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How do you solve a problem like the proletariat?
19th August 2016
I was particularly struck on reading The Servile State by what appears to be a banal or asinine point:
A man politically free, that is, one who enjoys the right before the law to exercise his energies when he pleases (or not at all if he does not so please), but not possessed by legal right of control over any useful amount of the means of production, we call proletarian, and any considerable class composed of such men we call a proletariat.
Indeed, when lefties come out with such a statement, we are right to ignore them; they usually follow this by advocating state socialism, i.e. centralised control of the means of production by bureaucrats. When someone like Hilaire Belloc writes something like the above, however, I sit up and take note. Belloc, Chesterton, &co advocated not state socialism, nor state capitalism, but distributism, which they saw as the mediaeval economy adapted to modern times. The distributists often have a point, although I’m not necessarily a convert. (more…)
What is the difference between our political setup in the West and that of, say, Iran? Why, we are “democracies”! In the countries of the West, we rule ourselves, whether directly through plebiscites or indirectly through electing deputies. This, any constitutional textbook will have you believe, is what makes us in the West free, and everyone else unfree.
So what are these freedoms that we hold dear in the West? Trial by jury, freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of religion, freedom from mutilation, habeas corpus, free markets, private property rights, limited government generally. These rights, and others as articulated by the classical liberal, conservative, and Natural Law traditions, are what make us who we are. (more…)
IN PRAISE OF DAVID CAMERON (& CO): A LIBERTARIAN FATWA
A fortnight ago, I wrote something nasty about Margaret Thatcher for the Libertarian Alliance. Yet even I will concede that in order to be so cruel about the old cow one must inevitably come across as sympathetic to some less than civilised people. In order to attack the Thatcher government and its record one must to some extent deny the existence of the many problems this country faced in 1979: the rampant inflation; the militant trade unionism; the lack of self-respect as a nation; the high rates of direct taxation; the low levels of home ownership. I will concede that even if one takes a dim view of the Thatcher government, there are many allowances that can, and indeed must, be made.
However, when considering the latest tax credits debacle, I am unable to make similar allowances for Mr Cameron and his government. This particular episode is a perfect example of economic illiteracy, legislative incompetence, and constitutional ignorance.