Our Telegraph letter in full

Sir

We read with interest Dan Hodges’ column of November 15th arguing that the incidents in Paris show a need for stricter border controls and mass surveillance at home. We disagree.

We believe the role of Government is not to provide a sugar-coated, bubble-wrapped utopia. Such visions of society are unrealistic and dangerous. Individual liberty should be the fundamental basis of society: it is essential to individual and collective flourishing.

The Paris attacks do not justify surveillance programs that will close down free speech, drive wedges of paranoia between communities and stifle dissent. We should be open to the movement of decent people, willing to earn their way into a better life.

The attacks show we need to face up to ISIS and to the misinformed foreign and domestic policies that allowed terror to come to Paris. History has shown that open societies prosper and closed societies stagnate. Choose your policies accordingly.

Faithfully

Simon Gibbs, Pavel Reich, Nico Metten, Clarissa Clement, Gareth Corfield, Steven O’Sullivan, Jordan Lee, Priya Dutta, Devika Gibbs, Tim Carpenter and Zach Cope of Libertarian Home

Ben Kelly, Conservatives for Liberty
Ammar Hassan, Muslim
Chris Mounsey, Libertarian Blogger
Samuel Hooper, Libertarian Blogger
Daniel Pryor, Liberty League

James Rigby, Simon Gentry, Michael Regan, Christian Michel, David Buckingham, Philip Wright, Adam Cleary , David Warwicker, Andy Harrison, Jonathon Kitson, Andy Bolton, Michael Jennings, Javier Llopis, Leon Gunning, Brett Capewell, Matthew John Hayden, Eric Siva-Jothy, Scott Freeman, Mark Bannister, Raquel Toney, Phil Smith, Brian Markin, Theo Cox Dodgson, Christopher Garcia, Simon Harding

11 Comments

  1. Well there is the alternative of getting government out-of-the-way.

    That would mean a return to the Ulster (and Southern Ireland also) practice of “burning out” – not quite confined to history of course.

    If people turned up in an area and the local community regarded them as a threat (rather than as friends), the new people would (historically) be “burnt out”.

    I am certainly NOT suggesting this non state alternative – just pointing out that this is the alternative. At least when new people do not come as friends – do not come to join the existing community (adopt the loyalties of the locals and so on).

    If government will not defend a community – people have to defend their own community, normally by rather nasty methods. Or the people fall.

    Of course sometimes the new people win – then an area goes from one group of people to another group of people.

    Such is life – and death.

    Actually I suspect that modern government is too bloated to defend anything.

    People confuse big government (vast government) with strong government.

    Our government is indeed vast – it spends half the entire economy and regulates every aspect of civil society.

    But the government (the governments of most Western countries) is not strong – it can not see define a threat to the nation clearly. It is a bit like the incompetent Late Roman Empire – and the officials who tried to set up post Roman states in Britain and elsewhere.

    The Barbarians destroyed such people.

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  2. Still to turn to the letter in detail – “free speech” and “dissent”.

    Well the forces of Islam will not allow that – as that would include allowing attacks on Mohammed, and they can not allow that. Mohammed would not allow that even in the case of an old blind poet and a pregnant poetess.

    Does that mean they are not “decent” people?

    Does it mean they should be not allowed to “move freely”?

    What happens if they are born here?

    And what about CONVERTS?

    Of course their children could reject Islam and adopt other religions (or no religion at all) – but that is also forbidden.

    Indeed the children tend to be more committed to the basic principles of their faith than their parents are – as they are less tired to the clans and kin groups of the old country.

    Just as CONVERTS are.

    The letter is a bit confusing really – as it seems to dodge the basic questions.

    I do not agree with ISIS (most certainly not) – but at least I understand what they say.

    They have certain principles and they are willing to kill those who not share these beliefs.

    They are enemies – but I respect them as enemies.

    People who can not make up their minds which side they are on are another matter.

    By the way “for the record” I regard the historic Mohammed as a political and military genius.

    Someone who deserves the highest respect.

    That does not mean I would have been happy with the historic Mohammed coming to live anywhere near me – or near anyone I cared about.

    This does not imply any “lack of respect” or “paranoia”.

    Indeed it is those who treat Mohammed (and his followers) as some sort of hippy type (preaching pacifism) who show lack-of-respect.

    To treat one of the worlds great warrior religions (perhaps the greatest warrior religion ever seen on this Earth) as some sort of hippy “community” shows vast lack-of-respect.

    As for Police State powers.

    What is the government looking for?

    Is the Koran some sort of secret document?

    Are the Hadiths secret?

    I know the history of the world from the 7th century to the 20th century has been a bit rewritten since the 1960s – but it is not a secret either. The writings of such people as Gladstone and Winston Churchill have not yet been banned.

    Of course Muslims fight to spread the power of Islam over new lands – when conversion and natural increase can not do the job on their own. One would expect them to that – it is to be respected. And infidels are to submit (to “feel themselves subdued”) or die.

    This is only to be expected – nothing special for a Police State to discover.

    There is nothing special to discover – no need for a Police State.

    Everything strategic is out-in-the-open and always has been. Yes there is deception now-and-then but it is normally only at a tactical level – the general position is normally honestly presented. And if someone takes a “peace treaty” at face value – well they are bit stupid really, and it is hard to be very upset about what happens to them on the first Moonless night. Mohammed favoured surprise attacks on people he had promised peace to – but they were not really surprise attacks if one bothered to understand his general position, and his general position was not a secret. The general position was that his God had created the world – and all people must submit to him and his followers, or be made to submit by any means necessary. There you go – once you understand the general principle, everything follows logically from it.

    But the “educated classes” (including Western governments) go about with their eyes-tight-shut and then complain that everything is a surprise to them.

    Give them wider powers? Why? For what purpose?

    By the way…….

    This was why I was AGAINST the Iraq war.

    If the “Neo Con” assumption (that followers of Islam are rather like Methodists – like George Walker Bush or Hillary Clinton) was correct then the Iraq was was entirely logical.

    The general population (committed to peace and lovers of making daisy chains) were being horribly oppressed by a dictator and some nasty “extremists”. The dictator had been sort of secular (his role model being Stalin) – but as his power waned he was playing games with Sunni “radicals” (although how the theology of these radicals differed from standard Muslim Brotherhood stuff is hard to say) who had formally wanted to kill him.

    Liberating the people from the dictator and the nasty “extremists” was clearly the moral thing to do.

    Ditto supporting democratic elections in places like Egypt. After all if people are kind little bunny rabbits then why should not they freely elect their own governments? What could possibly go wrong?

    Of course if the assumption of the “Neo Cons”, that all religions are basically the same, was wrong – then the justification for the war collapses.

    Both the Sunni and the Shia of Iraq are not actually like Methodists at all. Saddam’s former associates helped create ISIS (and other groups among the Sunni) and many of the Shia have allied with Iran – natural enough as Iran is the strongest Shia power.

    Both Sunni ISIS and the “Hastener” Shia 12er regime in Iran want infidels dead or enslaved (“feel themselves subdued”). The Sunni Muslim Brotherhood organisations around the world (such as dear old “CAIR” in the United States) want the same thing – they are just a bit more quite about it when they think the infidels are listening. We listen more than you think we do, my dear pussy cats – but do not fear, as Western governments are so determined to not understand your objectives that you could walk around with loud speakers and giant signs, and they still would not notice.

    No disrespect (or “paranoia”) meant in relation to the Sunni, the Shia – or the Methodists.

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  3. By the way…..

    I briefly watched a BBC comic this evening (“Good News” by some nonentity). Standard “liberal”, thinks saying “bullshit” is funny and shocking – because he has led a sheltered life. He read out a “tweet” by a “moron right winger” (no not me).

    Well actually the BBC comic only read out part of the “tweet” (in a fake working class accent of course – because leftists actually despise ordinary people), a bit about ISIS being “devout Muslims”.

    Of course they are not devout Muslims shouted the BBC comic, they are not real Muslims – they have hijacked a religion of peace (I wonder if the darling man knew that George Walker Bush used to say the same thing over-and-over again and that this was his justification for intervening in X, Y, Z, countries to liberate the vast majority of peace loving Muslims from the naughty handful of false Muslims who had hijacked the religion of peace) – and then he started to scream abuse to show how clever and “edgy” he is. The BBC comic did not read out the rest of the tweet – that ISIS was following the example of Mohammed himself.

    The BBC comic dared not read that out loud – for fear that someone might possibly think that this was his own opinion and that he was showing disrespect for Mohammed, and would then remove the head of the BBC comic.

    Who says that a BBC show can not make a viewer smile.

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    1. The word “paranoia” in the letter refers something different from that which you are defending. Warm relations between communities – by which I mean real individuals meeting and talking straightforwardly – will not exist in a world in which every interaction is recorded and judged. Such an environment will create “wedges of paranoia”. Rational paranoia, but you see what I mean.

      Does the letter dodge the real question? No. It articulates a vision of individual and collective flourishing (spiritual and economic well being) which will be undermined by the creation of a panopticon. That is what we are about. The Muslims are today’s excuse for taking control. If they were not there, or were lovers of daisy chain making, then there would be another excuse. Were Islam to reform itself tomorrow, we would still be asking for the same thing the day after that.

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    2. There is a real danger in judging other groups en masse. If one believes in individuals being the starting point for liberty then judgement of others must be on their individual behaviour, not on the tribe or religion that they belong to.

      For if we generalise according to religion, race, ethnicity etc then the only response is to set up governments, rules, borders to manage that group.

      A liberty based or liberal world can only work if we trust others, and by that I mean trusting individuals.

      If that isn’t possible then the only logical alternative is to embrace panopticon, the state and the warm embrace of Big Brother.

      Personally, I still believe in trusting individuals.

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      1. I know what you mean. But people will vote e.g. Labour even though it means more tax for them because their values dictate it. If a person’s values dictate killing others then what are we to expect? I don’t know what that means exactly and would rather trust people too, but it is a reason to pause and think.

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  4. Any of you guys fans of our fabulously popular 1970’s TV show, All in the Family”? You know, Archie Bunker (Carroll O’Connor), Meathead (Rob Reiner), Edith (Jean Stapleton), Gloria (“Little Girl,” as her father Archie always called her — Sally Struthers)?

    Fathered by Norman Lear.

    Paul writes, “…(in a fake working class accent of course – because leftists actually despise ordinary people)….” which makes me think Paul must have been watching the show. Archie is held up as the absolute epitome of the ultra-bigoted, know-nothing woikin’-guy redneck, with no Social Conscience whatsoever. Meathead (to be fair, a loafing leftie, lives off Archie, whom he holds in contempt but does try to re-educate once in awhile).

    It always put me into a red rage. Although there are those who claim it lampoons the Left (Meathead being basically a know-nothing do-nothing useless moocher) as much as Conservatives, and maybe you can take it that way. I never did. Not that it wasn’t funny here and there, but that was more the basic setup than anything else.

    Still, maybe I underestimate Mr. Lear (but — he’s another flaming lefty, I believe) … maybe he sees the “grain of truth” in some of Archie’s more outrageous pronouncements?

    Anyway, Paul’s observation brought it to mind. Perfectly illustrates how the show always struck me.

    Interesting. Imdb.com gets it, I guess. It writes:

    A working class bigot constantly squabbles with his family over the important issues of the day.

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    1. Julie,

      that show, if I’m not very much mistaken, was an American version of “Til Death Us Do Part”. The Archie Bunker character was called Alf Garnet, who was played by actor Warren Mitchell, who died very recently. The lefty sponger was played by Tony Blair’s father-in-law, an actor called Tony Booth. The writer was a communist, who wanted to lampoon working class tories, but unfortunately too many people liked and agreed with Alf, so he had to make him worse and worse. It’s still funny in parts, however.”

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      1. Very interesting, Richard! Well, I can believe it. And it does nail down the point the writer had in mind. It makes me want to stick my tongue out at a certain someone and go “I told you so!”

        Thanks for the info. I wish more Americans seemed to see Archie’s POV. Of course, what I really objected to was the idea that to be conservative was to be a knuckle-dragging sloganizing bigot. Especially given that “conservative” seemed to mean anybody who would not be comfortable at the New School for Social Research. In other words, if you’re not Left, you’re dead.

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