The Ranting Kraut

19.3.2006 – 27.9.2010

Tony Blair on ID cards

Posted by rantingkraut on November 6, 2006

The telegraph today printed a commentary by Tony Blair, spinning his standard routine in support of ID cards. Among all this we find the following:

“… in a world in which we daily provide information to a whole host of companies and organisations and willingly carry a variety of cards to identify us, I don’t think the civil liberties argument carries much weight.


This attitude is hardly surprising. After all, it comes from the man who dismissed the idea of liberty as nonsense a long time ago. Yet, little of what Blair has said since then sums up his authoritarian instinct more neatly than this.

To a civilised person [1], the question of whether information is provided willingly or extracted by force makes all the difference. To the Stalinist planner, only the aggregate outcome matters: people end up providing information. Whether this happens as a result of voluntary agreement or government coercion is unimportant to him.

This, in effect, is how Tony Blair sees the interaction of government and citizen generally. The statement “I don’t think the civil liberties argument carries much weight” could serve as a motto for just about any policy he has ever been involved with.

[1] If calling Tony Blair uncivilised is to be more than a slur this needs to be justified. The justification required may be wordy, but it is easy to provide: A civilised society demands that people live by rules which are generally acceptable, thus minimising the need for using force. To be generally acceptable, the rules adopted should protect individual rights against group interests. Such rules therefore must require that each citizen respect the liberty of all others. A person who does not accept this basic principle and instead aims to impose his own preferences by force puts himself in conflict with such an order. He may either be put in his place by the society that surrounds him or could be successful in imposing his will on others. In the latter case, he is called a criminal when operating on a small scale, a tyrant when subduing society as a whole. In any case, tyranny and civilisation are mutually exclusive.


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