Good intentions, of course.
Chris Huhne proposes to introduce a bill to repeal the legislation that has stripped away our rights. So far, so good:
There has always been a problem for civil libertarians. The sacrifices of freedoms made by successive governments often seem small, particularly when they are pushed through at times of panic about terrorism. Each time, the government argues that you only need to give up a modest amount of freedom or rights to win greater security. And what could be more free than life itself? Yet the cumulative effects of this salami-slicing have now become deeply corrosive to the free spirit of a civil society. Like some sci-fi horror movie, we are slowly becoming the authoritarian threat that we are fighting.
And, like all of us with good intentions, he rails against human suffering in the form of grotesque inequality:
I want the party to be true to its beliefs, as expressed in our constitution, to “balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community”. These three stand or fall together; inequality shackles freedom and undermines community. It was this recognition, that however much one removed political and legal constraints to freedom, the social and economic barriers of poverty, ignorance, unemployment and ill-health remained, that underpinned the new Liberalism of the early twentieth century. This was when British Liberals became a social liberal party, accepting that government intervention – in the shape of pensions, national insurance and progressive taxation, laying the foundations of the welfare state – was justified to enlarge liberty.
via Liberty, but equality too | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
Huhne’s position has been analyzed before:
When Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto recommended “a heavy progressive or graduated income tax” and “abolition of all right of inheritance” as measures “to wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie,” they were consistent from the point of view of the ultimate end they were aiming at, viz., the substitution of socialism for the market economy. They were fully aware of the inevitable consequences of these policies. They openly declared that these measures are “economically untenable” and that they advocated them only because “they necessitate further inroads” upon the capitalist social order and are “unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionizing the mode of production,” i.e., as a means of bringing about socialism.
Today, the authorities intend to print money, to make us more prosperous. In fact, “quantitative easing” will widen inequality. How?
- When new money is created out of thin air — which is the normal procedure, albeit on a different scale — the new money is first enjoyed by government contractors and bankers in the form of bonuses and premises. It is also loaned to entrepreneurs.
- The new “wealth” begins to cascade. The early recipient of new money spends it and sees the benefit, receiving real wealth in exchange for money created out of thin air. Who loses? The person who sold real wealth in exchange for new money.
- As this new money is successively spent, it devalues because it bids up the price of things purchased.
- Each time that happens, the wealth effect slows, in fact drying up as it moves away from its source, the government, towards the ordinary person.
- Finally, those on fixed incomes, who have seen prices bid up, cannot afford to buy what they used to, buy less and suffer truly.
Through this mechanism, wealth transfer from the poorest to the richest — widening inequality — is always implied by spending new money. There is no doubt that the current government policy will further impoverish the poorest. It is a tragedy and an outrage.
We should all be furious about quantitative easing. It will not produce sustainable, stable prosperity for all: it will cost us dear, especially the most vulnerable.
And here is the tragedy of the “social liberals” and social democrats: they busily pave a fresh road to hell for the poor, all the while raging at the injustice they are worsening. There is another way.