Not Saussure

January 31, 2007

Translation, please

Filed under: Wingnuts — notsaussure @ 9:19 pm

Simon Heffer, in the Telegraph, after explaining why he’s unhappy about the government’s liberalising gambling laws:

I am a committed libertarian. It is why I write here, week in, week out about the need for the small state, low taxation, the diminution of welfarism and the promotion of individual responsibility. But I am not an anarchist. I believe there is a role for government. It was reflected in Enoch Powell’s dictum that “the supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils”.

Well, errm, yes.   Patricia Hewitt will doubtless be happy to explain to him about the ‘preventable evils’ caused by poor diet, lack of exercise and so forth.   In the same article, he expresses an admiration for Oliver Cromwell, who I seem to recall was pretty hot against preventable evils like maypoles, Christmas and the theatre (not to mention Irishmen).

I think all that he means here is that he doesn’t like paying taxes but thinks that saying he’s a libertarian sounds more impressive.   

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  1. I think he is trying to find a moral justification for greed and libertarianism provides a fig leaf. Simon Heffer sounds very much like 95-99% of ‘libertarians’ I have come across.

    Comment by MattUK — January 31, 2007 @ 11:01 pm

  2. Simon Heffer sounds to me like about 1% of the libertarians I’ve come across. It’s sweet of him to support the label, but not terribly convincing.

    On the other hand, I do think it’s a bit ridiculous for Labour to promote “naughty” activities when it suits them (i.e. when it generates revenue) while increasingly policing them in every other conceivable area.

    Comment by Fabian Tassano — February 1, 2007 @ 7:08 am

  3. well, aren’t you the lucky one!

    Comment by MattUK — February 1, 2007 @ 10:49 pm

  4. I’ve had this discussion with Longrider in the past, but my problem with ‘libertarian’is that people with such wildly different views apply it to themselves. I once encountered someone online who described himself as being ‘part of the libertarian tendency in the BNP’, which I’ve never been able to work out.

    I agree it’s rather ridiculous of Labour to promote gambling when, as Fabian says, they seem to want to discourage everything else. I don’t, though, see why it’s so bad of them use it as a means of raising revenue — better tax voluntary activities, after all, than unavoidable ones like earning a living.

    Comment by notsaussure — February 1, 2007 @ 11:26 pm

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