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Sunday, 09 December 2012


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"It may come as a surprise to some of you that there is a choice between liberty and democracy; that one, so to speak, precludes the other. Surely, you might reply, they are more or less the same thing."

Our political class have done a good job in falsely conflating these concepts, but a little reading around will soon clarify matters. In fact, the tension between democracy and rights/liberty was the defining problem of much modern political philosophy. John Stuart Mill was probably the best cheer-leader for liberty, and even Hobbes (despite his bad press!) was more interested in securing our right not to be murdered in our beds than in extending the franchise.

In terms of a cost-benefit analysis, protecting and extending rights will always be the best bet. Trying to get your own way by persuading others of the rightness of your views and engaging in democratic politicking will always be a haphazard business. I would far rather the politicians left me alone to sort out my own problems, but I need the law to protect me and my property.

You can have liberty without democracy, but you can't have democracy without liberty.

"The effect, of course, is that there is no longer any real difference between the main political parties,..."

So much for that "authenticity" you've been droning on and on and on and on about then David?

I've been saying for quite awhile now, 'there ain't a dime's worth of difference between a Republican or a Democrat' - Moldbug had me lost in the weeds - so then David, Thank you ever so much for distilling why my saying so makes sense!

Of course my manner of commenting's likely to have you lost in the weeds now. Don't suppose it matters though.

Ever read this?

With respect, 'Envelope', what we have today is democracy, that is, universal suffrage (the rule of the majority - or the mob, as I think of them) and the chance to remove one bunch of rascals and replace them with another almost indistinguishable bunch. However, we do not have liberty. Today the state, in all its myriad formations, local, national, supranational and global interferes with our liberties on a constant basis. Should you doubt me make a list of the things you are no longer able to write or say and then add a further list of things you may not do. That should keep you fairly busy!

It is precisely 'that "authenticity" I've been droning on and on and on and on about', JK, which I am looking for in politicians to indicate that they have some convictions which mark them apart from the other zombies. Reagan had it, 'that woman' had it, and so might others. I'll read your link tomorrow.

I fear you are falling into the 'strong leader' trap DD. I for one do not want a Stalin or a Hitler or a Mao Zedong and Mrs T was useful for a mere two years out of her 11 year reign. Let my politicians be pallid - I like them that way.

As I see it the world is flattening out power-wise - many many more people have something approaching 'freedom' but the downside is that the former empires have declined in status. On the principle of 'the greatest good etc' this can only be a good thing even if, as a free born Englishman, I can no longer stride the earth kicking the natives out of my way.

Short of some cataclysm I reckon the age of empires is over and we are seeing the last of the old monarchies and despotic family firms. However the economies of scale persist and in a flattened power structure small countries with few resources will get poor and big countries likely will stay rich. The only way to survive is cross-border co-operation, the key being the extent of a nation's co-operative networks.

So, to nail my colours, I reckon UKIP is a ridiculous project except for one thing - it might goad Cameron et al into offering something better.

If by liberty you mean the freedom to do what you please come what may - then you mean anarchy. Liberty has always been constrained by rules intended to make life possible - or at least, longer.

I was born in 1936 and consider myself very lucky to live in the best period for the common man since the beginning of time. At least, for me living in this democracy.

My hobby is family history and I can tell you that our ancestors were much more constrained than we have ever been. When I hear people ranting on about localism I wonder if they have any idea what life in an English village was like a couple of hundred years ago.

I'll expand on my original post. Liberty means anarchy, unless you have rules, when you no longer have liberty. You cannot have democracy without liberty and democracy is a way of getting liberty with rules. It is not liberty or democracy that is the problem - it is the RULES!

Sorry, 'striding the Earth'

I agree with BoE - I was brought up in small villages in the early '50s and remember the petty snobbery and the fear of upsetting the landed gentry or the farm bailiff. Then you really could be turned out of your house. Not so free at all.

There is a problem with the system of government - it grows and grows with little constraint. But in a way that merely exchanges the cost of running a huge military for the cost of running armies of pen-pushers. With useful economic activity constrained pen-pushing may become the only game in town - but poorly paid.

I must beg to differ (again). Democracy is not, I wonder if it ever has been, "Rule by the majority". It is certainly now 'Rule by the vociferous, fanatical minority' with a touch of 'Rule by the greedy, lazy self-interested' when they can be bothered, of course.

I'm not sure if I agree with BoE or not. The most marked change I have observed is the plethora of new rules and regulations which hinge not on an actual offence (infringing on anothers liberty) but on something which may/could/might occur, as well as the ubiquitous 'thought crimes', 'offending some special interest group crimes' etc. To not see this progression as a deterioration in our liberty (freedom) seems disingenuous to me.

The problem for me is that I don't see it as a result of democracy but more as a result of the deteriorating educational ability of the mass of the population, and the complete disconnect between action (or not) and result caused by the welfare state, and (dare I say it?) the 'moral relativism' so prevalent now. The saying 'Reward/subsidise an action/behaviour and you will get more of that..' should, I think, be modified with the addition 'unless the electorate is educated enough to see the likely unforseen results, have self-respect enough to prefer self-reliance over handouts, and have some understanding of right and wrong. Our population now seems not to fit that proviso of democracy.

Just Sayin'

My, David, what have you been reading?

I have been reading you, Malcolm, or to be precise, all those fascinating links you provided - and to which I gave due credit in some posts down below - and I am very grateful.

Gentlemen, I am amazed so that so many of you are so comfortable with your condition. You have multi-levels of government over you regulating this, that and the other and costing you a fortune. Have any of you ever totted up how much you have handed over to all these layers of government? And do none of you think of that money as *your* money? Or is it that because the government gives some of it back in cash or kind - whilst skimming an eye-watering amount off the top - you think it's OK? Have you forgotten that this money is ripped from your pocket by *force* and you have virtually no say in how it is spent.

A government has only three basic duties. To protect the nation militarily, to preserve the currency and to maintain a system of law and order. They have consistently failed in all three of these duties and yet they use each and every crisis as an excuse to rip ever more of *our* money from us whilst simultaneously laying down yet more and more regulations and laws to impede our liberties. The mythical 'Englishman's home' is no longer a castle, it is open-doors for every governmental Pecksniff and Jobsworth to enter, to search, to regulate and to investigate. (Try telling the TV Licensing Authority that you do not possess a TV set and see what happens!)

Then, if you have the nerve, try writing to the newspapers, or standing on a soap box in Hyde Park, or just telling your mates in the pub what you think about immigrants, coloureds, homosexuals, the mentally ill, Muslims, people on welfare and see how long it is before you receive a tap on the door and a summons to your local court. Try rucking with our National Health Service ("the envy of the world"!) when it goes wrong and see how many regulations you will breach in doing so. Try telling your children's teachers they don't know what they're talking about and to stop inculcating nonsense into the minds of your children and see how long it takes for regulations and punishments to be hurled at you and yours.

And as you try all these things - and there are many more in the never-ending pipeline like stopping the government searching your computer browser for no good reason - pause and watch the way government, like 'Topsy', grows and grows and grows. There are, I believe, more laws and regulations flowing in from Brussels than ever emanate from parliament! So our governments in recent years, unable to cope with the surge of eager recruits who can spot easy living on OPM (Other People's Money) when they see it, and despite inventing Scottish and Welsh parliaments, have eagerly joined the European cabal which offers even more lucrative livings for those who wish to boss us around.

Liberty? What liberty?

Preaching to the choir DD, but what exactly do you recommend? Personally I hope for more and quicker. Why? Because only then will the 'man in the street' say enough is enough (for myself that point was reached years ago). I suspect the point will be moot soon enough because unlike The Wiemar Republic the next collapse will be global. So transfer your wealth into tangibles and get ready to hunker down (I'm also recommending investing in piano wire, a sure to be in demand commodity). Oh and on the theme of 'history repeating itself', there are a lot of similarities between now and the end of the Roman Empire don't you think?

My advice Able is to keep your head down and wait. Take our current Prime Minister, whats-his-name. He is very keen on Gay Marriages. Why? Don't know. Do I care? About as much as he cares about my opinion. What I am quite sure of is that he hasn't thought it through. He is descending into a bottomless pile of s**t. There is a considerable amount of fun in this for those of us who don't care.

I will rumble on about what I recommend, Able, in due course - you have been warned!

You do care, 'Envelope', but you make a gallant effort to hide it!

You are confusing 'care' with 'interest'!

Hmmmn! If you 'care' enough to write about it - you care!

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