What Future is There for a Politicised Monarchy?


D.J. Webb

We have had a lot of Royal news in recent weeks, whether it be the antics of Prince Harry, or the death of Prince Philip. It seems a suitable moment to take stock, given that the Royal family appears to be evolving rapidly, and not in a healthy direction. But maybe I should begin with a brief statement of why the Monarchy would be important to libertarians. Libertarianism is not just an economic doctrine, one of wanting to be left alone by the state—although that is largely admirable as a reflex; it also rests on cultural underpinnings. If we become Pakistan or Somali, or, more likely, a hodgepodge of those and many other countries, the desire for a certain relationship between state and society, one based on traditional English values such as free speech and freedom of expression, will become obsolete. Why would incomers share the views that have traditionally been associated with the Anglo-Saxon peoples? There is no future for a free society without a recognition that this is our country, and that our way of life will not survive mass immigration and the imposition of political correctness.

From that perspective, the Queen’s role is, not just to make anodyne statements, but to defend our customs—and, logically, that means defending our nation too. It’s written clearly in the Coronation Oath: the Queen should govern us “by our laws and customs”. It is argued by many, desperately clutching at straws, that the Queen spurns the Coronation Oath because she is advised to do so (by people who did not take the Coronation Oath, and who may not legally advise the Queen to violate her Oath). I would like to feel that, behind the scenes, she objected to our entry into the European Union (or its predecessors), and strongly objected to mass immigration, political correctness, hate speech laws, and even things like the elimination of double jeopardy and the weakening of jury trials. But you would be misguided if you thought the Queen had done any of those things.

The Queen and Prince Philip

Instead, we have the spectacle of a Royal house that is seeking to ingratiate itself with ethnic minorities to ensure its own survival, even when we, the British people, are becoming a minority in our own country (currently slated for 2066 according to the best demographic projections). Prince Philip, in some way, appeared to give a degree of hope to British people that there was someone close to the Throne who did not follow all the latest fashionable views on race and speech codes, and so was a surprisingly popular figure. This is simply because he was prepared to crack the odd joke that had a racial theme in what was actually a fairly good-natured way, however maliciously portrayed in the media. However, I think his role is largely misunderstood. He was portrayed as a gaffer, someone who would always put his foot in it, and the Royal family passed this off as “Philip being Philip”. This largely conceded the Left’s argument that the humorous comments he made were offensive and unacceptable from anyone other than an uncontrollable old man. In its own way, the Philip phenomenon cemented the politically correct speech codes, because the Palace never once argued that the comments he made were free speech and free expression that everyone should engage in.

The Queen herself has been much more in tune with the political elite. Her Christmas Day broadcast 2004 celebrated the fact that English people have become a minority in London. She said: “I particularly enjoyed a story I heard the other day about an overseas visitor to Britain who said the best part of his visit had been travelling from Heathrow into Central London on the Tube…. At each stop children were getting on and off—they were of every ethnic and religious background, some with scarves or turbans, some talking quietly, others playing and occasionally misbehaving together—completely at ease and trusting one another. How lucky you are, said the visitor, to live in a country where your children can grow up this way”.

This is a direct intervention in politics in support of our national dispossession. John Stuart Mill in Chapter XVI of his Considerations on Representative Government took the opposite view to the Queen, arguing that free institutions were possible only in a country not riven by inter-ethnic and multicultural strife. By intervening in this way, the Queen showed that she believes English people should become a minority in this country, and thus it was a political statement of the type we were always told the Queen could not engage in.

In May 2011, the Queen made even more jarring comments in a visit to the Republic of Ireland, a visit it was reported the Queen had been angling to make for many years. Did she condemn the involvement of the Irish state in funding and training terrorists in Northern Ireland? No, she didn’t. What she did say was:

“Indeed so much of this visit reminds us of the complexity of our history, its many layers and traditions, but also the importance of forbearance and conciliation, of being able to bow to the past but not be bound by it. Of course the relationship has not always been straightforward; nor has the record over the centuries been entirely benign. It is a sad and regrettable reality that through history our islands have experienced more than their fair share of heartache, turbulence and loss. These events have touched us all, many of us personally, and are a painful legacy. We can never forget those who have died or been injured or their families. To all those who have suffered as a consequence of our troubled past I extend my sincere thoughts and deep sympathy. With the benefit of historical hindsight we can all see things which we would wish had been done differently or not at all”.

This was all couched in careful language. The Queen did not state directly that Britain was the source of the “not entirely benign record”, and neither did she say what it was that Britain should have done differently or not at all. These comments were interpreted in Ireland as an apology for the Irish Famine—as if a potato blight is something Britain should apologise for. In fact, Britain did extend assistance to the starving in Ireland at a time when there was no welfare state, and did more than, for example, Finland did in the 1866-68 famine there, when one-twelfth of the population were allowed to die because the Finnish government worried that borrowing money for famine relief would raise interest rates. Whatever the rights and wrongs, Irish history should be seen in nuanced historical context, as with all historical events, and not used to perform morality plays in the present in the way the Irish government uses the Famine. In previous historical periods, Britain behaved much as was expected of governments of the time, and the issue is just history. Are we to extract an apology from the Italian government for the mistreatment of Boadicea and her daughters in the first century AD?

I would like to ask the Queen to clarify whether she was accusing Queen Victoria of genocide in Ireland. Under no circumstances should the Queen mouth IRA propaganda during a visit to Ireland, particularly as in the most recent period, 1969 to the present day, it is the Republic of Ireland that has behaved badly. They have funded terrorism in a neighbouring country, while becoming rich on the back of our money, cycled to them through the EU, and are currently engaged in international diplomacy to ensure that our Brexit is a flop. They may even be seeking a resumption of communal violence in Ulster. The balance of fault since 1969 is skewed against the Irish government. Why should we apologise to them?

For these reasons, I cannot agree that the Queen “hasn’t put a foot wrong”. She has not angered the political/media elite, granted, but has moved towards distinctly anti-British public positions, and has been more than happy to enact our national dispossession via the European Communities Act and various immigration acts. One has to ask whether the Queen has always been an anti-imperialist. Surely, as the daughter of the King-Emperor she once has different views?

Prince Charles and Princess Diana

Overlooking the failed marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, one that means that the current Royal family bears no relation to Queen Victoria’s attempt to portray domestic bliss, for example, in the famous portrait of her family by Franz Winterhalter. Diana, as a member of the aristocracy, was expected to know her place and conduct herself with decorum, but she played to the media gallery, not just in her accounts of her private life, but also in her pursuit of political causes. These included kissing AIDS patients in order to propagate the view that AIDS could not be transmitted easily and her campaign against landmines in African countries. Both were issues that placed her on the NGO left of the political debate. Neither was anything the wife of the heir to the throne should have engaged in. It is easy to see how the shenanigans of the Sussexes derive in part from Prince Harry’s attempts to be like his mother.

Prince Charles has in certain ways been a conservative public figure. He speaks impeccable English, supports the Prayer Book, and also opposes modern architecture, although, in keeping with his position, admiring our architectural heritage should be as far as he allows himself to go, without entering into public debates on what is a political/cultural issue. His desire to become Defender of Faith, and not Defender of the Faith, is a much more objectional stance. He signals that he will perjure himself by taking the Coronation Oath, and thereby openly supports the influx of Muslims into our country. He apparently believes that a religion based on the mores of 7th century Arabia is an equal path to God as the Christian religion—a view that has traditionally been regarded in this country as heretical. I would like to ask him if he supported Mohamed’s ruling that the rape of women and girls in warfare by his Muslim soldiers was OK (this ruling was handed down by the “prophet” during warfare with a tribe called the Banu Al-Mustaliq). Such multicultural views seem designed to facilitate the survival of Prince Charles’ Royal house even while ensuring that the British nation itself does not survive.

Prince Charles’ nakedly political intervention into the climate change debate is also foolish. Not only has there been only a fraction of the warming predicted by climate change models 20 years ago, despite the fact that much more carbon dioxide has been emitted, the ultimate role of human agency in this remains disputed. The planet has gone through many warming and cooling cycles over millennia. Most of the alarmist claims made by the environmentalists have been disproven. The polar ice cap was said to be due to melt long ago, as was snow cover on the Himalayas. Claims that Australia’s bush fires were due to global warming sit ill with maps showing that the coastal areas where the fires took place were cooler than normal, and only the interior of the continent actually hotter. In the end, no-one would object to new energy sources including hydrogen as long as they could be utilised in a way that was as cheap or cheaper than fossil fuels, and as long as they provided a reliable source of heating that did not require us to adjust to indoor temperatures much lower than we are used to. The rush to Net Zero by 2050 will cost hundreds of billions. It would be much better to explore new techologies and adopt them only when they can be done cheaply.

Prince Harry and his US wife

It may be better to discuss Prince Harry first, as this will allow me to contrast Prince William with him. Harry and Meghan have openly adopted woke religion in a way that has severed their connection with the English people. Laughably false claims of racial prejudice that Meghan claims to have experienced have done serious damage to our country’s international reputation. The way they use the mental health issue to claim moral authority for their decision to flounce off to California is also contemptible. The wider cultural context is that such claims are deemed to be automatically true. Anyone denying that Meghan felt suicidal is told he is bullying the mentally ill. In some ways, Harry is a disappointment, as his record in the Armed Forces, and previous reports of his high jinks and comments he has made similar to those made by Prince Philip (including referring to the Pakistani origin of one his military friends) suggested that he was less caught up at one stage in the virtue signalling.

An unpleasant consequence of the Harry and Meghan saga is that the Queen is considering appointing a race co-ordinator at the Palace, a development likely to racialise the whole Palace operation. Such people are employed to find offence, and hunt it out, and so we are likely to be regaled with a constant stream of nonsensical stories about “racist ladies in waiting” and the like. This sort of thing just adds to the oppressive cultural environment, whereby words are deemed offensive, and people are not expected to brush off insults, and yet insults made to English people are regarded as harmless all the same.

Any hope in Prince William and Kate?

It would be nice to believe the Royal family will settle down with William and Kate. However, there are signs that this is not the case. While William has not flounced off to California, he does speak the woke lingo of his brother. William was reported as denouncing racism in football—a ludicrous concept, given that this is the most multiracial area of public life in the UK. More to the point, this is our country, and so, although black people are well represented in football, there is no reason why this has to be the case. If you go to China, most football players are Chinese for some reason that Prince William can’t quite put his finger on, but I can (because it’s China).

William may have also made a major mistake calling for more racial diversity in Britain’s BAFTA film awards, resulting in an award being made the next year to a black actor now accused of sexual harassment. I don’t think such claims should be given the credence they are, without stronger proof, but it does show that calling for a tickbox racialised culture could backfire on the monarchy. William should not be getting into these political causes.

Kate made a show of visiting a memorial, or flower display, for a woman raped and murdered by a (white) policeman in London, an extraordinarily rare occurrence, if you think about it. She sent little signals that she was on the side of the feminists. But she has never intervened in this way where the perpetrators were black, and has never said a word about the gang-rape of tens of thousands of underage English girls by Pakistani rape gangs.

The Future of the Windsors

The departure of Harry has led Charles and William to consider the family’s future. This discussion is being held in-house, without any public input or direct input by politicians. However, it is clear that the Windsors are responding to the Harry and Meghan affair by Meghanising or Oprahising the monarchy. One wonders why Harry has left if William has decided to pursue the same list of fashionable causes Harry and Meghan are pursuing in America. The family appears to be chasing good press headlines, given that the media elite are heavily invested in a list of causes including anti-racism, anti-sexism, gay rights, transgender identity and climate change.

However, these causes are much more patchily supported in the population at large. Where most people do, for example, oppose racial hatred and harassment, the definition given to such concepts can often veer to the extremes in a way that the public do not support. If you oppose the gang rape of English girls by Muslim gangs, that is said to be “racism”. If you believe that adults who wish to have sex-change operations should be allowed to, then the campaign groups who are driving social change argue that you should accept puberty blocking drugs given to children and the replacement of women by men in women’s sports. But worse than these things is the fact that the boundaries of public discussion are narrowing by the nanosecond, where views that the majority of the public hold are suddenly being declared unacceptable with an alarming frequency. The Royals are doing everything they can to drive this agenda, in a way that appears to lend moral authority to the woke causes they patronise.

The result of this WWW (the Woke-Washing of the Windsors) is to give further encouragement to the politicians and media in their determination to criminalise speech, and to use state power, including the police, to harass those who don’t share the allegedly correct views the Windsors hold. From being a family that represented the best of Britain and a symbol of the whole nation, the Royals are becoming just another representative of the new sneering Blairites who staff all other public institutions. I can’t see any place for the Windsors in a future free Britain, because they have now firmly allied themselves against our nation. If we end up a minority in this country by 2066, the Queen will have done her bit to make that happen. She is fluent in French, so she must understand the phrase après moi, le déluge!

What Future is There for a Politicised Monarchy?

We have had a lot of Royal news in recent weeks, whether it be the antics of Prince Harry, or the death of Prince Philip. It seems a suitable moment to take stock, given that the Royal family appears to be evolving rapidly, and not in a healthy direction. But maybe I should begin with a brief statement of why the Monarchy would be important to libertarians. Libertarianism is not just an economic doctrine, one of wanting to be left alone by the state—although that is largely admirable as a reflex; it also rests on cultural underpinnings. If we become Pakistan or Somali, or, more likely, a hodgepodge of those and many other countries, the desire for a certain relationship between state and society, one based on traditional English values such as free speech and freedom of expression, will become obsolete. Why would incomers share the views that have traditionally been associated with the Anglo-Saxon peoples? There is no future for a free society without a recognition that this is our country, and that our way of life will not survive mass immigration and the imposition of political correctness.

From that perspective, the Queen’s role is, not just to make anodyne statements, but to defend our customs—and, logically, that means defending our nation too. It’s written clearly in the Coronation Oath: the Queen should govern us “by our laws and customs”. It is argued by many, desperately clutching at straws, that the Queen spurns the Coronation Oath because she is advised to do so (by people who did not take the Coronation Oath, and who may not legally advise the Queen to violate her Oath). I would like to feel that, behind the scenes, she objected to our entry into the European Union (or its predecessors), and strongly objected to mass immigration, political correctness, hate speech laws, and even things like the elimination of double jeopardy and the weakening of jury trials. But you would be misguided if you thought the Queen had done any of those things.

The Queen and Prince Philip

Instead, we have the spectacle of a Royal house that is seeking to ingratiate itself with ethnic minorities to ensure its own survival, even when we, the British people, are becoming a minority in our own country (currently slated for 2066 according to the best demographic projections). Prince Philip, in some way, appeared to give a degree of hope to British people that there was someone close to the Throne who did not follow all the latest fashionable views on race and speech codes, and so was a surprisingly popular figure. This is simply because he was prepared to crack the odd joke that had a racial theme in what was actually a fairly good-natured way, however maliciously portrayed in the media. However, I think his role is largely misunderstood. He was portrayed as a gaffer, someone who would always put his foot in it, and the Royal family passed this off as “Philip being Philip”. This largely conceded the Left’s argument that the humorous comments he made were offensive and unacceptable from anyone other than an uncontrollable old man. In its own way, the Philip phenomenon cemented the politically correct speech codes, because the Palace never once argued that the comments he made were free speech and free expression that everyone should engage in.

The Queen herself has been much more in tune with the political elite. Her Christmas Day broadcast 2004 celebrated the fact that English people have become a minority in London. She said: “I particularly enjoyed a story I heard the other day about an overseas visitor to Britain who said the best part of his visit had been travelling from Heathrow into Central London on the Tube…. At each stop children were getting on and off—they were of every ethnic and religious background, some with scarves or turbans, some talking quietly, others playing and occasionally misbehaving together—completely at ease and trusting one another. How lucky you are, said the visitor, to live in a country where your children can grow up this way”.

This is a direct intervention in politics in support of our national dispossession. John Stuart Mill in Chapter XVI of his Considerations on Representative Government took the opposite view to the Queen, arguing that free institutions were possible only in a country not riven by inter-ethnic and multicultural strife. By intervening in this way, the Queen showed that she believes English people should become a minority in this country, and thus it was a political statement of the type we were always told the Queen could not engage in.

In May 2011, the Queen made even more jarring comments in a visit to the Republic of Ireland, a visit it was reported the Queen had been angling to make for many years. Did she condemn the involvement of the Irish state in funding and training terrorists in Northern Ireland? No, she didn’t. What she did say was:

“Indeed so much of this visit reminds us of the complexity of our history, its many layers and traditions, but also the importance of forbearance and conciliation, of being able to bow to the past but not be bound by it. Of course the relationship has not always been straightforward; nor has the record over the centuries been entirely benign. It is a sad and regrettable reality that through history our islands have experienced more than their fair share of heartache, turbulence and loss. These events have touched us all, many of us personally, and are a painful legacy. We can never forget those who have died or been injured or their families. To all those who have suffered as a consequence of our troubled past I extend my sincere thoughts and deep sympathy. With the benefit of historical hindsight we can all see things which we would wish had been done differently or not at all”.

This was all couched in careful language. The Queen did not state directly that Britain was the source of the “not entirely benign record”, and neither did she say what it was that Britain should have done differently or not at all. These comments were interpreted in Ireland as an apology for the Irish Famine—as if a potato blight is something Britain should apologise for. In fact, Britain did extend assistance to the starving in Ireland at a time when there was no welfare state, and did more than, for example, Finland did in the 1866-68 famine there, when one-twelfth of the population were allowed to die because the Finnish government worried that borrowing money for famine relief would raise interest rates. Whatever the rights and wrongs, Irish history should be seen in nuanced historical context, as with all historical events, and not used to perform morality plays in the present in the way the Irish government uses the Famine. In previous historical periods, Britain behaved much as was expected of governments of the time, and the issue is just history. Are we to extract an apology from the Italian government for the mistreatment of Boadicea and her daughters in the first century AD?

I would like to ask the Queen to clarify whether she was accusing Queen Victoria of genocide in Ireland. Under no circumstances should the Queen mouth IRA propaganda during a visit to Ireland, particularly as in the most recent period, 1969 to the present day, it is the Republic of Ireland that has behaved badly. They have funded terrorism in a neighbouring country, while becoming rich on the back of our money, cycled to them through the EU, and are currently engaged in international diplomacy to ensure that our Brexit is a flop. They may even be seeking a resumption of communal violence in Ulster. The balance of fault since 1969 is skewed against the Irish government. Why should we apologise to them?

For these reasons, I cannot agree that the Queen “hasn’t put a foot wrong”. She has not angered the political/media elite, granted, but has moved towards distinctly anti-British public positions, and has been more than happy to enact our national dispossession via the European Communities Act and various immigration acts. One has to ask whether the Queen has always been an anti-imperialist. Surely, as the daughter of the King-Emperor she once has different views?

Prince Charles and Princess Diana

Overlooking the failed marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, one that means that the current Royal family bears no relation to Queen Victoria’s attempt to portray domestic bliss, for example, in the famous portrait of her family by Franz Winterhalter. Diana, as a member of the aristocracy, was expected to know her place and conduct herself with decorum, but she played to the media gallery, not just in her accounts of her private life, but also in her pursuit of political causes. These included kissing AIDS patients in order to propagate the view that AIDS could not be transmitted easily and her campaign against landmines in African countries. Both were issues that placed her on the NGO left of the political debate. Neither was anything the wife of the heir to the throne should have engaged in. It is easy to see how the shenanigans of the Sussexes derive in part from Prince Harry’s attempts to be like his mother.

Prince Charles has in certain ways been a conservative public figure. He speaks impeccable English, supports the Prayer Book, and also opposes modern architecture, although, in keeping with his position, admiring our architectural heritage should be as far as he allows himself to go, without entering into public debates on what is a political/cultural issue. His desire to become Defender of Faith, and not Defender of the Faith, is a much more objectional stance. He signals that he will perjure himself by taking the Coronation Oath, and thereby openly supports the influx of Muslims into our country. He apparently believes that a religion based on the mores of 7th century Arabia is an equal path to God as the Christian religion—a view that has traditionally been regarded in this country as heretical. I would like to ask him if he supported Mohamed’s ruling that the rape of women and girls in warfare by his Muslim soldiers was OK (this ruling was handed down by the “prophet” during warfare with a tribe called the Banu Al-Mustaliq). Such multicultural views seem designed to facilitate the survival of Prince Charles’ Royal house even while ensuring that the British nation itself does not survive.

Prince Charles’ nakedly political intervention into the climate change debate is also foolish. Not only has there been only a fraction of the warming predicted by climate change models 20 years ago, despite the fact that much more carbon dioxide has been emitted, the ultimate role of human agency in this remains disputed. The planet has gone through many warming and cooling cycles over millennia. Most of the alarmist claims made by the environmentalists have been disproven. The polar ice cap was said to be due to melt long ago, as was snow cover on the Himalayas. Claims that Australia’s bush fires were due to global warming sit ill with maps showing that the coastal areas where the fires took place were cooler than normal, and only the interior of the continent actually hotter. In the end, no-one would object to new energy sources including hydrogen as long as they could be utilised in a way that was as cheap or cheaper than fossil fuels, and as long as they provided a reliable source of heating that did not require us to adjust to indoor temperatures much lower than we are used to. The rush to Net Zero by 2050 will cost hundreds of billions. It would be much better to explore new techologies and adopt them only when they can be done cheaply.

Prince Harry and his US wife

It may be better to discuss Prince Harry first, as this will allow me to contrast Prince William with him. Harry and Meghan have openly adopted woke religion in a way that has severed their connection with the English people. Laughably false claims of racial prejudice that Meghan claims to have experienced have done serious damage to our country’s international reputation. The way they use the mental health issue to claim moral authority for their decision to flounce off to California is also contemptible. The wider cultural context is that such claims are deemed to be automatically true. Anyone denying that Meghan felt suicidal is told he is bullying the mentally ill. In some ways, Harry is a disappointment, as his record in the Armed Forces, and previous reports of his high jinks and comments he has made similar to those made by Prince Philip (including referring to the Pakistani origin of one his military friends) suggested that he was less caught up at one stage in the virtue signalling.

An unpleasant consequence of the Harry and Meghan saga is that the Queen is considering appointing a race co-ordinator at the Palace, a development likely to racialise the whole Palace operation. Such people are employed to find offence, and hunt it out, and so we are likely to be regaled with a constant stream of nonsensical stories about “racist ladies in waiting” and the like. This sort of thing just adds to the oppressive cultural environment, whereby words are deemed offensive, and people are not expected to brush off insults, and yet insults made to English people are regarded as harmless all the same.

Any hope in Prince William and Kate?

It would be nice to believe the Royal family will settle down with William and Kate. However, there are signs that this is not the case. While William has not flounced off to California, he does speak the woke lingo of his brother. William was reported as denouncing racism in football—a ludicrous concept, given that this is the most multiracial area of public life in the UK. More to the point, this is our country, and so, although black people are well represented in football, there is no reason why this has to be the case. If you go to China, most football players are Chinese for some reason that Prince William can’t quite put his finger on, but I can (because it’s China).

William may have also made a major mistake calling for more racial diversity in Britain’s BAFTA film awards, resulting in an award being made the next year to a black actor now accused of sexual harassment. I don’t think such claims should be given the credence they are, without stronger proof, but it does show that calling for a tickbox racialised culture could backfire on the monarchy. William should not be getting into these political causes.

Kate made a show of visiting a memorial, or flower display, for a woman raped and murdered by a (white) policeman in London, an extraordinarily rare occurrence, if you think about it. She sent little signals that she was on the side of the feminists. But she has never intervened in this way where the perpetrators were black, and has never said a word about the gang-rape of tens of thousands of underage English girls by Pakistani rape gangs.

The Future of the Windsors

The departure of Harry has led Charles and William to consider the family’s future. This discussion is being held in-house, without any public input or direct input by politicians. However, it is clear that the Windsors are responding to the Harry and Meghan affair by Meghanising or Oprahising the monarchy. One wonders why Harry has left if William has decided to pursue the same list of fashionable causes Harry and Meghan are pursuing in America. The family appears to be chasing good press headlines, given that the media elite are heavily invested in a list of causes including anti-racism, anti-sexism, gay rights, transgender identity and climate change.

However, these causes are much more patchily supported in the population at large. Where most people do, for example, oppose racial hatred and harassment, the definition given to such concepts can often veer to the extremes in a way that the public do not support. If you oppose the gang rape of English girls by Muslim gangs, that is said to be “racism”. If you believe that adults who wish to have sex-change operations should be allowed to, then the campaign groups who are driving social change argue that you should accept puberty blocking drugs given to children and the replacement of women by men in women’s sports. But worse than these things is the fact that the boundaries of public discussion are narrowing by the nanosecond, where views that the majority of the public hold are suddenly being declared unacceptable with an alarming frequency. The Royals are doing everything they can to drive this agenda, in a way that appears to lend moral authority to the woke causes they patronise.

The result of this WWW (the Woke-Washing of the Windsors) is to give further encouragement to the politicians and media in their determination to criminalise speech, and to use state power, including the police, to harass those who don’t share the allegedly correct views the Windsors hold. From being a family that represented the best of Britain and a symbol of the whole nation, the Royals are becoming just another representative of the new sneering Blairites who staff all other public institutions. I can’t see any place for the Windsors in a future free Britain, because they have now firmly allied themselves against our nation. If we end up a minority in this country by 2066, the Queen will have done her bit to make that happen. She is fluent in French, so she must understand the phrase après moi, le déluge!

My Fantasy Boris – D.J. Webb


 

I must have had a shot or two too many to drink. Whatever it was, my dream—or was it a daydream—appears insubstantial in retrospect. Drifting into reverie, I imagined…

Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, rose to his feet at the despatch box, amid anticipation on all sides of the House. Now we had left the EU on the “No Deal”, rumours were flying around that we might repudiate the Withdrawal Agreement and go it alone. Surely not? Surely the Conservatives didn’t have it in them?

“Mr. Speaker,

After extensive discussions in the Palace, we have reached an understanding of English Common Law and the underpinnings of our constitution. Upholding our law remains at the centre of everything this government will do.

Firstly, our fundamental law is the Common Law. Let me expand on this. The Queen reigns and, indeed, is part of the Crown in Parliament and thus at the apex of the legislative as well as executive and judicial branches of government. But what document specifies the Queen’s right to reign? Was there some dusty, long-forgotten constitution passed by the Witan under Alfred the Great? What provides for the Queen’s right to reign? Was it a decree she herself issued? Or a statute signed by her? In truth, any such thing would be circular—it would amount to the Queen declaring herself Queen. In fact, the monarchy’s existence is given in the Common Law. The Queen’s right to reign reflects the fact that there has been a monarch since time immemorial. There is no written constitution that provides for this. Continue reading

Why we need more, not less globalization


Matthieu Creson

Why we need more, not less globalization

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, we have often been reading in the press and hearing on television news that liberal globalization would be the main culprit to blame. This crisis would allegedly demonstrate the fundamental harmfulness of globalization, which would subordinate our health to the “dictatorship of profit” and to “ultraliberal ideology”. Is this interpretation of events well justified? If it were followed through in practice, would the call for “deglobalization” currently issued by a host of politicians – ranging from the left to the right -, environmentalists and anti-globalist economists not ruin what has been for more than half a century one of the main growth drivers in rich countries as in countries belonging to what used to be called the Third World? Worse: will we not eventually suffer from the decline in globalization and the withdrawal of countries into themselves in the event of a new planetary crisis – be it sanitary or of a different kind?

Globalization: a “neoliberal” disaster doomed to disappear?

In an interview with Le Point (April 9, 2020), Francis Fukuyama blames the current globalization, which he associates with “neoliberalism”, and the limits of which would now be clearly apparent. Even before the outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis, globalization would have shown signs of its decline, so much so that the health crisis would have only hastened its questioning. Thus Francis Fukuyama declares: “I believe that we are witnessing today the end of neoliberalism, which is even already dead, and that we are going to return to liberalism as it had existed in the 1950s and 1960s, when market economy and respect for private property coexisted with an effective state, which intervened to reduce social and economic inequalities.” What the health crisis would reveal, he adds, is “the need for a strong state.” First of all, why is the term “neoliberalism” still so often used? By “neoliberalism”, we generally refer to the 1980s, to the era of Reagan and Thatcher, marked by privatizations, deregulation and the expansion of free trade. Yet Reagan and Thatcher simply applied classical liberal ideas, thus returning to the principles of liberalism as defended in the 20th century by Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. We may here remark that in many cases the use of the prefix “neo” appended to the noun “liberalism” often serves to discredit the latter. Conversely, should we also speak, to characterize the 2010s, of a certain “neo-statism”, allegedly justified to correct the supposed misdeeds of the market and of globalization?

How should one interpret Francis Fukuyama’s assertions? We may here recognize a widespread idea, according to which we would currently be suffering from the consequences of the “conservative revolution” of the 80s, a revolution which would have extended to the 90s and 2000s, if not ideologically, at least in practice. However, the systematic attack on globalization is fundamentally biased as it dismisses the examination of its possible benefits – and the benefits of globalization are real, as shown by many books and articles that have been published over the last forty years or so. For one thing, it is not because globalization does indeed pose new problems, or makes problems that have long existed even more acute, that we should strive to put an end to it. And it is illusory to believe that the problems raised by globalization will be solved by a return to more state interventionism: if there is a lesson, perhaps, to be learnt from the history of liberal capitalism, it is that liberal capitalism itself tends to solve the new problems it may have generated or exacerbated, in a much better and much more effective way than the state can do. Entrepreneurs, innovators and civil society players tend to imagine solutions to problems which arise through a creativity which state bureaucracy is only too apt to stifle.

This does not mean, of course, that the state has no role to play in a crisis like that of Covid-19. The state should already play a role which the liberal essayist Johan Norberg rightly described1, in these times of health crisis, as hippocratic: Primum non nocere, “first, do no harm”. As Johan Norberg put it, the Swedish strategy to deal with Covid-19 has been based on this very principle, and it is not at all sure that this strategy will turn out to be worse than lockdown policies implemented by countries like France, Italy or Spain. History will tell.

Besides, when extolling the alleged merits of a “strong state”, we always tend to confuse the extent of the state with the real effectiveness of its action. Perhaps the time has come to stop believing that there is necessarily a correlation between the scope of the state within society and its capacity to make good decisions and act quickly and adequately. In countries where the state is still too present in sectors which should not be under its control, the state tends to be both invasive and ineffective: it is by limiting the states’ sphere of influence, it is by further liberating civil society from excessive state control, that the state will thus be able to fulfill its role effectively, for it will then only intervene within its sphere of legitimacy.

Admittedly, Francis Fukuyama advises us to remain realistic in our views. The “de-globalization” movement that is likely to take place will be of a quantitative nature rather than of a qualitative one, in the sense that the Covid-19 crisis will not undermine the foundations of globalization as such. If this were the case, he concedes in the same interview with Le Point, “the world would regress to the level of development it had reached fifty years ago, a prospect which would be impossible to envisage”. That said, it is necessary, he believes, to “change the balance between liberalism, social welfare and state intervention”. We can therefore see that Francis Fukuyama advocates a return to a model which surprisingly seems to correspond to the French modèle social, the alleged virtues of which we keep extolling in France with unabated self-satisfaction. A “model” that the world over is said to envy us unanimously, but which is also the source of many issues in our society which have hitherto prevented us from carrying out essential economic and tax reforms, which many countries elsewhere in Europe have managed to adopt.

One of the ideas that have resurfaced in France, and in Western countries more generally, during the pandemic is that current events would have amply demonstrated the limits and the alleged failure of “neoliberalism” and globalization, a conclusion that was already often drawn more than 10 years ago during the global financial crisis of 2008. The old dream shared by anti-globalists has not yet disappeared: whenever a world crisis breaks out, they always blame it on globalized liberal capitalism, which they see as moribund. Alas for them, globalized capitalism always ends up recovering, thus always refuting the same predictions about its final collapse. The same phenomenon will most probably happen again in the aftermath of Covid-19.

If Francis Fukuyama does not completely abdicate the principle of reality when he makes the aforementioned remarks, this does not always seem to be the case with various anti-globalist economists. Several months before the health crisis appeared, the economist and 2001 Nobel Prize winner in economics Joseph Stiglitz bluntly declared that neoliberalism “does not work”. And he even went further: “after decades of stagnant or even falling incomes for those below them, neoliberalism must be pronounced dead and buried2”. This reflects in fact the same old wish to see in recent economic history evidence of a hypothetical death of liberal capitalism … when in fact the latter always gets a new lease of life. Joseph Stiglitz is a Nobel Prize winner in economics, a distinction which gives him an aura in his public positions. However, as the essayist Guy Sorman said about another economist, Paul Krugman3, also a Nobel Prize winner in economics, the articles written by the latter economist do not necessarily have a direct relationship with the content of the research that won him the Nobel Prize. Could this remark about Paul Krugman also apply to someone like Joseph Stiglitz? According to Guy Sorman, there are in fact two different Joseph Stiglitzes: there is Stiglitz Number One, who “has the esteem of his peers” and who received the 2001 Nobel Prize with George Akerlof “for the research on asymmetric information and market transparency he conducted in the 1980s4”. By contrast, Stiglitz Number Two is, according to Sorman, “a fiery public intellectual with a Leftist political agenda, a media-savvy icon who revels in publicity” and who “has become leader of a vast anti-capitalist, anti-globalization, anti-free-trade crusade5”.

According to Joseph Stiglitz, three different groups of political ideas would remain after this alleged “death of neoliberalism”: far-right nationalism, center-left reformism (which he describes as “neoliberalism with a human face”, and which he says constitutes an attempt, still far too dominated in his opinion by neoliberal ideas, to update the policies formerly pursued by a Tony Blair or a Bill Clinton), and finally (the only group of political ideas that really matters to Stiglitz), the “progressive left”. The progressive left, which Stiglitz also calls “progressive capitalism”, would thus be the only group of political ideas really aiming to “restore the balance between markets, the state, and civil society6”. Josept Stiglitz also takes up again the widespread cliché, according to which “governments have a duty to limit and shape markets through environmental, health, occupational-safety, and other types of regulation”. This implies, therefore, this other cliché that the market and globalization would have a fundamental tendency to harm the environment as well as people’s health. In his book Why Globalization works (New York and London, Yale University Press, 2004), Martin Wolf stresses that liberal countries were in fact the least disrespectful of the environment, unlike countries like the late USSR, which, among other examples of absolute environmental disasters, had caused the drying up of the Aral Sea in the 1960s by diverting two of its tributaries to ensure the intensive irrigation of cotton fields7 … But today, as the Soviet Union no longer exists, we tend to believe that any pollution, any environmental disaster is intrinsically linked to globalized capitalism alone. Greta Thunberg was born in 2003, more than 10 years after the demise of the Soviet Union, so she has always grown up under the illusion that environmental problems are caused solely by liberal globalization.

In his book In Defense of global capitalism (Cato Institute, 2003), Johan Norberg had already sought to refute the old refrains on globalization as a systematic factor of aggravation of pollution in the world. He noted for instance that, contrary to the popular belief, “all over the world, economic progress and growth are moving hand in hand with intensified environmental protection8”. This can be easily understood: as Johan Norberg specifies, “abating misery and subduing the pangs of hunger takes precedence over conservation. When our standard of living rises we start attaching importance to the environment and obtaining resources to improve it9”. Thus, developing countries initially tend to be concerned above all with getting richer; and it is only when they have moved along this path long enough that they can start to show a greater concern for the environment. So this is sort of the application of the Maslow pyramid to developing countries. The conclusion that we should therefore draw from this is that if we are really sincere in expressing our concerns about the environment, we should then be encouraging the development of poor countries rather than delaying it! This implies, therefore, the expansion of globalization, the decline of which would be disastrous for developing countries, whose economy is highly dependent on foreign direct investment (FDI).

The call for the emergence of a “new world”: let us not fall back into the mistakes of the past

Anti-globalism has long been in existence, but it has definitely been revived during the Covid-19 crisis. We find for example the habitual criticisms of globalization in the manifesto for a post Covid-19 world by environmentalist Nicolas Hulot, which was published in Le Monde on May 7, 2020: “When Europe signs a free trade agreement with Mexico or the Vietnam, coherence is still lacking”, he says. And Nicolas Hulot adds: “While we should avoid falling into the trap of nationalists and protectionists, we must find this third way between autarky and neoliberalism”. Here Nicolas Hulot is just rehashing the longstanding cliché about the alleged appropriateness of the “third way”, which has always failed to come to fruition.

Already widespread in the 90s and 2000s, the hatred of classical liberalism and globalization actually intensified soon after the 2008 crisis and throughout the 2010s, with the return of populism and protectionism. One of the operating modes of this anti-globalization is the truncation and the falsification of the basic lessons of 20th-century economic history. Thus Marine Le Pen in France said after the victory of Donald Trump in the American presidential election of November 2016: “Clearly, the victory of Donald Trump is an additional stone laid in the construction of a new world, whose purpose is to replace an old order10”.

So, according to Marine Le Pen, the old order would be the globalized liberal order, which she wishes to see disappear in favor of an alleged new order of nation-states, in which the people would supposedly regain the control of its destiny. Is Marine Le Pen aware of the grossly erroneous interpretation she is giving of the most evident lessons of economic history of the past three-quarters of a century? It was clear, indeed, at the end of the Second World War, that the “old order” which had to come to an end was not that of globalization and free trade, but that, on the contrary, of nationalism and protectionism. A century ago, Europe emerged from the First World War in a state of complete destruction. But instead of examining the factors which had led to this situation, and rather than trying to implement solutions that could have helped avoid a new tragedy of the same kind, Europe became increasingly divided. America, too, was increasingly turning its back on the rest of the world. Statism and nationalism progressed, to the detriment of classical liberalism. Then came the 1929 crisis and the depression of the 1930s, marked by the collapse of world trade, the dramatic rise in unemployment and the decline in living standards. Let us note here in passing that it seems very difficult to attribute responsibility for the crisis of 1929 to liberal globalization, as the crisis was in fact largely the result of government monetary policies11. Globalization has always functioned as a convenient scapegoat, which saves us from having to acknowledge the (often statist) origins of the evils for which we make globalization unduly responsible.

Then, in the middle of the Second World War, England and the United States signed the Atlantic Charter (1941), in which was adopted the principle of international free trade. The Secretary of the Treasury under Roosevelt, Henry Morgenthau, declared in his inaugural speech at the Bretton Woods conference (July 1, 1944): “All of us have seen the great economic tragedy of our time. We saw the world-wide depression of the 1930’s. We saw currency disorders develop and spread from land to land, destroying the basis for international trade and international investment and even international faith. In their wake, we saw unemployment and wretchedness — idle tools, wasted wealth. We saw their victims fall prey, in places, to demagogs and dictators. We saw bewilderment and bitterness become the breeders of fascism and, finally, of war12”. This renewed attachment to the principles of free trade was in fact part of Roosevelt’s dream project of building a new world order which was intended to lead to lasting peace, and whose diplomatic component consisted of “collective security”.

At the end of the 5th century BC, Thucydides had undertaken in his History of the Peloponnesian War to extract history from the mere legendary narrative and from simple personal testimony, in order to establish the sole accuracy of related facts. And this not only to enlighten his contemporaries, but also for the benefit of future generations. Indeed, Thucydides wrote:

“it may well be that my history will seem less easy to read because of the absence in it of a romantic element. It will be enough for me, however, if these words of mine are judged useful by those who want to understand dearly the events which happened in the past and which (human nature being what it is) will, at some time or other and in much the same ways, be repeated in the future. My work is not a piece of writing designed to meet the taste of an immediate public, but was done to last for ever.”

In Thucydides’ views, history was a science endowed with real utility for the future. But what is the real purpose of history if its lessons are not taken into account as much as they should be, in order to best guide our current political choices? If we had fully reflected on the lessons of economic history since 1945, we would have been well aware of the misdeeds likely to result from the return of nationalist withdrawals and the revival of protectionism. So let us hope that history does not become again, especially among populists of all kinds, this “piece of writing designed to meet the taste of an immediate public”, in Thucydides’ words.

Why the Covid-19 crisis should be an opportunity to expand globalization

Globalization is often unjustly criticized. This is what Ian Goldin, professor at Oxford, reminds us of in an interview published in L’Express on April 30, 2020. Legend has it that globalization would cause the impoverishment of less developed countries. As Ian Goldin points out, we must on the contrary credit globalization with having allowed poverty to decrease in the world. Extreme poverty affected more than a third of the world’s population in 1990; today it only concerns 10% of this same population, even though the world has seen in the meantime an increase in population of 2 billion human beings. What is more, there has been a drop in infant mortality of more than 50%. Ian Goldin also argues that “globalization has been the most progressive force in history to reduce poverty”. This is also the conclusion drawn by Johan Norberg – whom I’ve already cited – in an interview published by L’Express dated April 23, 2020. Every day, and in spite of the increase in world population, 140,000 people are able to escape from extreme poverty. “The year 2020,” Johan Norberg concludes, “is the best year in history to deal with a pandemic. Epidemics have always existed. For the first time, humanity has a chance to limit one of them to the maximum.”

Ian Goldin also rightly notes the gap that has occurred in recent years between global economic systems which have become increasingly interconnected on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the status quo maintained, and even the backward policies carried out individually by a number of countries on both sides of the Atlantic. While the systems are more interdependent, he says, policies have failed to evolve accordingly, and have in fact become ever more fragmented, as exemplified by the withdrawal of the United States. This state of interdependence should therefore encourage us to set up greater cooperation, exchange of information and mutual aid between the countries which are exposed to similar risks. “We are like an electronic or a digital system”, Ian Goldin adds. “If one piece goes wrong, the whole system goes wrong13”.

In an interview published in Le Monde on May 9, 2020, the European Commissioner for Trade and former Irish centrist minister Phil Hogan also makes a case for globalization. It is essential for Europeans, he argues, to remain open to the outside world and not withdraw into themselves. According to Phil Hogan, not only must Europe maintain its free trade agreements with other countries, it must also strive to create new ones. The reasons are easy to understand: in Europe, 35 million jobs are connected with exports. And at a time when the growing control of some of our companies by foreign economic players is constantly being emphasized, we should also remember that foreign direct investment (FDI) in Europe has generated 16 million jobs. By 2040, Phil Hogan adds, 85% of global growth will take place outside of Europe, as Asia will continue to see its population grow and extreme poverty decrease. It is therefore essential to anticipate this coming development of the main places where world trade will become increasingly concentrated, not by curbing but rather by expanding free trade agreements. This will be made more necessary than ever once the pandemic we have gone through is over. “In order to bounce back from the recession we are going through, we will need international trade more than ever,” he adds.

As regards the Covid-19 crisis itself, it is also globalization which made it possible to act in record time. (Let us not forget that globalization is not only economic or commercial, it is also that of science and information.) As Johan Norberg also notes in the interview published in L’Express on April 23, 2020, it was Chinese scientists who sequenced the genome of Covid-19, and it was a Berlin company that was then able to produce tests in February, which became widely used thereafter. Moreover, the publication of Chinese studies, as well as access to information coming from Southeast Asia about the right strategy to adopt (but which a country such as France could not carry out or did not want to carry out, namely the strategy based of massive testing, isolation of the sick only and treatment) enabled Dr Didier Raoult and his team at the IHU Mediterranée in Marseilles to set up a vast testing program for the local population, as well as the now famous treatment based on hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin.14 […]

Let us here leave the final word to Yuval Noah Harari: “The antidote to epidemics”, he said in an interview with Le Point (April 2, 2020), “is neither isolationism nor segregation, but information and cooperation. The great advantage of humans over viruses is their ability to cooperate effectively. […] China can learn a lot from the United States about the virus, and how to manage it, it can send experts and equipment to help. Unfortunately, the lack of global leadership today means that we are unable to reap the full benefits of such cooperation.” Given that Europe seems to be intent on exerting an influence on international relations amidst countries like the United States or China, it is doubtful that the revival of anti-globalism we are currently witnessing will be the best way to achieve such an ambition. Let us hope that Europe understands that everyone would in fact benefit from living in a world even more open to exchanges between countries, be they intellectual, cultural, scientific or economic.

Notes

1 https://reason.com/2020/04/17/in-sweden-will-voluntary-self-isolation-work-better-than-state-enforced-lockdowns-in-the-long-run/

2 https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/after-neoliberalism-progressive-capitalism-by-joseph-e-stiglitz-2019-05/

3 https://www.city-journal.org/html/paul-krugman%E2%80%99s-follies-9721.html

4 https://www.city-journal.org/html/two-joseph-stiglitzes-10596.html

5 Ibid.

6 https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/after-neoliberalism-progressive-capitalism-by-joseph-e-stiglitz-2019-05/

https://www8.gsb.columbia.edu/articles/chazen-global-insights/after-neoliberalism

7 Concerning the often exaggerated criticisms directed towards liberal countries as regards environmental matters, see for example Martin Wolf’s aforementioned book, 188-194.

8 Johan Noberg, Plaidoyer pour la mondialisation capitaliste. Paris: Plon, 2003, 198.

9 Ibid., 199.

10 https://www.lefigaro.fr/politique/le-scan/citations/2016/11/13/25002-20161113ARTFIG00062-marine-le-pen-espere-une-victoire-a-la-donald-trump-en -2017.php

11 Alain Laurent, La Philosophie libérale. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2002, 16.

12 https://www.cvce.eu/content/publication/2003/12/12/34c4153e-6266-4e84-88d7-f655abf1395f/publishable_en.pdf

13 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtkPYz9Lm10

14 Whether this was the right treatment in the case of Covid-19 is still being debated. On Didier Raoult and his treatment, see two of my articles published in French:

https://www.revuepolitique.fr/didier-raoult-un-grand-medecin-et-un-grand-scientifique-impermeable-au-politico-scientifiquement-correct/

https://www.revuepolitique.fr/meditons-les-lecons-de-didier-raoult-sans-en-faire-une-idole/

Matthieu Creson
Teacher and researcher in Paris, France
Philosophy, literature, art history and business graduate
Article initially published in French on the website of Revue politique et parlementaire on May 26th, 2020: https://www.revuepolitique.fr/pourquoi-il-faut-non-pas-moins-mais-plus-de-mondialisation/

The Conservatives: Not Fit for Any Honest Purpose


The Conservatives: Not Fit for Any Honest Purpose
Alan Bickley
12th June 2020

According to The Daily Mail, Madeline Odent is the Curator of the Royston Museum in Hertfordshire. This museum is funded by Royston Council. In the past few days, Mrs Odent has taken to Twitter, giving expert advice on how to use household chemicals to cause irreparable harm to statues she dislikes.

It is, she says, “extremely difficult” to remove the chemicals once they have been applied. She adds that “it can be done, but the chemical needed is super carcinogenic, so it rarely is.” Again, she says: “We haven’t found a way to restore artefacts that this happens to.” Her last reported tweet features a picture of Winton Churchill’s defaced statue in Parliament Square, and says: “Stay tuned for our next edition, where we’ll be talking about marble memorials of racists.”

The newspaper and various people are calling for the woman to be sacked. It is, I allow, surprising for someone to hold a job that involves conserving the past, and then to advise an insurrectionary mob on how to destroy the past. This being said, and assuming the story is substantially true, Mrs Odent is less to be blamed for giving her advice than those who employed her as an expert on conservation and its opposite.

We have had a Conservative Government since 2010. We have had a Conservative Government with a working majority since 2015. For the past six months, we have had a Conservative Government with a crushing majority. It all counts for nothing, because the Conservatives themselves are useless.

Political power is not purely, nor mainly, a matter of being able to make laws. It is far more a matter of choosing reliable servants. Before 1997, we could suppose, within reason, that these servants were politically neutral. They often had their own agenda. They could use their status as experts to influence, and sometimes to frustrate, laws and policies with which they disagreed. But there were not self-consciously an order of people devoted to a transformative revolution. The Blair Government broke with convention by stuffing the public sector with its own creatures, loyal only to itself. This is to be deplored. On the other hand, the Blair Government did have a mandate for sweeping change, and it is reasonable that it should have given preference to employing those who could be trusted to further both the letter and spirit of this mandate. The Conservatives have had enough time to make the public sector into at least an obedient servant of those the people keep electing. Instead of this, they have spent this time employing and promoting people whom Tony Blair would have sacked on the spot as malicious lunatics.

Royston as a town and Hertfordshire as a county have been dominated by the Conservatives almost without a break since the creation of elected local government in the nineteenth century. Yet Royston Council allowed Mrs Odent to become the curator of its town museum. It allowed this in 2015 – five years into a Conservative Government. To her credit, she did not lie her way into the job. Once more according to The Daily Mail, she claims that she negotiated a contract with her employers that allowed her to “decolonise and diversify” the museum, and that her employers gave her a “safe platform” that she could use to “piss off some racists.” She adds: “a) my boss thinks I’m funny, b) she also supports BLM, and c) I’m the one reading [your direct messages].”

Ever ready to pose as the spokesman for a disenfranchised majority, Andrew Rosindell, the Conservative Member for Romford, announced that the spreading wave of vandalism was being driven by “a politically-correct gang of anarchists who hate everything about this country.” Fair enough, so far as these people do hate England. But this is not an insurrection of anarchists – not even the kind who like the power to destroy. It is an insurrection driven by the wealthy and the well-connected. Mrs Odone is the daughter of an American college president and the wife of a banker. She is part of a network of the rich who feel no twentieth century shame about their wealth, so long as they believe and act on their beliefs in a repeat of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. And they have been given the power to make this revolution by Conservative Governments.

A government of conservatives would long since have purged these people from every institution within its orbit of control or influence. It would have remodelled some and shut others down. This Conservative Government has instead left or even put them in charge of these institutions, and they are now acting in mockery of the parliamentary majority won just six months ago.

For the avoidance of doubt, I do not approve of police brutality. Indeed, I have long believed in abolishing the police. I am no fan of Winston Churchill. I do not believe, had I been alive at the time, that I would have supported slavery or the slave trade. I do not think, in retrospect, that having a big empire was a good idea. But the events that have been made the excuse for what is now happening took place in a foreign country, or a long time ago. What we now have is, I repeat, a cultural revolution – a cultural revolution led by what amounts to the ruling class. The BBC has incited it. Big business and the rich are cheering it on. The police have no wish to stop it.

It is also a cultural revolution that will not end with pulling down the statues of men whose actions may not have been spotless. Again, I quote Mrs Odent, whose honesty, if nothing else, is to be commended: “[W]e all immediately forget history when statues are destroyed.”

And a Conservative Government that, last December, swore blind it would stand by us has abdicated what little control it might still have. If disappointment is reasonable, we have no reason to be shocked. The Conservatives are, and always have been, unfit for any honest purpose. Sooner or later, I have no doubt – if it has not already happened – Mrs Odent and Boris Johnson will meet at some smart dinner. They will get on very well. Why not? She may despise him. Being herself intelligent, she has no choice. Being intelligent, though, she can also be sure that, unlike the average reader of The Daily Mail, he is not her enemy.

Dominion Theology: Salvation or Snare for Liberty?


A review of Robert Grözinger, Why Libertarianism Needs Christianity to Succeed, Kindle eBook, April 7, 2020.

 

Dominion Theology: Salvation or Snare for Liberty?
Anthony G. Flood

This provocative essay derives from a talk given to the Libertarian Alliance in London late last summer. German economist and translator Robert Grözinger (Jesus, der Kapitalist: Das christliche Herz der Marktwirtschaft, Munich, 2012) argues that libertarianism, which traditionally prides itself on its alleged independence from philosophical frameworks, cannot succeed without one that gives meaning to liberty-seeking itself. Arguments for, say, the superiority of free to hampered markets don’t compensate libertarianism for its lack of an adequate framework of meaning or worldview. Libertarians should identify theirs and persuade others on its terms if they want libertarianism to be more than an intellectual hobby. For if libertarianism’s attitude toward ultimate-meaning frameworks remains as laissez-faire as its politics, its attractiveness will remain limited. Grözinger believes Christianity best meets that need. Continue reading

Sean Gabb at Sixty: A Balanced Appreciation


Sean Gabb at Sixty: A Balanced Appreciation
Mario Huet

I’ve read the various appreciations written to commemorate Sean Gabb’s sixtieth birthday. These are all good and true. I don’t claim to be much of a political analyst. What I can offer is that I’ve known Sean for half a century, which is somewhat longer than anyone else here can claim. Because I usually helped put them there, I know where all the bodies are buried. Over the years, he’s returned the favour. I think this qualifies me to add to the growing heap of praise.

I met Sean on Tuesday the 7th September 1971. It was our first day at a crap comprehensive school in South-East London. He was a short, fat boy, with NHS glasses and a mass of brown curls. He had a flat voice and a permanent look of boredom. He despised most of the teachers, and responded to their usually incompetent lessons by reading in class or falling asleep. The other boys responded to him with ruthless bullying. His response to that was truancy. If I ever wanted to find him after school, the surest place was Lewisham Library, which in those days was a treasure house of books on every subject. Continue reading

Erudite, scholarly, and unfailingly polite


To Sean Gabb on the Occasion of his Sixtieth Birthday

One of the unanticipated pleasures of my adult life has been the diverse number of intellectuals, scholars, and liberty lovers, from all over the world, that I’ve met, and often befriended, through various libertarian and Austrian economic events, seminars, and connections, since the mid-1990s. The singular and intriguing Sean Gabb stands out in my mind as an excellent example. I don’t know if I had previously heard of Sean when we first met at the inaugural meeting of the Property and Freedom Society in Bodrum, Turkey, in May 2006. Well, we call it Bodrum, but historical-minded Sean insists on calling it by its proper name, Halicarnassus (in his delightful account of that first meeting (see below)). Continue reading