Saturday, April 29, 2006

Boris is Mostly Very Right and Only Occasionally Wrong

If we accept Wikipedia's introduction to libertarianism, ie: "that force used against others is considered by libertarians to be illegitimate except in retaliation for initiatory aggressions ", then it rather looks as if Boris (Conservative MP for Henley) is nearly there. They'd be happy down the local libertarian club (we WISH!...we hear sadly that Chris Tame, who would have organised such a thing, died not so long ago), with most of Boris's insights in his latest Telegraph piece:

"It was when the policeman coughed quietly at my shoulder and said that I was breaking the law that I knew the game was up. When you get to my stage in life, you cease to get that thrill out of being arrested. I had to turn and face the throng, who were trying to march with me from College Green, Westminster, to Downing Street. Sorry, folks, I was forced to announce.

About turn! Labour has changed the law, and free-born Englishmen and women can no longer walk a few hundred paces down the Queen's pavement to Downing Street to protest at the closure of their local hospitals. Actually, I had to bawl the message at the top of my lungs, because Labour's new measures against civil protest mean that you cannot use a loudhailer. As we all saw at the Labour Party conference, you can't heckle a cabinet minister any more without the risk of being arrested under section 44 of some swingeing new anti-heckler act".

Boris provides a list of infractions for which we can now be prosecuted - it goes on and on and is frightening in it's intrusiveness. (Don't try changing the switches in your kitchen!). He even nails the Children's Database.

"This is a government that is in the process of setting up an insane Common Agricultural Policy-style database of every child in the country. That's right: hundreds of millions of pounds are to be spent on a register of the details of millions of blameless, innocent unthreatened children, because the Children's Lobby wants it, and the Government is keen to push out an initiative called "Every Child Matters". There surely, is all the evidence you need that the Government is in the last stages of schizophrenia. They insist on knowing the whereabouts of all our children, up to the age of 18, while 1,000 criminals roam free. I don't want them worrying about where to find my children; I want them to worry about the whereabouts of these thugs and creeps, and on that matter they showed a profound indifference. "

The one thing he gets wrong?

"Naturally, I lack the courage to smack my own children, but anyone who is forced to that regrettable expedient will find that new laws proscribe any chastisement that leaves bruising or discoloration".

The principle of non-aggression (proportionate self-defence) should (according to right-minded libertarian thinking) apply to children as much as to adults, so that anyone who uses disproportionate force should be prosecuted. Libertarians should argue that this is what the law should be for, since basic rights to physical freedom and integrity are surely essential foundations upon which any real freedom may be built.

You could send your comments to Boris at his blog here.

HT: June


Anonymous said...

I was thinking 'OMG! What a fantastic man!' until your last quote which made me wonder if anything he said came from any real understanding...or was it motivated by something else.

Surely it is very significant that he doesn't understand that children should have the same right to be free from violence as adults?


Allie said...

Oh yes. I am afraid that Tory libertarianism tends to look, in my eyes, like the belief that the strongest (usually read richest here but sometimes other forms of power are significant) should operate free from state restraint. No surprise then that the 'right to smack' is upheld.

I'm no fan of the current gov and do find the current atmosphere threatening. But, I well re-call a demonstration in support of the 1984-5 miner's strike when I spied troops (army, not police) down a side street. My sister got a single shot on her camera before being 'encouraged' to move on. Make no mistake, the Tories back then were no defenders of the right to demonstrate, or exercise other freedoms. Have a look at some old photos, or better still film footage, from that strike.
Like this one

His concern for 'freeborn Englishmen and women' makes it all crystal clear to me. He is astonished that the state should actually have the temerity to challenge 'people like him'. Doubtless he had no such concerns when the state broke a few heads of miners, or anti-racists, or greenham women.