THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Adding the barbed wire
What is libertarianism?

Note to Chris Bryant: the British Empire ended some years ago

They're Joking. Aren't They?: Goldfinger.

The English cliché I miss most is "it is none of my business." It is a wonderful phrase, but one which Labour ministers seem not to know. Government derives its power from us, the people. Unless you believe in Divine Right, what other source of power could there be, apart from the brute force of a tyrant? No man can give what he does not have (Nemo dat quod non habet, as we lawyers say). Therefore, since the government has its power from us, it cannot have more than, in aggregate, we had. It cannot properly engage in activities which would be improper for us. Other peoples' sexual activity is none of our business (as long as it is either harmless or consensual). Therefore, our government cannot properly make it its business.

Of course, this way of thinking precludes most of what this government has done in connection with "gay rights." Not to worry. It precludes most government activity. I am a libertarian, so no surprise there. If government should not concern itself with private matters of sexuality at home, still less should it do so on our behalf abroad. Chris Bryant is therefore, somewhat anachronistically, an imperialist. No surprise there either. So is Tony Blair. So are most Labour politicians.

Perhaps I should explain the quotation marks I placed around "gay rights." I know some readers will be poised to take offence, but hear (or rather, read) me out. If you are still offended afterwards, be my guest. In my (I hope, uncontroversial) opinion, a homosexual is human. He or she therefore has the same liberties and rights as any other human. If there were such a thing as a "gay right" that could only mean a right specific to homosexuals which differs from other peoples' rights. Logically that would mean either that a homosexual was subhuman (if it was a lesser right) or superhuman (if the right was additional, or greater). Neither, in my humble opinion, is true. Therefore the very concept of "gay rights" is mistaken. If I were the sort of person to take offence, I might even call it offensive. Feel free to apply this reasoning liberally to other groups seeking not rights, but privileges.

Of course, I feel sorry for homosexuals who live under political or religious regimes which take a contrary view to mine, but that is really a matter for the nation or religion concerned. The only legitimate activity for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in this respect would be to advise British homosexuals to avoid such places or abstain from sexual activity while there. Our diplomats should avoid personal involvement in local campaigns, for fear of damaging goodwill which may be useful for their legitimate role in promoting our interests. They have no right to give that goodwill away. It may save us all from harm someday, if diplomacy has any value at all.