"Benign" Authoritarian Populism. Many in America would like to take the same path as Britain's, but not us at Maggie's Farm: we do not believe in the virtue of government. In fact, we believe that governments tend to serve their own purposes, like any other organizations filled with ambitious people who want steady work without heavy lifting.
A quote from "The Virtue of Freedom" by our hero, Dr. Ted Dalrymple, in New English Journal:
I don’t mean that Britain is just like Mussolini’s Italy, of course; history does not repeat itself in this simple way. But the surveillance of the British population is now among the most complete of any population that has ever existed. The average Briton, for example, is photographed 300 times per day as he goes about his normal, humdrum existence. Britain has an astonishing percentage of the world’s CCTV cameras in operation - something like a third of them. We now live in a security state. The wards of public hospitals are locked, and in the hospital in which I worked it was impossible even to get into the lavatories without knowing a secret code. The government has spent tens of billions on mad schemes to collate information electronically about us all, allegedly for our own good, whether we like it or not. None of these schemes has worked, thank goodness, or was ever going to, and the expenditure looks more and more like a giant malversation of funds in favour of the government’s favourite IT companies; but the very proposals, irrespective of whether they were ever workable or not, told us a lot about the government’s attitude to liberty.
The latest mad - and extremely bad, vicious, totalitarian - proposal by Mr Blair is that every British child should be screened for criminal tendencies before they have developed. Once the statistical stigmata have been discovered, the child will be handed over to the experts who will carry out their ‘interventions’ to prevent further criminalisation. The state, in short, will repair the damage that the social structure that it has so assiduously fostered and encouraged over the last few decades has done. This would all be beyond satire if it were not for the fact that Mr Blair and his government takes it seriously. Mr Blair is always on the lookout, not for new worlds to conquer, but for new worlds to poke his nose into and to ruin, or ruin further.
How are we to explain the obvious assault on liberty in Britain? I don’t think any overall plan has been formed; there is no conspiracy of evil men around a table in the dead of night.
It is far worse than that, and more sinister because more difficult to oppose.
Read the whole thing.
Image: Tony Blair at the beach.