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Imitating a Broken Record
(26th July 2016)
Since I last bothered to write something about terrorism on 12th June following the deaths of fifty gay men in Orlando, there have been a number of new atrocities. One of these was in Nice, one in the Alps, two in Munich, one in Reutlingen, one in Ansbach, and today one in Rouen and one in Berlin. These attacks are obviously sickening to any person of sound mind, and yet it is very easy to get bored – for want of a better word – of responding to them.
Even so, I am still of the opinion, which I express to my friends following every such incident when asked for comment, that these attacks are caused by bad politics and that we should not be scared, as libertarians, anarchists, nationalists, and conservatives, of ‘politicising’ them. The correct response is to properly mourn the loss of innocent Europeans, and then to have a proper think about how to avoid a repeat of the incident. What has actually happened every time is that we have seen countless people tweet their sadness or add a temporary overlay to the Facebook profile picture, and then wilfully forget about it. Furthermore, the words of the Prime Minister of France, that we should “learn to live with terrorism”, are entirely inappropriate since it is the duty of the State to protect its citizens. As I said, bad politics caused these attacks; good politics can prevent them. (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…)
Shamelessly Exploiting Another Atrocity
(12th June 2016)
Upwards of 50 gay men have been murdered by a Muslim claiming allegiance to ISIS in Orlando. I am getting sick and tired of responding to these atrocities, and my reaction is no longer one of shock, but I do so on principle; I maintain that there is nothing crude or improper in making a political point out of these occurrences. However, the problem is that I have made the same political points twice at length now. The Paris Atrocity and the Brussels Atrocity have roughly the same causes as the Orlando Atrocity, and following earlier atrocities I elaborated on these causes in two essays, Paris: A Few Political Points to Make (14th November 2015) and Brussels: Déjà vu (22nd March 2016). (more…)
I remember watching with horror on the night of the 13th November 2015 as the news of the Paris atrocities came through. RT, the BBC, and Sky were all of them thoroughly confused by the events and yet I stayed up until the small hours of the morning. When I woke up, the death toll was well over a hundred. It made me, and countless others, almost physically ill. It also made me very angry.
This morning, I sat down with my breakfast and switched on the television set with the intention of getting my 5-10 minutes of BBC propaganda. Instead, I was very nearly late for college. Just as in November, I was glued to the screen, only this time I don’t feel the same anger. Yes, I am repulsed. I would hope that the very idea that any one of us could be blown to smithereens by some lunatic while on the way to work or waiting for our luggage – in our own country – would repulse any sensible person. But I am incapable of reproducing the emotions of last year.Instead, what I mostly feel is déjà vu.
SYRIA: LET US DO NOTHING!
There’s a lot of talk of the recent debates over the Cameron regime’s proposed Syrian adventure being a good thing and that we are learning from the mistakes of Iraq and Libya.
No we aren’t. The vast majority of voices we are hearing are in favour of a military solution. While the wisdom of bombing is being questioned, it is the wisdom of ‘bombing only’ that is being questioned, with even a young lady from the Adam Smith Institute calling for working “with countries all over the world” in a Grand Coalition, arguing that boots on the ground “probably is necessary”.
PARIS: A FEW POLITICAL POINTS TO MAKE
I disagree that it is crude to make a political point out of atrocities such as that in Paris yesterday. Bad politics causes these attacks and better politics can prevent them. Here are a few political points I’d like to make.
In the first place, most of us have imperfect information about the events of last night. I was flicking back and forth from Sky to BBC, who, in turn, were getting their most reliable information from BFM. Even as I write, the death toll is disputed as is the question of whether the terrorists definitely were Muslims.
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.