Tag Archives: conservatives
Sean Gabb, on this column, bravely defended the position that we ought to vote Tory this time, to give us just a little more time before fully-sliding down into the eternal cesspool of the socialist Endarkenment. Something might turn up: you cannot know unless we could try it. It could be worth the candle, the game could. A few more years to organise, under a State that won’t, probably, actually turn its police’s guns on its own people.
But now we have this. And indeed, when you watch Gordon Brown at PM’s questions, he really does seem like a fighter whho truly believes what he is saying, and who truly believe in the unutterably-irrevocable wickedness of the Tories and others, any others, that oppose him and his. You can see how Simon-Cowell-educated people will wamr to him and will tend to vote for him.
We are truly f****d. But hopefully the setting-in of the true rot will take some time. However, knowledge still exists in distributed form, and we can ameliorate the effects of civilisational decay (barring violence and fire) over the years and decades.
It looks like we have to go down to the bottom, before we can go up. Like the poor Germans. So we might as well vote for whoever pleases us.
As readers will recall, this was the title briefed for the Chris R Tame Memorial Prize submissions, requested for the 2009 LA/Libertarian International Conference which took place in London in October. The prize was won by Antoine Clarke, but there were other submissions, one of which I reprint her below by one of our occasional visitors and guest commentators, Peter Watson:-
“Can a Libertarian also be a Conservative?”
For the purposes of answering this question, it is necessary first to define the terms used. As the question is posed using capital letters for both Libertarian and Conservative, it can be assumed that the words in this context are intended to mean specifically party political allegiances, and therefore the short answer would be “No”, since political allegiance distributed over two parties is meaningless.
Membership of a political party presupposes that the party manifesto and general ethos is such that by and large, the member can realistically lend his support to it. Traditionally, the Conservative Party has also been “conservative”, in the sense that it has advocated limited authority for central government, and expected the individual citizen to use his own judgement in making such decisions about the direction and conduct of his personal life as are not specifically forbidden by the law of the land.
In the sense that this approach meant a limiting of government authority, the Libertarian would have approved. But this limitation only worked when there was a general acceptance by the public at large of known and familiar customs and mores, and a commonly agreed view on principles and morality. If there is self-discipline, there is less need for government to prescribe or to legislate behaviour in specific situations.
But for a considerable time now, the Conservative Party, in common with the two other main parties, has so relaxed the legal framework that has for generations governed personal behaviour that it can scarcely be said today to qualify for the term “conservative”, which implies the maintenance of and support for traditional, time honoured, tried and tested mores and morality. In this respect, the Conservatives have gradually come much closer to those aspects of Libertarian principles and beliefs relating to personal behaviour.
Because of this, it is today possible for a member of the Conservative Party also to hold Libertarian views. Owing to the wholesale ditching of traditional values, the prevailing belief by most of our political leaders seems to be that people should be allowed to indulge themselves even in areas where that indulgence is dangerous not only for their personal character, morality and principles, but also often for others and consequently for society in general. Such matters as the preferential treatment of ethnic minority members in employment law, certain aspects of the treatment of homosexuality, where it is now considered positively beneficial to treat this subject in reading materials for school children, the ludicrous “all have won and all shall have prizes” approach to education, which has in short order reduced the British education system, once the best in the world, to a level where more children than ever emerge from school unable to read or write competently, all contribute to both increasing the divisions in society and the gradual disintegration of society itself.
The determination that regardless of competence, women, simply because they are female, should also receive preferential treatment in employment and other areas of life is a further illustration, if it were needed, of the folly of abandoning principles, laws and practices that have for decades given us in this country an reasonably peaceful, fair, and unified society. It was until comparatively recently a social order that allowed for individual differences, without those differences causing the fragmentation and sectionalism of today’s special interest groups. Today, there is in addition to the aforementioned, a growing feeling that there should be a more relaxed approach to drugs and drug-taking, the results of both of which contribute to and hasten the fragmentation and ultimate collapse of a once cohesive and orderly society.
In these matters, the Conservative Party, along with the other two main parties, is coming very much closer to Libertarian views. So perhaps we might say that yes, in all probability it is now quite possible for a member of the Conservative Party to hold Libertarian views, without greatly contradicting either present-day Conservative principles, or those he holds as a Libertarian.
“The Baron Report — a report that is in no sense libertarian – oriented —points out: libertarianism — (is) “the philosophy that argues against government intervention and for personal rights.” The report adds that libertarianism has an appeal to both ends of the political spectrum: “Conservatives welcome that trend when it indicates public skepticism over federal programs; liberals welcome it when it shows growing acceptance of individual rights in such areas as drugs, sexual behavior, etc., and increasingly reticence of the public to support foreign intervention.” (1)
But by appealing to both ends of the political spectrum, Libertarianism cannot fully satisfy either, and the Libertarian will most certainly sit uncomfortably with real conservatives. Equally, aspiring Conservative politicians will find that their desire for progressive social change, which inevitably requires a continual expansion of state authority and power, will run directly counter to the Libertarian desire to restrict the size and consequently the power of government.
It is evident that Libertarian and conservative systems are dynamic, not static. Compared to today’s Conservative Party, the Conservative Party of the 1950’s far better reflected true conservative beliefs. The Conservative Party is now so far to the left of conservatives and so liberal in its social mores, that no true conservative could be a member of the party. Talk about devolving power from the centre is pointless because impossible, due to the structure of the European Union, by which we are now governed, which was imposed upon us by the Conservative Party itself. Basic tenets of liberalism, personal freedom and minimal State interference are now ignored by a Conservative Party which can no longer legitimately claim to be conservative. In conservative philosophy, social order draws strength from the Christian principles which are its foundation. The liberty-approaching-license approach of Libertarianism would be rejected by most conservatives because of the inevitably disastrous consequences of a wholly Libertarian society based on that principle.
An honest Libertarian cannot be a conservative because it is impossible to bridge the chasm between the liberal idea that man is basically good and evolving ever higher (all progress is good, on this basis) and the conservative recognition that man is an imperfect and fallible creature, by nature answerable to a Higher Authority. The first of these views of man automatically removes most Conservatives from the belief system underpinning conservatism. Because today most Conservatives view man as do the Libertarians they can no longer be considered to be conservative.
Consider the following observation from Malcolm Muggeridge:
“Had discussion with Bill Deedes on Liberalism, which was, I said, an attractive doctrine, but which I increasingly abhorred because false. Its great fallacy, I pointed out, was the perfectibility of Man – i.e. the assumption that left to himself he would be humane, orderly and industrious. My experience has been the exact opposite – namely that, left to himself, Man was brutish, lustful, idle and murderous, and that the only hope of keeping his vile nature within any sort of bound was to instil in him fear of God or of his fellow men. Of these two alternatives, I preferred fear of God – an authoritarian Christian society to an authoritarian materialist society, fear of Hell as a deterrent to fear of human brutality. And, as a matter of fact, more potent and wonderful is fear of being cut off from the light of God’s countenance and living in darkness – this fear the only deterrent which is at once effective and ennobling.” (2)
Philosophical conservatives regard it as necessary to regulate pornography and sexual activities and would utterly reject permitting incest, pederasty or bestiality. But the number of “progressives” who would countenance such behaviour is rising. This is not an extravagant claim – it is noteworthy that “progressive” political lobbyists in Europe already have not only sanctioned child sex and one Party leader has committed it, (3&4) but some also called for incest and bestiality, masquerading as a legitimate relationship, to be legalized all in the name of tolerance and progress. (5)
There are many amongst both Conservative Party members and Libertarians who presently back the call for voluntary euthanasia. Past experience clearly shows that once the principle is established, it is only a matter of time before it is extended to cover more situations than originally either envisaged or intended. Sooner or later in the name of progress the State will assiduously begin to apply euthanasia to those it deems suitable candidates. This may be contrary to the intentions of both Libertarians and Conservatives, but it will be the inevitable result.
There is no logical reason for the Libertarian belief in the absolute autonomy of the individual to supplement the desire for this freedom with a caution “avoid harming others”. A conservative belief in an authority beyond the self, a spiritual authority, has for centuries been instrumental in forming the laws by which our society functions. In this context, man is not considered “the measure of all things”, nor is he thought of as the final arbiter. Without this underpinning, there is no possible reason why everyone should not do exactly what pleases him regardless of the convenience of others, or, as Alistair Crowley puts it, quoting Rabelais: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”. What is presented as a call for liberty is actually an excuse for license, blurring the distinction of what is and what is not morally acceptable. Anyone acknowledging a morality, external to himself, will find that the requirements of that morality are not always in accord with his natural inclinations.
Robert Bork identifies the impossibility of a Libertarian being a conservative in this extract from his book being a short essay on both pornography and drugs where he wrote:
“Modern liberals employ the rhetoric of ‘rights’ incessantly, not only to delegitimate the idea of restraints on individuals by communities but to prevent discussion of the topic. Once something is announced, usually flatly or stridently, to be a right –whether pornography or abortion or what have you– discussion becomes difficult to impossible. Rights inhere in the person, are claimed to be absolute, and cannot be diminished or taken away by reason; in fact, reason that suggests the non-existence of an asserted right is viewed as a moral evil by the claimant. If there is to be anything that can be called a community, rather than an agglomeration of hedonists, the case for previously unrecognized individual freedoms (as well as some that have been previously recognized) must be thought through and argued, and “rights” cannot win every time. Why there is a right for adults to enjoy pornography remains unexplained and unexplainable.” (6)
It is not possible for a Libertarian to be “conservative”, using the word as it used once to be understood by the Conservative Party, but is no longer. The conflict between the old conservative beliefs that there were certain aspects of human behaviour that could and should not be indulged, encouraged or legally permitted, allowed, and the present-day practice of “letting it all hang out” does not allow a Libertarian to claim to be “conservative”. Neither does it allow a conservative to claim, still less to want to claim, to be a Libertarian. The two approaches are simply diametrically opposed to one another on matters of behaviour; the conservative wanting to retain as far as possible an orderly and civilised society where self-discipline is encouraged and expected and the Libertarian, however well-intentioned in theory, adopting principles which both discourage and radically undermine self-discipline, and eventually lead to a disintegration of society.
What Libertarians may fail to realise is that if a range of behaviours previously unacceptable within a society are now to be permitted, as they appear to wish, it becomes increasingly necessary for government to legislate on all manner of matters as a direct result of the growing disorder developing because of the now-permitted behaviours. If the population is self-disciplined, this problem does not arise. But when there are fewer and fewer people who observe the rules that used to govern civilised behaviour, more and more laws are required to make good the deficit. And this is something Libertarians do NOT like!
Libertarians can not have it both ways. Either society is self-disciplined and intelligent enough to accept and observe an unwritten code of conduct, within which everything that is not expressly forbidden by law is allowed, or society under the pressures of each individual pursuing his own selfish interests, gradually disintegrates. No amount of legislation will compensate or rectify the resulting chaos.
In summary – A Conservative (party member) may certainly be a Libertarian, and a Libertarian should feel reasonably comfortable (if not entirely at home) in today’s Conservative Party but a “conservative” does not hold Libertarian beliefs, and a Libertarian certainly doesn’t hold “conservative” beliefs.
(1) http://mises.org/rothbard/newlibertywhole.asp – return15.7 The Baron Report (February 3, 1978), p. 2. [p. 322] http://mises.org/rothbard/newlibertywhole.asp#note15.7
(2) LIKE IT WAS – A selection from the Diaries of Malcolm Muggeridge
excerpt dated July 20th 1950.
(3) Irish Daily Mail: Pedophilia and the dark heart of the EU’s parliament Irish Daily Mail
Monday, May 25th, 2009 – by-line Mary Ellen Synon
(6) Robert Bork “Slouching Towards Gomorrah” pp 151-152
Director, The Libertarian Alliance
(Carbon-positive since 1979)
30 Years After: I reject Margaret Hilda Thatcher and Most of Her Works
Since everyone else is boring on about the 30th anniversary of her first election victory in 1979, I was until ten minutes ago disinclined to say anything of my own. However, I have now promised to put something on the Libertarian Alliance Blog. Therefore, having nothing else to write, I will say why Margaret Thatcher was a bad thing for the cause of liberty in England.
She started the transformation of this country into a politically correct police state. Her Government behaved with an almost gloating disregard for constitutional norms. She brought in money laundering laws that have now been extended to a general supervision over our financial dealings. She relaxed the conditions for searches and seizure by the police. She increased the numbers and powers of the police. She weakened trial by jury. She weakened the due process protections of the accused. She gave executive agencies the power to fine and punish without due process. She began the first steps towards total criminalisation of gun possession.
She did not cut government spending. Instead, she allowed the conversion of local government and the lower administration into a system of sinecures for the Enemy Class. She allowed political correctness to take hold in local government. When she did oppose this, it involved giving central government powers of supervision and control useful to a future politically correct government. She extended and tightened the laws constraining free speech about race and immigration.
Her encouragement of enterprise never amounted to more than a liking for big business corporatism. Genuine enterprise was progressively heaped with taxes and regulations that made it hard to do business. Big business, on the other hand, was showered with praise and legal indulgences. Indeed, her privatisation policies were less about introducing competition and choice into public services than in turning public monopolies into corporate monsters pampered by the State with subsidies and favourable regulations – corporate monsters that were expected in return to lavish financial rewards on the political class.
She virtually began the war on freedom of choice where smoking is concerned. She started the modern obsession with health and safety as an excuse for controlling our lives. She vastly expended state powers of supervision and control over parenting, and immensely expanded the numbers and powers of social workers.
She made the environmental nonsense politically fashionable. She was the first senion British politician to start wittering about climate change and ozone holes. She doubtless thought she was further stuffing the coal miners. In fact, she was a useful idiot for the ideology best suited to replace socialism as an excuse for Enemy Class domination.
She hardly cut taxes. She ruthlessly pushed the speed of European integration. Her militaristic foreign policy and slavish obedience to Washington mostly worked against the interests of this country. The one war she fought that might have some justification was only necessary because her own colleagues had effectively told the Argentine Government to invade the Falkland Islands.
Even her reforms of the trade union movement had malevolent effects. Before her, trade unions were run by ordinary working class people who used the strike and violence to achieve their ends. She ensured that the unions were taken over by the usual Enemy Class graduates. These were the only people capable of using the health and safety and workplace discrimination laws and so forth that were brought in to replace the older methods of advancing working class interests. The result has been the co-option of the trade unions to purposes that have done nothing at all to advance working class interests.
Forget Margaret Thatcher as some hero of our Movement. She was at best the midwife of the New Labour Revolution. She did not just make the world safe for New Labour – she created New Labour. Without her precedents and her general transformation of our laws and institutions, Tony Blair would have been impossible.
I am inclined to wish James Callaghan had won in 1979. If things had turned nasty thereafter, it would at least have been an honest despotism. No libertarians or genuine conservatives would have been making idiots of themselves nearly a third of a century later trying to tell themselves and everyone else that it was other than it was.
1st May 2009, [New] Labour Day! A tipping-point for liberty. And I want to know why people get like that.
I am old enough to remember the time when this day was – without our being consulted – socialisticosolidaritized in Britain with the State “holiday” of the brave and victorious Workers and Peasants of the Soviet Empire. Previously in May we just had Ascenscion Day, which tended to fall at the end of the month, easter depending. Everyone (sort of) cheered, in a resigned kind of way. Stalinators here, in those times, were what his Evil Eminence Himself would have called “not serious at all”, so they just introduced “May Day”.
Which brings me to my second point. I now want to do some amateur and doubtless entirely inept forensic psychology (for I am a bumpkin) on those sorts of people who think in terms of fascism. This is to say, why some people are on purpose becoming an Enemy Class so that they can bully and push others about, in “groups”, to achieve “plans”. Nothing on the scale we have witnessed in the last 200-odd years really came about before.
The problem in Britain with Statists is that there are in my view, today, two kinds.
First kind: the “serious” ones, the Stalinators:-
There is the really, really “serious” [aka Stalin] kind, the GramscoFabiaNazis, who are (as I said yesterday regarding what they tried to do to the Gurkhas) irremediably wicked, quite voluntarily and purposefully evil, and who know and have always known __/exactly/__ what they are doing, why, and to what timetable: it would interest me greatly to understand how and why individual human beings get to be like that – it can’t __just__ have been their University Tutors, shaggable though the students might have been to them, although I frequently blame a younger Eagleton, Derrida and others for much poisoning of young and intelligent minds with Marxism. Examples in no special order are of course Julia Middleton, Kim-Il Sung, “Ted” Heath, Hitler, Ed Balls, Stalin himself, Gordon Brown (I don’t think he’s an idiot at all [it’s all deliberate], he may not even be Scotch for all we know, and he may be malingering about his eye), Mao tse Tung, “Jacqui” “Smith”, Vidkun Quisling, Tom Watson, Robert Mugabe, Dawn Primarolo (how can you give a job to someone with that name?), Francois Mitterand, the suitably-dead-butcher-pig Saddam Hussein, that guy who runs the Europarliament monkeyhouse whose name I can’t remember and haven’t time to look up, that 5-years-dead chappie Fidel Castro, his brother and successor, and so on. They employ “public relations” people, such as spin-doctors.
Perhaps being a glorious charismatic leader and killing your bugbears and others who don’t agree with you in their millions is a buzz, but I can’t quite see how. Perhaps it’s a form of autistic spectrum disorder, and I ought to ask my wife about this condition and how it in particular affects intelligent and focussed males who can’t get proper jobs as engineering-machinists, painters, bankers, dustmen, brickies, truck-drivers or shoe-cleaners. (She’s a SENCO.) Perhaps they stamped on frogs while young boys, or shone magnifying glasses on ants in the sun. We need to know.
Secondly, the “not very serious” one, the MacMillanisators:-
“Not very serious” Statists, although they either don’t murder people directly or else don’t even actually issue the orders so to do, perhaps becasue they don’t want to for moral reasons, are still often a dangerous and latent problem. They frequently look like, behave like, dress like, are brought up like, and act like conservatives, or even like liberals. They are people who can’t, not really in their hearts (for they still have some) take all the humourless pomp and self-regardingness of real, mortal deathly statism, with all its military parades, death-camps, psychiatric hospitals for those who failed to vote correctly, calling-out of all schoolchildren to mexicanwave flags on camera all day, the lack of Internal Pissports and so on, quite seriously enough. These people would, for example, _not_ shoot Catholic priests – or Imams either – who had stood up to their People’s Courts and won anyway, whether the said priests had used Jesuitical-type/Masonic/Zionist-type arguments or not. Some examples again in no special order are Harlot Macmillan, Rab Butler, George Bush (both classes of him), David Cameron, Frank Field, Silvio Berlusconi, Nick Griffin, Jeremy Paxman (what a curious name?), David Trimble, Helmut Kohl, and many many more. Perhaps these people only stamped on ants, in the rain. They also don’t really understand “public relations”. (See the buggers above, who do.)
My third point is this.
Gordon Brown’s “government” is visibly disintegrating at the seams. This is to be applauded of course, because governments that can’t pass any legislation which they want, and are moribund and hated, are what we always wish for, if they are statist. In a Judeo-Christian civilisation that has had a certain but indeterminate measure of individual liberty for long enough, say about 300-400 years, such as ours has, the absence of an administration with “power” is a grand thing and to be wished for.
But if. as we might suppose, the less-serious-statists are about to be elected, what then? True, we might see measures such as ID cards scrapped (although you can bet 50p they won’t shred the files…) for the time being at least. We might even see a few minor parts of some government departments we had never heard of being closed. Even, dare we say it, some QUANGOs might be terminated. But not many.
The Conservatives will f*** up, in government. It is in the nature of non-serious statists, who have either no terror-police or who have not been setting these up from day one, that they go about trying to undo statist stuff rather half-heartedly and without the necessary firepower they’d need to make their changes stick – they try to do it “by consensus”… which will fail, for it is the nature of masses of people to want free stuff apparently provided by someone else.
The “non-serious” think that the Stalinators have gone away – but it is not in the nature of these bastards to do so – they are much, much more resolute, and brave, and committed, that they are given credit for: they _know_ they are right (just like we libertarians do) and they _will_ stay around, in the mud and the sewers and the stagnant puddles, until the time “non-serious” statists do f** up and get unelectable, because they have mishandled the proper and total disappearance of proper statists.
There are two solutions. There is the statist one, which is to round up all the serious bastards and kill them. We could apply it, but we ought not to and it’s evil and we should not do it. And there is the libertarian one, which unfortunately takes longer, and means we have to watch, in all our lifetimes, shedloads of colateral damage, to societies and to institutions which were of value and did good, and which we can’t stop. But the solution lies in the end in better people.
But we should not, on the ejection of this government, this year or next, if it comes, imagine like we did in 1979 that the problem has gone away: for it will not. The buggers will be back, they will hide in the woodwork of our universities and “councils” in the meantime, and we should winkle them out, seize their computers, sack them, shop them to their local papers, shame them, have their houses daubed by vigilantes, have their children taken into “care” and so on – but we won’t, will we.
And they won’t piss about for 12 years next time, before getting their terror-police-network working, like they orta-av-dunn in 1997.
Guido seems to have noiced something’s up with the British Left today too.
Here. This chap is a Canadian conservative: I have always hoped that there would be some of these.
Comment from Blogmaster:- I should have said that this is the post which Keith Neilson comments on below. The original post was a stormer, which has mightily upset certain Tories in the UK.