The Guardian is spot-on (rant. Sorry)

It’s a rare thing indeed when I link to the British “newspaper” The Guardian, but this opinion piece is so on-the-money re modern Britain, I feel compelled to link:

As the police retreat from the streets, we are prey to every type of snoop, informant, busybody and vindictive martinet, all of them licensed by the government’s accreditation scheme so that they may demand our names and addresses, photograph us, check car tax discs and seize alcohol, issue fines for truancy, rowdiness, graffiti and dog fouling.

Whole tranches of the world live in fear of their own shadows. Western governments want nothing but silenced subservient brainless drones for a nation. I shake my head at what’s happening in Britain: a surveillance culture where children and teenagers are demonised, neighbours encouraged to spy on neighbours, and government seems compelled to interfere in every aspect of life (fining its citizens into the bargain). Observers keep mentioning 1984 with good reason. The really scary thing is that these developments don’t stop at our shores: for example, look at the invective used in the current (interminable) US election process. Each party vows to reduce government interference in everyday life, when of course nothing could be further from the truth.

The Guardian: Our obsession with crime is crushing our freedoms.


  1. The sad thing is people in the UK it seems approves of all of these things.

    As for the sudden upsurge in plastic representatives of the regime I despair. Gone it seems are the local bobbies with local knowledge. Instead we have 'teams' designed to focus on massaging figures rather than feeling collars.

    Something is very wrong with the direction in which we are heading. I wonder if there's anywhere safe to run to. If people could only be woken up and made to care about our freedoms and to care about each other. If they could only turn off the telly, forget about no win no fee claims, and dreams of becoming the next Britney without having to pay their dues….

    What we need is a proper debate about these issues, achieve a consensus and then go about fixing the issues (how likely is that).

    Do we need to slavishly follow a religious doctrine in order maintain order and consideration for others or are we grown up enough to behave unselfishly because they benefit everyone…?Jason#
  2. I am not British, but American and unfortunately we are not far behind you. Since 9/11 it has been exponentially getting worse and I fear what few freedoms we have left will be gone soon. But many of my fellow Americans don't see it that way and insist the government keep them "safe" when it is they that we might fear or at least be leery and question. Yes, our US election could prove interesting in this plight.Lady Sterling#
  3. It's a great time to be a fire arm owner. Thank God it's still a constitutional right in the US of A.

    It is indeed a worrying trend you speak of. Seems more like 1942 than 1984 - there are Nazi spies everywhere no doubt.

    I submit for your rebuttal, a society based solely on secular themes and devoid of Judeo-Christian social standards and self responsibility is bound to devolve into a state run monopoly on morality and its protection. And we all know how wonderfully effective state run institutions are.Jerry Carter#
  4. @3 I don’t know if I want to go there… I don’t hold the USA up as somewhere that is doing better than the UK and other countries—in fact, I regard the West’s “War on terror” as being a crucial catalyst for much of the mess we find ourselves in now (although of course it’s not the only cause, far from it).

    That said, the traditional American mistrust for central government is no bad thing at all, although sadly it’s fallen by the wayside for all practical purposes. You talk about the right to bear arms, but what does that actually mean when it comes to your relationship with society, and with your government?

    I’ve never understood why those with religious conviction feel that they must have the monopoly on “right-thinking” or upon questions of morality. Nor do I understand why guns are the answer.

    The US Constitution was formulated with the thought uppermost that one day it would be thrown away and replaced with something better / more fitting—and the right to bear arms would come in there too, That’s nothing more than an artifact of the Constitution’s origins and wider American history.

    That the US Constitution has now become something venerable in and of itself, something that should be treated with reverence and never tinkered-with, well, that goes against the very intentions of the founding fathers.

    … Oh, I guess I went there ;-) Ben Poole#
  5. @4 - Owning a gun really only changes my relationship with the coyotes I run across when camping or hiking. It has a deterrent effect on local crime though, offsetting the reduced activity of the police in actual enforcement (there's more focus on reaction these days - sheerly due to numbers). If it's legal for everyone to have a gun, then to a prospective criminal, everyone potentially has a gun. We don't even need to advertise the fact (and don't). Statistics year over year show that laws enabling lawful gun ownership deters crime.

    As for the constitution and the vision of our founding fathers, I can't speak to their intent. But, since our system of legislation and jurisprudence has, over time, needed to know just exactly where the bar was set, it has had the effect of reinforcing or eroding the constitution depending on the subtleties of any given ruling or legislation. It's clear that a secular society prefers to follow whim and so we have migratory legislation that follows the public whim.

    There is a benefit though to a fixed moral code. That's what I refer to when I mention Bible based social contracts. It's a code that doesn't change with style or whim. It's a bar you can always look back and say, "Oh, there it is." This has a lot of utility for a society seeking stability. It's usually when radical forces seek to upset the standards for their own ends that you see a lot of unrest. Generally speaking, people prefer stability to social trendiness. I say generally. a good portion of vocal liberals clearly prefer chaos, or so they would seem to given the sorts of social law they promote.Jerry Carter#
  6. "What we need is a proper debate about these issues, achieve a consensus and then go about fixing the issues (how likely is that)."

    this is exactly it. no one is talking or thinking anymore. in the US we have also been lulled to sleep by TV. perhaps a simplistic explanation, but something has happened. we are content with cliches, soundbites and slogans instead of real discourse.

    Ben thank you for posting this. my thoughts are much the same and i despair at times that no one else sees it. to hear it from the likes of you, a person i have great respect for, gives me hope, if not for the situation, then at least that perhaps i'm not so crazy after all. John Vaughan#
  7. Jerry, I’m not arguing about the need for a moral code; I have one, and I am bringing up my kids with the same world-view.

    I’m just uncomfortable that someone can be regarded as being “liberal” (with negative connotations—especially in the US) just because they don’t necessarily look to organised religion for all the answers (or indeed “The Rules”). That does a great disservice to the vast majority of decent, law-abiding folk the world over who don’t necessarily follow a god of some sort. It’s also a ridiculously simplistic world-view.

    When people talk about “radical forces” I regard those forces as being ones that can come from left or right, from Judaism / Christianity / Islam, wherever. Radicalism is only useful when you’re dealing with extreme common sense ;-) Ben Poole#
  8. "Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
    The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
    I know of no reason
    Why Gunpowder Treason
    Should ever be forgot"

    Devin Olson#
  9. The importance of the right to bear arms

    If a government or individual wants to take your rights or property away, it may not be as easy as they want.

    The government has an army, weapons, police forces. So one day they decide, no more elections, we make the rules. The people do not have guns, so what can they do?

    Lets say the people do have guns, that gives them some tools to take back their liberty, although freedom is always paid for in blood.

    It is Practical to have firearms, because when seconds count, the police are only minutes away. Whats to stop a criminal from coming in your home shooting you and doing whatever he wants to your family? The cops will come and clean up the mess, after its over.

    Foreign countries that want to invade the USA or any other armed citizenry have to contend that many non military people have arms and can defend homes and towns at any given moment, and don't have to wait for the army.

    The American Constitution is great, we just dont seem to use it any more. After FDR the government stated doing things that they were not given power to do by the constitution, and it has been a slow decline sense then.

    When government does not answer to a higher power, watch out because they think they are the higher power, examples are everywhere, limiting your freedom and deciding moral issues on its own.Mark Hughes#
  10. Sorry if this is off topic, but I have often wondered if the right to bear arms under the US bill of rights and equivalent British law extends to citizens having the constitutional right to the storage and deployment of nuclear weapons. This seems to be at odds with other laws regarding weapons of mass distruction and are these other laws therefore unconstitutional?Ian Randall#
  11. @9 So a few people in an American neighbourhood, armed, would be able to take on the might of their nation’s government (and its army) should that government decide to end democracy?

    In the 18th century, maybe that could happen. But in the 21st? Give me a break.

    You say that the American Constitution no longer works. And that you have the right to bear arms so that you can sort your government out when things go awry—what’s stopping the next American revolution then? ;-) Ben Poole#
  12. @11 In Texas we have more guns than people, dont think a few people in a neighborhood, think millions of people in a country. We also have the right to a well regulated militia. Though you are right we would be outgunned big time, but armies don't like to kill their own people. I remember someone saying "Give me liberty or give me death!". Dictators are like bullies, they really dont want to fight, they just want you to submit.

    We are still working on getting back to the proper powers of the government, and limiting them successfully, with elections for now. Who knows what will happen later… Texas could always succeed from the union, we have been a country before, though i am not sure that would be any better than where we are now.Mark Hughes#
  13. People are comfortable enough not to care about what is being taken away slowly, watching tv, eating good, living in big houses, simply life is to good to worry about such things, why upset things when things are so goodMark Hughes#
  14. @3 "a society based solely on secular themes and devoid of Judeo-Christian social standards and self responsibility is bound to devolve into a state run monopoly on morality and its protection" - that is such a ridiculous assertion, that it's for you to defend, not for anybody else to rebutt.

    I prescribe one dose of Richard Dawkins "The God Delusion" to be read slowly and carefully, and then a nice sit down in a darkened room for a proper Think.

    Oh, and if after that you still believe that Judeo-Christian social standards are where it's at, then please explain Leviticus. ;-)
    Julian Woodward#

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