THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Patriotism -vs- Nationalism - Part 3: The Dark Side
The first UK Libertarian Party New Year

Government incompetence is a good thing | Willem Buiter’s Maverecon | In praise of government incompetence.


Let me begin 2009 with a glimmer of hope. I have been unkind in the past years about British academics. Reports from the front line (the Misses Paine are currently studying at Cambridge University and the London School of Economics respectively) have given no reason to be otherwise. I have feared particularly for the moral welfare of Miss Paine the Younger at the LSE, which was founded by Fabians and sometimes still seems to serve as the Labour Party's staff college.

Yet the linked article is by
an LSE professor and I agree with almost every word of it. He is just as scathing as I have tried to be about the attacks of our current government on our civil liberties. If I had written (as I wish I had);

The threat posed by our own government to our liberty and fundamental rights is a constant one.  Most of the time it is a much greater, direct and immediate threat than that posed by foreign states (through conquest or extortion) or by external non-government agents, the violent NGOs like Al  Qaeda.

...some of my readers might have thought I overstated the case. Perhaps the dignity of Professor Buiter's office will give them pause for thought? I have tried repeatedly to express the sentiments below, but sadly not with such powerful effect;

It was breath-taking and depressing to observe the transformation of New Labour after 1997, from the party of open government, human rights and civil liberties into an increasingly paranoid group of power-hogging and repressive political control freaks, who have done more damage to fundamental human rights in the past 11 years than any other (sequence of)  government(s)  in any comparable-length stretch of time since the Glorious Revolution. 

(though, unlike the good professor, I never believed Labour - with its socialist control-freak DNA- was a party of "human rights and civil liberties.")

Please read the whole article. It is quite heavy going for a newspaper piece, but it is worth the effort. I am delighted to learn that the faculty around Miss Paine the Younger is not monochrome scarlet. Professor Buiter's piece has encouraged me to believe that we bloggers who distrust government in principle (and this government in practice) are not entirely without academic support. It has cheered me immensely as I face a year of economic gloom and family challenges. I hope it does the same for you.  A happy new year to you all.


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Thanks for the link.

"I have become convinced that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance against the encroachment by the powers of the state on the private domain. The better-intentioned a government professes to be, and the better-intentioned it truly is when it first gains office, the more it is to be distrusted.

After even the most liberal-minded, open-government-committed party takes hold of the reins of government, it takes never more than a single term of office, four years - five at the most - before paranoia takes over."

Is the good professor saying that power really does corrupt?

And "An ignorant and uninformed state is the corner stone of liberty" is an interesting and thought-provoking quotation.

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