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Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Brexit for Freedom - the next battles

Not all readers of this blog voted Brexit, and that's fine. Not all readers are members of political parties, but among those that align with UKIP or Conservatives, one or two of you are Old Labour, and that's fine, too. Because those things that unite us are far more important than those things that divide us. It was a paragraph in Sherelle Jacobs' Telegraph column today that gave me cause to pause and think about those values - those common values that keep me writing here and stimulate you to respond. She wrote -
.. we need to talk about “grassroots activism”. From verbal puritans turning free speech into a hate crime and invasions into our online privacy to our boarded-up high streets, people feel their personal agency and sense of belonging slipping away. Brexiteers should be campaigning for individual freedom, not just from Europe but in the humdrum of everyday life. They should be redefining community in local terms.
Well, as a Localist and a democrat, that chimes with me. My use yesterday of the term 'Patricians' for those we oppose is neither novel nor original. We were also reminded (hat tip Mr Drew) of Cicero's support of the elite patrician class against Caesar, whose leadership of the populares brought change to Rome that presaged her greatest years. 

Above all, Brexit offers hope to the young, those worst affected by the bigoted illiberal authoritarianism of the new puritans that seeks to censor, forbid, restrict, govern, ration and throttle what they say, think, listen and respond to on their 5G devices. Robert Nisbet was an American sociologist inspired by Burke and de Tocqueville  rather than by Marx or Engels;
Revolt has trumped tradition, and the price is paid daily with distinctively modern pathologies such as social isolation, moral uncertainty, and personal anxiety. True freedom, Nisbet insists, is not found in the empty spaces of an omnipotent state, but in a pluralistic society where a variety of social groups and institutions intermediate to the individual and the central state have real functions or responsibilities and, by definition, enough autonomy to carry them out, thus offering individuals a sense of purpose, identity, and belonging. The continual weakening of human association bonded by kinship, ethnicity, faith, work, locality, voluntarism, private pursuit, or shared interest by a jealous, power-hungry state creates what Nisbet calls “loose individuals.” These are untethered or atomized souls drifting from the safe harbor of community into the torrents of an impersonal, bureaucratized state that cannot, from its elevated seat of vertical power, replace the intermediary social bonds and moral community it has dissolved in ever pressing its claim for still greater responsibility for each of its subjects or citizens.
It is for the victims of the well-meaning but suffocating State that Brexit stands - again, mostly the young. The obsession of the modern state, here and in Europe perhaps more than anywhere, with constructed 'equalities', rights but not responsibilities, freedoms 'to' defined behaviours but not freedoms 'from' interference and restriction, multiculturalism and diversity, all of which actually rob the individual of the freedom to seek and form alliances and social institutions that have both authority and effectiveness. The modern citizen has become the casualty of an increasingly interventionist, paternalistic state always seeking to increase its power and influence for the sake of 'the Public Good'.

Nisbet wrote;
The greatest single revolution of the last century in the political sphere has been the transfer of effective power over human lives from the constitutionally visible offices of government, the nominally sovereign offices, to the vast network that has been brought into being in the name of protection of the people from their exploiters. It is this kind of power that Justice Brandeis warned against in a decision nearly half a century ago: "Experience should teach us to be most on guard to protect liberty when the governments' purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachments by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."
When I look at the capos of the EU, at the Patrician class in the UK, at our political, judicial, public service and journalistic elites, I see these well-meaning zealots that simply don't understand the harm they have done, the freedom they have destroyed, the young lives they have manacled to their altars of illiberal authoritarianism. 

If Brexit means anything it means not only throwing off the chains of the EU, but emancipating the people of Britain, our youth and our future, from the slavery of these well-meaning inquisitors. With legislated fire and regulatory torture, they destroy lives whilst seeking to conform the human spirit into their didactic ideals of perfection.

Brexit is not the end of our battle. It is the start of another campaign.


Stephen J said...

I reckon that the most equitable arrangement between government and governed is one that is anarchist in form. Which does not mean that there is NO government, rather it indicates that other than protecting citizens property rights, there is very little for it to do. The rest is done within a given community.

Its closest precursor would not be marxism, fascism, democracy, not conservatism, socialism or liberalism, rather, it would be feudalism. This system of government ran along very well in this region, and was still operating until a few years ago on Sark, until the Barclay brothers insisted that under the ooman rights, Sark should be a representative democracy.

Because when looked at from a human point of view, we don't and never needed ideologically driven all pervading government. Historically, feudalism, sets the scene, imposes order and allows freedom within the local environment, and local government was that of a light touch, the guilds providing an element of order and standards.

Anyway, can't go backwards, but the modern equivalent, would be to replace the representative form of democracy with the direct, citizen driven, binding form.

Raedwald said...

Uhm, except Feudalism prevented all human growth and advancement. In the UK, where we'd pretty well got rid of feudalism by the 15th Century, we had the rise of a middle class, mercantile adventurers, lawyers and the rule of law and a free people who made England wealthy, secure and outward looking.

In the rest of Europe in which feudalism was maintained with the knout, starvation and repression, the people were still Serfs into the 19th century, they had no wealth, innovation, trade or industry and only violent revolution and upheaval allowed them a degree of catch-up.

I rather think our way worked better.

jack ketch said...

Above all, Brexit offers hope to the young,

Hope? Hope of what, the imposition of Sharia law?

Seriously, go out and ask a random, and they all bloody are, young person , a 'yoofff' , what they think of Brexit and the chances are you'll get one of two replies. Firstly (and most likely-blame 'Education, Education, Education') "Wotz dis Brexit ting like innit ai?" (I'll translate: "Pray thee good sir, explain to me the nature of this 'brexit' and that which it portends?") or you'll hear "I's sorted, got my, y'know, Irish passport like n a job offer like".

Sackerson said...

I support democracy, but not direct democracy, as a rule.

The Referendum was absolutely made necessary, because the patricians drifted so far from the people. However, it's clear from the Referendum and its aftermath in social media that direct democracy would be a series of bitter societal divisions inflamed by stupidity, misinformation, excessive passion and amateur as well as professional propaganda.

Besides, most people (I suggest) would like to get on with their lives without having to solve complex political and financial conundrums. Peter Cook's wonderful 1970 film "The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer" features a proto-Blair rising to power through faux populism, then tiring the ordinary man with plebiscites on public issues until the people decide to "leave it all to him."

I completely agree that we must leave the EU - though I don't accept its leaders' intentions are entirely benign; you are obviously more charitable than I. But as you adumbrate here, that is merely the first step.

What system of representation is most likely to ensure that our leaders will act in the best interests of the people, and fight for them against the schemes of powerful commercial enterprises, many of which dwarf smaller nations? Can we steer a course between Big Brother and Big CEO?

Stephen J said...

Do you really think that government FREED the people?

I reckon that those merchants and adventurers worked within feudalism, rather than modern all pervasive government, they took advantage of a transitional period when people were moving from the land to the cities, which had come about through the activities of the guilds (unions). But what about the less mercantile or adventurous, how free were those people? I suspect that they were free enough to go to the cities and become workers, rather than peasants.

A worker in the city is no different from a worker on the land, still a peasant. Just one with less freedom to enjoy the age old and traditional lifestyle. They also put up with higher rents, poorer working conditions and even less chance of breaking free.

There was a significant difference between those peasants in much of Europe and those on these islands, Europeans did not live under the traditions won with Magna Carta, which the ruling classes tried to suppress within a few days of its sealing. At the end of the day (no really), there was a good chance that you would be sharing a drink and a game of skittles at the pub, with your landlord... The landlord, knew that he was secure as landlord and the yeoman and peasant knew their rank too.

A bit like Brexit really.

My cat, does the same thing, whether we are operating a curfew, or whether he is locked outside, he just wants to be free, he doesn't want to change his lifestyle. Only a small proportion of the population is ever going to break out and make a run for freedom, and I bet that the proportion of those making a success of such a bid, is no different now to what it was in 1200.

You didn't mention the thrust of my point, which is that instead of moving from the rigid imposition of landlord, yeoman, peasant, currently it is possible to traverse between sleb, politician, or peasant, but in your generation, you will never be master. I was suggesting that a transition into anarchism which was the logical progression from feudalism, instead formed into a system of government where free thoughts and acts are now more or less a pariah.

As I said, "can't go backwards" but did we really need to throw the baby out with the bathwater? We are a nation divided between ruled and ruler and the rulers all work as government slaves. They don't produce anything except new prohibitions (cunningly disguised as freedoms). The result of this behaviour is what is rapidly becoming a comprehensive slave society, far more restrictive than ANYTHING that went before. They are using surveillance and management techniques to make sure that their control is total.

Your lawyers and the rule of law are not indicative of freedom, they tell me that the goalposts will be moved, if we ever attempt to rise above our station.

Dadad said...

I think it was Churchill who said that governing a country by democracy was the very worst way to do it, apart from all the others.

Dave_G said...

Any form of Governance should be 'over sight' not 'over rule'.

Stephen J said...

I was trying to think of the word that really sums up the difference between the old ways and the current.

That word is "puritanism". A rigid order that puts work above everything except god. The English civil war was when they won, and they are currently doing everything they can to maintain that fixed concept through the employment of such things as electronic surveillance and control through the "rule of law".

@Sackerson, I reckon that direct democracy when tried once every 500 years does have the capacity to engender chaos. But used as it is in Switzerland, by demand of the people, forms an effective brake on the excesses of government, and what is more develops a more considerate view of what is doable and what is not. Central government not only fears DD, it actively try
tries to destroy it, even in Switzerland.

There is nothing clear about your contention that DD has to lead to "a series of bitter societal divisions inflamed by stupidity, misinformation, excessive passion and amateur as well as professional propaganda. "...

Well not in the place where it has been normal for nearly 1000 years anyway.

Nick Drew said...

Wait & see what Corbyn/McDonnell/Abbbottt have in mind for us

Cuffleyburgers said...

Like Radders I hardly think that a return to feudalism will increase the sum of human happiness.

In fact the EU is structured in a way closely modelled on feudalism as it would be of course being based on the napoleonic code, which masquerades as a system of justice but is in fact an instrument of control.

The best possible government would be a democracy similar the British system in the years before the detruction wought by Lloyd George in 1911 with national insurance.

Freedom, free trade, property rights, rule of law, self help via friendly societies.

Sackerson said...

@right-writes: I appreciate your comments - and what you would like to see.

But look at the near-insane response of Remain supporters, and the way those who have benefited from business-as-usual are able to manipulate and inflame. Who was it warning us just a day or so ago that a second Referendum might lead to civil disobedience? (Found it:

Of course in the old days most people didn't have the vote at all, and could only riot; but modern technological surveillance and paramilitary police make protest rather less likely to succeed, especially when broadcasters collude to suppress the news as in the Countryside Alliance march in London.

I wonder whether there is something in the way the Swiss economy is structured that enables it to listen to the people rather than have policies and events determined by corporations?

Stephen J said...


I don't think that I ever advocated a return to feudalism, I was advocating anarchic localism, which is pretty much what you outlined in your description of the period before Lloyd George began the real descent into total government control, which is currently accelerating at pace.

I believe that I have used in comments on this blog, the example given by the lefty historian AJP Taylor on more than one occasion...

‘Until August 1914 a sensible law-abiding Englishman could pass through life and hardly notice the existence of the state, beyond the post office and the policeman. He could live where he liked and as he liked. He had no official number or identity card. He could travel abroad or leave his country forever without a passport or any sort of official permission. He could exchange his money for any other currency without restriction or limit. He could buy goods from any country in the world on the same terms as he bought goods at home. For that matter, a foreigner could spend his life in this country without permit and without informing the police.’

‘Unlike the countries of the European continent, the state did not require its citizens to perform military service. An Englishman could enlist, if he chose, in the regular army, the navy or the territorials. He could also ignore, if he chose, the demands of national defence. Substantial householders were occasionally called on for jury service. Otherwise, only those helped the state who wished to do so.’

‘The Englishman paid taxes on a modest scale; nearly $400 million in 1913-14, or rather less than 8% of the national income. The state intervened to prevent the citizen from eating adulterated food or contracting certain infectious diseases. It imposed safety rules in factories, and prevented women, and adult males in some industries, from working excessive hours. The state saw to it that children received education up to the age of 13. Since 1 January 1909, it provided a meagre pension for the needy over the age of 70. Since 1911, it helped to insure certain classes of workers against sickness or unemployment.’

‘This tendency towards more state action was increasing. Expenditure on the social services had roughly doubled since the Liberals took office in 1905. Still, broadly speaking, the state acted only to help those who could not help themselves. It left the adult citizen alone.’

Cuffleyburgers said...

That quote from AJPT is well known in our broadly right-libertarian circles, but not well known enough among the general populace.

Plus the wanton destruction of localism by the left that I referred to is wholly ignored, as it sits at odds with the BBC/Blue labour social democrat zeitgeist.

Stephen J said...

@Sackerson: There are two significant differences regarding the Swiss example.

Firstly, they have "referendum days" during the year... These are when voters go to the polls to vote on one or several petitions or initiatives. People of all rank are imbued with the duty to discuss politics in an adult way and then vote. The individual takes precedence in a society where the parties are not in charge of the nation but act more as pointers, the individual is free to make his own private decision and the appropriate mark. It is nothing unusual. We get one when the government feels that there is an advantage to them, rather than society.

Secondly, the subject of the ballots are citizen generated rather than government generated, and their passage is far more precipitous than the passage of laws initiated by a "democratic" government. They are known to occasionally wander off piste.

Sackerson said...

@right-writes: "People of all rank are imbued with the duty to discuss politics in an adult way and then vote. The individual takes precedence in a society where the parties are not in charge of the nation..." Aha! Yes, those are things we should certainly be working on.

Peter MacFarlane said...

On feudalism, go and read this:

Food for thought if nothing else.

Tony Harrison said...

Dead right there is much to occupy us post-Brexit, RW - and speaking of dead, I like this in today's Telegraph: "Conservative Party receives more money from the dead than from living members"...
My immediate thought was that it was entirely appropriate, since the Tories are a zombie Party, a walking corpse unaware of its duty to lie quietly in the grave but shambling around among the living, wreaking mayhem... Sorry, I know you're re-joining 'cos you think it can be gven the kiss of life if enough decent well-meaning people join. But maybe I'm a bit older than you (same age as Corbyn in fact, attended a different grammar school a few miles away in the same county during the same period, spooky...) and I seem to have been waiting forever for the Tories (I used to vote for them in my youth) to return to conservative values and common sense. Life's too short - I gave up on the buggers. I write to my Tory MP (the remainist health-fascist Wollaston) infrequently now, since I can predict her response and she's no help at all.

Anonymous said...

Multicultism has done away with a sense of belonging to a wider national community. Now its a matter of whether we can forestall the demographic takeover of Britain by Sharia.

Thanks very much politicians.


Budgie said...

Right-writes, I think I know what you mean but I'm not convinced the main problem is Puritanism. And I'm not too keen on feudalism either. It seems more likely that the main problem is (cultural) Marxism which taints everything. So what used to be ordinary or controversial, but non-political, is now political too.

We've been taught via the nationalism-is-evil meme not to be patriotic either. The traditional family has been successfully sneered at as "nuclear", and dismantled bit by bit. No love of country and no love of family plus massive migration means no community equals easy control.

In a way the politics, who you vote for, becomes the new (substitute) tribe.

Cascadian said...

I don't think it assists the discussion of Brexit to muddy the waters with psycho-babble, however the article comes close to defining a real problem with modern political parties.

"The obsession of the modern state, here and in Europe perhaps more than anywhere, with constructed 'equalities', .......... multiculturalism and diversity, ...... for the sake of 'the Public Good'".

I have argued before that the over-whelming support for Brexit by an over-taxed but under-served working class, who have watched gimmegrants swamp the welfare and health systems, while never having contributed to those systems, was notable. It was, if you will a protest vote against the detestable camoron government, whose outright waste of tax revenues to gimmegrants and charity-wasters was-and-is celebrated.

Similar repudiation of support for "multiculturalist" governments and parties are happening in Australia and Canada. Following the notable example provide by the USA.

John Vasc said...

'Cui bono?' as Cicero said. In this case, it's a helluva lot of powerful people who would gain from keeping us in or tied to the EU. On the left and on the right.
We'll need all our determination.

anon 2 said...

John Vasc @ 22:10

You're so right. Bilderberg is just the start --- and nobody seems prepared to mention the ellyflump in the room, the Mozzy-cum-Saudis who meet with Lef/Right marxist bastards at what they all believe to be Alpha/Omega. M&Ms they are.

G. Tingey said...

This is SO WRONG

We will have singificantly LESS freedom outside the EU, if only for financial reasons ....
We will have to accept EVERYONE ELSE'S REGULATIONS - without any say at all in it, as opposed to a partial say, as at present
Or has non-one noticed this?