As Gabriel Syme wrote earlier today, the objective on this blog is to argue for a ‘broad front’ push to regain some ground lost to successive governments in the struggle for individual civil liberties. But as a hard core free market individualist who opposes collectivism in all its left and right flavours, it would fair to say that when I write for Samizdata.net, I tend not to make many friends amongst socialists, social democrats or statist conservatives.
And yet… on White Rose I try to leave some of my narrow political views at the door as the aim here is about forming a much broader front in the resistance to the diminution of individual liberty. Gabriel was right to point out the excellent article by Stephen Robinson in the Telegraph in praising left winger John Wadham for his stewardship of the human rights group Liberty.
I have recently been taken to task by libertarians and conservatives for praising George Orwell, because he was a socialist. Yet it would be hard to overestimate the importance of 1984 and Animal Farm in estabishing a popularised meta-context in which the true nature of tyranny could be understood by millions of people across the world. It is my desire that people reach the conclusion that the state is over-mighty and that its actions pose a clear and present danger to individual liberty… I am far less concerned how they reach that conclusion. If Orwell felt his socialist collectivism could be squared with an abhorance for tyranny, well fine. I may not see it that way but Orwell made many of the right arguments nevertheless. We must take our friends where we find them.
The need to resist the tide of the regulatory state’s smothering of individual rights has appeal far beyond the narrow confines of libertarianism or any particular -ism, and if we are to ever roll back the trend towards a panoptic micro-regulated ‘society’, to quote Benjamin Franklin, we must hang together, or surely we will hang separately.