Friday, 2 November 2007

In Condemnation of British Vulgar Libertarians

by Edwin Hesselthwite

It has now been 20 hours since the verdict was announced in the Jean Charles De Menezes court case, concerning health and safety law that everyone knows is the only way to raise an issue of dereliction of duty caused by collective hysteria.

Within 20 minutes of the guilty verdict Shami Chakrabarti, the face of pressure group Liberty, issued an article on The Guardian's Comment Is Free on the matter. Much as being the public defender of liberty in the UK must be a difficult task, Ms Chakrabarti never seems to miss-step. This is arguably the most important issue for watching-the-watchmen of the last 6 months, and she treated it accordingly.

Now, almost a day later, the major libertarian hubs of the UK blogosphere - Samizdata and the Libertarian Alliance blog - groups who lay claim to the heritage of Paine, Mill, Popper and Spencer, have yet to post a single article on the topic. While I know this is a complex issue - and specialist law - and that these sites do not have salaried contributors, I think it says a lot that these sites are more interested in discussing chemistry sets, and Boris Johnson's recommendations for US President than the police shooting civilians in the head, seven times at point blank range.

As a centrist libertarian I would like to take the opportunity to say that, were libertarians to get into a position of power, I would not endorse the tax and Tory obsessed vulgar libertarians of Samizdata and The LA to even run the home office. Their eyes, however idealistic, are firmly off the ball and glued to the tax deductions they see on their paychecks. Recent contibutors choose to discuss Italian sports cars, dangerous environmentalists trying to force high taxes and wealth redistribution on them, and so on. Is it any wonder that even natural sympathisers like LMWN have less respect for them than they might?

I wait with interest for the comprehensive article, on either of these sites, that will prove me wrong.

Too little, too late Mr De Havilland.


Blognor Regis said...

What's with this new trend of blogs telling each other what their policy and schedule should be? Sir James Thingamywotzit, that Gracci Gimp and now you. It's not like blogging is the only thing keen amateurs have going on in their lives.

Ted Hoffman said...

Whatever the faults of our police force, civilians are not in great danger of being mistakenly shot in the head, nor is it something likely to get worse.

Looked to me like it was just a mistake made under pressure, whatever the court said. I suspect most agree, which is why it hasn't featured too much in blogs, even those with no sympathy for the general trend of uk policing.

Charles Pooter said...


I think Perry's piece on Samizdata was OK and not particularly late coming, so you're being unfair there. There is also an answer to your post on the LA blog but I don't understand a word of it.

Pritchard Buckminster said...

As an aside to the key issues raised in this case, and the lamentable outcome that an innocent person died, this whole story has demonstrated wonderful(sarcasm)use of carefully selected emotive terms tinged with just the right amount of negative bias.

The papers talked about "hi-calibre" rounds, "hi-power weapons" and "point-blank range". The rounds were NATO standard fired from a standard issue firearm at close, but not blank, range. The number of rounds was most likely largely a product of the mechanical action of a fully automatic weapon. I know it's just poor use of terms but I do wish we had a toolbox of legally defined words and phrases to be used in these (hopefully rare) type cases.

Sorry. I know its not really important but this careful use of language can sneak opinion changing sentences in under the collective radar.

David Davis said...

Sorry for being late....

We try to do what we can. Most days, with teaching and stuff, I have not the time to scratch my arse, let alone to do bolging as much as I'd like (see Blognor Regis' comment here.)

I hate the increasing militarization of the control aspects of this society as much as you do. It's just that, well, the poor guy is very dead, and the incumbent Gestapo chief is clearly not going to resign anyway, so what do you suggest we all do next?

Blognor Regis said...

The rounds were NATO standard fired from a standard issue firearm

Is that true?

I'd heard they were of the frangible kind which banned for military use under a Hague Convention even though in they are better suited to some circumstances that the permittd bullets. I'm no expert though.

Pritchard Buckminster said...

As I understand it the break up of those rounds is designed to reduce target penetration thus limiting collateral damage. It's an [awful] balance.

Not my point tho - it's the use of emotive, possibly inaccurate, phrases that bugs me.

Lurch said...

The gun would not have been full auto but semi automatic (glock 17 probably), i.e. one pull of the trigger for one round.
The bullets would not have been frangible but expanding. Frangible bullets are designed to fragment, expandable bullets are designed to mushroom but stay in one piece thereby transferring as much of the kinetic energy to the target as possible. This prevents overpenetration but it's prime purpose is to cause maximum tissue damage.