Monday, 6 July 2015

Libertarian London - Part 3

The Road to Revolution

Our big chance came when the generation who had been schooled beginning in the late ‘80s and ‘90s – the guinea-pigs for the “national curriculum” - came to sufficient maturity to understand what was going on. They had been subjected since youth to a torrent of brainwash. But many of them had come to know it. Some went further, and consciously resisted it. And soon they came to resent it, and to feel disgust for the politicals that had tried to brainwash them.

Imagine, then, the power which was unleashed during the second decade of the century, when these people, having reached their 20s or early 30s, discovered the ideas which we radical old fogeys – for most of us libertarians by ‘10 were well over 50, some even in their 80s - had struggled so hard and so long to preserve and to explicate for others. And that had been the proximate cause of the Revolution.

Key to dividing friend from foe had been the idea of common-sense justice, which was loved by those of the economic paradigm, and hated by those of the political. Like a mental meat-cleaver, it separated the metaphorical sheep from the goats. For honest, productive, peaceful people naturally want to be treated as they treat others. It’s in their interests! And fraudsters, thieves and the aggressively violent fear it, because common-sense justice will punish them as they deserve.

We had formed an organization that would run candidates for office. It was not a political party. Indeed, it was explicitly against politics and the political paradigm.

Our candidates did not talk about what was “best for Britain”, but about what was “best for you” and “best for good people”. They promoted the economic paradigm – the way forward to a society of peace, justice, freedom, prosperity, honesty and a bright and happy future. They compared and contrasted it with the political paradigm, with its wars, its injustices, its bad laws and unnecessary restrictions, its heavy taxes, its lies and deceit, and its stifling, going-nowhere atmosphere of fear and guilt.

Our candidates asked the question: Who the hell needs politics? They promised the common-sense justice that everyone deserved. They promised that they would never allow peaceful, productive, honest people to suffer for the sake of the violent, or the lazy, or the dishonest, or anyone with a political agenda.

And many good people, who had come to despise the politicals but had never had a chance to do anything about it before, flocked to join us.

Our enemies, of course, at first ignored us, then belittled us, then attacked us (verbally, legally or on occasion physically) and smeared us. But their attacks backfired. Indeed, our enemies scored a series of increasingly spectacular own goals. And people came to see the state for what it was; an outdated, immoral organization. They saw the politicals and the Establishment that fed off them for what they were; criminals and worse.

As discontent mounted, good people had started openly to flout unjust and intrusive laws. There were anti-political protests, and civil disobedience. And there were tax strikes - particularly by small businesses.

There was some violence, much of it started by the police; for many of them took the politicals’ side. The army, though, was another matter. Because of what they had been ordered to do in Afghanistan and Iraq, many of them hated the politicals just as much as we revolutionaries did. So they were not inclined to intervene on the politicals’ side against the people.

So, in October ’17 – ironically, 100 years to the month after the Bolsheviks had taken over Russia – we suddenly found that we had won.

Mr. Good, Dr. Wood, Mrs. Hood and Mr. Mahmood

When our side took power after the Revolution, we had much to do in a very short time. Four members of our side took the principal roles in implementing the new paradigm. (I use here, not their real names, but nicknames I gave them).

Mr. Good was not only the figurehead, but also the one who held everything together. He was the one who set the tone for what the others did, and kept everyone aware of what was happening. He also personally dealt with the most controversial issues. For example, agreeing to extradite from England to Iraq the instigators of the war there.

Dr. Wood was the financial genius. He reduced the functions of government right down to their core – civil law, criminal law and defence against aggression. And he privatized all services previously provided by the state, which people were voluntarily willing to pay for. The rest of the bureaucrats he sacked, and cancelled their pensions. Then Dr. Wood wound up the morally and financially bankrupt political state, and distributed its assets among its creditors.

Mrs. Hood represented the people of England to the rest of the world. It was said of her that, if Margaret Thatcher had been a battle-axe, Mrs. Hood was an ironclad. She negotiated the separation from England of the Scots, Welsh and Irish. She told the EU and the UN, in no uncertain terms, where they could go. She opened the borders of England to anyone prepared to commit to the economic paradigm. And she negotiated trade and friendship deals with other countries, including many in or formerly in the EU. She gained a reputation for being utterly hard, but also utterly fair.

Mr. Mahmood was responsible for justice within England. He was the one who led the repeal of all the unjust and intrusive laws, and the pruning of the English common law down to its roots. He reformed the police. And he had – among much else - the cameras taken down, and the databases scrapped.

Mr. Good and his friends set in motion, too, a plan to bring objective, common-sense justice to every individual in England. That included retrospective justice. We made every one of the politicals and their hangers-on take full, individual responsibility for the bad things they had done to innocent people. We made them pay reparations to all those they had damaged through wars, re-distributory or confiscatory taxes, stifling regulations, unjust laws, bureaucratic waste, corruption or harassment, or police harassment or brutality. And we punished them in addition, as harshly as they deserved. We didn’t show them any more compassion than they had shown towards us. For common-sense justice doesn’t pull its punches.

But equally, common-sense justice is not vindictive. Once they had fully compensated all those they had harmed, had taken the punishment that was due to them, and had committed themselves to the economic paradigm, then even ex-politicians could be re-admitted to society. But not, of course, until they had paid their dues in full.

The Sloganeer

I think about my own role in the Revolution. I had not been one of its public figures – that was not my style. But I had become, quite without intending it, one of the sloganeers of the Revolution.

I hadn’t invented the phrase “common-sense justice”. Nor had I been first to use “You deserve to be treated as you treat others”. But I had been, as far as I knew, the first libertarian to apply that name to that idea, as far back as ’02.

“From each according to his abilities, to each according to his deserts” – that one was mine, too. A pithy statement of the economic paradigm, if I may say so. Only one word different from the Marxist dictum; but what a difference a word makes!

“Who’s afraid of common-sense justice?” had been mine, as well. And “No forgiveness without compensation”.

The Orange Peelians

I get up and walk along the north side of the park, towards Trafalgar Square. Back in ‘10, I had not been able to do that, because the pope was visiting and was planned to pass by some time later. Police – hundreds of them - had cordoned off the area and were stopping people from crossing the roads. I had to leave St. James’s Park the same way I had come in. I felt corralled like an animal; and I wasn’t the only one complaining. It was typical of how we were treated in the Ugly Years – deprived of our basic right to walk peacefully around London, for no better reason than that some silly old German bishop had come to harangue us about not celebrating the winter solstice properly.

But today in 2035, I reflect, the police are very different. After the Revolution, we had sacked the entire police force, and re-hired only those who were prepared to commit to doing the job properly. We made them keep to principles similar to the ones laid down in the 19th century by Sir Robert Peel. And we changed their uniforms to bright orange jackets. So, many people now call them the Orange Peelians.

Police no longer enforce laws, as they did before the Revolution, for the sake of enforcing laws. Instead, they are a resource to support peace and justice. Our cities and suburbs are a lot quieter too, because police today will be prosecuted if they use sirens without good reason.

I walk through the arch, and reach the south end of Trafalgar Square. It’s still called Trafalgar Square, and it’s once again a Mecca for pigeons. I remember, with a smile, hearing Mr. Good decline the offer of having his statue on one of the plinths.

I turn right down Whitehall for a little way, to go to the Silver Cross, where I had had my second pub stop back in ‘10. It’s still a pub, but it’s now called “The Trafalgar”.

Results of Revolution

I think of some of the changes which have happened since the Revolution. There are no taxes any more. Courts, police and what few prisons and what little military defence are still necessary, are all financed by allowing the English pound – which is otherwise tied to a basket of commodities – to be inflated at 1½% per year. All other services formerly provided by the state have been privatized. And the welfare of those, who through no fault of their own cannot support themselves, has become a matter for insurance. Or, in extreme emergency, charity.

Oh, the happiness of not paying taxes! For, when you paid for a good or service in the Ugly Years, you knew that you were also paying for the politically rich and the bad things they did to you. But today, when you pay for a good or a service, you know that none of what you are paying goes towards wars. None of it goes towards political policies designed to harm innocents. None of it goes to an authoritarian intellectual class. None of it goes on propaganda. None of it goes on bureaucracies. None of it goes on spying on people. Oh, the happiness of not paying taxes!

Even better, if someone does start behaving badly, it is easy to take sanctions against them, without needing to use law or police. For, if you don’t like the way they behave, you don’t have to do business with them!

But perhaps the biggest change brought about by the Revolution was a change in the climate – the mental climate. The fear and guilt, that had characterized the Ugly Years, was very soon gone. Instead, we had a new rationality and a new optimism. We human beings – regardless of race or geographical origin – were going to fulfil our potential. Yes, we were damn well going to do what was right and natural for us to do! We were going to take control of our planet.

And we, the English, were going to do what we could to spread the economic paradigm and the new sense of confidence world-wide.

Not surprisingly, very soon after the Revolution, investment began to flood into England. And shortly, that investment was physically followed by many of the investors. So, London became once again the financial capital of the world. And things got so much better so quickly, that the Revolution of ’17 in England became the model for the rest of the world to follow.

With the Revolution, there came also a new honesty in public life. With the political paradigm destroyed, it was now in everyone’s interest to be honest. Propaganda became a thing of the past, too. For most people today have fully functional bullshit meters. The young have learned from us old fogeys!

There is, once again, an English parliament. For new situations arise; therefore it’s impossible to have the rule of law and justice, without having at least some kind of legislative. But the parliament has no full-time members or employees. It meets, emergencies excepted, for at most two weeks each year. And it meets in a purpose built facility in Milton Keynes, which for the rest of the year is a hotel and conference centre.

As to the constitution, we allowed the incumbent to complete her term, but monarchical power was going to end there. She made it to 100 – just – and so it was in ‘26 that the English monarchy ended. King William V’s post is now entirely ceremonial, and he earns his living as a tourist attraction.

The word “Britain” is now used only in the one sense, as “a group of islands in the western North Sea”. And “Europe” is a dirty word. The continent is now, as it ever was, called “The Continent”.

And the EU is no more. As the Revolution went world-wide, our local friends simply sacked all the EU bureaucrats in their countries, and wound up the EU’s institutions. The same happened to the UN, too.

Today in 2035, we the honest, productive human beings of England enjoy the liberty, justice, peace and prosperity we have earned. Our victory in the Paradigm War, and the consequent Revolution of ‘17, have given us what we deserve. Life today isn’t perfect, of course – it never will be. But it’s one heck of a lot better than the Ugly Years.

And we are trying some exciting ideas on the justice front. We are currently trialling Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s idea of “private law societies”. If it works, it will make the provision of justice totally independent of geographical boundaries. And so, will make it all but impossible for anyone ever to try to resurrect the state.

Why Did They Do What They Did?

I turn left out of the pub, then left again into Whitehall Place, to pass the National Liberal Club. It was there that we libertarians had held many of our meetings. It was there, in a tiny oasis of radicalism in the heart of Establishment London, that the intellectual seeds of the Revolution had been sown.

As I climb the steps to the footbridge over the river, I contemplate the question: Why? Why did the politicals behave as they did? And why did they bombard us with so much fear and guilt?

Maybe, I think, I have an answer. When the politicals said “we’re a burden on the planet”, were they actually admitting that they were a burden on the planet? When they said “our way of life is not sustainable”, did they really mean that they knew their way of life, their political paradigm, was not sustainable? When they told us “we must change our lifestyles”, did they really mean that they had to change their lifestyles, to forfeit their unearned privileges? When they hyped fears of climate change, was what they really feared change in the mental climate? Did they sense, with fear, the coming Revolution?

And when they accused us of endangering species, did they really mean that they feared their own species – the political species – was endangered? Did they, perhaps, feel their own unfitness for the new world? Did their fears stem from a visceral sense that they, their state and their paradigm were doomed?

Well, I think with a smile, politics, the state and the political paradigm are now all extinguished. And good riddance.

Across The Tame’s

I continue across the footbridge over the Thames. It’s an in joke, among us Paradigm Warriors who remain, to lengthen the “a” and pronounce the name of the river as “Tame’s”. This refers, of course, to Chris Tame, one of the first leaders of our movement in England. Dying in ‘06, he never saw the Revolution he did so much groundwork for. But he is not forgotten.

I look to my right, and see that the London Eye is still there. Just to the left of it, there is now another wheel, like an Enterprise wheel, but much bigger. It’s called the London Revolution. It whirls its passengers round fast – no, very fast, about 90 mph – then takes them upside-down into the air. It gets bigger queues than the Eye.

It’s starting to go dark. And I already know that the Italian restaurant hard by Waterloo station, where I had eaten at the end of that walk all those years ago in 2010, is still in business. It’s time, I think, for dinner.

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