29 June 2005

Quis Custodiet ipsos custodes

The Adam Smith Institute blog has a good concise post about the heinous Identity Database Scheme, which points out that identity cards failed to stop the Madrid bombings, will not apply to illegal immigrants (especially since if the don't have a passport how would they magically get an identity card?!) and finally bear little relation to benefit fraud (which is mainly to do with claims whilst working not false identities).

As the Adam Smith Institute accurately observes the biggest threat to civil liberties is in fact the database itself. Numerous points need noting:

  • If MI5 et al already can access this information why do we need to implement an incredibly expensive and complicated new system.
  • Once such a system is implemented it is infinitely expandable and as with all statist projects, it will be expanded.
  • Finally, who will guard the guards. This objection goes back to antiquity and is as sound now as it was then - Quis Custodiet ipsos custodes

If you are not already convinced check out NO2ID and Sean Gabb on detailed reasons to oppose identity cards.

Since this blog is concerned with the Anarcho-Capitalist meme it seems very fitting that there has been talk on the web of the identity card bill becoming 'Blair's poll tax'. I am more than happy to spread this meme, so I hereby release it into the internet wild!

26 June 2005

Privacy is a right not a privilege

I hope people will make a pledge against ID cards here. This is the most insidious and authoritarian bill this facist government has yet embarked upon. I call them facist in a literal sense, this government is militaristic and contemptuous of individual freedoms and civil liberties. A compulsory ID card allows the government to track your life, centralising, collating and cross-referencing information on all aspects of your existence. The idea of 'nothing to fear, nothing to hide' is facetious at best and downright dangerous at worst. Only those with a total lack of imagination are unable to see how personal information can be used to manipulate enemies of the politcal elite and their cronies. With such intrusive tracking of our lives it would be simple to concoct stories based on circumstantial evidence to discredit opponents. Anyone who is aware of current affairs knows how easy it is to discredit people with mere accusations of wrong-doing or questionable associations.

ID cards will do nothing to prevent terrorist or criminal actions as ANY system is open to forgery, corruption and circumvention, what they will do is shift the balance of power towards the state, whereby citizens will have to continually prove their innocence or be excluded from modern society. Privacy is not a luxury handed out by the state, it is a right only to be rescinded on the basis of the stongest evidence of guilt handled through a transparent judicial process.

This is a heinous bill and anyone with any shred of respect for liberty and justice should oppose it absolutely.

When words become deeds

It was interesting watching Jonathan Dimbleby this morning where it was suggested several times that lifting trade barriers to Africa might actually be a better way of alleviating poverty than simply throwing more money at the problem. This is to be encouraged as free trade (free trade IS fair trade) is what is really needed in Africa, which will itself encourage the toppling of corrupt dictatorships. Interestingly enough in Somalia where western interference was bloodily put down there are areas of increasing wealth with no effective government. People often suggest that Anarcho-Capitalists might like Somalia, well although I would not personally like to live there, it is interesting to note that Somalia has a flourishing mobile phone network without any government to control the airwaves. Many more 'stable' African countries have nothing like it. A provisional conclusion might be that what Somalia needs is not more government, but less impediment to trade with the west.

Unfortunately all this good work on Dimbleby was undone by the usual socialist 'pie in the sky' economics where privatisation was an evil forced upon African countries in return for debt cancellation and liberalisation is used as a dirty word.

Over on the BBC libertarianism was even mentioned in connection with the Conservative party, although frankly I am sceptical. I seem to remember being told of other Conservatives claiming to be libertarians whilst simultaneously clamouring for more state intervention. The media love to lump Libertarians together with Conservatives as 'the right', but, if those terms mean anything, then Libertarians are most emphatically not right-wing (as a previous essay on cuthhyra makes clear). Having said that one of the commentators was correct in saying there is a large libertarian streak in the British people that is woefully under-represented, but if the Conservatives are going to make any inroads into it they must be much more forceful. Schemes like school vouchers should be non-negotiable and implemented as soon as the Conservatives are in government, tax cuts should really be cuts, 1% of tax returns is pitiful it should be along the lines of 10% if they expect to be taken seriously (with more cuts in the long term). Privatisation and closing down of civil 'service' bureaucracies should be a priority.

There are some interesting noises in the media today, which I wholey support, however, I don't hold my breath that words will translate to deeds.

22 June 2005

Moneyed socialists; Their intellectual error

It just seems that whenever one is berated for being too concerned with money it comes from a 'socialist' who has no money troubles themselves. Money is merely a convenient method of exchange and it is only those confused about the purpose and use of money who believe it to be inherently evil (or, equally wrong, but more sophisticated, that money in and of itself is morally destructive). Money allows us to convey value, often through complex chains of transactions, via many people we may never even meet. What is clear is that for any given monetary unit, it's value will decrease with the increase in supply. This is true as much for the individual as it is the true cause of inflation in an economy. Of course in the case of the individual the objective value of the monetary unit remains constant and only the subjective value varies.

Some basic understanding of what money is and why it is necessary may clear up the misconception that capitalist activity is merely the accumulation of money and show how without money complex transactions are impossible making us all worse off.

18 June 2005

A blog too far

To complement my website I have decided to start a blog. This will allow people to comment on both the website and any posts, which will hopefully be of interest to anarcho-capitalists and libertarians, especially those in the UK.