Saturday, November 14, 2015

A View of Paris from Old Blighty

The UK, that is. This may be slightly behind the curve, newswise, because new news items are showing up constantly this morning, but the reasoning is robust and long-lasting. Do keep in mind that this is written by a Brit. I'll have an afterword. It was first printed here [link[.

Paris: A Few Political Points to Make

I disagree that it is crude to make a political point out of atrocities such as that in Paris yesterday. Bad politics causes these attacks and better politics can prevent them. Here are a few political points I’d like to make.
In the first place, most of us have imperfect information about the events of last night. I was flicking back and forth from Sky to BBC, who, in turn, were getting their most reliable information from BFM. Even as I write, the death toll is disputed as is the question of whether the terrorists definitely were Muslims.
Terrorism scares people in this country. It scares them to the point that they will lie back and think of the State as the anti-terror legislation is rammed through Parliament.
I imagine attitudes are similar in France. I don’t know the specifics of the anti-terror legislation in France, but I don’t think it would be unreasonable to assume that powers of the state have increased since January, though I understand they may presently have rather more rights to privacy and so forth than we have. Last night, I predicted that President Hollande would respond one of two ways: either he would argue that without the existing surveillance and police powers there would have been more deaths, and leave it at that; or he would demand more such powers. From his statement today, it seems he has opted for the latter.
The “international community” has responded. Obama says this is an attack on “humanity”. Cameron has pledged his support. In France, 15000 military men are in Paris. The French border is closed. There is a “state of emergency.” With such a response, I think, rather like after 9/11, we can kiss goodbye to any open debates on the collection of metadata. All the usual “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” legislation will be passed. Furthermore, Britain’s intervention in Syria will once again be on the cards. If the Commons rejects it again, Cameron will use the royal prerogative powers this time. All-in-all, this is not good for freedom.
For the avoidance of doubt, I am, as many of you will know, vehemently opposed to mass-immigration. It is tantamount to subsidised trespass. As for the latest wave of immigration, it is appalling and must be stopped, and indeed reversed. Closing the borders temporarily, followed by voluntary but encouraged repatriation of recent immigrants would also help to abate racial and religious tensions.
But it strikes me as absurd to blame “the immigrants” or even “immigration” for this. For one thing, if the reports that ISIS committed last night’s atrocities are correct, then these are the very same US-backed lunatics that have helped to wreck Syria and Iraq in the first place. In other words, if you blame the recent wave of immigrants in their entirety for last night’s attacks, you are barking up the wrong tree. These terrorists are the people that many of the immigrants have come to Europe to avoid. I am not arguing that the immigrants had a right to come here. I am merely pointing out that many did not want to.
So we should have a think about how to help them go home. One thing we need to do is to stop bombing their countries. At the moment, there is a five-way civil war in Syria. It seems to me that of all the bombing, only Russia is seriously bombing ISIS. As for the intention of the British State, it seems to be simple regime change, since the plan is for “no fly zones” which would impact Assad and not ISIS. The situation in Syria alone is mind-bogglingly complex. Step one in resolving it is for the western states at the very least to let well alone where bombing is concerned.
The US is supporting the “moderate rebels” in Syria who will no doubt become the ISIS of 2016. ISIS is already kitted out with $1bn worth of US armoured vehicles, and more besides. I heard from someone recently that the ISIS fighters are being supplied with drugs by the Americans that make them think they are invincible – this may or may not be true. Step two in helping the immigrants go home, then, has to be to stop funding the men on the ground who are destroying their countries.
These two steps would not only help sort out Syria and the rest of the Middle East, but they would also make us a damn sight safer. Formerly US mercenaries, ISIS has now got out of control to the point that the western powers are trying, but failing to contain them. ISIS has allegedly claimed responsibility for last night’s attacks. Their reason was clear: France is meddling in Syria and meddling with ISIS. If we get out of the Middle East, neither funding nor bombing, I think we’ll find that the terrorists are less interested in bombing our countries.
I shall recommend one further measure to make us safer. No, not ID cards. Not internet censorship. Not arming the police. What we need to do is remove all gun control legislation. Guns are excellent equalisers. The saying goes that God made man, but Sam Colt made him equal. If you are an honest person in this country, or any of the western countries except to some extent America, and you want to get a gun for self-defence, you can’t. If you are a criminal and you want to get a gun, that’s easy. So what we have is a situation where the criminals are armed and the victims are not. What we have is a situation where, if a terrorist lunatic with an automatic rifle decides that he wants to kill a few innocent civilians, he can do so with no effectual resistance against him. Arm the people instead and then see how many effective the terrorists are.
What I am saying is this: while it may be true that the recent, unprecedented wave of immigrants is undesirable, it was caused by our own states. This is not a time for moaning about immigration. This is instead a time to caution against hawkish foreign policy abroad and Big Brother police state measures at home. As Dr Gabb said last month at his talk to the Traditional Britain Conference, these people are not attacking us because they hate our freedom; if they hated our freedom, they would just sit at home and wait for it to disappear. Instead, they hate us because we are bombing their countries, funding and arming almost every side in the civil war, and asking them to be grateful for it. The solution to both the problems of the Middle East and the West is simple: more libertarianism, not less. No more interventionism and no police state, thank you very much.
I have no disagreements with Keir, not even quibbles. So, just a clarification or two and maybe an amplification: Again, you have to remember that this is written by a British libertarian, which is a somewhat different animal than the American variety. For example, the preponderance of Britlibertarian opinion is against open borders, and the dogma of open borders seems to be fundamental to orthodox libertarian thinking in the US, at least among the more loudmouthed American libertarians. But there are plenty, like me, who are very much against open borders. We consider the Founding Fathers a far better guide to libertarian principles than a bunch of neckbeards typing in their mothers' basements. So when he calls for "more libertarianism," I'm pretty sure he's not talking about the left-libertarianism of the US, which differs only slightly from liberalism. To put it another way, he's calling for more liberty for the British people, not more political correctness and mass immigration.

And I don't really disagree with Keir when he says that this is not a time for moaning about immigration, because, again, he's writing about the UK. In the US, it very much is a time for moaning about immigration, because, with the sole exception of Trump, all our leading politicians are determined to swamp us with millions of third world immigrants.

And, of course, he's right that we don't need a police state. What we need is a state with police who do what they're supposed to be doing. Deterring and catching criminals., including illegal aliens. If the police are relieved of their duties to harass law-abiding people about things that are none of the government's business, they'll have plenty of time to do their real jobs.
Quibcag: Don't know who did the illustration, but it's from here:

1 comment:

  1. Since I'm one of the few American libertarians whose actually lived in police states and recovering police states, I have some disturbing observations for those who don't like police.
    The paradox of police states is that they have lousy police. I don't mean brutal and oppressive,though that too. I mean deficient in ordinary police skills such as sealing off a crime scene (I once walked away from one after taking a beating from honest-to-God jack boots and runner truncheons. They're not just rubber, there's a steel rod inside), interrogating suspects without beating the crap out of them, handling rowdy drunks, canvassing a neighborhood, and elementary record keeping!
    Police states are not interested in suppressing crime, or are actively sympathetic to the criminal class. They are concerned with dissent. Consequently there are political police who are the ones to be feared, and the regular police who are generally undertrained and under-armed.