Posts tagged ‘David Cameron’

A rose by any other name…

Amongst the many reasons to detest our former governing party was their propensity to tell people what they should be eating, drinking, thinking and doing. Their exit was greeted with a sigh of relief and the thought that such Nannying tendencies would be a thing of the past. Those of us who thought that (and I have to include myself in this) were wrong. Nanny is still there but has been renamed. Rather than hectoring us, our new government wishes to ‘nudge’ us.

Meet Richard Thaler from the University of Chicago, co-author of Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness and an economist who, as a leading exponent of ‘nudge theory’ has been advising David Cameron and his Orwellian sounding ‘Behavioural Insight Team’.

Nudge theory is described as being ‘libertarian paternalism’ and is, according to Wikipedia, about

help[ing] you make the choices you would make for yourself — if only you had the strength of will as well as the sharpness of mind. But unlike ‘hard’ paternalists, who ban some things and mandate others, the softer kind aims only to skew your decisions, without infringing greatly on your freedom of choice.

Well, they have the paternalism bit right, that’s for sure. All they have described is the process by which parents (should) raise their children without mentioning the inevitable discipline that is required when the boundaries are pushed too far.

One problem though – people who we legally consider to be adults are not children and thus should not be treated as such. Any attempt to skew my decisions towards something I don’t want to do is infringing on my freedom of choice. If I want to buy a round, eat food that isn’t health, donate my organs, give to charity or smoke I’ll bloody well do so because I want to – not because a politician such as Oliver Letwin has decreed that he would like to see me doing so.

This is not Libertarianism and can’t be. Libertarianism allows people to make their own choices (so long as they do not mean violence to another) and accepts that this will result in some mistakes being made. This is normal behaviour and is part of the how humans have learnt over the last x million years. You can advise that something that it is not a good idea but you can’t in anyway force them not to do it by removing that option.

Paternalism is control by another name. It is about reducing the level of choice available to someone simply because a busy body who thinks they know best has decided that some choices are ‘bad choices’ and that they should therefore be taken away.

The new government may have whitewashed Nanny and given her a new name but do not be fooled. She is still there, in the background, determined to interfere with and control the population and she must be resisted at all cost.

These Charmless Men

One of David Cameron’s few successes recently has been getting Johnny Marr and Morrissey to agree on something: namely that they dislike the fact that Cameron has previously expressed a liking for the music of the Smiths.

Marr went for the short approach via twitter:

“David Cameron, stop saying that you like The Smiths, no you don’t. I forbid you to like it.”

Oh diddums, someone you disagree with politically likes your music. Sorry Johnny but it isn’t up to you who likes you music. Once you create something and release it into the wild then all control over it is lost. What are you going to? Restrict sales to only people who vote the way you want them to do? What about those who who have already purchased it? Will you offer them refunds? No, didn’t think so. You’ve got yourself a Champagne Socialist lifestyle to fund so you wouldn’t in any way wish to restrict your ability to live in the matter to which you have become accustomed. Can I therefore suggest you stop being a hypocritical whiner and just smile ironically at the fact that someone who is everything that you despise apparently helped contribute to the life you have today.

Morrissey’s response though was less direct, being a 1,224 word rant in which he felt the need to widen his attack on Cameron to include any supporters of hunting and indeed anyone who doesn’t think that being a vegetarian is the way forward… which would be most of us.

“It is true that music is a universal language – the ONLY universal language, and belongs to all, one way or another.”

Music is a language to be sure, but a universal one? Not a hope. If you want to find a true universal language, might I suggest Mathematics?

“However, with fitting grimness I must report that David Cameron hunts and shoots and kills stags – apparently for pleasure. It was not for such people that either “Meat is Murder” or “The Queen is Dead” were recorded; in fact, they were made as a reaction against such violence.”

Just because that is what you intended, doesn’t mean that the listener will take them that way. As I said above, once you’ve relinquished control to the general public they will find their own meaning in it, their own interpretation and you cannot control that. If Cameron wishes to hunt and listen to your music that is his choice, not yours. Wanting to control other people’s actions makes you no better than any politician or bureaucrat who has ever lived. People make their own choices and whilst you may disagree with them, so long as no harm is done to your fellow man, you should not stop them.

“I apologize very deeply for my support over the years for the group Roxy Music. I had no idea until very recently that their singer Bryan Ferret is also an avid hunter, and is now managed by his Lord of the Hunt son, Odious Ferry.”

Translation: “Oh noes, I liked someone who has views I disagree with. Can you ever forgive me for not being the perfect being I portray myself as? Here, I’ll even ease the pain by gratuitously insulting his offspring.”

“Politically, I long for the day when it is finally acknowledged in the House of Lords that the indigestible business of the meat industry corrupts and destroys the planet more than any other profit organization. We continually hear of disappearing rainforests but the cause is never explained, for this would then force concerned world leaders to ‘cull’ meat production, and rather the world sizzle than it be admitted that the meat industry is the root of climate change.”

You are trying to link two different issues here. Much of the cause of the deforestation is illegal logging and crop growing – crops that are very much used in the production of biofuels. Can you spot the irony there? As for you claim about the meat industry, few even of your fellow AGW alarmists will hold to that assertion. Even the general public who accept the AGW idea laugh at you and your fellow militant tofu-eating clowns for that, preferring instead to eat their bacon sarnie.

In closing, can I suggest that the two of you grown up and stop being so bloody thin-skinned? It isn’t a crime to like someone’s music even if you dislike their lifestyle. I buy music because I like it, not because I agree with the artist political opinions – although in the case of the Smiths I’ll make an exception and confirm that I’ll never give you a single penny from my meagre pay packet. I’m sure that’ll make you happy because heaven knows you’re both miserable now.