We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Class War vs. Civil Rights

Make no mistake, the moves afoot to ban hunting in Britain have very little to do with animal welfare but everything to do with class warfare. It is nothing less than a clash between those who believe civil society must be tolerant to those who share different minority views and who wish to freely associate in the pursuit of a beloved activity… and those who believe that state and violence backed political interaction, rather than society and voluntary social interaction, is the core around which all activity must revolve.

The class warriors of the Labour and LibDem Parties, and a few statist Tory confreres, wish to regulate notions of free associating civil society out of existence and replace it with a regulatory democratic state in which no aspect of rights or affinity are beyond the reach of regulatory politics… nothing less than an intolerant dictatorship of the political plurality.

Well a bunch of people met in front of Parliament today who said that regardless of what the bigoted class warriors of Westminster say, they are not going to cooperate.

The class warriors are not ‘progressive’ at all… they are in fact the heirs to a view of the role of the politics which in days gone by used law to oppress other despised minorities, such as homosexuals or Roman Catholics. They are just hate filled sanctimonious collectivist bigots.

(the photos taken today courtesy of The Dissident Frogman because my camera is knackered)

34 comments to Class War vs. Civil Rights

  • Sage

    Pretty nuts. I just couldn’t believe it when I read it. Of course, no discussion of this ban would be complete without reference to what I think is the true underlying issue at stake–gun rights. You know, the ones that gun control freaks in the US are always promising won’t be applied to hunters and sportsmen.

  • I will mention in the “class warfare” connection that an “open secret” motivation behind the Harrison Narcotics Control Act — the bill that gave birth to the War On Drugs in the U.S. — was a desire to make Chinese immigrants, many of whom were brought here to construct the transcontinental railroads, uncomfortable enough to go back to their homeland. Needless to say, this impetus behind our oldest and least effective social-engineering program is never discussed in public.

    “When men fall for some piece of vicious insanity, with no way to make it work and no reason to explain their choice — it’s because they have a reason they do not wish to tell.” — Ayn Rand.

  • Swede

    As an American, a gun owner, and a hunter (deer, rabbit, pheasant, turkey, and fish) I feel for my British cousins. Hunting and gun rights don’t have the same “class warfare” baggage in the States as it does in the U.K. Not that there isn’t resistence to these pastimes here. However, unlike in the U.K., not many politicians in either major party oppose gun ownership (2nd Amend) or hunting. Those groups who do oppose one or the other (or both) are loud, shrieking, but nevertheless small and ineffective. Thank God.

  • David Gillies

    David Horowitz also points out in The Politics of Bad Faith that so-called ‘progressive’ ideas are nothing of the sort and that in fact the liberal, laissez-faire, capitalist ideas are the truly revolutionary ones. God, how I detest all the cockroach armies of Toynbee-esque ‘do-gooders’ who want to make me run my life their way, with my money.

  • Frank DiSalle

    Reading about this issue has reminded of another similar campaign:

    “…The Puritans endeavoured to put an end to animal-baiting, although [Thomas Babington] Macaulay sarcastically suggested that this was “not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators…”

  • Chris Josephson

    Refreshing to see the ‘British Fighting Spirit’!!

    I hope these folks don’t back down and continue to hunt, if that’s what they want to do.

    Thanks for the pictures. I just love the ones with the dogs.

  • marinara

    some generations ago, white people had a fun sport in australia and tahiti… shooting and killing the natives…



  • Dale Amon

    Strange… did that nasty person just claim Tahitians and Aborigines are no better than foxes? Tsk, tsk. The next time I drink with an Aborigine musician I’ll be sure to mention it. [They are often to be found at Irish Fleadhs].

    In any case…. I’m glad to see the spirit there and I can’t wait for the fun of major nationwide nonviolent civil disobedience. Government only works when the governed respect it enough to continue with the social contract. I have heard it said that once 15% of a population withdraw their support a country becomes ungovernable.

    Go for it lads and lasses!

  • sunburnt

    Could anyone please explain to me the attraction of this sport? Please note that I do no give a flying f about the *class* aspects. To me the the idea of a large number of humans on horses with a large number of dogs chasing **one** fox is as about as interesting (and as challenging) as watching Manchester United play soccer against a depleted South Mole Island team.

    I am not against hunting per se, and if was a case of a number of humans plus a couple of dogs, but no horses (or other reduced combination), then I could understand it being a sport.

  • G Crawford

    To the jackass who wrote about hunting aborigines: So you can surf the slippery slope argument but since I am a right winger I cannot protest your NEED to take away my guns (which WILL lead to oppression)

    Peddle your tired, statist dogma elsewhere.

    You are the type to speak of the rights of The People but not extend any courtesy to actual people.

    The New Capitalist Manifesto:
    Workers of the world, INVEST!
    You have nothing to lose but your poverty

  • Samkit

    i would agree sunburnt. i just don’t see the entertainment value. seems the same to me as deer hunting around here; i’ve heard of some hunters who sit in a tent, waiting for a deer to lower it’s head to eat some corn, and then shoot it. point and click? might as well be playing a computer game.

    now, paintball on the other hand…two creatures of similar intelligence, with similar technology? now there’s a fight.

  • Kelli

    You appear to labor under the impression that riding a horse requires neither effort nor skill. When done over long distances and fairly rough terrain, at speeds set by small but fast furry creatures–I think that qualifies as sport.

    Not something that floats my boat, but then neither is football (either sort!) and I have no urge to ban it, though I might back a bill to outlaw infernal “tailgate parties.”

    Perry, I would add to the class warfare theme an intense hatred, on the part of the anti-hunter set, toward anything that smacks of national tradition. As a student of British history at the postgrad level I was utterly confounded by friends and acquaintances who claimed to find nothing either interesting or praiseworthy in Britain’s past (especially the bit I was interested in, the empire–well Nial Fergusson has changed all that now, but too late for my career). Americans may cast aspersions at various aspects of our national history but I can’t say I know anyone who would chuck the whole thing out the window as soon as look at it. You all have a real self-image problem on your hands (Samizdatists excluded, of course).

  • sunburnt/samkit,

    You are not required to either like or understand fox-hunting. You are invited to stop regarding the law as the prize in a popularity contest and to at least consider the proposition that not liking something is not the same as wanting a government prohibition on that something.

  • Scott Cattanach

    some generations ago, white people had a fun sport in australia and tahiti… shooting and killing the natives…

    After the whites disarmed the natives. Arm the natives, and this problem goes away.

  • Hodadenon


    I am an American who casts no aspersions on your History at all, primarily because it is the source of much of our own (secondarily because my family came here from the Manchester area a few hundred years ago). I am currently halfway through Niall Ferguson’s “Empire”, which was the selection of the month from our Conservative Book Club.

    Additionally, while no rider myself, I knew many American hunt riders while I lived in Virginia and enjoyed watching their fun from a safe distance through my binoculars.

    Lord, where would my favorite mystery writers be without the ability to do someone in at a hunt breakfast?

    Finally, I think a guiding principle of rights in both our countries should be that the GOVERNMENT doesn’t have any right to infringe on mine, as long as I’m no danger to anyone else.

  • Jabba the Nutt

    Francis makes the right point, but with the wrong facts. He wrote:
    Posted by: Francis W. Porretto on July 9, 2003 09:27 PM
    I will mention in the “class warfare” connection that an “open secret” motivation behind the Harrison Narcotics Control Act — the bill that gave birth to the War On Drugs in the U.S. — was a desire to make Chinese immigrants, many of whom were brought here to construct the transcontinental railroads, uncomfortable enough to go back to their homeland. Needless to say, this impetus behind our oldest and least effective social-engineering program is never discussed in public.

    “When men fall for some piece of vicious insanity, with no way to make it work and no reason to explain their choice — it’s because they have a reason they do not wish to tell.” — Ayn Rand.

    The first drug prohibition law in the US was enacted by the State of Nevada in the late 1860’s, during the time of the building of the trans-continental railroad and the use of Chinese immigrants (almost all men) were used in mining and construction. The drug banned was smoking opium, virtually exclusively used by the Chinese. Samuel Gompers the famous union guy campaigned against the Chinese and claimed their use of smoking opium enabled them to work too hard, so that the white man could not compete. Visions of White Slavery, white women fallen into prostitution was used to wave the bloody race flag.

    The Harrison Act came in around 1912 to bring the US into line with the Anti-Opium Treaties and to stamp out Chinese consumption of opium in the US possession of the Phillipines. Race was used in the 20’s, 30’s and later, depicting blacks and Mexicans as losing total control of violence and sex, due to drugs, ie Reefer Madness.

    Race prejudice was the basis for Drug Prohibition.

  • I’m waiting for PETA to come to the defense of all those hunting dogs, who, from my experience, are about as far from a family pet as King Kong from Tarzan’s Cheetah. Without the hunt, these dogs have no purpose, and will probably, in most cases, have to be put down.

    And their owners will get hammered for that, too.

  • Harvey

    Personally, I don’t see this as a class ‘war’ at all. Only the huntsmen or huntswomen are generally the ‘aristocratic type,’ whereas most of the supporting cast (who far outnumber the riders) are middle/working class employees.

    If it has to be a described as a ‘war’ then it’s a cultural war, the urban lifestyle vs rural lifestyle, though I would hardly describe typical urban activities as a ‘lifestyle’ – rather more they are a de-facto nameless contentless way of living.

    The only reason we see it as a class war or a cultural war is because it’s presented that way to engender support for one side or another – although primarily the anti-side.

    Personally I don’t see it as a debate – on one side we have employees and employers, generating wealth and even killing the odd fox (they are a menace, you know…) and on the other side we have scruffy doleys, do-gooders, socialists and professional (hah!) saboteurs who aren’t above smacking you or your horses about with a crowbar when no-one’s looking.

    These people need to be ignored until they generate some wealth and pay some tax. Then they get to contribute!

    Oh, and while we’re on the subject, why the hell does the phrase ‘animal rights’ not have people holding their sides and laughing? The entire _concept_ is inherently farcical… *sigh*

  • AST

    I used to be more libertarian than I am since I realized that “rights” can be used to justify all kinds of stupid political positions. The simple truth is that it all boils down to power and who gets to decide what kind of society we live in.

    When does a nuisance become a right? We routinely accept limitations on our property rights without a peep, while activities that are offensive to large parts of the populace are protected as human rights.

    This has nothing to do with fox hunting, which I don’t see anything wrong with. I guess that I wouldn’t support a ban on it, but I would object to having foxes torn apart by packs of hounds in a public square as an act of free speech.

  • As both a Texan and an American, I was very proud when my daughter decided to learn how to ride “English”. “English” as in, learn her equitation and her hunt seat. Thank goodness that she can also do whatever kind of hunting she wants–especially on her grandparents’ ranch (a full section in Jim Hogg County in South Texas); of course, she will be doing hunt seat chasing javelina, feral spotted hogs, deer, coyote, rabbits, and wild turkey. Still, it is the thought that counts…

    I see how the British often run down their own country, and it is so disheartening. Though I have not travelled there (one day, I hope to go), there is so much history to see and be around. Maybe they can’t see it as wonderful because they are too close to it; to me–who was born in Arizona–the Grand Canyon and the Rocky Mountains were boring. It is only now, that I have been away from them for almost 20 years, that I have learned to appreciate them.

  • The British need to start somewhere in stopping the hemorraghing of their individual rights. They are already in a place where it’s just about illegal for a victim to defend themselves from an assault. They have to measure how much defense they can use in regards to the value of the crime attempted. Sounds like a bloody chemist formula!
    Too much defense gives a bad appearance, so then the victim is in danger of being charged with something ridiculous like inhumane cruelty.
    The fox hunting is symptomatic of one group trying to take control of the majority of the population, when they do away with hunting fox, they’ll next be telling the Brits to use their left hand to wipe with.

  • Mace

    In the socialist utopia that I live in, the California legislature has toyed with various laws that would effectively end all hunting within the state. Obviously, the legislature must be right since they’re the elites and know better than the rest of us, especially as to what it takes to make people happy.

  • greeneyeshade

    i don’t think orwell would have cared much for fox-hunting, but he cared even less for middle-class, suburban radicals with more than a touch of the prig. one more reason for wishing he’d been around to see this.

  • Lou Gots

    There may be something else going on here–a plot to replace a hunting-topped ecology with a predator-tipped one. Foxes, you see subsist largely on game birds. In Pennsylvania, a big, big hunting state, foxes and great horned owls (another major gamebird predator) have gone from being the subject of a bounty for their extermination to being partially protected. As a result, the ringneck pheasant is at a mere shadow of its former population. If the greenie-weernies could find a predator that could eat whiteailed der without eating human children they would protect that as well.

  • Mike Strickland

    Gun control in the US begins with the “Black Codes” used to control the freed slaves after the civil war.

    Marijuana was outlawed because the brewers didn’t like the competetion.

    It is all about the controlling of some people by other people.

  • Kelli


    Just for the record, hon, your history is my history. I’m a Yank too 🙂

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I think class is a key element here. Socialists will not ban fishing because so many of their supporters do it. However, they have calculated that the fox-hunting set is not big enough to make them a dangerous enemy. By god I hope the hunters are proved wrong. And I say that as someone who doesn’t really like hunting. Shooting foxes is probably more effective. But what really
    annoys our new puritans is the fact that hunting is fun, which they cannot stand.

    Be in no doubt, shooting game will be next. It is also largely a preserve of the wealthy, though I dunno if Nanny Blair really wants to make a deadly enemy out of Vinny Jones.

    Animal rights is a joke, as has been wisely noted above. How can a being without the capacity for exercising free will and responsibility have rights, fcrissakes?

  • John Sullivan

    Everyone, but G Crawford in particular:

    Disclosure: I consider myself a moderate with a slight leftward tilt, I think foxhunters should be able to hunt, I don’t want to take your gun away.

    But that said, I am really getting tired of this argument that the only thing preventing the government from becoming a totalitarian monstrosity is a citizenry packing hunting rifles.

    So tell me G., when was the last time you shot a federal agent to keep yourself from being oppressed? Or do you find simply brandishing your gun at them sufficient to keep them from applying things like the Patriot Act to you the way they apply them to the rest of us?

    Seriously, maybe this made sense 200 years ago, when ordinary folk typically had the same guns the army had, and nobody had helicopters, riot control vehicles, passive body heat sensors or machine guns. But it’s absurd now. Annoy someone in power and that .30-06 isn’t going to keep you free, it’s just going to make it easier to justify killing you to the news media.

    Case in point: my sister in law, who rides way, WAY farther out on the left end of the seesaw than I do, went to Philadelphia during the last Republican convention to protest. Don’t remember any street protests in the ’00 convention? That’s because she and a couple hundred other people were in a rented warehouse making puppets when the cops swept in and rounded them all up. Everyone there was arrested without any real charges and held until the convention was over. The cops blew up not only the puppets, but all the personal property they made the detainees leave behind. They even blew up a metal briefcase full of documents belonging to the poor guy who rented them the warehouse who was just up in his office doing paperwork. My sister in law spent a week in jail, largely because she refused to cooperate or plead guilty to bogus charges. When the convention was over they cut everyone loose, and took the lawsuits, which they knew perfectly well they were going to lose. Basically, the city decided to bite that bullet rather than embarrass the GOP.

    Now, I’m pretty sure you and my sister in law would end up in a screaming match within 30 seconds. But hopefully you’ll also admit that’s a very clear, and very personal example of illegal state oppression.

    So are you suggesting that this would have turned out better for anyone if these people had all brought guns to Philadelphia, and opened up on the cops when they showed up? Or that, if they’d broken the windows and fired a couple warning shots, that the cops would have backed down and let them exercise their constitutional rights in peace?

    Sorry. I think gun control is a dumb idea, but a bunch of handguns and deer rifles aren’t going to make us free again anytime soon.

  • John Sullivan: The reason you are wrong is that you re looking at gun-as-a-hedge-against-tyranny from the wrong angle.

    Sure, a few dissidents with guns cannot take on the US (or other) army and expect not to be crushed… although the people of Mogadishu might suggest that is not entirely true… but an armed population does indeed have a useful effect on the behaviour of the state and its employees. Merely knowing that if people are pushed hard enough, they have the means to shoot back cannot but be a helpful notion for the state’s employees to have in their head. For a policeman to feel he must rely on moral authority to get the cooperation of an armed community he is employed to police, and not just the fact he has a gun and they do not, is a very healthy thing indeed. A gun is not a hedge against tyranny… several million certainly are.

    Of course, if a few nutters start shooting at public employees because they are disaffected then clearly they will find themselves face to face with a SWAT team and those SWAT teams will probably be cheered on by the local community… but should enough people feel those people are in fact justified, then the ability of the state to police (and tax) an armed population who no longer trusts the state or thinks its actions are legitimate is clearly more tenuous than if the population is unarmed.

    Also the idea that you can put down a domestic uprising armed with ‘mere’ smallarms with smart bombs and tanks is generally quite untrue if the people an army being asked to do that are facing their own people. You often do not have to defeat an army to defeat an unpopular regime with politically motivated violence, provided enough people support what you are doing. The inability of the British army to crush Republican terrorism is a recent case in point.

  • JMH


    I’m dropping your blog.

    Back to the worlds of logic and thought. …

    In a hurry!

  • Somehow I think we will survive without you… actually we are getting around 30,000 visitors a week at the moment, so I rather doubt we will see a huge fall in traffic as you leave

  • Paul Stinchfield

    Funny how leftists will praise and defend the ancient customs (including hunting) of aboriginal peoples, but will demonize and destroy the same rights of Europeans….

  • John Sullivan


    Hmm, interesting points, but I think you’re stirring together two separate things. There’s moral authority, and then there’s guns. Both can tilt the scale, but I’d argue that the “social contract” aspect is vastly more significant.

    Maybe we’re talking past each other because I keep coming up with fairly localized incidents while you cite larger-scale mass movements. But the examples that come to my mind are Tianamen Square (sp?) and the attempted Moscow coup in the last days of the USSR – when people poured into the streets to surround the government buildings and the hardliners sent tanks into the city.

    In both cases, you had an unarmed citizenry relying on moral suasion and basically daring the army to shoot them. The Soviet army decided it wasn’t willing to cross that line to defend what it probably saw as a state that was doomed anyway. Obviously, the Chinese went the other way.

    So in one case, guns weren’t needed. Moral suasion alone was enough. In the other, I don’t think putting small arms in the hands of those Chinese democracy activists would have made any difference. (Note that the iconic image from that whole thing was one guy standing in front of a column of tanks.)

    As for ongoing mass guerilla resistance, okay, granted, an armed citizenry is capable of greatly annoying the powers that be, as in Northern Ireland – or Iraq for that matter. And it can be incredibly difficult to root them out, i.e. Eric Rudolph. But again, you have to compare what level of force that populace is capable of inflicting to the willingness of the government to sustain a certain level of damage for a course of action. If the troubles in Ireland were over imposing EU beer standards or something like that, the British probably would have said the hell with it and given up long ago. But they see this as a sovereignty issue and they’ve put up with the violence for a century now instead of giving the Republicans what they want. And the greater the disparity in force, the easier it becomes for the government to sustain low levels of damage and keep on doing what it wants.

    Overall, I think the scenario you describe is the way the founding fathers meant for it to work, and it probably made sense back then. But I think technology has changed the picture.

    Not to mention the way soldiers are carefully trained to minimize their chances of not doing what they’re told. In World War II, U.S. troops didn’t even want to fire on the enemy, much less their own people. But I don’t have too much faith that today’s army would go the Russian route over the Chinese one when confronted with a bunch of angry citizens, guns or no guns.

    Thanks for the thought provocation. 🙂

  • John Sullivan: Part of the reason I see things the way I do is that I spend a fair bit of time in Croatia, Herzegovina and Bosnia between 1991 and 1996, and heard too many stories about how an old Tokarev or a hunting rifle or an ‘acquired’ AK meant the difference between life and death for whole families… Sure, the Chinese crushed an unarmed civilian uprising and an attempted coup d’etat by elements of Russian military failed, but my concerns are more with preventing authoritarian states developing the institutional confidence needed to become totalitarian states. For sure, an armed population is not the be all and end all of securing liberties, but it is a start.

    But as for technology changing the equation, I could not disagree more. As the Israelis have discovered, you cannot destroy an insurgency with technology… all the smart bombs and tanks in the world do not change the fact that to arrest people and exert effective government control against a population who will not cooperate, you need a man standing in a street with a rifle… a man who can also be shot dead with another rifle.