I don’t normally respond publicly to comments, but I will make an exception. Peter Cutbertson has a blog called Conservative Commentary, it is certainly better than the Conservative Party’s website. He thinks that this conclusion I made makes me insane:
“The problem for British libertarians is that they aren’t really used to the idea that the state really is our enemy. This is one reason why I don’t think that the UK withdrawing from the European Union is an automatic recipe for joy.”
In the exchange which follows he appears to believe that “without law or government” society cannot function, and those who disagree with him are “insane” or follow “an incoherent, warped political philosophy”.
I am very tempted to ask our Mr Cuthbertson to define Conservative political philosophy, in plain coherent terms, with the agreement of those current and former leaders of the Conservative Party who are still alive: Heath, Thatcher, Major, Hague and Duncan Smith. But I don’t hate the man, so I won’t.
However, it amazes me that Mr Cuthbertson cannot see that law doesn’t necessarily derive from government. For a start, any conservative who believes in God ought to consider the possibility that there is a higher authority than the State. Assuming atheism (which isn’t very conservative, but hey, who’s being coherent?), I should have hoped that a conservative might believe in the organic, spontaneous order of common law. Assuming God doesn’t exist, and the common law is a fiction (sounds more like a French Jacobin!), what has Mr Cuthbertson done with civil society? Is it true that members of the Carlton Club only behave because of the fear of being arrested by the police? Does the members’ code of conduct depend on the State for its existence and enforcement? Is there an Act of Parliament for table manners?
If the cream of the Conservative movement believe that regulation of human behaviour is only possible by State intervention, then it is no wonder the Conservative Parliamentary Party is an unelectable shambles comprised largely of cretins, petty crooks, pompous buffoons and in-bred yahoos. I will take no lessons in morality or “coherent political philosophy” from a Tory.