Saturday 6 March 2010

Libertarian, que moi?

All this recent business with Paul Chambers and the Crown Prosecution Service has caused me to have a good think about what my beliefs are. Anyone who really knows me would probably say that I'm a progressive thinker. I don't like to use the term "liberal" because I think its meaning has been adulterated. At any rate, liberals of today are not what liberals were 100 years ago. There's classical liberalsim and there's social liberalism. These could scarcely be more different. If you don't believe me, have a look. But for certain, liberal does not mean libertarian. Unless maybe what you mean is civil libertarian. Civil libertarians strongly support a bill of rights that are unalienable and protect the freedoms of the individual against an overbearing state. Yeah, I'm into that. But I also believe in a welfare state. I believe that government can and should institute programs that aim to address social and economic inequalities. I believe that poverty and exploitation are problems that need to be tackled by everyone together. I believe that everyone has a right to basic affordable health care and that society ought to recognize that when a man is down we all suffer as a result. So you see, I am not a libertarian. I am a social democrat. I believe in civil rights, just not that you have the right to keep your wallet shut.

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