Identity Cards: Some Brief Objections
by Sean Gabb

First Published by the Libertarian Alliance,
London, 1995, ISBN 1 85637 289 8 

INTRODUCTION

Aside from Eire, ours is the only country in the European Union not to have some kind of identity card scheme. Elsewhere, it has long been common for people to carry, and be required to produce, identification. Here, by law and custom, there is no need for people to identify themselves, unless they are seeking some positive benefit or have been arrested.

How Ordinary People Can Resist Identity Cards
By Sean Gabb
(Published in July 2005 by Tech Central Station)

Now that the suicide bombers have struck, there can be little doubt that every British Citizen will soon be required to carry an identity card in Britain, and to produce this to the authorities on demand. Such opposition as did exist within Parliament will now melt away.

The progress of the Identity Cards Bill through the British Parliament shows that civil libertarians may not have lost the arguments. But we have lost the votes. By a trick of our electoral system, a Government with a “mandate” comprising just 22 per cent of the electorate is able to force through the most illiberal measure in a quarter of a century that has been noted for its illiberal legislation.

There is no coherent argument for identity cards. They will not stop identity theft, or illegal immigration, or armed terrorism, or personation in elections or driving tests – or any of the other horrors that are from time to time held up as justification. They will not stop these things partly because identity cards are so easy to forge that perfect copies will be on sale in the streets of Lagos long before the real ones start falling through our letter boxes – and partly because the scheme will not be made to work, if it can be made to work at all, for at least another nine years.

All identity cards do is to give massive and unaccountable powers of surveillance, and therefore of moral control, into the hands of an increasingly authoritarian state.

There is no question that identity cards will not be abused. Indeed, they are not so much open to abuse as an abuse in themselves. But I will not claim that the full potential evil will be made actual even by this degraded government of ex-Marxists and turncoat civil libertarians. However, can we trust the vestigial liberalism of the next government, or the one after that? Can we really believe that a biometric identity card will not one day be used to make this country into some high-tech police state? I think not.

But the votes are being lost. The Bill looks set to pass. What, therefore, can we the people do to supply the derelictions of the people we elected to protect our rights?

The answer is to resist as individuals. I don’t suggest we should all refuse to carry the identity cards to the point of being sent to prison. In the first place, it’s unreasonable to call on people to become martyrs who have other purposes in life. In the second, identity cards will not be forced on us in this way. They will instead be slipped into our lives through a process of “function creep”.

Once they are introduced, a mass of corporate and state interests will start demanding identity cards to prove identity. We shall eventually need to show our cards to everything from opening a bank account to getting married. They might not be made compulsory. They will, even so, be made essential.

What we should do now, therefore, is to work out exactly how much inconvenience we can take before we must give in and accept the cards. We should also take action to stop the cards from being smoothly introduced. Most obviously, if they are more than a few years old, we should “lose” our passports and apply for new ones before the Passport Agency is co-opted into handing out the identity cards. If we are to be given these things, let it be made as administratively difficult and expensive as we can.

We may not be able to stop the Identity Cards Bill from becoming law. But we can stop it from being easily implemented in fact.

Free Life Commentary,
A Personal View from
The Director of the
Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 155
26th October 2006

On Opposing the DNA Database
by Sean Gabb

Last Monday evening—the 23rd October—I was called into the London studio of Sky News to put a case against constructing a database of DNA samples from the whole British population. Tony Blair had been on his hind legs again, braying for the final abolition of freedom in this country. Watched by about a million people, I am told I did rather well in opposing him and his kind. So now, revising an article I wrote back in 2000, I will put my case in writing.

The main problem whenever this sort of proposal is made, is that debate is constructed in terms of either consenting to exactly whatever is proposed, or doing nothing at all about crime. Within this structure of argument, opponents can be presented as indifferent to crime, or even as more interested in the rights of criminals than of their victims.

The secret of winning such debates lies in persuading enough people to reject the assumptions that underlie the structure of debate.

Let us briefly examine these assumptions.

First, it is assumed that a DNA database is essential if crime is to be reduced. This is not so. It would be better to legalise drugs. Millions of consenting acts that are presently illegal would then drop out of the crime figures. At the same time, competition from legitimate suppliers would bankrupt the criminal gangs that have turned parts of London and Manchester into low-intensity war zones; and lowered prices would reduce the vast number of burglaries and street crimes now committed by drug users.

For those acts still criminal we could have much stronger punishments. The notion that serious threats to lock criminals away for very long periods, or to flog or mutilate them, or to hang them, will have no deterrent effect is so laughable, that only someone with a Sociology degree could propose it; and only a fool could really believe it.

Then the laws regarding self-defence could be changed. It is a scandal that respectable people in this country are not allowed to use whatever force they think necessary to defend their lives and property. Tony Martin was put in prison for the bizarre crime of "murdering" a burglar. If he was to blame for anything, it was for his moderation in not going after the other two thieves who broke into his house, and executing them as well.

Each by itself, these reforms would take us back to the crime figures of about 1970. Combined, we might find ourselves back in the 1950s. Of course, the authorities affect horror and even incredulity at the thought of doing these things. They would rather have their DNA database.

Second, it is assumed that a DNA database would reduce crime. Undoubtedly, it would have some effect, but this would be mostly against those criminals likely to be caught and punished in any event. There might at best be a small drop in the cost of policing.  But anyone aware of the optimistic claims made when finger printing was first introduced must know that the more intelligent criminals will simply take more care to hide their identity. That will need more this time than wearing gloves. But I doubt if it will need anything very hard or expensive.

It is, of course, true that some crimes would be solved by having a DNA database. In his comments the other day, Mr Blair mentioned various rapes and murders that were only solved decades afterwards by accidental matches of DNA samples. But something still more effective in the fight against crime would be making everyone in the country go about with a bar code tattooed on his forehead. This would reduce any number of petty frauds. Given the right sort of scanning machines in public, it would allow lost children to be found in minutes, and allow the authorities to keep an eye on known criminals. I can easily multiply the number of alleged benefits a salesman for the big computer companies might make to the Home Office. But I ask instead—would you willingly present your face for the tattooist's needle?

This brings us to the third assumption of the debate—that a DNA database would be used only for crime control. Even granting that our present rulers are entirely to be trusted—at the very least a dubious assumption—we cannot be sure what they will be like a generation from now. But we can be sure that a database set up now to cover those who are arrested will, without any positive extension, soon cover most of the population. It would a useful tool for any government wanting to exercise the tyrannical powers it now has only in theory.

As Albert J. Nock once observed, every time we give a government power to do things for us, we also give it the power to do things to us. I cannot think of a better illustration of this truth than a DNA database.

You may huff and puff and insist you have nothing to fear from a database of your DNA. After all, the authorities keep promising how much safer it will make you. But do you want your children to go on that database? Can you be sure that some demented government scientist two decades from now will not decide that the surest way to heaven on earth is to stop certain people from breeding? Can you be sure that your children will not show up negative on a DNA database that will have enabled an old authoritarian fantasy to be made into bureaucratic reality?

Are there no criminal tendencies somewhere in your family background? No racial or sexual characteristics that may one day be again be as unfashionable as they have been in other times and places? No bad eyes or flat feet? No predisposition to obesity or illnesses that it will for the foreseeable future be expensive to treat on the National Health Service?

Bear in mind that, with a certainty not known since the 1940s, the relevant scientists are proclaiming that your destiny is in your genes. This may be true. Whatever the case, it is and will remain the consensus. Can you believe it will never be attractive to politicians ignorant of the science, but struggling with the problems of crime control and ballooning health budgets?

Do you want grandchildren? Or do you want to risk seeing your genes scientifically combed from the general pool?

Or do you want your DNA samples handed over to foreign governments? I imagine data will soon be shared between the various governments of the European Union, which will certainly include Rumania and Bulgaria and possibly Turkey as well.

Or do you want your DNA samples at risk of theft from thieves? I cannot imagine what use it might be to them. But who can say what things will be useful in the future?

Or do you want the police to use your DNA samples to get you falsely convicted of a criminal offence? This has been happening with fingerprinting as long as it has been around. With finger prints, it is a matter of using sellotape to copy prints from one object to another. I imagine the police will soon find ways to do this with DNA samples. And the courts will be just as willing as with finger prints to take DNA evidence as effectively conclusive proof of guilt.

If your answer is what it ought to be, let us turn back to an investigation of what other measures may be available for the fight against crime.

This is the framework within which debate on the DNA database should proceed So long as the present framework of assumptions continues unchallenged, there can be no effective opposition.

I am pleased with how well I put my case last Monday evening. But I am sure that others can and will do better.

Free Life Commentary,
A Personal View from
The Director of the
Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 172
15th June 2008

David Davis: Why Libertarian Alliance Support?
by Sean Gabb

Since most of my readers are American, I will for the moment give up on the pretence that I am writing for a British readership. This means that, when I discuss the David Davis campaign, I must explain what it is all about.

The Debate over Internment

Last week, the House of Commons, which is the lower – and elected – chamber of Parliament, voted to extend the period of detention without charge "for terrorist suspects" from 28 to 42 days. This followed its doubling, two years earlier, from fourteen days..

Everything about this vote is scandalous. No one has so far been held for the present maximum of 28 days. Not even all the police are in favour of the extension. Those who are in favour have never been able to explain why they should need to arrest someone if it then takes over a month to find evidence enough to justify a charge.

In the Commons, the majority was against the extension. The vote was won by the Government only by lavish and indiscriminate bribery of its weaker critics and of the Irish Members.

And, while all talk is of men with beards and brown faces, who can be deterred from blowing themselves up on the Underground only by fear of six weeks detention without charge, this is not a law for use against terrorist suspects. In 2000, Parliament passed the Regulatory of Investigatory Powers Act amid promises from all the Ministers that the massive surveillance powers contained in the Act would be used only to protect national security. It now turns out the Act is being used by local authorities throughout England to spy on people who might not be recycling their rubbish in the required manner, or who might be letting their dogs foul the pavements.

What we already have is a law permitting internment of anyone who upsets the authorities. These authorities have not yet advanced far enough in moral corruption to use the law for its only likely purpose. But their advance is quickening by the week.

It will soon be a routine use of state power to approach middle class protesters against airport extensions, or farmers complaining about the random destruction of their livelihoods, or strike leaders, or anyone else who is making a nuisance of himself. The warning will be: "If you don’t shut up, we will have you arrested on suspicion of terrorist activity. You will be held without charge for 28, or perhaps even 42 days. At the end of this time, you will be released without charge. Your life will have been turned upside down. If you have a business, it will have been destroyed. If you have a job, you will have lost it. Our media friends will be encouraging all your neighbours to mutter that there is no smoke without fire. Do as we say, or we will ruin your life."

The law as it stands is quite bad enough. It does not even prevent rearrest after release without charge at the end of the detention period. The new law will allow internment for six weeks on the same basis.

Anyone who doubts that these powers will be an abused needs to be ignorant of human nature in general and of the kind of people who rule this country. The powers are not so much open to abuse as an abuse in themselves.

A Referendum on Liberty

That is the background to the David Davis story. Mr Davis is Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party, and was expected, assuming the Conservative won the next general election, to be a senior Minister. He led opposition in the Commons to the 42 day internment proposal. The day after the vote, he announced his resignation from the House of Commons. This will produce a by-election in his constituency. He will then stand for re-election on a civil liberties platform.

He will oppose the 42 days that provoked his resignation, but also identity cards, and political censorship, and the DNA database, and the fact that there is now one surveillance camera in this country to every fourteen people.

As his constituency is pretty typical of lower-middle class England, this could be the nearest we shall ever get to a referendum on liberty. In most elections – and particularly in general elections – people vote on a balance of issues. In this one, the question will be "are you happy to see your country turned into a panopticon police state?"

If returned to Parliament, Mr Davis will have the moral authority to speak against our further descent into authoritarianism.

The Liberal Democrat and British National Parties have said they will not put up candidates against Mr Davis. They broadly agree with his stand. We can hope the United Kingdom Independence Party will also not put up a candidate – this being said, its only Member in the House of Commons, Bob Spink, voted with the Government for the 42 days.

Given its disastrous rating in the polls, and fears over the popularity of our police state, the Labour Party also will not put up a candidate. This is unfortunate, as we do need another candidate. If, at the close of nominations, only Mr Davis has put himself forward, he will be returned without a poll. So much in that case for a referendum on liberty. If only fringe candidates come forward, a victory over the Monster Raving Loony Party will not mean very much.

For the first time in his life, however, Rupert Murdoch might be about to do something useful. With his blend of sordid soft pornography and low puritanism, and with his amoral endorsement of whatever lets him grow richer and more powerful, he has spent the past half century corrupting everything he touches. Now, it seems he has instructed Kelvin MacKenzie, a former Editor of The Sun, to put himself forward as a candidate to defend no limits on internment, and compulsory identity cards for all, and probably universal inclusion in the DNA database. If Mr MacKenzie does stand, he can count on unlimited funding and solid media support.

That will give us the battle between light and darkness that Mr Davis said he wanted when he announced his resignation, and that I and many other people also want. I think the Libertarian Alliance was the first civil liberties body to give unconditional support. And we were the first to pledge funding in the event of a poll. Tim Evans, I, and most of the Executive Committee of the Libertarian Alliance have spent the past few days more excited than at any time perhaps since the late 1980s.

Objections to Libertarian Alliance Support

Now, some of our friends and supporters have questioned our position. Either they have not understood that position, or they have understood it but disagree. Let me deal with the most important of their objections.

"Leave it to the Lords"

The first is that there was no need for Mr Davis to provoke a by-election. Just because the Commons have voted for something does not make it the law. The Bill must still go through the House of Lords, which will probably throw it out, or send it back heavily amended. Then there are the courts, which will use the Human Rights Act and their own creative interpretations to nullify any change in the law. If Mr Davis is making a tremendous fuss, the argument goes, this is because he has gone mad, or is getting ready for some attack on David Cameron, his Party leader.

Our reply on this second point is that motivations in this case are less important than what is being done. Mr Davis wants a referendum on civil liberty. That is what matters. As for the Lords and the Judges, they are not wholly reliable. They have allowed much evil in the past decade, and they may let this past them. In any event, we in the Libertarian Alliance are only interested in what the balance of the Establishment thinks about civil liberties when there is no other test available. A referendum is far more important than a debate in the Lords that will be fitfully reported and generally not followed, or a legal judgment that may be fully reported and fully not read.

The opinion polls say that around two thirds of the electorate support internment, and around half support identity cards, and so forth. According to these polls, most people have no great objection to the police state growing up around us. But that is only what the polls tell us. The answers people give on a street corner to questions that may be structured in a particular direction may not explain what people really think. If we have a by-election – and remember, this is in a representative part of England – in which people are asked to vote for liberty or for a police state, and in which adequate arguments are put on both sides, that will do much to reset the thinking of our political class. If the people vote for liberty, the politicians will need to rethink their rhetoric and their actions. In particular, the Conservatives will have every reason to drop their drop their policy occasional and almost furtive opposition to tyrannical laws in favour of something sharper.

If, on the other hand, the people vote for the police state, that too will have its uses. It may tell us that the country is truly lost. Or it may tell us to change our strategy of resistance. So far, many of us have been appealing to or speaking on behalf of the silent majority. Well, that majority now has its first chance in generations to speak loud and clear.

David Davis: Not a British Ron Paul

The second objection is that Mr Davis is not a libertarian. He has in the past supported some very bad laws, and is, even now, rather limited in his opposition to the police state.

This is an objection we have already answered in our news releases. We have no illusions about Mr Davis. He is no British equivalent of Ron Paul. We do not expect him to take the Libertarian Alliance line on freedom. He will not argue for the relegalisation of drugs and guns. He will not argue for repealing the Proceeds of Crime Act. He is a moderate at best. He wants to take us back to the same degree of freedom we enjoyed in the 1990s.

And so what? We are not supporting Mr Davis for everything he has said and done to date, or everything he might say and so in the future. We do not expect that he will take up the radical libertarian case. We note that he has put liberty on the agenda of British politics. And we support him in that.

Funding the Conservatives

The third objection is from some of our Liberal Democrat supporters. They accuse us of endorsing and giving financial support to the Conservative Party.

This objection is based on a misunderstanding of our position. We do not support the Conservative Party. We support David Davis. There is a difference. Indeed, so far as I can tell, the Conservative leadership does not support Mr Davis. He has been replaced in his Shadow Cabinet position, and we are told that he will not get it back after the by-election. We know that many Conservative politicians have no regard for civil liberty, and would have been happy to vote with the Government on the 42 days. Norman Tebbit, in the Lords, will vote with the Government. Ann Widdecombe was the only Conservative in the Commons to vote with the Government. But there were many others who voted as they did simply because Mr Davis would have set the whips on them had they not. About half the Parliamentary Party seems to be in favour of identity cards.

David Cameron believes the opinion polls, and wants any campaign for liberty to be the minimum needed to distance him from Gordon Brown and to keep liberal opinion from crying out against him. He was not told by Mr Davis about the by-election until a few hours before we were told. He tried to dissuade him from it. His support, on the day of the announcement, was tepid at best. If his support does become firmer, it will be because he is dragged along by events.

Rather than supporting the Conservative Party, we are supporting a split in that Party – a split that may make it into a more libertarian political force, and that may also make it less electable.

But this is for us not about the Conservative Party at all. We are supporting someone who just happens to be a Conservative in his attempt to call a referendum on Liberty. If Diane Abbott of the Labour Party had resigned her seat, or Chris Huhne of the Liberal Democrats, our support would be of the same nature.

Harming the Conservatives

This brings us to the fourth objection, which is from our Conservative supporters. The Davis campaign may damage the Conservative Party. At last, Labour is in apparently terminal decline. The Lisbon Treaty is still to be ratified, and the Irish vote has raised the chance that ratification may be put off. Now is not the time for supporting self-indulgent campaigns that can only risk bringing Gordon Brown back from the dead.

Our reply is again so what? It may be that the Conservatives are less evil than Labour. But so are the BNP and al-Qa’eda. George Galloway would make a less ghastly Prime Minister than Gordon Brown. But the Conservatives are less evil, I suspect, largely because they are not yet in Government. The last time they were in government, they cheerfully laid the foundations of our current police state.

Unless it is driven by something like a Davis victory to become firmer in its defence of liberty, we as libertarians owe the Conservative Party nothing. And if what Mr Davis is now doing should lose the next election for the Conservatives, that is their problem.

I turn now to the European issue. And, for those allies who may not have noticed, I will clarify my position and that of the whole Executive Committee of the Libertarian Alliance. We are libertarians first, and Eurosceptics second. So far as membership of the European Union would stop a liberal-minded British Government from rolling back the state, we are in favour of getting out. Let it be shown, however, that there is no chance of a liberal-minded government, and that the people really do want a police state, and we become as Europhile as our libertarian friends in Greece and Bulgaria.

Therefore, this by-election is for us more important than the Treaty of Lisbon. And there is nothing to be done about this here. The Irish have voted no. The Europhiles are all angry and shouting at each other. It could now be months before a common position is agreed – to press ahead without Ireland, or to bully the Irish into a second referendum. That gives us plenty of time to concentrate on our own referendum on liberty.

This, then, is why the Libertarian Alliance is supporting David Davis. When I sent out our first press release,

From Free Life, Issue 16, April 1992
ISSN: 0260 5112

The Case Against Identity Cards
by Howard Perkins (that is, by Sean Gabb)

"Are your papers in order sir?" When you hear these words in an old film, you know that the hero is about to see the nasty side of a police state. For us, the identity card is associated with the spy at the next restaurant table and the smiling guide from the Ministry of Internal Security. If certain people have their way, this will change within the lifetime of the present Parliament.

Apart from the Irish Republic, Ours is the only country in Western Europe not to have an official identity card scheme. We are almost unique in the developed world in that we cannot be stopped at will and made to show proof of identity. It may be advisable for any number of reasons to carry identification. But there is as yet no law compelling us to do so.

The advocates of change normally portray this uniqueness as a curious anomaly, without the slightest justification. We live in a dangerous world, we are told. The authorities are powerless before the forces of lawlessness and disorder. The clearing banks lose £100 million every year in fraud. Food companies are blackmailed into paying thousands into untraceable building society accounts. The Cabinet itself cannot meet in safety from the assaults of Irish terrorists. If only we all had identity cards that the Police could look at on demand, the argument ends, crime and terrorism would be so very much easier to fight. As for privacy - why, "those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear".

The plain fact, of course, is that crime and terrorism would not in the least be diminished. They might drop for a few months while adjusting, then would carry on much as before. Identity cards would be no harder to forge or falsify than passports or credit cards now are. Most illegal occupations would face a certain rise in costs. Counterfeiting would expand. That is all.

That is what happened in the European countries long ago. The French are no more law-abiding than we are. If we exclude Northern Ireland, they are certainly more threatened by terrorists than we are. That is what happened in Hong Kong at the beginning of the last decade. There, very sophisticated identity cards were issued to stem the flow of immigrants from China. The scheme was a failure. The local printing industry was turning out perfect copies within a week. Believing the same would not happen here requires either great ignorance or great stupidity.

Now, those in favour of identity cards may well be both stupid and ignorant. But, to give credit where due, they are not in themselves monsters. They are simply the defenders of what Margaret Thatcher has called "the Nanny State". These are not monsters. Nearly always, they have the very best intentions. Most of them want more regulation because they believe it would be good for us. Most of the rest are only concerned with how to increase their own status and salaries. But well-intentioned or not, they are now advocating a measure that has very disturbing implications.

The amount of personal information available to a Policeman in the street is growing all the time. It is obsolete to think in terms of his merely inspecting a card and checking the number off against a list of wanted malefactors. The humble bar code potentially makes available every record on each of us ever opened. There is no technological reason why a Police car should not be fitted with a radio link to some central computer, from which our names, addresses, likenesses, occupations, medical and criminal histories, and banking details could be extracted as required.

To be sure, this would not all be gathered together at once. We should need first to be broken into the idea of carrying official identification. But it would need only one railway crash for the tabloid press to start asking why blood groups and other relevant information were not included on the cards. The Police themselves would insist on access to criminal records. The full surveillance would come. It might come slowly. But it would come.

And here is the great danger. Identity cards confer on the State a huge but almost invisible means of social control. Their introduction here would strike a surer blow against non-conformity than any other law currently to be imagined.

It takes no gift of prophecy to guess that their first testing and refinement would be in the harrassing of unpopular minorities. There are few powers that our Police would more enjoy using than that of taking the names of people selling Militant on street corners, or of people coming out of gay bars or bookshops. Strange hair styles, CND badges, leather trousers, funny religious views - what better way to frighten many of their possessors back to conformity then letting them think themselves on some List of Deviants to be Watched?

We must never let go in this country of one very simple truth. To be stopped and questioned, on no probable cause, is to suffer an outrageous and humiliating loss of freedom. This is so whether or not we have anything to hide. So long as we obey the law, no one has any more right to demand our names and addresses than to film us sitting on a lavatory pan. To say otherwise is to concede to the State a still greater role of prying into - and ultimately of regulating - our lives.

The Victorians realised this. At the beginning of the 19th century, Jeremy Bentham had written eloquently on the benefits that would flow from having silhouettes made and centrally stored of everyone's profile. They would be hard to alter, and would reduce fraud and vagrancy. They would contribute so marvellously to "the greatest happiness of the greatest number" that no one but a fool could not agree with him. As an alternative, he toyed with the idea of tattooing a code number on every forehead in the country. For this, as for many other of his projects, he was regarded for the next hundred years as a sinister eccentric.

We put up with identity cards during the War. But many violations of rights were tolerated then for the sake of beating the Germans. With the coming of peace, the Government was forced to end the scheme. Too many people were tearing their cards up in public.

What will we do when, by whatever means, it becomes the law for us to carry identity cards? We shall resist them. At least, I hope we shall resist them. For, if we do otherwise, we shall at a stroke have lost much of our remaining freedom.

From Free Life, Issue 24, December 1995
ISSN: 0260 5112

Identity Cards: A Consultation Document
HMSO, London, May 1995, 45 pp., £8 (pbk)
(CM 2879 - ISBN 0 10 128792 5)

Of all the Home Secretaries there have been since 1782, Michael Howard is by far the worst. He is unmatched in his hatred of the Common Law and his worship of absolute, arbitrary power. Indeed, to find his equal, we might have to go all the way back to the corrupted traitors who fawned on James II.

The document now before us is further proof of his infamy. From the slimy, signed Foreword, to the biased and often ungrammatical questions at the end, his mark is plain. Identity cards are his idea. He revived it. He pushed it in Cabinet. He raised it at the 1994 Tory Conference. He set up the consultation procedure that this Green Paper is supposed to start. If this country ever becomes the sort of place from which his parents once had to run for their lives, he will bear the greatest single responsibility.

This being said, we include below an edited version of our replies to the questions set out in the Green Paper. These were sent off on the 29th September 1994, together with two longer publications on the subject by Sean Gabb, and were acknowledged about a fortnight later.

We do not suppose that Mr Howard will be swayed by them - only opinion polls matter to him. We do not even suppose that he will read them. But they express our belief - a belief we once imagined a Conservative Government might share - that to be made to carry and produce on demand any form of identification is a violation of rights; and that the violation is all the greater in proportion to the amount of information that can be included, or given access to, by the means of identification.

Question: Would an identity card costing less than a full passport be regarded as a convenient travel document for use within Europe and possibly elsewhere?

Answer: It might, but this is no reason in itself for introducing one.

Question: To what extent would an identity card be of added value in providing proof of age?

Answer: It might be of some. However, in the first place, most identity cards so far introduced have been easy to forge. On the other, age is indicated well enough by general appearance to allow any reasonable distinctions to be made between children and adults.

Question: To what extent would an identity card be helpful to individuals in banking and retail transactions?

Answer: Of great value, assuming the rightness of the present money laundering regulations and general disapproval of cash transactions. The Libertarian Alliance, however, denounces all efforts to restrict adult access to any substance of his or her choice; and it regards all banking regulations made pursuant to, or in the spirit of, the Vienna Convention of 1988 as a sinister intrusion into areas where the State has no legitimate function.

Question: Would it be useful to provide space on an identity card to allow the optional addition of emergency medical information or organ donor details?

Answer: No. Anyone who wants to carry such information can do so already. The question is analogous to asking whether tattooing our names on our foreheads would help us to remember each other's names. The only new use of having medical information so available will be the persecution of unpopular minorities. Already, smokers are often denied access to medical treatment. Give the doctors better access to lifestyle information, and they will use it to enforce whatever regimen takes their current fancy.

Question: To what extent would an identity card scheme be seen as a useful way of preventing crime and of reducing the fear of crime in certain areas?

Answer: We cannot comment how it might be seen by others. But we fail to see how identity cards can prevent crime to any significant degree. The repeated experience of those countries which have them is that the cost of committing much crime is simply raised by the cost of obtaining forged identification. The only crimes likely to be reduced are those pseudo-crimes that respectable people commit when they try to do things legitimate or indifferent in themselves but disapproved by the State - eg, taking drugs, buying pornography, using prostitutes, evading business regulations, hiding their assets from grasping tax collectors, and so forth.

Question: Views are invited on the implications for privacy and data protection of an identity card scheme.

Answer: With a modern identity card scheme, there will be no privacy. Access to data will inevitably be expanded by the bureaucrats and special interest groups until everything is open to inspection by almost everyone. For example, if they can be included on a card - as is certainly now possible - why should banking and employment details not be available to a social security official? Why should purchase and library borrowing records not be available to police officers? Whatever data protection might be given at first, it would soon wither away.

Question: Views are invited on whether there should be a unique identification number and, if so, whether it should be incorporated in an identity card.

Answer: With modern technology, unique identification numbers are irrelevant. With or without them, an identity card would give access to all our personal data. The question is like asking whether the entries in a database should be given consecutive numbers to assist searches. But so far as they might be useful before a fully digital system can be implemented, we are against them.

Question: Views are invited on the acceptability of an identity card which contained data information about the cardholder in machine readable form and the possibility that this data could be used for biometric tests.

Answer: Our answers are wholly based on the assumption that identity cards would be of this kind. But we will confirm that the suggestion is unacceptable to us. Identity cards are bad. Anything that adds to their efficiency only makes them worse.

Question: Comments are invited on the lessons to be learnt from experience in other countries.

Answer: Try Nazi Germany, where the Jews were usefully marked out by identity cards that carried details of religion. Try Turkey, where political and social dissidents have special holes punched in their cards. Try Rwanda, where the Tutsi and Hutu butchers could only decide whom and whom not to kill by checking their identity cards. Try France, where identity cards checks are used to harass racial minorities. Try modern Germany, where they are used to frighten homosexuals. Where there are identity cards, there is also a persecuting state: the persecutions differ only in their objects and intensity.

Question: Views are invited on the case for introduction of a separate voluntary identity card/travel card.

Answer: Since passports already exist - not, by the way, that we endorse these - there is no need for a new travel card. As for "voluntary" identity cards, these are a nonsense. The more people have them, the harder it will be for others to do without them. Identity cards will be seized on by banks, insurance companies, shops, public libraries, and every branch of the State administration that has contact with the public. Voluntary or not, life without one will soon become hard. As for the banks and so on just mentioned, their interest will be determined partly by the need to enforce the money laundering regulations mentioned above, and partly by a desire to avoid the costs of securing themselves from fraud. These costs should not be borne by the taxpayers.

Question: Would a photographic driving licence make a useful de facto identity card?

Answer: Yes - and that is why we are against these also. As for any separate arguments in their favour, we will note that the absence till now of photographs from driving licences has caused no problems that are significantly greater than in countries where they are standard.

Question: Views are invited on the case for introducing a dual-function card in particular one serving the purpose of driving licence and identity card.

Answer: Except we are opposed to identity cards in any form, and to any waste of the taxpayers' money, we have no views on this matter.

Question: Views are invited on the possibility, perhaps in the medium or longer term, of introducing, a multi-function Government card which would serve as an identity card and could provide extra convenience to the citizen.

Answer: We are against it. So long as we respect the life, liberty and property of others, no authority has any right to know who we are, where we live, or what we may be doing at any moment. The only "convenience" of this kind of card would be for dealing with a government that consistently exceeded its legitimate authority. We once hoped that a Conservative Government - committed to economic freedom and the generally free traditions of this country - would rather reduce the number of contact between citizen and state than find ways to make them easier, and therefore still more frequent.

Question: Views are invited on the possibility of introducing a compulsory identity card based on either a simple or multi-purpose identity card and the level of enforcement necessary.

Answer: Either of these is possible. We only deny the need and morality of both. Yet, this being said, we will note that the estimated costs - of £2-4 billion to start up, plus anything up to £1 billion per year thereafter - are enormous. And these costs probably take no account of the waste and extravagance that attend all government efforts.

Turning to the level of enforcement necessary, we say this: Any scheme that stops short of total surveillance of the whole population, and that fails to incorporate fairly secure identification protocols - retina patterns, DNA sampling, or whatever - will have little effect on criminal activity. Any scheme that does not stop short will take us straight into the world of dystopian science fiction.

These are our summarised grounds of opposition to any identity card scheme.

Sean Gabb and Chris R. Tame

Friday, 4 April 1997, 10:37pm 

Roderick Brown
Political Office
10 Downing Street
London SW1A 2AA

Dear Mr Brown,

Many thanks for your letter dated the 25th March, replying to mine of the previous 1st March.  Though my letter was only copied to him, I am impressed that the Prime Minister has asked you to make a reply.  The letter's real addressee, Dr Brian Mawhinney, the Conservative Party Chairman, has so far not even acknowledged receipt.

Turning to the contents of your letter, I am a little disappointed that you do not appear to have understood my reasons for not voting Conservative next month.  I am not interested in the debate over whether people should be allowed to keep guns at home if they are deactivated, nor in the relative merits of what Lord Cullen proposed in his Report and of what the Government has done. 

To make myself as clear as possible, I am against any measure of adult gun control.  I believe that any adult should be able to walk into a gun shop and - without showing any permit or proof of identity - be able to buy as many guns and as much ammunition as he or she can afford.  I further believe that individuals should not be prevented from keeping guns at home and carrying them in public, and from using them to protect their life, liberty and property.

This is part of the British tradition, and I have been continually shocked by the conduct of a Conservative Government in further destroying that tradition.  In ramming the Firearms (Amendment) Act through Parliament, Mr Major and his colleagues have abandoned what little claim they still kept to the name Conservative. 

Still worse than taking away our fundamental right to self-defence is the manner in which it has been done.  You mention section 51 of the Act.  This reads as follows: 

(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations make such transitional and consequential provisions and such savings as he considers necessary or expedient in preparation for, in connection with, or in consequence of‑‑

(a) the coming into force of any provision of this Act; or

(b) the operation of any enactment repealed or amended by a provision of this Act during any period when the repeal or amendment is not wholly in force.

(2) Regulations under this section may make modifications of any enactment contained in this or in any other Act.

The meaning of these words is plain.  The Home Secretary has been empowered to amend Acts of Parliament by his own fiat.  I fail to see what this is but another radical breach of the Constitution.  Its only precedents I can find in our history are the exalting of the prerogative power by Charles I and of the suspending and dispensing powers by his two sons.  Moreover, new precedents are being laid down that will soon enable the authorities to abolish our liberties as they please.  The substance of representative government was destroyed more than two generations ago.  Now even its forms are to be treated with open contempt.

Your comforting assurances about the limited nature of this breach are of no value.  Similar assurances were given about the reversal of the burden of proof in confiscation proceedings during the debate on the Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986.  Since then, reversing the burden of proof has become standard.  Whether by accident or by design, the Government is at war with the Constitution.

This war covers far more than the right to keep and bear arms for self defence.  I will not be voting Conservative for many other reasons.  Among these reasons are:

  1. The Manifesto promise of a "voluntary" identity card scheme.  If anything, this is still more alien to our traditions than victim disarmament.  Identity cards are the basic means of inspection and control in any police state.  With the recent advances in computer technology, they now comprise the means of taking us into a "soft" totalitarian nightmare, in which all our movements, and our purchases, and perhaps soon our states of mind, will be open to official inspection.
  2. The money laundering laws go still further in the practice of inspection and control of private acts. These have at best a marginal value in any battle against real crime - most of which would be far better deterred by restoring real punishments.  The widespread sale and use of recreational drugs that were their official justification are not real crimes, and were never regarded as such in the good old days of our Constitution before 1914.
  3. The Security Services and Police Acts both permit secret entry into and search of private property without a Warrant.  They even permit the planting of listening devices.  Again, these laws are of little value against real crime.  Their use is far more valuable as a means of social control.  The Judges have all been shocked by these measures, and have rightly denounced them as another breach of our ancient Constitution.  We expelled James II and put his father to death for far less despotic acts.
  4. The discussion paper recently published by the Department of Trade and Industry plainly aims at criminalising the use of strong encryption technology in this country.  The justification is that the use of such encryption technology will hinder the detection and punishment of crime.  This is an absurd argument, as criminals will continue using programs like PGP whatever the law proclaims.  As with the Government's victim disarmament laws, the only people likely to be affected by a legal ban are the honest public, who will find their private communications open to official inspection.  If the Government were really concerned about crime, it would treat encrypted messages like other kinds of private property:  the courts would be able to issue Warrants on probable cause, requiring decryption of specified messages, with various penalties available in the event of a refusal to cooperate.
  5. The weight of taxes remains as crushing now on the middle classes as in 1979.  It is higher today even than it was in 1992, when we were promised tax cuts "year on year".  The fact is that whenever faced with a choice between raising taxes and cutting spending, this Government has always chosen the first.
  6. There is an undeniably heavier weight of regulation on business than in 1979.  To be sure, there are fewer attempts made to control rents or the price of bread.  But Christopher Booker in his "Sunday Telegraph" articles has revealed how much new despotism there is over small business - the shutting down of the British fishing and beef sectors being only the most notable.

In short, I can see no positive reason for voting Conservative next month.  The negative reason that kept me loyal in the past - that a Labour Government would tax and regulate the country to death - has been removed by Tony Blair.  We have not had a Conservative Government in this country at least since Mr Major became Prime Minister.  Indeed, the only new thing about New Labour will be the faces.

I hope that a period of opposition will allow the Party to go through the same change of heart on the Constitution as it went through in the late 1970s on the economy.  If that happens, then I will certainly vote Conservative at the next election.

For the moment, however, the Party has lost my vote - and it has lost the votes of tens of thousands of people like me.  If Mr Major wants to know why his Government is the least popular since polling records began to be kept, he might stop listening to what the chattering classes in the media regard as important, and start listening to the voice of real English conservatism.  Yes, we do care about the state of the economy.  But now that no party is offering the kind of socialism that produces economic collapse, we are more interested in the preservation of all the things that used to make this country great.

Or, since most politicians and their advisers seem incapable nowadays of following a connected argument, try this soundbite:  "It isn't the economy, stupid".

Yours sincerely,

Sean Gabb

03/12/2008 Talk Sport Radio What is the worst feature of this year's Speech from the Throne? Sean Gabb Sean complains about the proposed law to allow the authorities to force us to provide identification on demand.
4/08/2007 Talk Sport Radio The Gary Bushell Show - Why is the country becoming a police state?   Sean denounces the "Sheeple" and calls for influenza to thin their numbers.

News From England: The New Ruling Class And Taxpayer Funded Brainwashing In "Sindia-Lesbianopolis"

By Sean Gabb (published on VDare on 13th October 2010

One of the many annoyances of living in a country like England—and I believe this also applies to America—is the lack of effective opposition within the mainstream media to outrageous acts of the authorities.

I do not mean by this that when the police shoot someone or beat him to death, there is no coverage in the newspapers and on television. This is not the case at all. Official misconduct that amounts to oppression as traditionally conceived is fully covered, and this is occasionally successful at bringing the guilty parties to something that is regarded as justice. Equally, the wars of the past decade have been fully discussed and exposed by at least the British media.

However, where oppressions are concerned that have so far been unknown or uncommon within our own civilisation, such protest as is voiced is generally muted, where not almost wholly beside the point.

Let me give a specific instance of what I mean. On the 12th September 2010, The Mail on Sunday, which is one of the main British Sunday newspapers, carried a story under the heading Taxpayers fund council ‘adventures in Sindia and Lesbianandgayland’ as part of sessions on equality and diversity. As readers may be suspicious about the neutrality of any summary, the story is worth quoting at some length. It begins:

"Council bosses are being asked to imagine they are English economic migrants in the fictitious region of Sindia, or go on an ‘adventure in Lesbian-andgayland’ as part of publicly-funded training sessions on equality and diversity.

"More than 30 managers from Brighton and Hove City Council have been on the two-day ‘Leading on Diversity’ course in the past year—at a cost of several thousand pounds. In the session entitled Adventures in Sindia, the English Exodus, staff are asked to imagine that it is 2030 and the ‘world is a very different place’.

"In this scenario, much of the South-East of England and East Anglia is under water.

"Millions of English families desperate for work have been forced to uproot to Sindia, an economic federation which is made up of China and India

"All the participants are asked to imagine that they are a seven-year-old child called Sarah Hardy, whose family has just moved to Delhi.

"They are also warned that the English are largely despised in India because they have a reputation for ‘illegality, criminality, cultural conservatism and an inability to learn the host language’.

"The course material states: ‘Your seventh birthday was a miserable occasion. Your parents invited all the children in your class to a party.  All but one failed to turn up and none sent an RSVP. 

"‘The only child who came was a Jewish girl from Hungary. Somehow you felt that she understood what you were going through, even though you never talked about it.’"

"The course attendees are told that while in Sindia they can expect to hear comments such as: ‘Why do you insist on eating that bland food? What you need is a good masala’, ‘Do your parents really force you to drink alcohol at the age of ten?’, and ‘What do you call an English virgin? A contradiction in terms’. 

In the other session, staff are asked to imagine that ‘while asleep one night they have slipped through a wormhole in space’ and woken up in a parallel world where it is normal to be lesbian or gay.

"They are told that they are now in a country where ‘heterosexual teachers are very reluctant to come out’, ‘the ideal family consists of a lesbian or gay male couple’, and ‘that conceiving a child by heterosexual intercourse is viewed with distaste’..."

The only complaint against all this voiced in Mail article is that "[Town Hall] officials… have been accused of wasting taxpayers’ money by sending staff on controversial courses".

This is a fair criticism. At the moment in England, about one pound in every four spent by the State is borrowed. Some of the remainder is financed by printing money. Taxes are heading into what most economists regard as the red zone. Sooner rather than later, the new Conservative-Liberal Coalition proclaims, there must be substantial spending cuts that will affect everyone who, legitimately or otherwise, receives benefits from the State.

Yet, in spite of this, arms of the British State are spending money on what can only be regarded as brainwashing exercises.

Nevertheless, if it is fair to complain about the misuse of the taxpayers’ money, these are not the most relevant grounds for complaint. From the point of view of those spending it, the money is very well spent. It is, indeed, far more important for these people that money should be given to organisations like Aziz Associates, which developed this course, than spent on keeping the streets clean or the swimming pools open and affordable.

Of course, so long as there have been governments, the main use of the taxpayers’ money has always been the funding of a ruling class and its clients, and the manufacture of consent to their actions.

But what makes the spending priorities of the British State so striking nowadays is their revolutionary purpose. Spending the taxpayers’ money on this sort of exercise is not a waste of that money—but an important legitimisation of what the current ruling class in England is about.

Because it proceeded slowly in it origins, and was not attended by violence or any formal break with continuity, it is often difficult to see that my country has, for about the past thirty years, been living through a revolution as radical and as contrary to human nature as the Russian or French Revolutions. Because this revolution has taken place within the forms of the pre-existing order, it has had no markers as obvious as the storming of the Bastille or of the Winter Palace. Instead, it has taken place slowly and at different speeds within each branch of the State. It has been a matter of one person appointed to a senior position, as opposed to somebody else, of new written guidelines to junior staff, of new phrasing and new logos.

We could point to the election of a Labour Government in 1997. Undoubtedly, this was a government of radicals, fully committed to the revolution. But this revolution was already far advanced before 1997, and there is no reason to suppose that the electoral defeat of Labour earlier this year will have any effect on the continued progress of the revolution.

I could proceed to an analysis of the revolutionary doctrines. But I increasingly believe that, while stated ideologies are always important, they are, in the present case, far less important than the motivations.

And the motivation is the desire of a new ruling class—a class made up of politicians, bureaucrats, lawyers, educators, activists, and associated media and business interests—to secure absolute and unaccountable power for itself.

In England, even before the achievement of universal suffrage, government was always broadly by consent. The ruling class was small, and recruited mainly by birth and by the co-option of the most able; and the forces available to it were always insufficient for large-scale misgovernment.

Added to its size was the essential simplicity of its governing structures. Ministers were formally appointed by the Crown, which was the supreme legal authority, and responsible to a Parliament which—if often very loosely—was representative of the people. All official actions, even if he was unaware of them, were the responsibility of a specific Minister—and he could be forced to account for these, and might sometimes be forced to resign because of them. Before the classical age of the Constitution, he might even be tried and punished for these actions.

Education, the media, the enforcement of the law, and most business were either independent of the State or so radically decentralised and founded on immemorial right, that normal government had to take place by discussion and consent. If most ordinary people had no regular voice in affairs, they could make their voice heard by rioting—and the means of repressing such disturbances were generally inadequate—or by reliance on other immemorial rights that the ruling class as a whole had no desire to abridge.

Because of a shared horror of the republican and Stuart despotisms of the seventeenth century, there was no interest group within the ruling class to push for a more efficient or extended government. It was accepted that a more active state would require activist officials who would interfere with the landed and chartered interests of the ruling class. Because the English State, as it was allowed to exist by the ruling class, was so inefficient and corrupt, no one outside the ruling class wanted this state to be given any functions beyond those it already had.

In the early nineteenth century, for example, regulation of the factories was opposed partly because it meant an interference with freedom of contract—but also because no one believed that factory inspectors would bother to inspect any factories.

This Constitution was first unbalanced by the Whig reforms of the 1830s. Changes in the franchise were less important than the setting up of bureaucratic inspectorates to deal with public health and education, and then the rooting out of inefficiency and corruption within the civil service as a whole.

The stated—and almost certain—object of these reforms was to secure cheaper and more humane government. In the short term, this object was largely secured.

Its longer term effect, however, was to set off what may be called a Public Choice explosion. Officials were able to collect and manipulate statistics to justify greater numbers and status for themselves. As the prestige of the old ruling class faded in an age of democratic claims and belief in progress, politicians found it increasingly hard to face down demands for more state activity. These demands were amplified by external interests that stood to benefit. The mass of those who had to pay for increased government, or were harmed by it, had neither enough personal interest nor the ideological force needed to make a sufficient defence.

By 1914, the old forms of the Constitution remained intact, but had been joined by the outlines of a modern administrative state. Two big wars and the progress of socialist ideology solidified the administrative state. By about 1980, this administrative state was large enough and powerful enough to do whatever it pleased. It managed education and healthcare and welfare for the mass of the people, and managed the exercise of many rights that had not been formally abolished.

This is the State that was captured—perhaps during the Conservative Government of the 1980s—by the new ruling class. At the time, we called these people socialists. Many of them began as Marxists in the old-fashioned sense. Many began as old-fashioned administrative socialists in the English sense.

But their ability to move backwards and forwards between often contradictory legitimising ideologies should have made it clear that they were not socialists in any traditional sense. Sometimes, they argued for what they called the interests of the working class, sometimes for public health or health and safety, sometimes for racial equality, sometimes for efficient government, sometimes for cheaper and more efficient criminal justice, sometimes for more human criminal justice, sometimes for protecting the environment, sometimes for compliance with the requirements of international agencies.

The overall effect of their activity, however, was always the same. This was always to subject us to yet another interfering and proselytising bureaucracy that had no regard for our immemorial rights as Englishmen.

Readers of VDARE.COM will tend to focus on the "multicultural" legitimisations of the new ruling class, and the mass-immigration of non-whites that has attended it. There can be no doubt that this has been one of the most important legitimisations.

But I do suggest that things like the War On Smoking, and against "homophobia", and restriction on what light bulbs, and changes in legal procedure, and loss of sovereignty to organisations like The European Union and the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation, and so on and so forth, are equally important.

These are all coordinate parts of a project by the ruling class to insulate itself from any accountability to or any challenge from the mass of the ruled. We are to be governed in ways that we do not understand and do not like, and often by agencies sanctioned by foreign authorities over which we have at best a decorative and indirect influence.

The most important questions any subject of a government can ask are: Who is my Lord? and What do I owe to my Lord? In the England where I was born, the answers were still: My Lord is the Queen in Parliament, and I am obliged to obey such laws as are made by the Queen in Parliament or derived by the Judges from the Common Law; and these laws must always be made and exercised with my consent.

But I now live in a country where these answers no longer describe the reality. And the reason why these answers no longer apply is because power has been seized by a revolutionary clique that wants to reduce me and mine to serfdom.

It is with this narrative in mind that the activities of Aziz Associates must be analysed. As said, spending our money on this and similar organisations is not a waste of our tax money. The function of the project uncovered by The Mail on Sunday is not so much to stop people from disliking homosexuals and foreigners, as to make them feel ridiculous. They are forced thereby to acknowledge in public and to themselves who is boss, and that to resist the boss in anything is fatal. Also, once they have been bullied into such nonsense, the only way that many people will be able to retain any feeling of self-respect is to persuade themselves that it was all in a good cause.

Do you remember how Caligula appointed his horse as one of the Consuls for the year? Was this because he was mad, and he somehow thought the appointment would please his horse? Or was the act a deliberate humiliation of a still powerful and highly conservative aristocracy, the members of which now had to make public fools of themselves as they went about the business of consulting the horse on policy and fitting it into the traditional ceremonies?

There are similar stories about the victims of the French and Russian Revolutions. Indeed, I recall an English crime report from many years ago, where some thugs caught two middle aged, middle class woman and murdered them. Before murdering them, they made their victims perform "erotic dances". Again, this probably wasn't because the thugs found simple pleasure in watching middle aged, middle class woman engage in lesbian sex. It was to humiliate the women and to break them into whatever else was expected of them before they were murdered.

Going back to the present case, people who have abased themselves in the ways required before the altar of political correctness will be less inclined to protest at or to sabotage the tyrannical whims of their masters. Many, indeed, can be expected to join in with apparent pleasure.

Some, no doubt, will file the humiliation away for some future time when the tables may have been turned. But most will go along with it.

The permitted response to this sort of outrage is to demand that it should be stopped—that the officials concerned should be reminded of their proper duties. But this is a worthless response. When a Labour Government in the 1940s spent large amounts of money on cultivating groundnuts in Africa, it was condemned. Eventually, the project was cancelled. But that was in the days when everyone agreed that the function of the State was to provide common services—even if there was much debate over the nature and extent of these services. As said, however, we are now ruled by an interlocking set of proselytising bureaucracies. Humiliating and brainwashing people is their function. No orders from a Minister in London—even assuming there were a Minister inclined to issue them—will change the general behaviour of these bureaucracies.

The only workable response to this sort of case is to shut down the relevant bureaucracies. They cannot be reformed. They cannot be persuaded to act other than as they do. Least of all are there alternative personnel to manage or staff them. The only people able to run these bureaucracies are those already within them.

They can only be smashed. They must be shut down—preferably all at once. Their staff must be thrown into the street, and must lose their pensions. Their records must be burned. And their records must be burned even if they are likely to contain evidence of criminal or treasonable acts. What England needs above all else—and perhaps America too—is not a government of piecemeal reform, but a government of reaction such as took power in England in 1660, on the restoration of the Monarchy. Every single law made since a certain time must be repealed.

Perhaps a few can be re-enacted. But the reaction must be stern and unbending. It must be this not only because it is just, but primarily because any government of reaction will be strong enough for one frontal assault on the institutions of the administrative state, and nothing more.

Now, I think all this puts me at a distance from many of the people who write for and who read VDARE.COM. It may raise suspicions that I, as a libertarian, am less interested in the specific horrors of the politically correct administrative states that we have than in simply downsizing the State. Many people, I suspect, would be happy to keep a large state if only it acted other than it does. I, on the other hand, would be just as opposed to this kind of state as to those we actually have.

There may be some justice in this. We libertarians may be the equivalent of the Trotskyites who latch onto every grievance of the poor, nodding sympathetically and then pushing their own line of international revolution.

Even so, I would urge the merits of my analysis. There are people who blame our present situation chiefly on the workings of some small group or other—Jews, bankers, cultural Marxists, Tony Blair, Hillary Clinton, or whatever. I suggest that the impending collapse of our civilisation may be traced in part to local causes. But local causes are usually secondary causes. Even without them, the final effects would be much the same.

Even if we were to strip out every effect of mass-immigration and multiculturalism from our countries, it would remain the case that we were not living under any kind of limited, constitutional government.

The powers of a still enlarged state would remain in the hands of other malevolent interest groups—or the void left by one strand of the overall legitimisation would be filled by some other as yet unimagined.

The problem is not that we have bureaucracies telling people to think themselves into refugee status in Sindia-Lesbianopolis, but that we have bureaucracies open to capture by proselytising totalitarians.

Whatever the case, we are not at the stage where improvement of any kind seems likely. The State as we have it will continue rolling forward over legal or immemorial rights. We remain at the stage where the best we can do is discuss the most appropriate explanations of what has gone wrong—and what we might, in more opportune circumstances, do about it.