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]

Samizdata quote of the day

Since nasty, backward British voters cannot be trusted to believe in or vote for the right things, we need human rights imposed on us at a European level, so that present and future UK governments could not dial back certain rights or entitlements even if they wanted to. This is predicated on the belief that democracy, popular will, should not trump everything, which is actually a perfectly reasonable position – any good constitution should have checks and balances built in to it in order to prevent the passion of the moment finding its way onto the statute books without due discussion, diligence and consideration of the rights of dissenting minorities.

But the academic Left’s naive approach assumes that the EU will always be a force for the kind of socially progressive agenda that its academics seek to champion. By defending a structure which permanently paints the UK as the authoritarian bad guy and the EU as the right-dispensing good guys, it provides no defence in the event that the EU flips and takes a less expansive view of human rights than is currently the case. And this is more than a theoretical, irrelevant supposition – with the rise of populists and authoritarians throughout Europe, a time may eventually come when some decidedly illiberal policies flow down from Brussels. And what defence would Britain then have, given that the Left trust European voters and politicians over British people to be the final arbiter of rights and freedoms in the UK?

Thus, at best this “resist Brexit to preserve women’s rights” movement is guilty of exceptionally short-term, two-dimensional, narrow thinking in which the policy thought most likely to guarantee certain rights and entitlements today is mistakenly held as the optimal policy for the longer-term, and at worst it is as contemptuous of women as it is of democracy itself.

Samuel Hooper

20 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Eric

    This is predicated on the belief that democracy, popular will, should not trump everything, which is actually a perfectly reasonable position…

    Well, sure, but the idea popular will is effectively meaningless isn’t a reasonable position.

  • Mr Ecks

    The left are scum. Who care absolutely nothing for human rights. As for remainiacs–long since time to start handing out treason & sedition charges.

  • Regional

    Remember Fascism and Communism are from Europe.

  • Bruce

    The (W)academic left are NOT naive.

    The bastards know EXACTLY what they are doing and what will be the probable outcomes.

  • Phil B

    any good constitution should have checks and balances built in to it in order to prevent the passion of the moment finding its way onto the statute books

    Such as banning everything (firearms in particular) and eliminating peoples freedoms and rights after any incident? Thought not …

  • terence patrick hewett

    Consitutional reform is long overdue – my preferred option is for Federation with written constitutions like the US: so the political class is prevented from selling us again.

  • pete

    I’ve always regarded the Remainer view that the British people need oversight from abroad to decide their human rights, employment and environmental laws as a form of racism.

    It is based on the theory that the British are less able to draft and enact suitable laws than foreigners and so shouldn’t be allowed to do so.

    I imagine similar attitudes were held by racist Brits about Indians and people in African countries as independence from the UK approached.

  • bobby b

    “Constitutional reform is long overdue . . . “

    I’d avoid it like the plague, for the same reasons that I dread that someone here in the USA will convene a Constitutional Convention and attempt to amend our Constitution.

    Legislative reform? Sure. Great. But we should stick to things that can easily be reversed by the next batch of legislators.

    Any constitution drafted nowadays is most likely going to be a 1500-page monstrosity that merely cements into place everyone’s dearest legislative wishes after a long bargaining period. You’ll see funding entitlements for transsexuals, prohibitions on hurting feelings, guaranteed basic incomes, rights for animals . . . and all of these things will be in place until your chosen level of supermajority vote changes them. You might as well tell your lawmakers that any law they create will stay in place for a hundred years no matter what their successors think.

    Shlomo Maistre periodically comes through here and extolls the benefits of monarchy, and is generally derided for it. But our USA Constitution was drafted by a very small group of men, and the citizens essentially deferred to them and approved it – which is closer to monarchist action than our idea of democratic action – and it resulted in one of the most useful and abiding constitutions in history. A new democratically-constructed constitution is going to be a dog’s breakfast.

  • Surely getting things inveigled in at the EU level is just a way of avoiding the parliamentary principle that any parliament cannot be irrevocably bound by a previous parliament (i.e. any law may be revoked).

    This was something the EU took great exception to when discussions about the EU Constitution were ongoing as I recall.

  • Stephen K

    ‘Any constitution drafted nowadays is most likely going to be a 1500-page monstrosity’
    Very much this – a Constitution should describe principles that the political community already value, once it gets very prescriptive it becomes worse than useless. ‘To none will we sell, to none will we deny or delay right or justice’: that’s as good a Constitution as any; sorting out the meaning of this in each case or epoch is just the normal wrangling best resolved through equitable electoral processes.

  • Jacob

    “I imagine similar attitudes were held by racist Brits about Indians and people in African countries as independence from the UK approached.”

    Well, look where independence from “racist Brits” has taken those fine Indians and Africans…
    How very tranquil, nice, free, prosperous countries they have built…
    I’m sure many Brits wish to escape from racist Britain and go live in those African paradises (or European paradises).

  • CharlieL

    “a time may eventually come” – – has it not already?

    Sure, it can (and will) get worse, but it has already started, no matter the state brexit is in.

  • Joseph S

    I imagine similar attitudes were held by racist Brits about Indians and people in African countries as independence from the UK approached.

    ……and the Germans and Belgians in Africa, the Spanish and Portuguese in South America, the Durch and French in South East Asia, the Romans in Britain etc. Can we, please, remember that it was not only we British who ruled large tracts of the world at one time or another? This is something the Empire Apologists need to be reminded of, constantly. Yes, it is ‘whataboutery’, but none the less valid for that.

  • Chester Draws

    Both NZ and Canada have in the last couple of decades brought in a Bill of Rights with the intention of forming a constitution around them in the long run. Both are very short — you’d get them on one side if you printed small. Not everyone takes the EU approach that long-winded is best.

    The people who think the EU protects them from rights being abolished are also ones who are horrified by the Hungarian attempts to close their borders and the French attempts to ban burkas. We don’t even have to wait to find attitudes across the continent that they don’t like. Why they think a group composed of majority Catholic countries will be liberal over the long run is a mystery to me.

  • The people who want to get their ‘rights’ from the EU have neither the wit nor the will to distinguish constitution from politics. When everything is political, the constitution is political. They’re like a sports team who ‘know’ it is their fundamental human right to win, so any rules of the game they are playing are just tactics, to be enforced when they help and denounced when they don’t.

    Up to a considerable point, the EU’s flipping to empower the “nasty, backward” people on the continent a bit more and the eurocrats a bit less would be gain for all under the EU’s authority (so for the UK, if remain had won), but I appreciate Samuel Hooper’s target audience do not think so, and it is hard enough for him to get any of them to start thinking at all.

  • Steve Borodin

    The EU is REgressive. It lacks accountability and judicial independence and is substantially corrupt. It’s grasping, bureaucratic, socialistic administration brought us the joys of the currency debacle (incompetent economics), the immigration debacle (incompetent sociology – apologies for the tautology) and the climate debacle (incompetent science – unqualified readers may not have noticed this yet). It is at least a quarter way to a totalitarian wilderness already.

  • Although it’s unlikely at present, a hostile takeover of the EU and its institutions by the nationalists and populists would be a splendid situation, partiularly as those in Poland and Hungary have prior experience dealing with hostile bureaucracies.The europhile liberals and leftists would be backed into a corner and their old rhetoric about European unity could be used against them. It would be brilliant to see the likes of Merkel and Macron fleeing to Switzerland or wherever in exile.

  • Dishman

    I’ve lately been curious about the conflation of ‘race’ and ‘culture’. To my mind, they are different things…

    … but perhaps not…

    The Germans have exhibited certain cultural characteristics more than once. Perhaps there is an element of correlation between race and culture.

    … and now, all Europe is united under ze glorious leadership of ze Germans.

    Perhaps the aforementioned regrettable outcome is already well under way.

  • Paul Marks

    Notice what is NOT in the European Convention on Human Rights (originally separate from the European Economic Community – but now “incorporated” into the European Union) – there is no right to keep and bear arms in it, and there is (if one reads the small print) no REAL right of Freedom of Speech.

    Like the “Declaration of the Rights of Man” of the French Revolution – the European Convention sounds nice, but when one looks in DETAIL it is worthless. And it is MEANT to be worthless – after all it was written by lawyers (including the British ones) who did not really believe in natural law “Old Whiggery” at all.

    The United Nations Declaration on Human Rights is even worse – if one looks closely, the nice sounding document is revealed as the work of EVIL men (and they were EVIL) such as Harold Laski and E.H. Carr.

  • lucklucky

    “….academic Left’s naive approach…”

    Naive?!
    The Left wants power over the life of other people. It does anything for it.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>