Friday, July 25, 2008

A swift thought

I do apologise for the continued silence; I am incredibly busy with work at present—oh, the deadlines, the deadlines! And as my design colleague is away (again) for another two weeks, I am unlikely to see much let up until the middle of August; however, I shall try to write more at the weekend (in between working) as I have a whole load of stories stacked in my Dock.

However, just to keep you all entertained whilst I create pretty things, here is something that I have been mulling for a while. NuLabour have been prolific (shitty) law-makers, averaging one a day and creating over 3,000 new offences or somesuch.

The question is, why do we need so many laws? Surely all that we need are some competent judges and one, single law; and that law is as follows:
No person shall initiate force or fraud against another person's life, liberty or property.

This should encompass pretty much everything that we should be punishing for, to borrow from the philosophy of liberty...
At times, some people make use of force or fraud to take from others without voluntary consent.
  • The initiation of force or fraud to take life is murder.

  • The initiation of force or fraud to take liberty is slavery.

  • The initiation of force or fraud to take property is theft.

In fact, fraud is itself a form of theft, since you are deliberately deceiving someone as to the nature of what they are buying. Through its simplicity, this single law seems to catch any criminal behaviour that I can think of.

Further, restricting criminal law to this one principle allows no scope for the state to attempt to control its citizens' drinking or smoking or whatever, for to do so would be to break that law.

And a government much be bound by the law of the land (except when they exempt themselves, of course) or else we are living in a dictatorship.

And we should really start to define what this libertarian ideal actually means for as Patrick Vessey points out over at the LPUK blog, having corrupted and debased the word "liberal", certain mainstream parties are now attempting to do the same with "libertarian".
'Libertarian paternalism' is a phrase that you will be hearing a lot more of in the coming months and years. Both the Conservative leader, David Cameron, and the US Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama, have expressed interest in what is being dubbed 'the new third way'. You might also recall the phrase being used by Julian Le Grand, the chairman of Health England, when he proposed earlier this year that smokers should have to purchase a licence in order to be allowed to indulge their habit.

As regular readers might recall, I am not a fan of that fucking cuntstick Le Grand, and I really didn't hold back on that proposition...
Recently popularised by Sunstein and Thaler's Nudge, this political philosophy argues that totally free markets can lead to disaster because human individuals are not actually very good decision-makers, but also that rigidly controlled markets (with lots of rules, regulations, and state intervention) are similarly not the most effective. Their thesis is that a government should use its powers to 'nudge' people to make better decisions in their lives, without explicitly forcing them to. How the government decides what those 'better decisions' might be, is another question altogether...

If you search the web, you will find numerous articles about 'libertarian paternalism', most of which are fairly complementary. However, a moment's pause for thought should persuade you that the term is actually a contradiction in terms, and, for libertarians everywhere, a fresh threat to the true meaning of the word 'libertarian'.
... published a review of Nudge back in May, which deals with some of the issues raised in an eloquent manner, and I would urge you to read it, so that you might get a better feel for the onslaught against genuine libertarian values that is to come.

Quite so. Anyway, your humble Devil will be back soon with something a little more substantial. And sweary...

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