THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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December 2017

Who Leads The West?

Who Leads The West: Trump Or Merkel? | Hoover Institution.

The linked Hoover Institution article is excellent and explains, if you correct for their assumption that all European nations are like Germany, remind yourself that Locke was English and that the American Revolution was conducted on the principles of English philosophy, why Britain cannot remain in the EU. 

It is no coincidence that the totalitarian ideas of the nineteenth century were so widely embraced in Mitteleuropa  and bore such terrible fruit in countries influenced by the cancerous thought of that region’s universities. Germany’s tragic history in the twentieth century grew from a notion still held dear by its people.

Kant explicitly stated that, if called upon by his state to die, the individual should willingly do so. His successors Hegel and Marx were equally inclined to see individuals as eggs in the state’s great omelette. The EU’s open disregard of the views of member states’ citizens is not a bug but a philosophical feature.

In their — to them entirely uncontroversial — world view, which sees Anglo-American individualsm as shallow and selfish, the greater good of the collective as defined by the elite takes priority over the will and even the life of a mere individual. If “unenlightened” humans vote the wrong way, it is perfectly natural for Kantian elites either to ignore them, rebadge the measure to foil them, or if trapped into the need for a positive vote to conduct it repeatedly until it yields the “right” result! It’s actually noble to their minds to behave in ways that to our minds seem outrageously vulgar. 

Continental poltical thought always carries the embryo of the next totalitarianism in its belly because to their thinkers Liberty is a gift of the lawmaker, whereas we see ourselves as  born free, see law as a (sometimes) necessary evil, and expect lawmakers to defend Liberty above all other goods. 

When Europeans speak of geopolitics we think mainly of trade. When Merkel asserts the primacy of politics (a game) over economics (a science) we are bemused. We don’t see trade as a weapon of war or even a diplomatic bargaining chip but as a human activity as natural as sex. Tell us neither whom to love nor with whom to bargain. Call us “a nation of shopkeepers” and we’ll wonder why you think it an insult. 

The author’s mistake here is to lump us in with the people of Rousseau, Kant, Hegel and Marx when we were the people of Locke and Smith before their young Republic was born. And God willing we always shall be.

Of Left and Right, Reason and Faith


Left and Right are not useful labels any more, if they ever were. They don't even mean the same things everywhere. I am “right wing” (I would just say right) when it comes to economics but a liberal in social respects. For example I literally do not care who does what to whom sexually as long as everyone involved is a consenting adult and I am left out of it unless I choose otherwise.


I would have tried to dissuade a partner from aborting our child had the case arisen. If she’d insisted I doubt I would have ever been able to get over it — or stay with her. Yet to avoid criminalising women and / or driving them into the hands of backstreet charlatans, I would not legislate on the subject. I would leave it to their consciences. In my heart I am pro life. In my head I accept a woman's right to choose. Am I left or right? No answer to that question will inform our discussion so why ask it? 


On Continental Europe and in America there is a "religious right". I have no truck with that. Many Continental friends quite wrongly think themselves leftists because neither do they. Their calling themselves leftists tells us nothing useful about them. 


I am a reluctant atheist who would love there to be a just God. If there is I am damn sure He has all necessary tools at His disposal to smite or forgive sinners as He sees fit. It's a blasphemous insult to offer Him the puny help of Parliament, Congress, National Assembly, Duma, Sejm or Bundestag. He would find it hilarious I suspect. But then if He’s not laughing at His various churches generally, He’s not the superior Being of my imaginings. 


A legal system to my taste would therefore have literally nothing to say about marriage, abortion or sexuality in general. If it's a sin, brother and sister, the Lord will deal with it. All we can do is try to follow His will and hope He understands our choices. Dear fellow atheists, you should have enough principle in you to allow believers to follow their Lord as best they can without interference from a state many of you are currently urging on like a bully's lickspittles.  


For religious and non religious alike marriage is principally an agreement between adults as to how to live together and raise children. Nothing could be more private and so it should be left to them. If they're religious then their God will be the third party to their agreement. He needs neither legislator to set the terms nor lawyer to litigate them. The law need only specify the minimum responsibility of parents to the children born into the contract without their consent. Everyone but the child is — after all — a volunteer. 


In truth I think very few things are the legitimate business of the state. That's lucky because the state is a flawed human institution almost inevitably staffed by the least appropriate people — the ones attracted to lording it over their fellow humans while living at their expense. A drooling idiot is likely more often to do the right thing than a government agent. 


I express it colourfully but in essence that used also to be the stance of the Conservative Party in Britain. Back in my student politician canvassing days I remember a Tory MP, when asked whose permission a constituent should ask to fell a tree in his garden, replying "It's your bloody land you fool. Do as you damn well please". The question itself was in his view the pathetic weakness of a submissive serf. 


By those robust yeoman standards the party led by Mrs May is not worthy of its name. Few Conservative Parties in the West now are. If you think tax avoidance “costs” Society, then you believe all wealth belongs in truth to the State and the individual is just its creature. If you think it’s a good idea to take money by force from those (based on past performance) most likely to generate more wealth and give it to those (ditto) least likely then you are a Socialist — an adherent of the most comprehensively tested and unquestionably failed idea in human history — wherever you place your X on Election Day. That goes for you, Prime Minister.