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 – some institutions cannot be reformed

I am not against a rule-based system and I am not against human rights. I simply think that we need to decide what human rights we want and to what degree we want them. At the moment, the problem is not the Convention itself, which is a collection of principles, not a single one of which I would question in any way. What I oppose is the legislative process by which the Strasbourg court, the European Court of Human Rights, has emancipated itself from the only thing that the states party to the Convention ever agreed, which was the text of the Convention. I do not think that it is the function of judges to revise the laws to bring them up to date — that is a function of representative institutions, certainly in a democracy.

So I would favour withdrawing from the European Convention and substituting it for an identical text, but simply interpreting it responsibly in accordance with what it’s intended to mean, and not in accordance with a wider political agenda — which I’m afraid is the animating spirit currently of the Strasbourg Court.

Jonathan Sumption, on why he wants UK to leave the European Court of Human Rights. It is a much wider interview, covering much of what I agree & disagree with Sumption about on many issues.

13 comments to Samizdata quote of the day – some institutions cannot be reformed

  • Mr Ed

    When the Human Rights Act 1998 was brought in, the London Times did an interview with the person responsible for drafting the Act. I recall this as it was reported that she said that she hoped that the Human Rights Act would be a substitute for God. It is not clear that this modest aim has yet been achieved, so there is much work yet to do.

    It is of course, a way for judges to throw out established principles of construction and to bend, but not break, the law to fit the Human Rights agenda. Even if it means that a foreign convicted rapist cannot be deported from the UK because it would interfere with his right to a family life.

  • Paul Marks

    It is not always Marxism or other forms of totalitarianism – sometimes it is something very different.

    For example, Jacques Maritain (a philosophical ally of Pope Paul VI) had a big hand in these international lists of right, the “rules” of the “rules based international order” – and he listed the “right to paid holidays” but not real freedom of speech (real freedom of speech is being allowed to say what those in power do NOT want you to say) or the right to keep and bear arms.

    That is because Maritain was thinking of a “right” as something nice the state gives you – not something grounded in basic philosophy, in what used to be called “the nature of man” as a free will being, something that exists whether the state exists or not. A limitation on the state, and private criminals, not a nice present the state gives you which is financed by…. (well Maritain and the Legion of people like him never really answer the “financed” question).

    Maritain was a friend of Saul Alinsky (a Collectivist influence on Chicago activists such as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama) – but Maritain never noticed that Saul Alinsky was a totalitarian, indeed he though that Alinsky stood for “freedom” and recommended him to Pope Paul VI on his basis.

    “Paul are you implying that the great philosopher Jacques Maritain was intellectually flawed?”

    Yes I am – and he was not the only one involved in these lists of rights who was well…. STUPID.

    For example, the “great liberal historian” E.H. Carr was also involved in writing these international agreements and conventions.

    And E.H. Carr believed both the statistics of the German National Socialists and the Soviet Marxists – and based his books on their absurd lies. In short the “great intellectual” E.H. Carr was as thick as two short planks.

    To have a “rules based international order” that “respects fundamental rights” you need people who have some bleeping clue what a “fundamental right” based on natural law, actually is.

    You do need a Marxist conspiracy when the international agreements, including the economic ones, are written by cretins.

    It really would be better to have no international rights agreements at all, no “rules based international order”, than one written by cretins.

    And as the only international agreements (conventions) we have, or are likely to have, were written by cretins, it really would be the least-bad thing to do without them – to just leave all these international conventions and what not.

    It does not matter if these agreements are written by totalitarians seeking to do harm, or by cretins who do harm by accident – the basic fact is that these agreements (this “rule based international order”) does terrible harm – and nations should get out of all this madness.

  • Stuart Noyes

    One wonders if Westminster can be reformed?

  • Paul Marks

    Stuart Noyes – when I see absolutely dreadful pieces of legislation, pushing a totalitarian agenda, such as the Climate Act or the Equality Act (and so many other pieces of legislation) and then read how few Members of Parliament voted against them, only a handful, – I wonder the same thing as you.

    It is very dark – either most Members of Parliament do not know what they are voting for, or they support tyranny, or they think everything is hopeless (and I know that feeling – only too well) so they might as well vote for evil – as evil is going to win regardless of what they do, and if they oppose evil they will be persecuted by their own political party (and I know what that is like as well) and will not get a “good job” (in the 18th century sense of “job” or “jobb”) with one of the government Quangos or Partner Corporations when they leave Parliament.

  • Paul Marks

    On the destruction of a Free Speech, and generally pro freedom, culture – yes the Frankfurt School of Marxism dominated education system has a lot to do with the rise of a Freedom of Speech is “Repressive Tolerance” madness (Herbert Marcuse was not a “Conspiracy Theory” – cretins who control Wikipedia, please note).

    But there is more to it than the pro tyranny education system and the government and corporate people it produces. The economy is concentrated to an insane degree – by tax law (more on this later), regulations (which favour vast corporations and crucify small independent business enterprises) and, yes, by CREDIT MONEY – the Cantillon Effect.

    On tax law the example of the Governor of South Dakota is useful.

    This lady, one of the few Governors who opposed Covid “lockdowns” (which were pushed by government officials and Partner Corporations) almost lost the family farm – due to inheritance tax when her father died.

    Corporations do not pay Inheritance Tax – because they do not die a natural death. Corporations do not have to really worry about high Property Taxes either – because they can deduct their Property Tax from their Corporate Income Tax liability, and this is the Corporate Income Tax that is vastly lower than Personal (Individual) Income Tax anyway – and, sorry Milton Friedman, the idea that these vast Corporate entities just “represent individual share holders” is wrong.

    This is what living in a Corporate State is like in practical terms – they do not pay Inheritance Tax, individuals do, they can deduct Property Tax from their Income Tax liability, individuals can not, and their Corporate Income Tax is vastly lower than Individual Income Tax.

    And, of course, they can go to the various Central Banks and borrow money (Credit Money – “money” that did-not-exist before it was borrowed, “money” created from NOTHING) at near zero interest rates – you, the ordinary person, can not do this. So these vast international Corporate entities buy up real assets such as land (Cantillon effect) and you become a de facto SERF.

    These are the reasons why entities such as “BlackRock” (which controls some ten TRILLION Dollars worth of shares) dominate the economy – this is not capitalism, this is not the Free Market.

    And this is why a handful of vast Corporate entities can spread such “DEI” and “SEG” (or whatever the name is this week – they keep changing the names) evil.

  • Paul Marks

    Insane laws passed by Parliaments (write someone is a “fat lesbian” in Switzerland and they SEND YOU TO PRISON), or insane laws handed down by judges following an totalitarian international agenda – the same totalitarian international agenda that the Parliaments follow.

    Heads we lose, and tails we also lose.

  • Paul Marks

    Still elections are useful – as sometimes, just sometimes, there is a candidate who is not a slave of the accursed “international community” (international governance and Partner Corporations) and its despicable “rules based international order” (totalitarianism by the instalment plan) – then we can see who supports this candidate and who is an enemy of liberty – even if they pretend to be a friend of liberty.

    I predict that the Economist magazine will NOT support the libertarian who has just got through to the 2nd round of the Presidential Election in Argentina.

    In short that, yet again, the “Classical Liberal”, “roll back the state”, “Free Market”, Economist magazine will expose itself as a lying international Corporate State rag.

  • Sam Duncan

    My problem is with the text.

    Deprivation of life shall not be regarded as inflicted in contravention of this article when it results from the use of force which is no more than absolutely necessary in action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot or insurrection

    For the purpose of this article the term “forced compulsory labour” shall not include any service of a military character

    There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of public health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others

    Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of… etc.

    This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licencing of broadcasting, television, or cinema enterprises.

    The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic etc.

    No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such are etc. This article shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on the exercise of these rights by members of the armed forces, of the police, or the administration of the State.

    You might think most of these caveats and exceptions sound perfectly reasonable. And some of them do. But we know what the present governing class thinks an insurrection looks like. And threats to public health. (Isn’t “climate change” one now?) The way things are shaping, this document will provide no protection whatsoever. None at all. Quite the opposite: it’ll be a legal fig-leaf, letting them claim that they aren’t violating our rights.

  • Stuart Noyes

    Paul Marks – for whatever reason, and I think there are several, parliament doesn’t serve the British people. I suspect it never did.

    Our system hands nearly all power to the few. I’m rather proud of figuring out that our system is a velvet tyranny as long ago as 2003 and realising we need direct democracy.

    I had small influence framing some of the ideas for the Harrogate Agenda. A formal declaration of popular sovereignty, real local democracy, direct democracy and a codified written constitution.

  • Kirk

    Yeah. Give that “direct democracy” a try, and see how it works for you.

    It never has, in practice. About all that has a track record is representational democracy, and that only when you have the electoral self-discipline to a.) watch the politicians and b.) hold them accountable.

    Here in the US, the fact that creatures like Dianne Feinstein could be re-elected again and again, without having a single real success to her name? Example one of why you can’t take your eyes off the ball and let the professional politicians get away with murder, the way they do.

    Direct democracy is basically “government by the mob”, and whoever is best at lying to them at that particular moment. What we’ve got in the UK and the US is not perfect, but it’s got less flaws than you’d see dealing with the mob baying for your blood.

    The root problem is that we invest way too much power into these reef-structures of governance. Power attracts exactly the wrong people, and when they reach a critical mass and take over…? You’re pretty much screwed. See current-day America or Britain; the real solution is to cease giving these assclowns the power that we do.

  • Stuart Noyes

    Doesn’t seem to work too badly in Switzerland.

  • Kirk

    Low stakes, and Switzerland ain’t exactly a “direct democracy”, either. There isn’t anywhere near as much power in Swiss political office as there was in the Roman Empire, modern Britain, or the US.

    In the United States, it’s possible that limiting the House to 435 members was a mistake. Too much distance from the electorate, too much separation. Take representation ratios back down to what they once were, and I suspect you’d see a different outcome than we have, although a House with 7,000 members might be a bit hard to manage…

  • Stuart Noyes

    The Swiss political office runs Switzerland.

    The Swiss people can not only strike down any law through their own referenda but can create their own law. Not sure how much more direct you can get than that.

    The inherent weakness of having representatives is they are corruptible. We think elected representatives are going to act on our behalf. This flies in the face of human nature.