Mrs May’s Disastrous Deal
By Duncan Whitmore
Albeit for the wrong reasons, Theresa May never ceases to amaze. In spite of having first tabled an almost universally unpopular proposal for withdrawal from the EU at Chequers in July of this year, and then having done the equivalent of inject that proposal with steroids through the draft “Withdrawal Agreement” with the EU, she soldiers on in the face of all resistance.
Sean Gabb has summarised the contents of the draft agreement unveiled last week in an earlier post on this blog so there is no need to repeat that here. What we will do instead is to outline the combination of circumstances that have led to this situation and conclude with some thoughts as to what libertarians can make of this whole this debacle. Read more
Sore Losers: “Remainers” and the EU Referendum
By Duncan Whitmore
In spite of the fact that we are now more than two years after the event, the sore losers on the “Remain” side of the Brexit vote persist in their efforts to deny the legitimacy of the referendum result in favour of “Leave”. The most strenuous effort, in accordance with the propensity of the EU to require repetitive voting until they receive the right answer, is the push for a second referendum – either on the so-called “deal” that our government is trying its best to fashion into a resemblance of EU membership in all but name, or a rerun of the entire process.
In the first place, it must be nothing short of astonishing that every single argument that is advanced in order to discredit the outcome of the referendum is exactly the same as every argument that was made against democracy itself prior to its ascension as the unquestionable holy grail: that the voters are too uneducated; that people didn’t know what they were voting for; that the majority is not a real majority; and so on.
Particularly following Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s polemic, it is true that libertarians are at least suspicious of democracy, and are likely to view it more as an enabler of state growth rather than a straightjacket. However, such suspicion applies only to representative democracy or the kind where we are, essentially, voting on how tax loot should be divvied up. It can scarcely apply to a referendum the very purpose of which is to determine the sovereignty of a nation, and where there is a chance to move that sovereignty closer towards the individual through a rejection of state centralisation and consolidation into ever larger behemoths governing wider territories.
Although the efforts from the “Leave” side to defend the legitimacy of the result are all cogent enough, they are usually content to address the “Remainers’” objections on their own terms instead of challenging the underlying assumptions. This short essay will attempt to provide some additional, more fundamental ammunition in order to refute the most typical arguments. Read more
Although he wrote the following passage in 1909 about the United Kingdom and the question of Irish Home Rule, G.K. Chesterton might just as well have written it about the EU and UKIP. Enjoy:
union is no more a good thing in itself than separation is a good thing in itself. To have a party in favour of union and a party in favour of separation, is as absurd as to have a party in favour of going upstairs and a party in favour of going downstairs. The question is not whether we go up or down stairs, but where we are going to, and what we are going for? Union is strength; union is also weakness. It is a good thing to harness two horses to a cart; but it is not a good thing to try and turn two hansom cabs into one four-wheeler. Turning ten nations into one empire may happen to be as feasible as turning ten shillings into one half-sovereign. Also it may happen to be as preposterous as turning ten terriers into one mastiff. The question in all cases is not a question of union or absence of union, but of identity or absence of identity.
Chesterton, G. K. (2010). Heretics (255). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
Chesterton wrote the above in the context of correcting the idea that older politicians like Gladstone were idealists whereas newer ones like Joseph Chamberlain were materialists. In fact, he noted, the real difference between them was that Gladstone thought of his ideals as things he would like to change reality to resemble, whereas Chamberlain thought his ideals simply described the way things were in any case.
Truly, there is nothing new under the sun.
David Davis (not his: ours)
Ho-hum. The EU will continue to be writ large on our stage: depite its staggering nugatoriness and utter unimportance.
If only we were to learn to treat it, its strictures, its structures, and its instructions, like all the other proper Europeans do, then we’d have no trouble getting on with our proper business as a liberal civilisation, cheerfully passing all its directives and equally-cheerfully flouting and ignoring them. (Like all the rest do – else how could you eat, drive, sell things, grow things, make stuff, shag, have a bit of fun, laugh a little, and live what approximates to a normal unStatized life as most Europeans manage to do?)
I don’t think libertarian governments in the UK would have much problem with the EU: we’d just denounce and repudiate Rome, the SEA, Maastricht, Nice and Lisbon, and we’d charmingly and cordially invite the offices and staffs of the EU in the UK to leave.
I expect everyone on the Continent would still be keen to trade with us, since we owe them far more money than they owe us, and have longer-term prospects of being able to pay, once we have got Gordon Brown out of our hair.
There are of course planty of accounts of the action, but as I was going to do a piece tomorrow anyway I will just flag up Free Market Fairy Tales now.
The astonishingly wicked and deluded dreams of Napoleon remind us, eternally, of the barbarian wishes of land-locked powers to subjugate, regulate and “codify”. I was taught that “Napoleon improved and codified the laws”…this was supposed to be good – it did sound so and got me 100% in history exams, but now we know what that means. It’s the opposite of Common Law.
Formula -1 is, in the final analysis, a quite libertarian sport. Not like the Stalinist collectivist flag-waving “olympics”, in which States pretend to idolize individuals, but don’t mean it at all, for there is no champagne or cups. The regulation bureaucrats, such as the “Regional Prime Minister of upper-Thuringia-Alsace” (er…I made it up, but he probably exists) troop on but are relegated mercifully to secondary supporting roles, like handing up the cup.
In the end, it’s this. It comes down to how good a driver or his engineers, or his computer-techies, are. I would like it to be cleaned up just only a little bit, so that we could have some more excitement while yet preserving the individuality.
Gerhard Berger, great guy, good driver, thinks this. I think so too. if the buggers want £300 million a year for a couple of engines and about 8 tyres and a driver and a petrol hose, then right now it’s not going to happen like before. Especially if half the banks who used to sponsor them don’t exist or are bust.
The whole sport should gird itself up, grit its teeth, and follow our new suggested model, which will both make it cheaper to enter and also more fun.