Wait, what?

Lots of us have chattered on about the idea of banning the burka. Me, here, Kevin Boatang here, Mr Civil Libertarian here.

Basically, it boils down to this: You cannot support such a ban and be a libertarian.

David Mitchell deals well with the idea in the Graun.

There was also quite a good stab at it on the Moral Maze on Radio 4. (available until 30 July)

Philip Hollobrain’s private members bill, proposed to ‘regulate’ (ban) the wearing of burkas & such like in public places.

He also told The Independent that…

he will refuse to hold meetings with Muslim women wearing full Islamic dress at his constituency surgery unless they lift their face veil.

So there we are. Philip Hollobrain is a douchebag. As is his right. Oh no… wait. It’s not his right.

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A Tory MP has been warned he could face legal action if he follows through on a threat to refuse to meet constituents wearing the veil.

Lawyers for Liberty have written to Philip Hollobone insisting that his stance is unlawful and that they "will be happy to represent any of your constituents that you refuse to meet because they are veiled".

The group warns him that the UK’s Equality Act and the European convention on human rights (ECHR) oblige him to avoid discrimination. Because his ban would only affect Muslim women, it would also amount to indirect sex discrimination, the letter says.

Ah yes. A reminder, if it were needed, that Liberty are very choosy about what sort of liberty they defend, and for whom.

And Hattie’s Equality Twister is in full flow now.

twister2

And what did I predict when this ghastly legislation was being discussed?

The paradox of Hattie’s little scheme is that the result will be the diametric opposite of equality and the total opposite of tolerance and forbearance. As minority after minority take their grievances of perceived prejudice, disadvantage, offence or discrimination through the courts, a hierarchy of protected minorities will emerge. The result will be an acceleration of the balkanisation of society that is already well established under this Labour government. The very divide-and-rule approach to control that has deprived the British people of their ability to just rub along together, brushing off perceived sleights.

  • Gay rights will trump Christian rights.
  • Muslim rights will trump gay rights and women’s rights.
  • Women’s rights will trump men’s rights (except Muslim men).
  • Pedestrians rights will trump those of cyclists.
  • Cyclists’ rights will trump those of motorists.
  • Mothers with baby buggies will trump the rights of pedestrians, especially if they’re breast-feeding at the time.
  • Children’s rights will trump those of parents, except mothers, who are a protected group.

This way lies madness. Can anyone not see that?

And I had forgotten that Mr Hollobrain had already been in hot water with offence-seeking race loons, who reported him to the police for describing the burka as

"the religious equivalent of going around with a paper bag over your head with two holes for the eyes".

Unwittingly, he may finally be winning me over to his point of view. He’s certainly gaining my sympathy.

Paradoxically, supporting him may have become the libertarian thing to do, if it means defending his right to hold and express crackpot views, then that’s what I must do.

AJ

Music to my ears

No, not the bloody vuvuzelas. This:

We have to accept that a lot of the public can look after themselves. When times get hard you really have to target resources.”

And from a surprising quarter, too.

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I’m 100% behind this, provided those with a lesser police service are entitled to properly and robustly defend themselves, their family and their property, as well as uphold basic civil values. A reduction of the police precept in their council tax should be forthcoming as well, to help them to pay for private security.

Now, that I’d like to see.

AJ

Bans, discrimination and jerky knees

Recall the row over Gays being barred from certain B&Bs?

Yesterday, there was a troupe of flaming mincers (aka the London Labour LGBT group) apparently dissed by a pub manager. As you might imagine, Twitter was awash with invective as feathers flew from flailing boas.

Personally, I’d no more want to get on the wrong side of that lot of lefty nutjobs than I’d want to teabag a wolverine.

They lodged a complaint with the police about alleged homophobic remarks. Can you say wasting police time? Anyone?

So let me pre-empt them by saying this: I don’t care what sexual preferences you have*. Nothing could be less important to me. What really yanks my chain is offence-seeking drama queens and wearers of the cloak of victimhood. Neither trait is unique to gays, nor does it apply to all gays. It is, however, almost entirely the preserve of the left.

The argument put forward not just by me, but by enlightened gay people too, is that the market should be allowed to decide. Any business that discriminates against potential customers won’t last long in a free market.

Which brings me to the reason for this post.

There’s a very interesting post over at Anna Racoon’s place. While it addresses race in America, precisely the same principles apply.

Recently, there was a bit of a furore in the USA when a Republican candidate for the US Senate, Rand Paul (son of the famous Ron Paul) said that he despised racism, but that he felt that the state had no business telling people that there were legal sanctions on racism. He said that the Community Relations Act of 1964 went too far in banning racism in private businesses, effectively ending private freedom of association.

John Stossel went on TV to defend freedom of association to the media.

Here it is:

Do read the rest of the article over at Anna’s place as the argument is linked back to the B&B (and pub) question.

AJ

*A fuller picture of my attitude to homosexuality can be read here. Hint: I still don’t care one way or the other.

Misanthropic Musings

For as long as I’ve been interested in libertarianism, I’ve run into an insurmountable objection to the whole scheme.

DK once wrote a piece outlining the difference between positive and negative libertarians.

Positive Libertarians are those who believe that more freedom will be good for everybody—that society will, on the whole, benefit. They are those who actually like people and who believe, essentially, that people will—given the right tools, e.g. information, motivation and the ability to think—make sensible choices for themselves. Positive Libertarians tend to believe that the state is evil because it removes those essential tools from people and thus demeans them. Positive Libertarians believe that people are essentially decent.

DK counts himself among the above group. Obo too, for all his gobshitery, belongs firmly in that grouping.

So what of negative libertarians?

Negative Libertarians are generally those whose emphasis is on the "leave me the fuck alone"—the "don’t tread on me"—aspects of libertarianism. They rail against the state because they want to get the state out of their lives; they tend, also, to be the greatest advocates of guns, for instance. They are, effectively, people who don’t like people—misanthropes if you will.

That’s me, that is. In. a. nutshell. And this is my party:

And the problem is this: because I have vanishingly little faith in the populace overall, it is very difficult for me to argue that libertarian policies should prevail.

And yet. And yet. I hate Labour’s nannying. I hate the Tories’ nannying. But if people are moronic drones, who eat out of buckets and gawp at X-Factor, isn’t the state’s nannying necessary?

Or has the need for nannying become a self-fulfilling prophecy?

DK and Obo might argue that the attendant nannying has left us with an institutionalised population, suffering from something akin to political Stockholm syndrome. That, freed from their shackles and deprived of their soma, the people would rise up and embrace freedom. Presumably, they’d do so responsibly, without the government imploring and then mandating it.

But I’m not so sure. The tenets of libertarianism seem fundamentally incompatible with human nature. In fact, they’re so designed.

For example, freedom from violence and coercion: They are parts of the human condition that libertarianism seeks to constrain, or suppress. But how? They’re not a by-product of the nanny state.

The point is, people need to be lead.

Old Holborn has written a very good post here, but it is laden with imperatives.

So instead of sitting on the sofa watching mindless pap on Sky, go and plant some carrots. Instead of endlessly texting your mates, read a recipe book. Learn something that will keep you alive, whether it be a skill everyone needs and will pay you for (clue:it isn’t HTML or aromatherapy), or how to cook a meal, learn something useful. Learn how a chicken works. Learn how to plant a potato. Learn how to look after YOU and yours. You’re going to need it. The people who have been overpaid with your money to do it all for you are not going to be there much longer. And do it now, the internet has all the answers to all the questions.

The implication is that people need to do these things, for their own good, but aren’t doing, so they need to be told.

If Caroline Spelman or Iain Duncan Smith gave a speech to this effect, we’d tell them to piss off. If they followed it up with a public awareness campaign extolling the tangible benefits of the above strategy, we’d accuse them of spending our money on patronising us.

Contrarians, like I, would tie ourselves in knots undermining and subverting their message and would actively engage in oppositional behaviours.

Or we would become gamekeepers and hypocrites.

I’m finding the whole thing quite intractable.

So, naturally, I’m looking forward to being set straight by the leading minds. And John Demetriou.

AJ

Don’t vote – it just encourages them

In years gone by, I deplored the above view, as articulated by Billy Connolly.

It stank of apathy, ignorance, a smack in the face of those who fought so hard for the vote.

I’ve been politically aware, and opinionated, since I was 11 years old. So far in my life, I’ve voted at every general election, and at almost all local and EU elections.

If you’ve not voted, you’ve forfeited your voice; your right to complain. So the argument went.

Yet, I didn’t really notice that I have, by degrees, completely abandoned that position over the past 3 years or so. More or less over the period Cameron has been Conservative leader, in fact. This is unlikely to be a coincidence.

Over the 18 months I’ve been blogging, I’ve explained, more or less obliquely, why I cannot vote for any of the major parties, or most of the minor ones.

So I face a choice between a tactical vote while holding my nose, or a spoilt ballot paper. The latter is ahead by several orders of magnitude.

This was all crystallised by a most commendable article from Mr Civil Libertarian, who comprehensively takes the position apart and articulates my current views with aplomb.

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Tory Radio is playing the “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain” card.

He mentions a twatter who argues the opposite. That twat was me.

There’s a slight problem with the reasoning he uses; namely, that it’s bollocks.

Around 40% of the electorate turn up in the past few elections. Despite this, those same people were taxed, legislated against, and controlled by the people who were elected (on a very shaky electoral system) by the remaining 60%. Apparently, those 40% have no right to complain.

40% is not voter apathy. 40% is voter disgust. And with the options we have, you can’t blame them. Yet, apparently, these people are in no position to moan about what the Government does to their lives, their money. What?

What TR fails to notice is that the opposite is in fact true. When you cross that little bit of paper, you’re accepting the terms, and the result, of the election and the system. Those who, like me, do not vote, are not consenting, either because of disgust, or because we view the system as illegitimate. It’s not the non-voters who lose any right to complain; it’s the voters.

That’s a superb opening proposition. Read on.

AJ

Freedom Lovers Say: Fucking have that

Smoking martyr freed thanks to all of you who contributed, in spirit, blog and wallet.

Ten quid very well spent in my view.

I’ll hand over to Old Holborn and Anna Racoon.

Nick Hogan is safely back behind bars. Not the bars which the government sought to contain him behind for failing to act as an unpaid policeman and report his customers for smoking – even when he was not on the premises to witness them to doing so – but the bars, the snug, and the restaurant of his own private property, the Swan with Two Necks, in Chorley, Manchester.

It was with the greatest pleasure that I was able to telephone Denise Hogan, his wife, a few minutes ago, and ask her to go and collect her husband from the Forest Bank jail in Pendlebury.
The indefatigable Old Holborn had moved heaven and earth, above and beyond the call of duty, to arrive at the jail with £8,664.50p in cash, to exchange with the Custody Officer there in return for Nick Hogan’s freedom.

Nick was jailed as an example to us all, that when the State barks ‘jump’ you only question ‘how high’.

He didn’t. He said ‘Why’?

Bloody good work by all involved.

AJ

Hello John, got a new brazier?

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I have a question.

Last year, epically self-assured and bombastic libertarian blogger John Demetriou stated quite plainly that he is a member of the PCS union and works in the public sector. Indeed, I lightly took him to task in the comments at the time.

Last week, we discovered that:

Up to 270,000 civil servants [PCS members] are to stage a 48-hour strike on 8 and 9 March in a dispute over cuts to public sector redundancy terms.

So, my question is, as you might expect, is John Demetriou coming out on strike?

I asked him in comments on his blog the other day, but he ducked the question.

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I won’t be so bold as to say ‘I think we should be told’, but I’d very much like to know.

AJ

Simplicity itself

This quote is bounding around the PFJ blogomong at a rate of knots. It deserves to. I give you Mr Eugenides:

The main argument now, increasingly, is between those who view the state as an enabler and those who view it as, at best, a sometimes necessary irritant. To employ a massively oversimplified analogy, statists seem to think that the state should act as captain, coach, physio, kitman, ballboy, PR department, groundsman, ticketing department, FIFA representative, the guy with the half time oranges, agent, translator, WAG, turnstile operator, matchday police, the guy selling the big flags outside the ground and the guy confiscating the big flags on the way into the ground.

Libertarians just want a guy with a fucking whistle.

Marvellous.

AJ

Doug on Drugs…

“Old fucks have nothing to do, but judge you and vote.”

AJ

Freedom…

Prompted by a couple of posts by Jackart…

AJ

A superb post-mortem of the LPUK’s Norwich result & the way forward…

I’m taking a liberty here.. that’s what I do. But I’m going to repost John Demetriou’s analysis of the state, and malaise, of El-Puck (Libertarian Party UK).

If JD’s points (and for that matter, those of his buddy Kevin Boatang) made in the following post and elsewhere (LPUK blog etc.), were taken on board by the party ‘machine’, I’d fork over membership fees and donations in a heartbeat.

As it is, my post of some time back still seems to be a good interpretation of the state in which El-Puck finds itself.

Anyway, here’s Mr Demetriou’s effort, in an easy-to-read flexible column width. All praise be to him.

Anarchy in the LPUK

For those still unaware of the Libertarian performance in the recent Norwich North by-election, the party to which Mr B and I are members scored a total of 36 votes.

This result cemented concerns that we both already had, in that we felt that communication in the party hovers between lacklustre and non-existent, and it is a grey area as to what the senior people in the party actually do.

I, for instance, have received one email (relating to the AGM) since I joined the party one year ago. That is it.

Presumably, when the party was founded, there were at least a handful of people willing to take the job on of taking the outfit forward with the purposes of accumulating members and public popularity.

Yet whenever Mr B and I raise our hands to make constructive comment, criticism or points of view, we are (irritatingly) told that the party doesn’t have a ‘machine’, that the senior people ‘have lives’ and that with little resources, the party does the best it can.

This is inevitably followed up with ‘put your money where you mouth is’ type challenges, which is like saying ‘if you don’t like it, you bloody do it’.

A resounding chime of confidence rings out of our heads, I’m sure you can imagine.

Well, I am happy to be a paid up member and so is my colleague Mr Boatang. We too have ‘busy lives’, though this singularly fails to stop us from writing thousands of words of blinding, genius and original content every single day on the world’s best blog.*

* Recommendation may be absolute shite. Your mileage vay mary. Caveat Numptor.

As it happens, Mr B and I are actually up for becoming more active in the party and getting out there to help in campaigns. The LPUK would realise this were so much a a solitary individual with responsibility disposed towards communicating with members properly. Email, and ten minutes of time, is not exactly like asking someone to organise the next Cannes Film Festival.

So, when the Norwich North election result came in, Mr B and I braced ourselves for the predictable and infuriating waves of spin that got pumped out on the LPUK blog.

One chap did a post trying to gloss over the result, whilst still (after the campaign was dead and over) making negative remarks about the Tory candidate and winner.

The Party Chairman, Mr Withers, produced a more down to earth article on the result, though there was the notable air of spin about the piece and a lack of comment on how to move forward and progress. Members would read that and wonder where the hell the party can possibly go, unless we start to look deeply and inwardly at ourselves and our approach to campaigning.

This is where Mr B. and I decided to step up and make an appearance. The more we offered constructive criticism (read the comments sections of the articles on the LPUK blog for evidence), the more certain people got annoyed.

Interestingly, the level of irritation and panic over our comments solidified once we popped on their blog and ours to cock a snook at the incestuous, cliquey and inbred manner in which the party (and its core, root cabal of blogging campaigners) conduct matters.
If Libertarianism is (and it is) about openness, accountability, democracy, fairness, transparency and power to the individual, it is obviously of some concern when a small clique of faceless people start to try and shut down debate.

‘We have a forum, this is not the best place to discuss this, go there instead’ is one type of refrain we’ve been getting.

‘This blog should be deleted’ is, amazingly, another idea, along with ‘the comments should be heavily moderated’.

The deletion of a place of accountability? A public forum where people can talk and air views, which are fairly and rightly offered to prospective members and the public?

The institution of a ‘heavily moderated’ place of discussion?

What the hell is this, fucking Pravda? Views like this are valid, but please, if you genuinely think that the LPUK should conduct itself in this manner, then I am sorely disappointed to inform you that maybe – just maybe – you are possibly not that much of a Libertarian.
People in the LPUK may not like what we have to say, but we have the god damned right (as members) to go on the members’ blog to voice our views on how we can improve and move forward. We have the god damned right to ask questions of this campaign in Norwich, and what the hell happened. We note that there has been a piss poor attempt at answering those queries. But hey, ‘they have lives’ huh. So I guess I’ll just have to sit back and accept what is doled out to me.

We did find out one thing, however, after our attempts to relentlessly pursue some answers. There was no discernible ‘LPUK campaign’ to speak of, outside of one lady who turned up from the West Country.

Brilliant. And, er, was there no bloody campaign co-ordinator out there with the common sense to email members to ask for help? Or are we all expected to read every thread or article on the blog or forum thing in order to grab what snippets of info we can?

Little wonder there was nil man power. Little wonder poor Thomas Burridge could only get his family and friends out to vote for him.
I, many years ago, worked as an intrinsic team member in a political campaign during a general election. I witnessed countless volunteers, unpaid people of generous years, give up their time to campaign for a party they didn’t even quite agree with, but helped anyway because they were made to feel important. They had morale in their hearts. And all that brought them out was a fucking phone call or a knock on the door.

We’re talking common sense, not money or resources, just a little bit of effort.

There will be LPUK people who will read this and fucking fume. They’ll hate our guts. They’ll think we’re mad, or trouble makers, or just plain arrogant cocky arseholes who haven’t the balls to make their own efforts to help.

They will be angry for these reasons: we are right, and they know we’re right…and we have the fucking bow locks to tell it how it is. If people like us didn’t, no-one would. We do so because we are libertarian, we actually want the party to go somewhere and do well, and we don’t like being bullshitted.

I’ll leave all our readers with this quote from a bloke called John Stuart Mill. You might, if you are even vaguely libertarian, have fucking heard of him:

If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind.
…the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error…

Mr B and I do not state opinion as though fact; as though we are 100% correct, 100% of the time and our interlocutors axiomatically wrong. But we have the right to speak up and voice our opinion. We will offer that dissenting voice and we seek answers and responses. We will not be silenced.

I will be doing more articles over the next few days on libertarianism and what it is to be libertarian in modern Britain. I also hope to feed more into party debate. I know Mr Boatang wishes to feed into this process – though it is never quite clear if anyone in the LPUK is listening.

It is possible that we will end up being silenced, or banished from the party. It’s human nature and libertarians are no less immune to it than anyone else – people don’t like having their cosy little boat rocked by others. The apple cart simply must go on, with all the fruit aboard left in tact.

Mr B and are are like libertarian bandits. We’ll fuck up that cart, we’ll eat all the apples and we’ll put a fucking hole in the quaint little gondola if it makes people wake up, listen and help get things done.

Posted by John Demetriou at 18:51

And breathe. This guy’s a leg end in his own lunchtime.

AJ

People Who Hate People, Come Together – in 4 steps

Something about the recent handbaggery in my neck of the blogojobby made me think of the late, great dark poet, Bill Hicks.

[Obo Wan Kenobe] the LPUK is not the party you’re looking for…. [/Obo Wan Kenobe]

And so, from Randy Pan, via Obi Wan, and Monty Python to Ayn Rand.

Q: Why don’t you approve of the Libertarians, thousands of whom are loyal readers of your works? [FHF: “The Age of Mediocrity,” 1981]

AR: Because Libertarians are a monstrous, disgusting bunch of people: they plagiarize my ideas when that fits their purpose, and they denounce me in a more vicious manner than any communist publication, when that fits their purpose. They are lower than any pragmatists, and what they hold against Objectivism is morality. They’d like to have an amoral political program. 

Oh…. some thinking to do. I wonder what LPUK say about Ayn Rand.

AJ

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