MP's in the House of Commons are to vote on amendments to the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill.
As I've stated before, I'm no fan of this Bill, because it evidently undermines freedom of expression. As a libertarian I don't believe in many limits to freedom of speech.
Religion is not an innate or intrinsic trait. People aren't born religious. They only acquire religion through socialisation. Religious belief can also be altered and renounced. Because of this it cannot be as bad to criticise or speak foul of religion.
As in all cases of freedom of expression, people can ostracise others who express offensive or objectionable views. You can also use your freedom of expression to counter, expose and discredit such views.
IMO, this is just another example of New Labour's worrying authoritarianism.
Over the past day or so, Simon Hughes has admitted to having gay relationships in the past. This is despite denying he was homosexual in a prior TV interview.
Rather like the Oaten affair, I'm relatively indifferent to this scandal. He clearly lied about his sexual orientation and he has owned up to such deceit. Even Peter Tatchell has forgiven him for a supposedly "homophobic" electoral campaign in 1983, in which Tatchell ran as a Labour candidate.
Like Oaten, Hughes has not committed an illegal act and should not be forced to resign as an MP. I believe that the private lives of politicians should remain private, unless they are breaking the law or initiating force or fraud against another individual.
I don't think this would affect Hughes' leadership challenge that much. Attitudes towards homosexuality within British society have liberalised over the past few decades. Even still, the Liberal Democrats remain a worthless "social liberal" party.
Social/modern/new liberalism erks me because it places less emphasis on freedom and more on welfare and helping the disadvantaged. I cannot name a policy the Lib Dems' have advocated in recent times which would genuinely increase liberty in this country.
The Liberal Democrats have stated there still is a place for Oaten within their party. Oaten resigned from the Lib Dems' Shadow Cabinet due to reports that he frequented a rent boy.
When I first heard of this scandal, I couldn't really care less. He wasn't doing anything illegal (or anything that deserves to be illegal). If he had truly denounced a judge for visiting a male prostitute, then yes, he should be outed (no pun intended) as a hypocrite.
In a libertarian Britain, politicians shouldn't be censured or even impeached for such trivial matters. Having sex with a male prostitute hardly denotes the initiation of force or fraud against the person or property, does it?!
The government are going to raise the cost of a TV licence to £131.50 from April 1st 2006. The Culture Secretary claimed it would maintain the BBC's position at the "forefront of broadcasting technology".
Of course, the licence fee is a tax and taxation is theft. A libertarian British government should privatise the BBC and abolish the licence fee.
People often complain that the BBC is good since it produces high quality programmes and that a privately owned BBC would cater only for reality TV and other nonsense. Why should this be the case? I'm sure there is a large demand for quality television. If so, then the market would meet that demand.
The government have decided to retain cannabis as a Class C drug. This is despite warnings from the medical profession that cannabis may be a cause of mental illness.
I suppose this is good news in itself. Nonetheless, the only sensible move IMO would be a complete decriminalisation of ALL drugs. Even if cannabis does cause mental illness, so what? In life, you weigh the consequences of an action before you act. The same principle is applicable in this situation. In a libertarian society, there would perhaps be a greater emphasis on rationally weighing the consequences of actions than there is presently. Being free means being free to make mistakes and learn from your mistakes.
A person should have the right to put whatever he chooses into his body. If you don't own yourself, then you cannot be free.
The Home Office have announced plans which shall crackdown on prostitution within England & Wales.
The plans include taking away the driving licences of kerb-crawlers and aiding street prostitutes to find alternative vocations.
To me this simply confirms New Labour's authoritarianism. Granted, street prostitution can "blight" areas. Therefore, it should simply be a matter of property rights. In a libertarian society, roads and residential areas may be privately owned. If people in residential areas don't want prostitutes in their area, they'd possess the means to deny them the ability to work in such areas.
The government also want to alter laws which limit the number of prostitutes that can work in flats and massage parlours. I'd agree this form of prostitution was safer and that most women working in these places choose to work within prostitution.
Of course, prostitution is a victimless crime. If two people agree to have sex in exchange for payment, then no force or fraud against the person or property of another is being committed.
Liberal Democrats leadership
Sir Menzies Campbell, Mark Oaten, Simon Hughes and now Chris Huhne have entered the race to become the new leader of the Liberal Democrats.
I don't really find this contest interesting. The Lib Dems, like the other two major parties, are a party of big government. Since they are social liberals, they would naturally seek a large state that initiates force against the individual.
There appears to be little hope of the Lib Dems becoming more libertarian in their views. Mark Oaten claims to be a "classical liberal", nonetheless I doubt he as leader would effectively promote social and economic freedom or (from a libertarian perspective) properly reduce the size and scope of government.
Conservatives = party of big government
David Cameron today made a speech stating how the NHS would remain "free at the point of delivery" under a Conservative government. He also stated that a Tory government led by him wouldn't opt for an insurance-based health care system.
OK, yes, the Conservative Party have for many decades advocated big government. Nonetheless, it's interesting to see a trend towards statism under Cameron. First, it was a commitment to redistribution of wealth. Now it's calling for a retention of a state-owned health care system.
I hope Cameron realises that such a belief leads to a growing government which taxes, regulates and initates force against the people.
Of course, I'd favour a completely free-market health care system. Government has no place in adminstering health care, or any positive right.
Gordon Brown and a written constitution?
According to the Independent, the Chancellor of the Exchequer may seek to implement a written constitution, if he succeeds Tony Blair as Prime Minister.
Brown is drawing up a series of proposals designed to limit the powers of the state.
In principle, I think this is a good idea, if true. I'm no fan, as a libertarian of our current constitutional arrangment. There simply is no check on governmental power within our "uncodified" consitution.
One thing I object to is the exact content of any constitution layed out by Brown. If it contains things such as a right to health care, or right to education, then for evident reasons, I won't support it.
A draft libertarian constitution for Britain can be seen here.