So here I am, back online in our new High Wycombe home, just in time for this revolt against reason:
Following the ‘climategate scandal’, Mr Blair said the science may not be “as certain as its proponents allege”.
But he said the world should act as a precaution against floods, droughts and mass extinction caused by climate change, in fact it would be “grossly irresponsible” not to.
If I understand Blair correctly, he is following up his recent assertion of the form ‘we were right to go to war, irrespective of the facts’ with an assertion that ‘we should intervene heavily in the operation of society, irrespective of the facts’. This is sheer ideology: why not extend this philosophy to every social problem? I suspect he would answer, “Why not indeed?”
I am put in mind of my favourite philosopher, Karl Popper, who lived through mankind’s greatest period of social planning, with all the misery it entailed:
I see now more clearly than ever before that even our greatest troubles spring from something that is as admirable and sound as it is dangerous — from our impatience to better the lot of our fellows.
We must plan for freedom, and not only for security, if for no other reason than only freedom can make security more secure.
It seems to me certain that more people are killed out of righteous stupidity than out of wickedness.
Popper began of course, like Hayek, as a socialist. He simply came to his senses when he saw what it entailed.
A week or so ago, my wife and I had lunch in High Wycombe’s noodle bar. I struck up a conversation with the young waiter – I forget how it began – and found myself answering his complaint that he didn’t know what politics was about with, “It’s about whether we should have a planned or a free society.” He answered, “I know what I want, but I don’t know who will give it to me.” I explained that a vote for me is a vote for a free society, which lifted his spirits.
What a pass we have come to if the young think there is no hope for a free society. What would our grandparents say, after all they went through?