Saturday, November 16, 2002



I have often made the point that it is a love of individual liberty that is central to the political Right rather than opposition to change. Most �conservatives� I know would like to see a HEAP of changes in the world around us. So today, I want to give just two quotes to show that anti-State and pro-individual attitudes go a long way back in the history of the British Conservative (Tory) party.

This is about the earliest English Tories:

"Coleridge, the most profound and influential of these theorists, looked to the moral regeneration of the individual, not to the reforming State, and he envisaged the Church of England as the head of a paternalistic society. He despised what he called "act of Parliament reforms", and he exalted the Church as much as he feared the State." (Roberts, 1958).

Of a slightly later period we read:

"Only State aid to all voluntary schools could extend education, but the Tories would not tolerate State intervention in a sphere reserved for the Church. In a grandiloquent speech to the Commons, Disraeli played deftly on this deep jealousy of the State. He raised the spectre of a centralized despotism comparable to those which oppressed China, Persia and Austria, and sombrely warned that the grant would force a return "to the system of a barbarous age, the system of a paternal government"." (Roberts, 1958).

Roberts, D. (1958) Tory paternalism and social reform in Early Victorian England. The American Historical Review, 63, 323-337.



One of my readers is a college student who has been learning too much from my blog. In particular, he noted my post about slavery, where I made the point that it was mainly blacks who sold the slaves. Whites only bought them. He writes:

In a discussion, slavery and reparations was brought up. I brought up the responsibility of blacks for enslaving themselves and there was a full consternation.

He is having some fun with the Lefties but he won't get good grades!



Australia is a pretty irreligious place generally, courtesy of our British forbears, so lots of Australian conservatives are NOT religious. Here an Australian conservative Senator puts rather well how an Australian non-religious conservative responds to demands from the religious Right:

""I think living by a decent set of values is far more important than defending [religious] dogma. I'm confident that if you lead a good life and there is a kingdom of heaven you will be welcome. Your religion is your business and no one else's. My personal view is that when you make your religion an issue, you drag it into the political domain and you tarnish it. It follows that I attach very little importance to [such] arguments.

"My point is quite simple: each to his own religion. If you say to me that doing something is against God's will, then I will respond by assuring you that, if God is annoyed, God will punish whomever has done that thing. The state should never be used as God's enforcer. Over the years, as I have been approaching 50, I can assure you I have had every confidence in God's ability to settle accounts. It has not been my experience that he or she usually waits until you are dead. Many people who have done the wrong thing have met their maker in a practical sense while they were still alive ...

"I simply ask those who, because of their beliefs, have a very genuine concern about this bill, to accept that they are entitled to follow their beliefs. They are not entitled to demand, by legislation, that everybody else does the same."

Hear here!



There is a most heartening article in the Wall St Journal: 'Good News for Europe', which shows that, at least in the economic sphere, liberty is progressing steadily worldwide.

The article does not, however, really ask WHY some countries adopt economically sensible policies and some do not. Chris Brand thinks he knows why and has written a "Letter to the Editor" to tell us all why. I think, however, that Chris's letter will almost certainly NOT see print -- despite being as good an example of science as anything else to be found in the social sciences:

Dear Editor,
It is good to see the Heritage Foundation finding that freedom does countries good and is on the increase (Mary Anastasia O'Grady, 12 November). However, a markedly more important factor in national prosperity is intelligence, as has recently been documented by professors Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen in their 2002 book 'IQ and the Wealth of Nations.' I will gladly supply a review of Lynn & Vanhanen for WSJ if desired, but the main finding is that IQ and Gross Domestic Product correlate at around .65 -- a very high correlation in social science.

In line with the IQ finding, Lynn & Vanhanen's data also show a racial link. Of the world's 21 countries which steadily tripled their Gross Domestic Product from 1983 through 1990 and 1993 to 1996, not one was on the African mainland; whereas of the 27 countries whose GDP decreased by 50% or more, ten were African (Angola, Burkina Faso, Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Libya, Madagascar, Somalia, Sudan, Zambia and Sao Tome & Principe). The consensus of modern work is that the average IQ in sub-Saharan Africa is not much above 70. It is time for such realities to be taken on board if Africa is to receive more appropriate help in the future than economists have been offering through the last fifty years.
I am yours sincerely,
Chris Brand.



One of the few things that both the Left and the Right seem to agree on is that "community" is a good thing. And both Leftists and Rightists tend to deplore the destruction of a sense of community among people -- something that seems now all too common in the modern world. Steven Chapman explains what has been killing it:

"Could it be said that it is precisely the rise of the State - i.e. Statism - that has led to the erosion of community/society? Think of it this way: a community or society is, traditionally, an informal thing, depending for its existence on goodwill and mutual dependence among a group of people, however large or small. In a traditional society, everyone needs to stay on pretty good terms with their neighbour because, after all, you never know when you're going to need him/her. Then the State comes along, and tells you that, when the going gets tough, you can rely on it to get by. This new state of affairs relieves you of the 'burden' of maintaining the high degree of goodwill and mutual self-interest which maintains a community/society, and furthermore, because the state is a system rather than a person, no expenditure of goodwill on your part is necessary to get what the State is offering. All you need to do is fill out the relevant forms and provide the relevant supporting documentation to prove that you're entitled to the State's goodies."


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