“The riots were caused by two enemies: left libertarianism, which destroyed social and family ties, and right libertarianism, which squeezed most workers out of prosperity”, Phillip Blond, political thinker and Anglican theologian, advisor to Prime Minister David Cameron, explains after the protests that left a 26 year old Englishman dead. According to Blond, “the protests have nothing to do with politics. They are organized gangs of thieves who grew up in the mentality that every desire is a right, the government is the only thing that can guarantee well-being, and multiculturalism is a dogma”.
1. wildfire wrote:
I agree with the thrust of this article. I was in London for one of my periodic stays when Tony Blair was elected. When his government was installed, one of his ministers was photographed taking the oath to the Queen with his fingers literally crossed behind his back. Blair had some in his Labor Party that wanted to re-nationalize Britain and return it to the dreary socialism of post-war labor. Blair avoided this, but inaugurated a new multi-culti, relativist left, “Cool Britannia,” that ultimately combined the worst of Thatcherite consumerism with moral disintegration.
I have often thought about which of the great dystopian novels of the twentieth century was most prophetic. I have tended to think Huxley’s Brave New World was closest, but lately I have come to think that each of them got part of it right and the truth is unfolding as a combination of their insights.
The inimitable Mark Steyn has just published a book that deals in part with the problems manifest in England this week. It is possible to interpolate into his analysis a correlation between his evidence and some of the themes from the earlier novels.
Brave New World:
A man of 21 with learning disabilities has been granted taxpayers’ money to fly to Amsterdam and have sex with a prostitute.
Hey, why not? “He’s planning to do more than just have his end away,” explained his social worker. “Refusing to offer him this service would be a violation of his human rights.”
While the British Treasury is busy writing checks to Amsterdam prostitutes, one-fifth of children are raised in homes in which no adult works — in which the weekday ritual of rising, dressing, and leaving for gainful employment is entirely unknown. One tenth of the adult population has done not a day’s work since Tony Blair took office on May 1, 1997.
Yet a police force all but entirely useless when it comes to preventing crime or maintaining public order has time to police everything else. When Sam Brown observed en passant to a mounted policeman on Cornmarket Street in Oxford, “Do you know your horse is gay?”, he was surrounded within minutes by six officers and a fleet of patrol cars, handcuffed, tossed in the slammer overnight, and fined 80 pounds. Mr. Brown’s “homophobic comments,” explained a spokesmoron for Thames Valley Police, were “not only offensive to the policeman and his horse [wildfire’s emphasis], but any members of the general public in the area.” The zealous crackdown on Sam Brown’s hippohomophobia has not been replicated in the present disturbances.
A Clockwork Orange:
Want has been all but abolished. Today, fewer and fewer Britons want to work, want to marry, want to raise children, want to lead a life of any purpose or dignity. The United Kingdom has the highest drug use in Europe, the highest incidence of sexually transmitted disease, the highest number of single mothers, the highest abortion rate.
Steyn’s succinct summary:
In Britain, everything is policed except crime.
And Britain is merely the canary in the coal mine for other western societies. One fears that not even the great imaginations of Orwell, Huxley, Burgess, et al. captured the total picture of the dystopia into which we are descending.
August 13, 12:46 pm | [comment link]
2. TACit wrote:
Very well expressed, wildfire. I had just come across the Mark Steyn excerpt you use, and it caused me to make just now a long-ish comment to the William Oddie post. Your observations from the Blair era are sobering. And hasn’t the USA also descended into a similar combination of the worst of Clintonian and Bush-era consumerism (including post-9/11) and moral disintegration?
August 13, 6:29 pm | [comment link]
The UK’s outworking of its misguided policies looks somewhat different sociologically because way back in its history the English people were Catholic, whereas in the US that has never been the case on a national scale so the outworkings of bleeding-heart liberalism in the government impact the religious faiths present somewhat differently.
3. Bill+ wrote:
This is the logical dead end of the Nanny State. When William Beveridge laid out his blueprint for the British welfare regime in 1942, his goal was the “abolition of want” to be accomplished by “co-operation between the State and the individual.” In attempting to insulate the citizenry from life’s vicissitudes, Sir William succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. As I write in my book: “Want has been all but abolished. Today, fewer and fewer Britons want to work, want to marry, want to raise children, want to lead a life of any purpose or dignity.” The United Kingdom has the highest drug use in Europe, the highest incidence of sexually transmitted disease, the highest number of single mothers, the highest abortion rate. Marriage is all but defunct, except for William and Kate, fellow toffs, upscale gays, and Muslims. From page 204:
“For Americans, the quickest way to understand modern Britain is to look at what LBJ’s Great Society did to the black family and imagine it applied to the general population”.
August 13, 7:41 pm | [comment link]
4. TACit wrote:
Why, yes, Bill+ - your last quote above is exactly the sentence of Steyn’s around which I wrote my long-ish comment on the Oddie post. It’s very good to find out that others agree!
August 13, 7:45 pm | [comment link]
5. Br. Michael wrote:
As someone said: The liberals want to regulate everything except sex and drugs.
August 13, 8:24 pm | [comment link]
6. robroy wrote:
The author, in a characteristic feckless Anglican manner, argues that the problem is two sides of the same coin.
Left libertalianism? Hardly. It is not libertarianism but liberalism. Libertarians do argue for getting the government out of defining family models: homosexual marriage, polygamy, etc. But if you set up a dysfunctional family unit, liberals but not libertarians will not have the government have you profit by it. If you reward out of wedlock children with increasing checks from the nanny government, you get more out of wedlock children.
And right libertarianism “locked” those participating in the riots out of prosperity? Hardly. Younger generations that have subsisted off the government skill with their number of tattoos, sexual partners, and illegitimate children inversely proportional to the number of marketable skills (the former rather high and the later basically nil). Libertarianism gets the government out of the way in order to reward hard work rather than punish it. Liberalism rewards indolence.
The author uses the word “serf” suggesting he has read Hayek. The author wants a “very strong police response”. Hayek wrote in a time where Western liberalism (when liberalism equaled rationalism and was a good thing) had bifurcated into one side that had chosen fascism and the “good guys” hadn’t. The good guys defeated the Nazis, but Hayek was right to say that the “bad guys” weren’t really made of different stock.
We are entering a similar era where the road forks. But in contrast to the pre-WWII, the liberals have done a fantastic job of destroying the institutions and sapping the national strength (self loathing) that can resist the ineluctable turn to fascism.
August 14, 7:29 am | [comment link]
8. robroy wrote:
Sorry, but one more post. If the author wants to find out what libertarianism is about, he may head to reason.com and reason.tv.
Disclaimer: I am not a libertarian. Small government is incongruous to libertarian amoralism. As moral standards have degenerated in this country, the legal code has tried to replace it with increasing numbers - now millions of pages - of legalism. As John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
In particular, there is an interesting survey of libertarian thinkers on how to solve the unemployment problem. In particular, we have this one pithy response:
August 14, 7:46 am | [comment link]
“Jobs” are deals between workers and employers, and so “creating” them out of unwilling parties is impossible. The state, though, can outlaw deals, and has. So: eliminate the minimum wage for people younger than 25. The resulting boom in jobs for young people will amaze. Maybe it will inspire voters to get the state out of the job-outlawing business. Probably not, so sure are we that the state “protects” by stopping deals between willing parties.
9. John Wilkins wrote:
Robroy, the problem with abolishing minimum wage, of course, is that it would also permit serfdom, as workers would compete against each other to the bottom. the pithy statement that “jobs are deals between workers and employers” neatly ignores the fact that there is an implicit trust between the two that the government has an interested in fostering.
Why not just bring back child labor and slavery?
August 14, 12:50 pm | [comment link]
10. John Wilkins wrote:
I would also add, that libertarianism ensures that government only works for the highest bidder.
August 14, 12:52 pm | [comment link]
11. robroy wrote:
Congratulations, John. You have made some whoppers but the inflammatory non sequitur “Why not bring back bring backs child labor and slavery?” tops them all.
“Libertarianism ensures that government only works for the highest bidder.” This is completely illogical. Big government is non-transparent, special interest government. The inner rooming dealings that eventually led to Obamacare (remember the closed door of Democrat negotiations and no Republicans that went on for days?) resulted in billions of dollars being funneled in by special interest groups. The same goes for Dodd-Franks monstrosity.
Liberals would much rather have African youths with a 50% unemployment rate in the Washington D.C. than touch the job killing minimum wage. There is no implicit or explicit trust between these youths and their employers because they have none. (Note that Washington D.C. is one of the few places in the U.S. spared most of the ravages of the great recession. Big government has been very good to D.C.) The youths need an explicit trust in the form of a job contract - that’s what the government should be fostering.
August 14, 8:01 pm | [comment link]