I have decided, on occasion, to type these thoughts up into blog posts. Unfortunately, I cant contain myself to just one topic, so this is never going to be a particularly popular blog. But it may be of interest to those who know me.
The first post is a rather long diatribe about politics. I actively invite comment because I really enjoy that sort of thing.
I like Nigel Farage. Though once again I appear to be bucking the trend amongst my peers, many of whom seem to think supporting UKIP is an act of moustache twirling villainy.
This is evident in the number of comments I see on my Facebook feed that read simply as: “Nigel Farage is a tosser” or some other variation on this theme. The only thing more annoying than political apathy is folks who seem to enjoy posting the internet equivalent of a witty one liner and then wallowing in endless backslapping until they become so assured of their convictions that not even the most erudite of speakers could begin to dislodge them.
It’s as if the apparent evilness of Nigel Farage is so blindingly obvious that no one who needs it explaining to them is worth their time. This smug intellectual superiority of the left is vexing to say the least.
I have sound and well thought out reasons for liking Nigel Farage. He is a libertarian. He believes in legalising cannabis, prostitution and liberalising firearm licencing to name a few things. No, not flagship policies, not even UKIP policies in some cases, but the man is on record as being in favour of these things.
This is the driving force behind his opposition to the European Union. As if we need a massive additional level of barely democratic government passing even more pointless laws…
Granted, this is where some bright spark traditionally pipes up with “If it wasn’t for the EU we would all be torturing children by now”. Would we? Would you? Would anybody vote for that? We have the mother of all parliaments. We could happily be passing these sorts of useful laws ourselves.
But, I digress. I was attempting to describe my political feelings, not examine the faults of the European Union.
I fear control. I fear the police state. Most of All, I fear “father knows best”.
Virtue is not virtue if it is arrived at by compulsion. It’s just obeying the law. It is rational self-interest. A racist who keeps his racist views quiet for fear of being biffed about the head with a stout stick is still a racist. Just one that values his skull.
Conversely, a racist who is free to air his vile views opens himself up to intellectual challenge. This, rather than belligerence may yet save him from his wrong headedness.
Couple this disturbing social manipulation with some of the more flagrant erosions of civil liberty since 1997 and we start to see a problem. Blair was the worst offender:
· He wanted to make ID cards mandatory.
· He wanted to be able to detain us for 90 days without trial.
· He brought us control orders.
· He brought us secret courts,‘closed material proceedings’, something the normally fairly sensible coalition government has decided to extend to civil cases.
· Let’s not forget RIPA – the so called snooper’s charter.
· Oh, and fun statistic that we now have more CCTV cameras then that famed liberal paradise, China.
This is not to say I am anti the police. I am not, I am pro police. They are heroes. But they are often used in damm stupid ways. The policeman giving you a ticket for smoking in your car with your family, or investigating something someone posted on Twitter or Facebook is not spending his time investigating a crime which has actually caused tangible suffering. I see that the tradition of lions being led by donkeys is alive and well.
Isn't it time to pull the other way, just a little. Isn't it time to say we don’t need big government? (The EU is the biggest government there is)
Apparently, we no longer believe “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death you right to say it”. We now seem to believe that any deviation from them progressive agenda should be met with state sponsored beatings.
The peculiar thing is that it is often Labour supporters who are the most outspoken opponents of Farage. Ok. They must want to live in an Orwellian police state. That’s misguided, but reasonable. In my not particularly distant youth I was all in favour of sacrificing a little liberty for some security. I can understand the worldview.
Hang on, though. The conversations I have had with labour supporters in my time lead me to believe that they don’t want that. For them, the argument comes back to the economy.
I have always found the Authoritarian/Libertarian political axis to be central to my politics. I have moved around on it considerably. I have never understood the fixation on the left right economic struggle.
Especially as, in the UK it seems more or less settled. Largely capitalist with socialised elements that are deemed essential services. I mean, there is some fiddling around the edges to be done, I happen to think Royal Mail should be re-nationalised. It is an essential service that cannot seem to make a profit (I'm talking about final mile delivery). But largely I believe in a right wing economic model.
The main reasoning for this was given to me in sixth form. In a supply and demand economy more boots are produced to meet the demand for boots. Cheap boots, expensive boots, red boots, blue boots. Almost everyone can have boots, and those that cannot afford boots get boots from charities, because people largely aren't callous, and don’t need a government to force them to not be callous.
In a planned economy, the commissar of boots produces however many boots he thinks the country needs (identical) and gives them out on a first come first serve basis. Hopefully the commissar is competent and you don’t end up with a shortage of boots, or a hilarious glut of boots. Even then, the boots are identical, freedom of expression is stifled and net happiness goes down.
My main issue with a left wing economic model is that it is actually more susceptible to corruption then the worst excesses of crony capitalism. Socialism concentrates too much power in the burocrat and relies on their good nature. History shows us this can go catastrophically wrong.
And, ok, Tony Blair hardly tried to bring us anything on the level of the Cheka, NKVD, Red Guard or Khmer Rouge, but to me it seems that left wing thinking inexorably leads to the worst kind of authoritarianism.
But no one else seems to see it that way. No one else even seems particularly interested in explaining to me why I am wrong to see it that way.
Because I like Nigel Farage, so I am damned.
And for the damned the progressive left has only scorn.
And image macros.