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Simon Gibbs videos UK Uncut

Incoming from Simon Gibbs of Libertarian Home, flagging up a video he has recently put up at YouTube. It is a report of a UK Uncut demo, which includes interviews with UK Uncut people, and some arguments against their arguments.

To me, the most important thing about this is that a libertarian has taken a video camera out there and actually done some reporting. And some editing. And he has put the resulting video out there for us all to look at and listen to. (It lasts just six minutes.)

I strongly agree with Gibbs that listening carefully to the arguments of people like those who speak for UK Uncut is worthwhile. The idea that, because the minds of people saying things we don’t agree with are mostly made up and unalterable, arguing with them is pointless, is just plain wrong. Others listen to these arguments. If counter-arguments are put, this will have consequences. Insofar as we libertarians disagree with these UK Uncut arguments, our own arguments will get sharper, as arguments always do when you actually listen to what you are arguing against.

Here, for instance, is what Gibbs said later, in his LH retro-report (where the video can also be viewed):

The main problem I have, and what the video focuses on, is that the numbers don’t stack up. Their avoidance loopholes would save 15% of the deficit if they were closed, but it would take 115% cuts, relative to the deficit, to pay off the accumulated debt in 37 years. Thirty seven years of services being trimmed will not work, I appreciate why they fear that, but what we really need is radical pro-growth policies and alternative sources of funding wherever it can be done. Democracy has failed to run its bank account properly. We need to bail it out, pay off the debt, and cut the responsibilities which we entrust to its institutions.

The video itself might have been (even) better, in that Gibbs might have put that point rather more eloquently to the people he was talking to than he actually did. But such nitpicking misses what is crucial here, which is that there are times when the important thing is just to start doing it. How many libertarian videos did you stick up on YouTube last week? More than zero? That’s infinity percent more than most of us have managed. Sometimes load/fire/take aim is the way to go. Simon Gibbs has now loaded and fired. His aim, pretty good to start with, will go from good to even better. As a piece of reportage, about what UK Uncut demos are like, this video is already excellent.

In all the ways that truly matter this is a terrific piece of work, and I really hope Gibbs keeps at it.

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9 comments to Simon Gibbs videos UK Uncut

  • pete

    I know two people who went on an anti-cuts march in Manchester last weekend.

    They are both young, economically naive and seem concerned that the cuts will make it harder to get public sector jobs when they graduate. I’m not convinced they are worried about poverty that much.

    They are both avid greens and go to marches about that. but both drive cars provided by their dad who is a relative of mine.

  • Taking aim definitely happened last, which is why the male activist interview was such a lot more interesting than the female spokesperson interview which I started with, you could say I was watching the tracer rounds and compensating.

    Also worth noting, that by just being there I got interviewed for the BBC. It was not used, but next time your interview might be.

  • PS make sure you share the video far and wide. It’s great that fellow libertarians appreciate it, but that’s not the point.

  • Deft

    Thanks Brian. Another (albeit anonymous) person here that you have picked up for your CV of intellectual journeys.

    I have lost interest this last few years with trying to explain why liberetarianism is better than what we currently have. I can now see this is because I have taken the wrong approach. I will now try to explain it but not justify it within the frames other people set up.

  • Dom

    Thanks for posting that. Very informative video. Here I thought UK Uncut was an anti-circumcision group.

  • bloke in spain

    The question has to be asked. When will UKUncut be able to video a libertarian demo protesting confiscatory taxes?

  • Alisa

    Sorry, but I couldn’t make out much of the conversation behind all the yelling…

  • I’m far too much of a wimp to go out and argue with people face to face, but that makes me all the more admiring of Mr Gibbs for doing it.

    “Load / fire / take aim” is excellent advice in many fields. Anyone who has ever tried to write fiction should take it to heart also.

  • bloke in spain

    Don’t know if this is still a ‘live’ thread. If it isn’t, it’s regretible you’ve managed to do so little with it.
    “I strongly agree with Gibbs that listening carefully to the arguments of people like those who speak for UK Uncut is worthwhile. The idea that, because the minds of people saying things we don’t agree with are mostly made up and unalterable, arguing with them is pointless, is just plain wrong. Others listen to these arguments. If counter-arguments are put, this will have consequences. Insofar as we libertarians disagree with these UK Uncut arguments, our own arguments will get sharper, as arguments always do when you actually listen to what you are arguing against.”
    Is unmitigated nonsense. You’re suggesting you can have an intellectual argument with a position that isn’t intellectual. The UKUncut crowd are part of a movement to get a Labour Government reelected. Preferably one that’s more left wing than its predecessor. This particular line of attack starts with the notion of the coalition’s imaginary ‘austerity program’. It assumes there are ‘cuts’ & these cuts can be avoided by increased taxation. Rises in general taxation are not electorally acceptable so they’ve hit on the idea, big corporations are avoiding tax. From then on, it’s just a case of identifying household name companies or individuals connected with same, whose tax affairs are capable of being portrayed as avoidance. As far as UKUncut & its cheerleaders are concerned there’s no requirement to prove any of this string of logic true. Meanwhile, the Labour Party can keep itself distanced from the campaign. If anything sticks, they can adopt it & run with it. If UKUncut overreaches itself & the accusations founder, “Not us guv!”
    Engaging with the details of the UKUncut agenda are a tactical mistake. As soon as you do so, you’re conceding the ‘austerity/cuts’ strand of the argument. It’s not a logical issue. It’s an emotional issue. People who are convinced by UKUncut’s arguments aren’t interested in economics or law or practicability. The hooks are infinitely malleable concepts like fairness & morality. They’re open to the persuasive ‘them & us’ view of the world. You want to fight it, you have to go back to the root. Paint a picture of government spending being an evil in its own right. Make the them & us not the corporations & the rich versus the people but show the corporations & the rich are as much apart of the people as anyone else & the State the enemy. And the politicians who wish to enlarge the State its generals.