Friday, July 31, 2009

[liberty] meet the new boss - same as the old boss

In the middle of a British summer [is it different to anyone else's summer?], politics is a bore. We should be concentrating on beaches, travel and good things.

It's a time which does allow for thinking on freedom as well and how best to define and then to ensure it. Xlbrl says here:

I shall tell you what the Libertarian Party is in America. Not libertarianism, mind you; I have no idea exactly what that is, because ten libertarians will have ten ideas of what it means. The party is a collection of good people, wackers, right and left wing, dogs and cats sleeping together.

I see in England even conservative-libertarians conflate or confuse anachy and liberty. It is the lack of liberty (and the demands liberty makes upon individuals) that makes anarchy. The very choas of liberty discovers order through the disipline of consequences.

If we can excuse Xlbrl's great faux pas in referring to England instead of Britain, [which is more than Gordon Brown will do - we need an American to do it for us :)], it's clear we need greater clarity on where we're headed with this liberty thing.

Moggs Tigerpaw says:

"If you just talk about Libertarian ideas, without labels, they are broadly sympathetic. The existing parties don't mind the confusion and probably like it."

Xlbrl goes on:

Hayek: 'The astonishing fact revealed by economics and biology is that order generated without design can far outstrip plans men consciously contrive.'

Liberty is not freedom. Liberty first contrains with rules of conduct; it is then men have far greater opportunity in everything.

LPUK, interestingly, states:

A Key Principle — The Rule of Law

The concept of The Rule of Law is distinct from just being ruled by laws. The Rule of Law encompasses, amongst other things, property rights, due process, equality and transparency. It also includes the notion that there should be as few laws as possible, and that those that do exist should be simple, clear and predictable in their application.

That's stated right at the top, the first key point. Therefore, my post, between a rock and a hard place, is shown to be wide of the mark in its title, if not in its concerns. So Labour, in its mania for surrounding us with over 3000 new laws is actually removing freedom and contributing to lawlessness in society at the same time.

I could never trust a party which obfuscates on what it is trying to achieve. Labour is clear in its mind but hides its true agenda from the people [look at their policy document - not the manifesto which says something altogether different and obfuscates]. When you go to the official manifesto, its prime directive is never mentioned once.

Only when you persist and go into the section on How We Work do you see it in all its infamy - it's about "democratic" socialism, the greatest oxymoron in history.

The Tories, my own lot, have a leader who makes policy on the run to suit the circumstances of the day. This is deeply disappointing because we, the people, deserve a firm, clear commitment to liberty, starting with getting out of the EU while remaining in a loose trade partnership with Europe, the original idea.

In the end, what everyone is looking for, except the politicians, is for the elected reps to show a bit of spine and to carry out their campaign promises. What we are looking for is that our elected reps are just that - elected representatives of us, the people. Not our rulers, not our enslavers - they have zero mandate to inform us of what we should be doing and to send the police in when we don't do it.

In all countries these days, the most fundamental principle of all - representative government - is not even on the table for discussion at governmental level. Perhaps we should stop calling them "government" and call them "the tail which wags the dog".

Cherie says:

The way it stands at the moment the three main parties offer pretty much the same thing in different ways. The electorate have got disengaged which is why there is a low turnout at elections.

They have indeed become disengaged but at the same time angry, if that is possible, resigned to "all politicians being corrupt".

On the other hand, Lord T says:

The people are just not ready for Libertarianism. It’s not that they don’t want it it is just that they are scared of letting go of what they know as they see Libertarianism as Anarchy and are frightened ... I think that the first step is to prioritise the easy wins.

Tell plod to go back to Peelian Principles, and sack every outreach coordinator, special advisor for short people, long people etc. and social worker in there. Then, get every Quango to list what they do on an A4 piece of paper including costs and benefits. If it is not of benefit to the people abolish it and put the people on the dole.

Tell everyone on the dole that payments will stop dead in five years, remove carefully selected hurdles to businesses. And so on…. up to a nice point where we have restored all our freedoms, defined a constitution(or something) and brought control to our society.

Ian Parker-Joseph, the LPUK leader, refers obliquely to the rule of law when he comments about their site:

Moving forward, the blog will be under the watchful eye of an editor and a new set of posting guidelines, with an editorial veto on anything which we consider damaging to LPUK.

Guthrum refers to benefits coming out in the next few weeks.

Somewhere, in all of this, needs to be thrashed out where Freedom [or the right to breathe] meets Law, where the freedom to set up a business and flourish meets being bought out or squeezed out by a monopoly like Walmart, say. It's where the power of the bankers and great monopolies to reorder society meets the freedom to operate economically in the first place.

I fear we can't get anywhere when the facts are laid out, as in this post and people do one of two things - either look away or else read it and refuse to admit what the august personages and the historical record clearly state. What chance is there when people operate like that? The old "let's not worry about facts - I know what I want to believe" principle. The flat denial principle.

I also fear we can't escape laws in order to achieve the balance, to keep the gang of malcontents at bay and to keep power out of their grasping hands. When someone sweeps in with "brand new ideas", sweeping everything away, all the corruption etc., how can the principles in the LPUK rule of law then be protected?

The malcontents play on people's desire for new ideas, new products and so politics has been turned into a product too. There's no Labour but Nu-Labour. We say we won't get fooled again but we do - over and over.

"And the men who spurred us on, sit in judgement of our wrong. Change it had to come - we knew it all along; we were liberated from the fall that's all but the world looks just the same and history ain't changed.

There's nothing in the street looks any different to me and the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye and the parting on the left is now the parting on the right and the beards have all grown longer overnight
. Meet the new boss - same as the old boss."

That has to have been one of the best Who performances ever, especially given their age.

When we can define where freedom and liberty meet the rule of law, when we can maybe change "libertarian" for "freedom with responsibility", when we can block the subterfuge of those, like Labour and Obama's backers, who would destroy us, we might get somewhere.


dearieme said...

"The Rule of Law encompasses, amongst other things, property rights, due process, equality and transparency": "equality" has no business being there, except in the specific sense of equality before the law.

James Higham said...

Well spotted, Dearieme because that's the basis of all the "positive discrimination" [read prejudice] currently intituted.

xlbrl said...

Not a faux pas, James. I'm sick to death of 'Great Britian', because I like to know who I am talking to. If Obama and his merry band of fellow travelors connect with your own to make you the 51st state of Great Britian on the way to the new world government, you will still be England, Scotland, and Irishland to me.

Liberty is easily the most misunderstood concept I know of, but its true application is the most important factor in your work. Most people have an aversion to its true meaning even as they admire it in their ignorance. We confuse liberty with freedom--the second most misunderstood word--when freedom is only a product of liberty. So I will beat you up with a few short definitions.

Liberty means responsibility. That is why men dread it.
A free man is as jealous of his responsibilities as he is of his liberties.
The restraints on men, as well as their liberties, are to be reckoned among their rights.
Rights derive from systems of relations of which the claimant has become a part through helping to maintain them. Only expectations produced by long practice can create duties for the members of the community in which they prevail.
The grand paradox of our society is this: we magnify man’s rights but we minimize his capacities.
Men must be either the slaves of duty, or the slaves of force.
With every civil right there has to be a corresponding civil obligation.
Tocqueville perceived, as did Randolph and Calhoun, that liberty is intimately connected with particularism. Centralization is the instrument of despotism.
He who would do good to another must do it in minute particulars: general good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite, and flatterer.
The shallow consider liberty a release from all law, from every constraint.
The man who asks anything of freedom other than itself is born to be a slave.
In the sense that communism and socialism have made promises, capitalism has never made any. Who could have made them? You might as well say liberty had made promises.

James Higham said...

Thanks, Xlbrl - appreciate the input.

His Girl Friday said...

interesting post, and comments.

I was trying to find a quote regarding: a moral man has the least need of laws and government or something like that...found this instead:

"Those who suppress freedom always do so in the name of law and order."
John V. Lindsay

xlbrl said...

The idea you expressed was first expressed by the Greeks. Aristotle seems likely. But rememeber that Aristote's mistakes were the most spectacular and long-lasting of all time.

The Romans, and then 17th and 18th French philosophers had improved on the idea considerably.

When the state is most corrupt, then the laws are most multiplied.

Epictetus, a Greek who lived in Rome-
Freedom is not procured by a full enjoyment of what is desired, but by how we manage that desire.

The problem with John Lindsay is... that he is John Lindsay. A liberal republican is, in our word for the day, an oxymoron, which demands a political moron for its execution. Lindsay qualified.

In my youth I stressed freedom, and in my old age I stress order. I have made the great discovery that liberty is a product of order.

It's a tricky business to most, the distinction between order and control.

CherryPie said...

xlbrl - Thanks for those thoughts on the meaning of liberty. They have cleared some grey areas which I struggled with. It now makes sense to me.

His Girl Friday said...

thanks for the quotes and info (didn't know about Lindsey, just liked the quote- I usually do research before I put the quote (of any particular person) up....because the character behind the quote is just as important.

yes, there is freedom in order. Will have to come back to thought with this. There's a lot to be said with this, and what I think the liberal mindset is missing. (esp amongst other things, with the raising of children, instilling character, and dare I say the word: disciplining them)
Time does not allow at the moment. (for depth of thought to write)

xlbrl said...

You are extremely very welcome, ladies, and I will thank those fellows for you.

Moggs Tigerpaw said...

Good points, Dearieme is spot on about the law.

"Positive discrimination" is only positive from one side of the argument.

I am sure white supremacists in the deep south of the US were in favour of positive discrimination too, like whites only seating and similar stuff.

Maybe the Nazis were in favour of positive discrimination for Arians do you think?

My point that you quoted me on (ty)is that people are confused and maybe lazy about what "Libertarianism" yet many are basically libertarian in outlook. I was, and I am interested in politics.

I figure that is why libertarian parties are generally not more mainstream. They need to get their 'brand' out there in a positive light.

The main parties will sideline them and promote confusion and mis understanding of them when they can it is in their interests, especially the conservatives and Liberals because they can take their support and Labour because libertarian ideas are a threat to 'client' thinking.