An excellent and timely TED talk forwarded to me yesterday:

I’m encouraged by Meslin’s account of voluntarism but conscious that I don’t know if he is a consistent advocate of it: “community organisers” make me nervous…

One of the worst features of our present political and socio-economic system is the coercive enforcement of intrusive decisions taken by unaccountable elites. If decisions must be imposed, then it seems to me that they should be:

  • If broad in applicability, narrow in scope (eg law relating to the protection of life, liberty and property, which should be universal)
  • If narrow in applicability, taken by those the decision would affect (eg local planning decisions)

I return to the philosophy of liberalism: property, contract and the classical rule of law are the foundations of civilised society. If narrow decisions – such as land use – were taken by the property owner and the owners of affected property – I believe many tensions would be relieved. That might be particularly so if property owners entered into mutually-beneficial contracts to share benefits and compensate losses.

As an example (off the top of my head) I would object to a week-long jazz festival on the playing field in West Wycombe opposite my home (I hate jazz) but I might not if offered 1% of profits, which might pay for me to go away for the week.

I have great hopes for the Localism Bill and the coming public service reform white paper: people should certainly have more power and control over their own lives.

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