Ante-natal ASBOs shouldn’t surprise anyone
Posted by rantingkraut on September 5, 2006
Faced with more than justified calls for his resignation, Blair has responded with his latest initiative of intrusion into peoples’ private lives. Never mind ASBOs. Never mind reversing the burden of proof. By now you don’t even have to be born to be presumed guilty:
“The prime minister last week said the government needed to intervene before children were even born to stop them turning into troublemakers later.”
Bizarre as this may be, it is not really surprising. As has been pointed out here before, once a government embarks on the mission of planning particular aspects of peoples’ lives it must ultimately become totalitarian.
Those who believe that interventions will remain limited in scope should consider the following: so far, new labour has regularly failed to achieve its targets when it tried to regulate peoples’ and families’ private lives. People still smoke and drink, they don’t eat what Tony tells them to eat and their kids still misbehave. Government has failed to achieve its planning objectives the way it usually does: central planning doesn’t work. It didn’t work in the economy and it won’t work in society at large. A government plan that requires people to act contrary to their interests and inclinations can only work to the extent that it relies on compulsion. Even where a forced implementation is successful in one particular area it usually leads to unintended and undesired consequences.
What we are witnessing now is what usually happens in such cases: one ill conceived intervention leads to another. Once the authorities have embarked on mission impossible and are confronted with failure, they will claim that they have failed because they had insufficient power and resources to meet their target. Those inclined to believe this should remember that the Soviet leadership had both absolute power and complete control over their country’s resources. It still failed.
This point has been made more prominently before: the government of a free country should confine itself to national defence and enforcing general rules of just conduct equally applicable to all. Those rules should mainly be prohibitions designed to protect individual rights. Our government doesn’t do this: it openly aspires to micro-managing citizens’ private affairs, i.e. it is totalitarian by definition and by admission.
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