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Sunday, 17 June 2018

Are you a Liberal?

There is currently a very lively dialogue between left and right on what should be common ground, opposition to illiberal authoritarianism. What constitutes illiberal authoritarianism, however, could not be more differently defined. For the right, it is central command and control, abnegation of direct and popular democracy, restrictions on free speech, loss of national sovereignty, the power of the global corporates and their alliance with forms of super-national and international government. For the left, it means the undermining of benign expert and technocratic public administration, abusing the credulity and anxiety of the less-educated masses, the threat of raw nationalism, and the rejection of super national and international bodies that define and uphold standards of rights and justice.

I suppose the one benefit of this near universal opposition to illiberal authoritarianism is that we're all of us now liberals - but liberals of very divergent types. On the right, the 'classical liberals' trace a lineage back to the fathers of the enlightenments - Burke, Locke, Hobbes, Adam Smith and JS Mill. Jordan Peterson is a typical classical liberal - and his Channel Four interview with Cathy Newman on You Tube now has over ten million views.
I'm not sure what to term the opposite kind of liberals - perhaps 'progressive liberals' or 'social liberals' - but perhaps Ms Newman herself is a good exemplar.

In June 2016 there was spoof Guardian headline screaming 'The wrong people are using democracy!' that actually uncovered an uncomfortable truth. From this event have evolved proposals to change democracy to make it better - including both ideas about deliberative democracy, giving state experts a role in guiding the masses to make the right decisions, and the proposals from classical liberals for direct democracy based on the Swiss model. All these ideas for new, improved democracy stem from a 'need' to tackle illiberal authoritarianism and a presumption that our current system of representative democracy is flawed. That, again, is common ground between right and left.

So are those of us who have called ourselves Libertarians liberals also? Derek Robinson writes in Politico about the American experience, where 'classical liberal' is coming to mean the conservative but not Trumpist faction within the Rebublican party;
Daniel Klein, an economist at George Mason University, suggested that the “libertarian moment” may have exerted its toll on the movement’s brand. “[The term libertarian] has the baggage of being slightly dogmatic, whereas the ‘liberal’ expression does not,” Klein said in an interview. “I’m not for discarding the word libertarian, but classical liberalism is like a nuanced libertarianism.”
Ah OK. He means Libertarians have earned a reputation as swivel-eyed loons with their heads in tankards of ale whilst the kinder, gentler classical liberals sip amontillado. Fair dos.  

So, fellow liberals, at least we're united against the other liberals, with clear blue water between us. The only question now is whether the Liberals are liberals ...


Mr Ecks said...

I started as a libertarian and largely still am but not when it comes down to fighting the scummy left and keeping out the hordes that scummy left are trying to import to destroy the West.

Against everybody not a madman is ranged a cross section of the womiccumalobus ( Well Off MIddle Class CUltural MArxist London Bubble Scum). These go from the scum of BluLabour and the ever-madder FFC now trying to buy ZaNu votes ( many of which a decent Brexit would get her free) with the money of those who are/used to be Tory supporters, to Jizza. Who is womi scum just like the Cow but with even more extra added Marxist evil and craziness.

Those who don't swallow PC, don't want ANY more migrants(without a genuine science phd) and want Brexit and enhanced personal and economic freedom for everybody are the good guys.

John Dub said...

"conservative but not Trumpist faction within the Republican party;"

Well that's some serious bullshit. Trump is a very conservative leader. The never Trumpers are a combination of snobs and bought and paid for shills and controlled opposition.

Think how well Maggie would have got along with the Donald..

Budgie said...

Raedwald, However one dresses it up, "... expert and technocratic public administration ..." is authoritarian by definition, benign or otherwise. If carried out by our own government we, the people, have the possibility of controlling or rejecting it by electing another Parliament. We can't do that in the EU.

As for "right wing" and "left wing", the terms are near useless. Apart from having almost inverted in meaning since the French Revolutionary Assembly, they are used mainly as epithets by the "other" side.

Certainly those who cheer the EU's technocratic administration come from both the self-proclaimed "right" (Clarke, May, Gummer, Grieve, etc), and the self proclaimed "left" (Benn, Blair, Adonis, Nugee, etc). So your box of "left" and "right" attributes doen't make a lot of sense.

Mr Ecks said...

Budgie--both the groups you describe in your last paragraph are womiccumalobus.

jack ketch said...

According to the leftwing pundits its looking like we will have our first muslim PM by Xmas. And PMT.May seems set to announce the discovery of a whole forest of Magic Money Trees with which to pay for all those thousands upon thousands of white,Christian, Americans,Kiwis, Ossies, Saffas etc doctors and nurses and 'others' our future PM is to allow in. Well I assuming that's what he meant by 'non-EU'.....

Remember boys and girls: BrexSShite = BritStan. "Araby in the yUK, its coming some time..."

auralay said...

Mr Ecks - I wouldn't mind letting in a few of those Eastern European teachers who seem to give a genuine education and instill a great work ethic in their students.

Anonymous said...

Before going any further with this, I suggest you study the Political Compass web site.

Their point is that Left-Right is only one of (at least) two axes in politics.

Don Cox

anon 2 said...

Thank you, Don Cox @ 19:44.
For me, "Libertas -atis, f. = Freedom." The adjective "liber -era, -erum, = Free" and is the Latin root-meaning of "Liberal. I have no idea what derivative meaning all these political moderns ascribe to the words. They make no sense to me at all.

As far as I can tell, when they start spewing their 'left/right' garbage, they all meet due South --- and opposite the Alpha-Omega they presume to replace.

formertory said...

I still maintain there's little to no problem with Europeans coming here. Our education system is these days apparently incapable of producing the skills we need, but great at producing little Marxist snowflakes. Europe is a good source of skills and its people, by and large, are of us, and not dedicated to the downfall of the West.

The immigration that needs to be stemmed, NOW, is immigration from other countries having an alien culture and alien religion. They are not our friends and shouldn't be our countrymen, either.

And yes, I'm as pro-Brexit as it's possible to be. I simply don't think Brexit should be about immigration. It's about democracy, liberty and resisting the authoritarian Socialist Soviet European fascists for the third time in 100 years, God dammit.

Hector Drummond, Vile Novelist said...

Most politial labels become useless after a while because the left subverts them. 'Liberal' is now one of those words.

Raedwald said...

Thank you, Hector.

Finally, someone gets the point of the post ;)

Dadad said...

Party politics, as it is now practised, is dead and useless. They are the people who put us in the EU and would like us to stay, or re enter asap.

What we need is government by the people. Try the Harrogate Agenda

Anonymous said...


The political elite have given the keys of the UK to Islam

Pastor Paul Song was a volunteer Chaplain at HMP Brixton for nearly 20 years. Many prisoners became Christians through the courses he ran (including Alpha) and had their lives transformed. He had full security clearance for all his activities and had even been given keys to the prison as a sign of the high esteem in which he was held.

But in 2015, this changed – the Senior Chaplain at the prison was replaced by a Muslim. Imam Mohamed Yusef Ahmed began scrutinising the material used in Pastor Song’s courses, commenting that the material was “too radical”; and that the Christian views expressed were “extreme” – despite the fact that these courses are mainstream Christian courses, used by Christians throughout the world.

Imam Mohamed asked Paul to stop running the courses, which he reluctantly agreed to, though Paul carried on going into the prison to meet with prisoners. At no point were complaints made by prisoners either about the content of the courses or Paul’s attitude towards any of the prisoners.

Then, in August 2017, Paul received an email from Imam Mohamed, telling him that he no longer had permission to enter the prison wings or speak to any prisoner at HMP Brixton.

Pat said...

A hundred years ago or more I would have described myself as liberal. However since then all sorts of authoritarian types have taken over that word so now I qualify it with the word Classical. In essence I believe libertarians are using different words to solve the same linguistic problem.
And as others have said any form of government that gives power to an elite is authoritarian, no matter how good and clever that elite tells us they are- Hitler didn't tell people he was a monster, neither did Mao, Castro, Stalin, and neither did May or Baldwin tell us they were incompetent.

APL said...

Anon: "Then, in August 2017, Paul received an email from Imam Mohamed, telling him that he no longer had permission to enter the prison wings or speak to any prisoner at HMP Brixton."

Former HM Inspector of prisons beats you to the story by two years.

Anonymous said...

As soon as people gain power, they become an elite, whatever they were before.

And they want their sons to inherit their power and status.

Don Cox

Dave_G said...

It matters less about the political affiliation or position of publicly elected officials than our LACK of ability to remove them for indiscretions and/or abuse of their powers.

We need to radically overhaul the voting process to include mandatory recall based on votes made to elect whomever to their position i.e. if any elected official received more than (say) 60% of votes (of those obtained at their election) to recall them then they're OUT.

This would create many improvements. The public official would work harder to get more of the voting public on-side to create a greater buffer (greater turnout) and the public would be able to keep their elected officials on track.

The present culture of reward-for-failure would be gone, public officials would have to have a VERY good reason for straying from their mandate and party politics would be eliminated at a stroke. Best of all, the PEOPLE would be in control once again.

I'd also add that any official position awarded by any elected official should ALSO be forfeit should said public official be recalled/outed. This would keep the establishment in check.

Perhaps we need to encourage (force?) change on how it SHOULD be run?

anon 2 said...

RE the situation described by Anon and Don Cox . . . I really have to wonder how it is that Islam is running our prisons. Since when did a country's prisoners and criminals take over its detention facilities?

Another thing - have we forgotten that there was a time when we had two justice systems in our island. We had Christian courts and prisons as well as secular ones. However, the separate Ecclesiastical System changed at the Reformation, and its gradually diminished powers are now subject to/united with those of the Crown. So how come the invaders get to set up their own system? If they insist on empowering their Sh**** garbage, why don't we just ship them out to Saudi Arabia?

Oh --- and maybe it's time we started electing our own "Home" Secretaries instead of leaving the decision to incompetent and traitorous Prime Ministers who see themselves as absolute monarchs? I really don't know how the present sick mistress of the imams dares to parade Rabid Savidge up in front of us.

You all know it's not that long since they announced their intention to set the "Green Flag of Islam" above our seats of government. Well, here it is!! Are we going to let it fly, even as they taunt and sneer about our "weakness"? Or . . .

Anonymous said...

When people ask me what I am politically, instead of getting bogged down in labels and their anachronistic meanings, I just say small government, low taxes, strong borders.