Thursday, August 07, 2008

Conservatives: as libertarian as an unlibertarian thing...

Guido makes a valid—if entirely obvious—point.
Gove wants to take away our Nuts, IDS and Ed Vaizey think dads shouldn't be allowed to take their 14 year-old sons to see the latest Batman movie. It is particularly galling that Gove and Vaizey have previously projected themselves as on the libertarian side of the libertarian / authoritarian divide. Libertarian paternalism, government "nudging", is increasingly beginning to seem like a modernised version of old fashioned authoritarian conservativism. Vaizey explicitly encourages local councils to exercise their statutory powers to prevent teenage boys seeing Batman. That is not a nudge, that is a kick in the teeth for parental responsibility, it is not the business of the state to determine for parents what is their cultural norm.

Well, d'uh. The Tories are not libertarian, have never been libertarian and any member of the Tory Party who claims to be a libertarian—and this applies doubly to those Tories in Parliament, i.e. the leaders of the Tory Party who make the policy—is either deluded or lying.
Libertarians care about family values, families are the fundamental unit of society, the welfare state has done more damage to families than anything else.

Well quite. In fact, a few days ago, I argued that the Welfare State is responsible for our "broken society".
When people walk along the street these days, they see a homeless person and think, "why doesn't the state do something about homeless people/the mentally ill/the chiiiiiiiiiiilllldren?"

What they should be thinking is, "what can I do to help that person?"

The state dehumanises people: it separates them from their fellow human beings.

I am so sick of ignorant people banging on about "the atomisation of society" and how it's all because of "capitalism" and our "materialistic society".

Bollocks. Absolute stinking horseshit. Ravening piss-weasels.

Have we evolved into more materialistic people at a genetic level? We have not. "Materialism" has been around for as long as humans have traded goods: we have always been acquisitive.

It is not capitalism or materialism that has caused our atomised society: it is statism. It is the "the state do something about that" attitude.

The state also rewards the stupid and the lazy—those with no future—for having children who will also have no future, which will lead to yet more problems—as Jackart said in a rather long but excellent "state of the nation" essay recently.
But it's not the monstrous burden of the left's vision of "society" on the hard pressed tax-payer which so offends, but the effects that money has on its recipients. The left will not, cannot accept that it is the welfare state's perverse incentives (most notoriously the massive incentive to have children in order to get a council house) rather than lack of money and opportunity, which are at the root of the hellish, crime ridden estates ruining whole areas of towns. The idea that welfare payments subsidise crime, by leaving young men with nothing else to do, is repugnant. Repugnant, but true. The opposing, rather optimistic idea that people will work even though they could get the same money 'on the social' seems remarkably common on the left. It is common, but false. And it is this false premise, underlying everything the left does which is at the root of the social breakdown at the margins of society.

By making charity the state's function, you see to it that delivery of welfare is expansive, bureaucratic and replete with perverse incentives. Who are the women least likely to be able to bring up a child alone? The young and poor. To whom is a home, independence and an income should they become pregnant promised? The young and poor! Without fathers, with uneducated mothers, and no culture of work beyond the most casual, it is no wonder generations have been brought up with no respect for themselves or the rest of society. Then there are the smack heads whose free methadone keeps them addicted, and the just plain lazy for whom work is popping off to the doctor to get his "bad back" signed off. And inevitable the result is a feral feckless self-spawning underclass of useless people, whose despair and ennui is inflicted on the rest of us.

Quite. The point is that this state of affairs is not helping our society and, in the end, it is not helping those whom we are ostensibly attempting to help. It is merely leading to generation after generation of people whose entire lives will be spent rotting in these ghettos of the poor. Or, as I expressed it recently...
... and in places like Dewsbury and Glasgow East we hand over billions of pounds of aid, which ensures that the feckless and downright evil can continue to oppress, terrorise and exploit the productive, whilst popping out thousands of kids whom they are unable to support and who will live lives with no more meaning than their parents'.

As Wat says, it is a sick system—though motivated by kindly ideals—and helps to condemn millions to lives of misery and both financial and intellectual poverty.

Let's put a fucking stop to it. I am willing to take suggestions as to how we manage the transition, but this insanity has to stop and stop soon.

UPDATE: the Nameless One assesses the Tories and gets it spot on.
Things will stay, in the now very likely Tory government, pretty much the same.

Which is why I am the member of a party who, if they can truly get off the ground, actually offer a substantial departure to the status quo. And I know that those who have fallen under the spell of Cameron and neutered Tory party will ultimately end up disappointed. There is nothing radical on the horizon; just a more photogenic Prime Minister and minor tinkering with a system that is clearly, and obviously, corrupt, fucked and rotten to the core.



Anonymous said...

I further hope that the Conservatives will realise that many of their conservative voters want their MPs to make a moral choice about what is good for a family-based society, rather than hiding behind a libertarian ideology of "laissez-faire - n'importe quoi".

Devil's Kitchen said...

"... many of their conservative voters want their MPs to make a moral choice about what is good for a family-based society..."

Oh, I am sure that the Conservatives will. Being a libertarian myself, I tend to get very, very angry when politicians (a group who are not, in any case, a paradigm for "moral" behaviour) try to impose their personal morals on me: your morals are not mine and don't you dare try to legislate to make me follow yours.


Anonymous said...

"your morals are not mine"

This is likely, for a man who frequently signs off as "your humble Devil" (!)

Fair point - most MPs are incredibly slimy and do not hold themselves to the standards that they would wish to foist upon the public.

It is generally fair to say that there exists substantal overlap between the positions of the Conservative party and the "libertarian" view. That said, there are many profound differences and I agree that it is nonsensical for the Conservatives to present themselves as a libertarian group.

Trying to legislate against the Devil might well prove difficult... I imagine that he has a large stock of lawyers in his undergroud chambers?

Old Holborn said...

Some complete cunt on the Guido thread has just boiled my piss by stating that Boris was elected on a Libertarian agenda.

I could puke.

Old Holborn said...

Actually, you have to argue that the Welfare State is an evolving beast. What began life as a safety net to stop people starving to death is rapidly becoming a system of complete and utter control.

What is the eventual state? What road is it headed down?

A total Soviet State where all your income comes DIRECTLY from those in power. Your very existence is totally dependent on the "benevolence" of politicians using YOUR money to enslave you.

Anonymous said...

Argues the case for the Welfare State destroying British society in areas of housing, education, children, healthcare, etc. Good read and has a lot of history on how it has all evolved.

Jules Wright said...


libertarianism issues apart, are you saying that the editors of tit-mags like Zoo and Nuts (aimed squarely at the wank-a-thon late teen/early 20s male market) should bear no thought & responsibility for their sex-obsessed output?

unless i totally misread Gove's comments, he doesn't appear to be out to ban - he has simply aired the idea that the editors of these sorts of titles should put a little bit more thought into their output. when we have high teenage pregnancies and rising teen STD infection rates, this isn't an unreasonable observation to make about the need to alter youth attitudes to sex.

as to 'The Dark Knight', the 12A rating by the BBFC is bizarre. christ-on-a-bike it's a truly great film and i loved it - it's disturbing, violent and brilliant - but should have been given a 15 certificate. that the BBFC were likely, quietly pressured to maximise the audience is another matter. 'Casino Royale' was another mystifying decision they made.

i totally agree with you that we should be strengthening and encouraging the seemingly lost art of parental responsibility (and not by legislation). but it's a two-way street: to expect decency and responsibility in the home is also to expect decency, consistency and responsibility in public too.

Anonymous said...

A couple of years ago, I spoke to a hospital cleaner who lived on a truly vile Glaswegian housing scheme. You've never meet anyone who resents the welfare state more than this woman. She actually believed that there was something wrong with taking welfare when you were able to work and objected strongly to being taxed through the nose in order to fund the Buckfast and Temazepam habits of her neighbours.

More recently, I taught a first year student who had been born, brought up and educated in a pit of a housing scheme in Glasgow East. He was one of the best students I had last year - possibly the best - and was as well read, as informed, as literate and as articulate as the best public school graduates. This, incidentally, was at a Russell Group university that habitually has seven applicants for every available place. My student had had to fight many battles to get his place at university - not least against an education system geared to producing yet more welfare slaves and against fellow pupils who viewed him as a traitor and a target because he didn't want a life of drugs, drink and dependency.

As much as we, rightly, rage against what these Labour-voting welfare ghettos are doing to us, to our salaries, to our society, let us, as libertarians, not forget what these ghettos are inflicting on those inhabitants who are hard-working and the responsible, those who want a life of contributing to society and not of taking from it, those who take the opportunities available instead of crawling inside a Buckfast bottle or a heroin syringe. We are subsidising an army of thugs and criminals and we are subsidising the victimisation of those unfortunate enough to live in close proximity to these thugs and criminals - and we are doing this out of some misplaced socialist-inspired sense of responsibility for people who are not only too lazy to take the available opportunities but who are envious and hateful towards those who do.

Devil's Kitchen said...


"libertarianism issues apart, are you saying that the editors of tit-mags like Zoo and Nuts (aimed squarely at the wank-a-thon late teen/early 20s male market) should bear no thought & responsibility for their sex-obsessed output?"

That is exactly what I am saying. If people want to buy that shit, then who are we to stop them?

And it is not just the "lads' mags", as Mr Eugenides points out.

"Which leads us nicely into...

"The contrast with the work done by women's magazines, and their publishers, to address their readers in a mature and responsible fashion, is striking."

This is where it all starts to go wrong for Mikey. By way of illustration, let us turn to this month's Cosmo, which among its other delights ("the Cosmosutra", "Boyfriend Wars - who is the hottest boyfriend?") offers women "Blow Job Brownie Points":

"The ultimate blow job features five key elements: warmth, wetness, eagerness, repetition and at least one surprise manoeuvre. Let Cosmo show you how to perfect this winning combo and your mouth will be his favourite place on the planet..."

Thank God for Cosmo."

However, as I often point out, just because the women's magazines also push out an unremitting diet of sex too does not excuse the lads' mags: two wrongs don't make a right.

However, I don't view sex as being wrong because I am not a stuck-up prude. I view sex as being a lot of fun, often relaxing and generally rather pleasurable. And, of course, in a relationship, its intimacy is fantastic.

The whole issue of contraception -- for the avoidance of both pregnancy and disease -- is one that should be pushed, sure. But you can buy condoms in shops, pub toilets, etc. They aren't difficult to get hold of.

And, as I constantly point out, there are far more issues surrounding teenage pregnancy than simply having sex.

As for the film stuff, as Dizzy points out, it should be up to the parents: that, you see, is actually giving the parents the responsibility, not the damn state.


Devil's Kitchen said...


"... let us, as libertarians, not forget what these ghettos are inflicting on those inhabitants who are hard-working and the responsible, those who want a life of contributing to society and not of taking from it, those who take the opportunities available instead of crawling inside a Buckfast bottle or a heroin syringe..."

That is precisely what I meant when I wrote "the feckless and downright evil can continue to oppress, terrorise and exploit the productive"...

One only has to read a few education blogs to realise how those who wish to better themselves are picked on and fucked over by the feckless (indeed, it happened to me when I was at a state primary school).

It makes me so fucking ANGRY that my cardiologist recommends that I don't think about it too much.


Anonymous said...

I don't suppose the the woman who got pushed onto the railway track earlier this week has any inkling that it could be her and her like who have brought into being the disgusting behaviour of her assailants.

It seems to me that the other side of the mindless exercise of power typified by 'Thou shall not smoke on the platform' is mindless yobbism.

The 'woman on the track' and her ilk have influenced the State to take responsibility for nearly all aspects of our lives through on the one hand the distribution of largess via welfare handouts, and on the other, removal of choice via mindless authoritarian laws and edicts. Small wonder there is little room left for personal responsibility.

Get off our backs, you .......(insert a DK vitriolic stream of conciousness of choice).

Patrick said...

The poorer people are, or consider themselves to be, the more they will rely on the state for assistance... This keeps state power expanding... therefore expanding the welfare state actually increase state power and the less likely people will want to do away with the state...

Govts want these ghettos and accept no responsibility for their eventual decline… Hence more state power is provided in the form of ASBO's... A clear deflection tactic that removes state culpability and installs draconian legislation, which affect us all…

I cannot say it enough… when we allow any individual (MP’s), an enormous amount of power; they want more and more and more…. Financial dependence is an excellent form of control and manipulation… The irony is, they tax us to within an inch of our lives and then make us dependent in the form of a state handout, for which we are made to feel thankful for….

Govt will only grow and grow and grow until such time, they will have bitten off more than they can chew and the whole system will collapse… Indeed when that happens, there will be an awful lot of pain felt by many, but it’s the best chance for freedom to actually reign at last….

Roger Thornhill said...

The Welfare State is systemically dysfunctional IMHO as it separates giver from receiver. The State does not give anybody anything without it having to take from someone in the first place.

As for the incentives, I seriously believe that if we just did not increase benefits or housing allowance for those already on welfare, then many of the problems would reduce to far more manageable levels. No increases would especially mean as a result of having kids or bringing over "dependents". If you are yourself already a dependent of the State, I feel it is not right that you can decide to force more dependants upon the State.

Tomrat said...

Anon 12:02,

You are dead right - living a few districts away from Dewsbury and Beeston (the latter I have previously posted about several times) and working with the kids who come from the thriving underclass in these areas has led me to think that the majority of the problems come from an endless cycle of dependancy, poor education and cheap(ened) money for nothing. Your student that you describe is very much like the brave few who walk through the doors of my church every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday night - they no longer want to be slaves to their circumstance.


In context the actions of those gentleman had nothing to do with "a smoking ban"; whether you agree with it or not the woman was asking that they respect the law - they responded by breaking a higher one. These would be the sort of people who would cave another man's skull in for spilling their pint in a pub...


I have indeed read that book and continue to read the blog attached to it; it is one I urge as many people to read it as possible.


I am willing to take suggestions as to how we manage the transition, but this insanity has to stop and stop soon.

Its good that you are using the phrase "transition"; noone likes paying teen mums, drug-addicts or welfare scroungers but whilst there are people who are actually treating welfare as it should be - a safety net, we should figuring out ways of supporting them and discouraging abuse.

The best way I can see this working (and I've expressed similar views at the LPUK forum and blogs) is to make welfare a non-monetary benefit: you dont have to give people a couple of quid a week so they can buy WKD blue, fags and cannibis for the weekend and continue to work cash-in-hand for food and rentl; you could give them vouchers to a local supermarket, organised by a local council and funded by a local council tax.

You could make the vouchers non-redeemable against booze and fags.

You could transition the safety net from a monetary one to a resource one over time, making it less "profitable" to benefit scroungers who are on longterm unemployment whilst encouraging and supporting entry back into the job market.

I think their is plenty of room for manueveur here and I think the more grass-roots the better; it'll be the move to localism rather than libertarianism that will win out in this area; a good example again is the church I go to and help run a youth group with that conducts home visits to the kids parents and helps with welfare (I would add irrespective of whether the parent comes to church/is a Christian or not, so as not to make you think their are any strings ;-)) funded out of the tithes and donations.

Jules Wright said...

Fair points DK, gracefully made. i think there is a balance to be had - but it's a balance we haven't got.

Anonymous said...

Guido seems somewhat overly miffed by this as if it's a big surprise. IDS has always screamed of "Moral conervatism" as does 90% of the party. Fair enough, i kind of respect Cameron and am almost taken in by him until i glance at the rest of them with their stupid boozed up golf club faces-you know their isn't a hope in hell of them turning libertarian.

Old Holborn said...

You have to laugh.

Today, I popped into town for a few essentials and witnessed a mass brawl of 30 youths, 20 women and a television. Outside Tescos.


Wayne (21) had shacked up with fat Tracey after living in a hostel. fat Tracey chucked Wayne out but he had bought a telly with his dole, so spent the entire day wandering around Braintree with a telly.

Tracey rounded up a few mates as she wanted the telly back. Things came to a head outside Tescos with blood, screaming tattooed women, old scores being settled and a few scrawny sallow faced bare chested chavs getting a beating off other bare chested chavs.

Telly was thrown in the fountain.

All of this happened in front of 30(?) children, who have now learned the new way of the jungle.

Wayne was last seen banging on the door of the hostel demanding to be let back in.

How I laughed.

We live in an open prison.

Anonymous said...

I saw Don't Look Now when I was 12 or 13. Scared the bejesus out of me, but it didn't do me any harm. Ditto Taxi Driver, which just confused me rather than anything else.

Bottom line, if parents think their kids can handle the film, take them to it. If they don't, don't.

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