Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Multiculturalists for UKIP

The last few days have seen stories in the press about UKIP local council candidates who have controversial views.  In particular, a few candidates hold views described as "extremist", "racist", and "antisemitic".  The leader of the party, Nigel Farage, apparently dislikes their views, and has disassociated himself from such candidates, and the party has suspended them.

There is, apparently, evidence that another political party has been going out of its way to discover UKIP candidates who have "extremist" opinions, who who have been associated with "extremist" organisations.  The reason for this is that they believe that decent voters who do not like the views of the the BNP, the EDL, and such bodies, will see UKIP as being a somehow unsavoury party, and, as a consequence, be less likely to vote for it.

(By the way, am I the only person who thinks that if this is true, it is not very clever?  Every time a candidate with dubious opinions is discovered, UKIP suspends him or her, thereby showing that UKIP are not a "racist party".  However the party which has been working on finding dirt on UKIP in order to paint UKIP as unsavoury comes over as being a rather, well, er, "nasty party.")

What is a bear to do?  More specifically, what is a bear from Darkest Peru, who arrived in England as a stowaway - and who has no time for the BNP and the EDL - to do?

In particular, what is this immigrant bear, who loves freedom and liberty, and is basically in favour of immigration and multiculturalism, to do?

In practice, it seems to me that people of libertarian outlook in British politics are found in three of the major parties - the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, and UKIP.  (If there are any in the Labour Party, the Greens, or the BNP, I have not noticed them.)  This is not to say that the Conservatives, the LibDems or UKIP are actually libertarian parties - but they do have libertarians in their midst.  When it comes to voting, most libertarians who vote for a major party will probably vote for one of these parties.  Which one?  In my opinion, UKIP is the best of a bad lot the bunch, because, it seems to me, UKIP is more committed to freedom of speech and freedom of association than the others.

What then of UKIP's generally anti-immigration and anti-multiculturalism tone - not to mention the rather "extreme" people in their ranks?  Do I really want to be associated with racists?  Do they not put me off voting UKIP?

On the contrary, they don't worry me at all, for the following reasons.

1. As the stories appeared, UKIP has made it clear that it rejected the candidates with "extremist" backgrounds.  While UKIP may contain people with views that I, as a Christian, do not like, UKIP does not like those views either.

2. Racism is treated by progressives as the worst of political sins.   It isn't.  It is just one mistaken belief among many.  It just happens to be the one that in the last 60 or 70 years, the west has had a particular fear of.  UKIP has racists in its midst?  So what.  Other parties contain plenty of people who believe that it is OK for the state to use its power to take money from some people in order to give it to others.

3. In a time when freedom of speech is not valued as much as it should be, the fact that UKIP contains plenty of people who hold politically incorrect views (views which I disagree with) means that they have a vested interest in supporting freedom of speech.

I must confess that even if UKIP were not suspending these people, but simply tolerating them as an eccentric minority, I wouldn't be too worried.  Lack of respect for freedom of speech and freedom of association is a much more serious problem in British politics than racism.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

If you really want a small state . . .

From Ed West in the Telegraph:

"Libertarians think they can get a Victorian-sized state without Victorian attitudes, but they’re deluded. If you really want a small state that doesn’t tell you what to do and gobble up half your income then start going to church, get involved in voluntary activities, tell the vicar or priest to stop droning on about the cuts and climate change and tell him to start shouting about sin and fornication. Repress yourself, you’ll find it’s good for your wallet."

So, if you are serious about libertarianism, you'll start going to church.  

Or continue to do so.