The Ranting Kraut

19.3.2006 – 27.9.2010

UK Politicians fear the impact of the internet – Good!

Posted by rantingkraut on November 17, 2006

Matthew Taylor, Tony Blair’s current chief strategy adviser complains about the influence of the internet and libertarian blogs in particular:

What is the big breakthrough, in terms of politics, on the web in the last few years? It’s basically blogs which are, generally speaking, hostile and, generally speaking, basically see their job as every day exposing how venal, stupid, mendacious politicians are.


Part of the problem, he added, was the “net-head” culture itself, which was rooted in libertarianism and “anti-establishment” attitudes.


Well it is hardly surprising to see politicians disliking that kind of exposure. What Mr. Taylor appears to want instead are constructive contributions to government policy programmes. And here lies the problem. What modern governments, and new labour’s government in particular, want is to micromanage citizens’ lives to produce a planned outcome corresponding to an assumed general will. They pursue nothing less than a totalitarian agenda. Clearly, any movement rooted in libertarianism will at the very least insist on limited government and therefore will not want to make a constructive contribution to such a programme.

One need not be a libertarian though to find Taylor’s arguments out of place. Referring to UK citizens’ demands he claims “They wanted “sustainability”, for example, but not higher fuel prices…” sustainability, used out of context, is of course so broad a concept as to be meaningless. Given that fuel prices are alluded to, and assuming some fashionable green bias, one can guess that this statement refers to the alleged use of higher fuel prices to force people onto public transport. In this context, one should note that the percentage of road and fuel tax receipts spent on transport (including public transport) has fallen from around 93% in 1975 to 36% in 1985 and then to approximately 19% from 1998 onwards (source). This sustained record of imposing high taxes on motorists while making no corresponding investments in road building or improving public transport clearly suggests that fuel prices are inflated to raise money, not to achieve sustainability, however defined.

He goes on to claim that people want “… affordable homes for their children but not new housing developments in their town or village.” Be that as it may, libertarians out of all people have a clear answer on how to solve that particular problem: if the land is yours, you may build on it. If only politicians knew their place, things could be that simple.

If politicians fear that kind of publicity, that is good news: the less bullshit they get away with, the better. However, considering how Blairites usually think, they will possibly see this as one more reason for internet censorship.

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