I recommend this, a speech given by Sean Gabb on Monday night to the Young Conservatives. Said he: close down the BBC, the Foreign Office, much of the Home Office, the Commission for Racial Equality, anything to do with health and safety, etc. etc. Quote:
Let me emphasise that the purpose of these cuts would not be to save money for the taxpayers or lift an immense weight of bureaucracy from their backs – though they would do this. The purpose is to destroy the Establishment before it can destroy you. You must tear up the web of power and personal connections that make these people effective as an opposition to radical change. If you do this, you will face no more clamour than if you moved slowly and half-heartedly. Again, I remember the campaign against the Thatcher “cuts”. There were no cuts, except in the rate of growth of state spending. You would never have thought this from the the torrent of protests that rolled in from the Establishment and its clients. And so my advice is to go ahead and make real cuts – and be prepared to set the police on anyone who dares riot against you.
As a libertarian myself, I have long resisted the idea of class warfare. I hate the collectivism of such notions. I mean, I have friends, including libertarian friends, who work for the BBC. (I also have a relative in a rather interesting position in the BBC, I have recently learned. You meet all sorts at family funerals. He thought of the BBC iPlayer, or so I’ve been told.) But, on the other hand, if a Gabbite government ever did materialise in Britain quickly enough for me to witness it, I would not object very strenuously.
But whatever I may feel about this extraordinary event, it certainly was an event. Why, even Instapundit noticed it, or rather he noticed the Volokh Conspiracy noticing it, which is how I noticed it this morning.
What would be really good would be if the lefties picked up on it and said: “This is what those evil Conservatives really want to do!”, and if Sean then repeated it all to something more like a truly national audience, adding “if only”. Or, if truly national pundits start linking to the thing, which amounts to the same thing. Even better would be if the opinion pollsters start asking the actual voters, the actual people, how they feel about Gabbism, and if quite a lot of them say: sounds good to us.
Because, equally interesting, and from a libertarian point of view just as controversial, is what Sean says about state schools and state hospitals and state welfare:
Following from this, however, I advise you to leave large areas of the welfare state alone. It is regrettable, but most people in this country do like the idea of healthcare free at the point of use, and of free education, and of pensions and unemployment benefit. These must go in the long term. But they must be retained in the short term to maintain electoral support.
None of this is new to me. I am sure I could dig out earlier Free Life Commentaries in which all this is said. In fact, come to think of it, Sean wrote a book about all this, didn’t he? Yes he did. But this time, he said it to a politically quite interesting audience.
I am not going to stop opposing government spending on schools and hospitals and welfare merely to suit Sean Gabb’s suggested strategy for the Conservatives. But, I do love how Sean (I assume it’s Sean) describes this speech (here) as having been greeted with “a combination of silence and faint applause”. Springtime for Gabb has come early this year. Or, to switch to another showbiz comparison, it must have been a bit like this, that Michael Jennings linked to from here earlier today.
Is there perhaps some kind of Law of Speeches to the effect that all truly significant speeches are greeted thus, and that only speeches saying absolutely nothing of interest get standing ovations? It would make sense.