASKED how libertarianism would stop people doing bad things and I still have not had an answer. As for what constitutes a bad thing this is a crucial point because DK insists he does not want to impose his morality on others, but defining what is wrong or right is a fundamental part of society and requires the imposition of morality (even if it is no morality).

"You asked how we stop people firing into playgrounds."

I never mentioned people firing into playgrounds - why do you "libertarians" insist on putting words into my mouth? I mentioned a number of fairly minor, but nevertheless unpleasant things that currently occur on a regular basis up and down our country and add up to make our nation a more unpleasant place to live and I asked how a libertarian government would deal with these things any different to how our current government deals with them.

"I would suggest that we do not try to stop people firing into playgrounds. There is simply no need."

A fairly recent incident in Liverpool suggests there are some people who do do those things - or close to them - and therefore there is a need to stop it - the question is how do you go about stopping it and what happens if you don't bother?

"However, we should take severe action against people who do fire into playgrounds, assuming of course that the firing causes harm to other people."

What sort of severe action? What would you different to this government over the prosecution of Rhys Jones killer for example? How would you catch him? How would you go about catching all the other offenders who do bad things? What would you do to prevent them wanting to do these things in the first place?

cont .....

Stan said...

.... cont

@ Jonathan Miller

"If we take action to prevent all the 'bad things' that might possibly occur, then we end up in a situation where playgrounds are enclosed by security gates, and everyone who wants to approach a child needs a chit signed by the government..."

Why? Fifty years ago we didn't have anything like the level of crime and disorder we have today, but we didn't have CCTV, DNA databases, ID cards, or as many police/pcso/authorities with the power they have today - but somehow we didn't have half as many people do anything like as many bad things. What changed? What happened so that it became necessary to have CCTV and police officers assigned to schools?

I don't believe that "libertarians" have the answer to these questions - in fact, I know they do not. Their response to the meteoric rise in social disorder that would occur should they ever implement their programme would be exactly the same as this government - to watch, check, monitor, track and record our every movement and action. Either that or submit to the total anarchy that would consume this island - and given that I'm presuming that they'd stil permit people to have the vote then they'd have no choice if they wanted a second term (or even to complete the first term without a revolution). Society has to have order - without that there can be no society and without society there can be no nation - just a very basic tribalism and the tyranny of the mob.

I don't expect you to answer the questions I actually ask (as opposed to the ones you like to think I asked) because I know you do not have the answers. I don't expect you to change your minds about these ridiculous beliefs you espouse - and I know I'm wasting my time with people like yourself who have convinced themselves of the logic of their argument, but I know there are people who will read this without commenting and will understand what I am saying and will agree.

As I have said many many times - I know libertarianism is NOT libertinism, but how do you prevent libertarianism from descending into libertinism? I have a proven answer which I know works (because Britain was once much more libertarian than it is today, but far less libertine and hedonistic than it is today) and I know that you do not.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Stan,

I am seriously concerned at your base-level ignorance and lack of understanding of libertarianism. Seriously, I am.

"Why? Fifty years ago we didn't have anything like the level of crime and disorder we have today, but we didn't have CCTV, DNA databases, ID cards, or as many police/pcso/authorities with the power they have today - but somehow we didn't have half as many people do anything like as many bad things. What changed?"

The Welfare State. Quite apart from paying people to sit around and do fuck all, the Welfare State changed people's attitude to property.

I am not going to elaborate here because I have discussed it, at length, on this blog.

However, the summation is that the Welfare State (and accompanying political pressures from all parties) fundamentally changed society's social mores—giving birth to bastards is no longer frowned on, living off charity is considered entirely acceptable, etc. (although, in fact, most people do not view benefits as being charity, "'cos they're my rights, innit". Nevertheless, it is charity.)

"I don't believe that "libertarians" have the answer to these questions - in fact, I know they do not."

You really are an arrogant fucking wanker, aren't you?

Look, you stupid prick, libertarianism allows people to live as they like. Do you understand this concept?

That means that conservatives like you can tut-tut at single mothers if you think that is going to help the situation. Indeed, it allows societies to frown on just about anything they like.

As long as you do not initiate force against anyone, you can do what the fuck you like. And that includes not serving evil charity cases in your shop, if you like.

Or, alternatively, you can form a voluntary collective to help the homeless in your area, if that is what you want to do.

But it requires you to take the action, instead of delegating your responsibilities to the state. Do you understand that? You have to take responsibility for your views.

"I have a proven answer which I know works (because Britain was once much more libertarian than it is today, but far less libertine and hedonistic than it is today) and I know that you do not."

Perhaps you would care to enlighten us?

Oh, wait, you have totally undermined your entire fucking argument. You state that "Britain was once much more libertarian than it is today" and then state that it was "far less libertine and hedonistic than it is today"—and then you say that libertarians don't have the answer.

Really? We don't? But... but... in the past, Britain was "less libertine and hedonistic" but "once much more libertarian". So, society can be ordered but still libertarian, Stan? Bloody hell: how is that managed?

Oh, wait... Libertarianism, combined with a certain morality, is the answer. Good lord: who'd have thunk it?

For fuck's sake, I could elaborate all day on this—and maybe I'll write a post on it—but you need to fucking think again, Stan.

More laws have not made society a better, more ordered place. As such, libertarianism is not the sole answer—but authoritarianism is very far from being any kind of solution.

DK

Jonathan Miller said...

...Stan, go back and read your first '...cont' comment.
You wrote:
"So come on - now you and the other chap have brought up the question of shotguns - how are you going to stop people firing them into playgrounds? Then maybe you can answer the other questions?"

So, I accept you did not initiate the guns idea, but you did mention it, and you specifically asked what should be done about it.

Personally, I think nothing needs to be done. The fact that this situation occurs so infrequently supports my position.
My method of preventing this type of incident would be to empower the populace by allowing them to bear arms. That would mean that anyone who opened fire on a playground (sorry to go back to this) would be liable to be shot dead by bystanders or teachers. I suspect you know this argument already so I won't go on.

The solution to the 'bad things' that you have mentioned is probably to reduce the number of 'bad things' that have sanctions applied against them. I am not convinced that crime is actually much higher than it was in the golden age, and I certainly do not think it is necessary to have CCTV or police in schools.

I don't think Rhys Jones' murder is a good example of why society should crack down on 'bad things'. A boy was murdered, and the police needed the community to come forward as witnesses. Until that happened, nothing could be done by the authorities, despite them knowing who dunnit, having CCTV evidence etc. This means that society needs to be in support of the state's list of 'bad things' if there is any hope of enforcing that list.

We live in a society that is subject to the rule of law. Libertarianism certainly does not exclude the rule of law, rather it depends upon it. The English common law is, to my mind, an excellent example of how society decides its own list of 'bad things' - for example, the Offences Against the Persons Act 1861 was merely a codification of the common law rules that had grown up over centuries, but murder and assault are still common law offences. The vast majority of people consider those provisions that are still in force to be 'bad things' (excepting perhaps distrubing a clergyman at his sermon!). Contrast this with the situation at present where the population in general does not support 'stop and search', theft by finding, or the forcible entry into ones home to remove an advert for the London olympics.

I consider that in general the state should not intervene to prevent the commission of 'bad things', rather it should be clear that one is responsible for one's actions, and will be punished, by imprisonment or financial penalty for transgressions. We should also encourage the public to intervene when 'bad things' are being, or about to be perpetrated - this is (voluntary) collectivism, and would, in my mind, help reduce the incidence of bad things far more than any number of statutes. This is different from mob rule because the list of 'bad things' has been settled by consent.

Lastly, I consider that libertarianism is flawed - but no more than any political system. I believe the quote that started this article does indeed represent the 'correct' philosophy. After that we can argue about the details, but we should always have that principle in mind - you can't be a little bit fascist.