deep down, there is a little fascist in all of us. There is a part of all of us which doesn't respect the freedom of others.It is usually trivial: When we ban smoking in pubs because we feel people aren't capable of making their own choices, it's a tiny fascism. When anti-alcohol groups suggest we ban parents from introducing their children to wine in a controlled home environment, it's a tiny fascism. When we encourage ID cards, it's a tiny fascism.When we call for immigrants to be forced – not encouraged – to speak English, it's a tiny fascism.We allow the fascist in us to win anytime we force others to behave as we behave. There is only one scenario in which we are entitled to stop others from doing something – and that is when their action limits the freedom of other people. When someone drink-drives, for instance, we are entitled to stop them, because their driving can kill others.But the government has recently gone so much further than that. It has shown no understanding whatsoever for this unique and pivotal principle of British society. Instead, it sees itself as the arbiter of good and bad behaviour. It now legislates to create the ideal citizen, who never does anything unhealthy, and can be monitored and watched at all times.As King James might have had it put: And all the liberals said, "Amen," and among the disciples of Mill and Hayek was there much rejoicing. But from the weaker brethren came a muttering, saying, "This fellow will achieve nothing by this talk." Yet bear with them, for in their weakness they have not yet realised the frailty of the flesh, and the temptation unto fascism which is common to all.Ahem. The illiberal tendency to ban or control behaviour will lead us to very dark places, unless it is checked. People must be free even to do and say things of which we disapprove heartily, provided by them they do no direct harm to another. Otherwise, we become the mirror image of the fascists we claim to oppose, something which "Unite against fascism" appears to be achieving with alarming rapidity.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
The mortification of the fascist
Calvin is reputed to have commented of Christians, that inside each of us lives a little unbeliever, and the experience of all Christians bears out his observation. In a like manner, Ian Dunt of politics.co.uk hits it for six when he says,