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Human Rights

Nonsense On Stilts?
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Saudi Arabia, China and Vietnam have been
appointed to the United Nations Council on
Human Rights. All three countries forbid free
speech and harshly punish criticism of the regime.
None respects religious freedom or freedom of
conscience. None has a transparent system of law,
and – to put it mildly – none has an immigration
problem. So what does this tell us about the idea
of human rights?
During the 17th century England was torn apart by
civil war. This war came to an end in the ‗Glorious
Revolution‘ of 1688, when James II was expelled
from the country and William of Orange welcomed
in his stead. At one level this represented the
popular desire for a Protestant rather than a
Roman Catholic dynasty on the throne. At another
level it meant the final victory of a centuries-long
struggle for a form of government that would see
individual freedom rather than collective
submission as its goal.
Henceforth individuals were to enjoy freedoms
that protected them, their property and their way
of life from arbitrary invasion, be it from their
neighbours or from the officers of the crown. Such
was affirmed next year in the 1689 Bill of Rights,
which guaranteed freedom from arbitrary arrest
and imprisonment, the protection of free speech in
Parliament, and the abolition of the Royal
prerogative to appoint judges or to act as judge.

The overall effect was to make the monarch as
much subject to the law as the ordinary citizen.
The Bill of Rights was regarded, at the time, as
reaffirming the ancient liberties of the English
people, embodied in the centuries-long
jurisdiction of the common-law courts. It was a
weapon in the hand of the individual, against all
those who sought to control him, whatever their
power and whatever the interests that they
represented. The philosopher John Locke, in
his Second Treatise on Civil Government,
published in the following year, put the point
rather differently: human beings, he argued, have
natural rights, and these cannot legitimately be
taken away or qualified. The right to proceed
about one‘s business without threat to life, limb
and property was, he regarded, sanctified by the
English law because sanctified by Reason, and
therefore by God.
It was no easy matter to define what these ‗natural
rights‘ amount to, and when Locke‘s arguments
were taken up in the American Declaration of
Independence, and subsequently in the
Constitutional ‗Bill of Rights‘, rather more
provisions were included than would have
occurred to a philosopher writing at the end of the
English civil war.
Nevertheless, the basic thought remained the
same, and was at the root of all those claims for
‗human rights‘ that carried conviction in the wake
of theEnlightenment. There are rights that we do
not obtain from the government but which belong
to us as human beings, rather than as citizens.
These rights arefreedoms. They guarantee that we
can take charge of what most concerns us, express
our opinions freely, and proceed about our
business without threat from those in power.

There is another of putting this point: human
rights protect the sovereignty of
individuals against whoever might wish to
enslave, silence or confine them.
Subsequent philosophers justified human rights
by other arguments than those used by Locke –
Kant argued one way, Hegel another, John Stuart
Mill another. But the shared assumption was that
rights are liberties. They are there to protect the
individual against oppression, and especially
oppression wielded by the clergy, the sovereign or
the state. Their existence is fundamental to
anything that we could call government by
consent, and they capture the essence of the
political process as we, in the West, have since
conceived it – namely as a device for protecting
the individual against the group. True, Jeremy
Bentham dismissed the idea of natural rights as
‗nonsense upon stilts‘. But we can perhaps agree
with what he meant, which is that, however rights
are defined, it needs a government to enforce

The UN Declaration was to lay down a universal standard.English: Eleanor Roosevelt and United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Spanish text. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) When Eleanor Roosevelt and her advisers framed the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rightsin 1945. . emphasizing that rights are limits to the power of the state and guarantees offered to each of us that we can be both governed and free. which would be acceptable to everyone since it was founded in human nature alone. And the Declaration begins with a list of freedoms. they were seeking an impartial standpoint from which the various regimes and legal systems could be judged. in the manner of its predecessors.

however. as a member of society. and also by empowering the state to take as much of the property of its citizens as would be necessary to guarantee the ‗dignity‘ of those who need a slice of it. Here is article 22: Everyone. and among the rights supposedly guaranteed by the Charter are radical claims against the State – claims that can be satisfied only by positive action from government. This too begins from the traditional freedoms. of the economic. social and cultural‘. it is quite clear that such alleged ‗rights‘ can be guaranteed not by limiting the power of the state but by increasing it. which are held to be indispensable not for freedom but for ‗dignity‘ and the ‗free development of personality‘. But subsequent uses of the concept must surely lead us to wonder where it is leading us. has the right to social security and is entitled to realization.By article 22. which was also adopted after the Second World War. And this too quickly wanders off into the realm of wish fulfillment. Whatever this means in practice. without any indication of why or how. social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality. Maybe this would not in itself be harmful. through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State. It is now applied by an activist court (the European Court of Human Rights) which aims to upset any piece of legislation that might . the emphasis has changed from freedoms to claims. Contained within this right is an unspecified list of other rights called ‗economic. The agenda has shifted from liberalism to socialism. Take the European Convention of Human Rights.

But they all suggest that the human rights idea has been cast loose from its philosophical moorings. The Saudis have already complained that Norway violates the human rights of Muslims by permitting ‗hate speech‘ against . No doubt there are reasons in favor as well as reasons against. In the name of human rights activist courts are enforcing orthodoxies that could never be imposed on us by an elected legislature. remember. Bankers have even claimed their outrageous bonuses as a human right. But that brings me back to the United Nations Human Rights Council.have got up the nose of its far from impartial. belong to individuals. All those claims can of course be argued. the right to the traditional life style of one‘s ethnic community. For example. declared by the ECHR. and in any case highly politicized. regardless of the interests that conflict with them. the ‗right to a family life‘ declared by the European Convention has been used to prevent the deportation of a convicted (and dangerous) criminals. so destroying property values all around. judges. and can therefore be wielded against the state.) The concept that was introduced in order to guarantee individual freedom is now being used to constrain it. and that it can be applied by lawyers and legislators to turn any grievance into an enforceable claim without reference to the wider issues of public interest. (Rights. the right to non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation has been used to force an old-fashioned Christian couple who live by taking in lodgers to close down their business. has been used to install a park of mobile homes in defiance of planning law.

in which women are maintained in a state of domestic subjection. rape crimes and inequality in riches‘ – failing to mention that a disproportionate numbers of those ‗rape crimes‘ have been committed by immigrant Muslims. . And to illustrate their impartiality they accuse Norway of ‗increasing cases of domestic violence. The Saudis are calling for all criticism of religion and the Prophet Muhammad to be made illegal in Norway. This from a country in which Christians are forced to conceal their faith. in which apostates are whipped or executed. and in which those brave enough to criticize either the regime or its fanatical clergy are either dead or in jail.them – in other words by refraining from silencing open criticism of the Koran.

Nevertheless. Muslims have a ‗human right‘ to be protected from the criticisms which their religion naturally invites. is now being used to . which was introduced to guarantee our freedom. it is not the freedom of the individual. Clearly.Human Rights Council Discusses Human Rights Situation in Syria June 27. 2012 (Photo credit: US Mission Geneva) The freedoms granted to the Muslim faith in Norway are not granted to any faith other than Sunni Islam in Saudi Arabia. whatever human rights are about. it seems. The doctrine of human rights. in the mind of the Saudi government.

When. and the Libyan government (if that is not too polite a description) has made no comment. with a cross tattooed on their wrist. Christians and Jews).e. our politicians welcomed the move towards democracy. but not an equal status before the law. or a rejection of the whole idea as a costly mistake? Take your pick. in the first flush of enthusiasm for the Arab Spring. It is normal for Egyptian Copts to bear witness to their faith. it became rapidly clear that they had no understanding either of Islamic law. The shar‗iah – the Holy Law that has been extracted down the centuries from the Koran and the traditions of the Prophet – is a law for the government of Muslims. or of the kinds of government that have been erected on the back of it. (Image of coptic cross on wrist) Those workers who were tattooed with a cross were taken apart and shot. And it is based on a strictly . Religious fanatics and Leftist utopians have combined to subvert the only weapon that has until now been effective against them: the only weapon that could be used by the dissenting individual. It offers protection to ‗people of the Book‘ (i. Nobody has been brought to justice for this crime. a group of Egyptian workers in Libya was rounded up by an Islamist gang. For many people living in the Middle East. crimes against Christians are what we must now expect. The Egyptian government has lodged no complaint.remove it. What is the solution? More philosophy or less? An attempt to return to the root idea of rights as freedoms. Reload Original PagePrint PageEmail Page We Depend On The Christians Of The Middle East On February 24th of this year. but not by those who wished to silence him.

nobody really knows what it says. founded by Hassan al-Banna in 1928. Does it tell us to stone adulterers to death? Some say yes. And its most influential leader. Hence today. And the ten per cent of Egyptians who are Christians – the Copts – agree with the army.‘ The army says: no. who came to power in a military coup. only some of us are. precisely because the shar‘iah has not adapted. The original schools of Islamic jurisprudence. Muhammad. Jurists have great difficulty in adapting such a law to the life of modern people. when it was maintained by the then dominant theological school that all important matters had been settled and that the ‗gate of ijtihâd is closed‘.religious code of conduct. for Qutb. The Moslem Brotherhood. law is referred back to precepts designed for the government of a long since vanished community. But this seems to have been brought to an end during the eighth century of our era. some say no. when the clerics take over. Moreover. or effort. Sayyid Qutb. Does it . enforced by penalties that even its staunchest defenders are on the whole embarrassed to advocate. Thus we should not be surprised that the posters recently waved by Morsi‘s supporters do not advocate democracy or human rights. through his principal messenger. which arose in the wake of the Prophet‘s reign in Medina. Qutb was executed by President Nasser. issues from the mind of God. The first result of the Arab Spring was to encourage the Muslim clergy to call for the imposition of the shar‗iah. denounced the whole idea of the secular state as a kind of blasphemy. permitted jurists to adapt the law to the changing needs of society. has made no bones about this aim. an attempt to usurp the will of God by passing laws that have a merely human authority. in place of the various systems of secular law inherited from British and French colonial administrations. And ever since then the Moslem Brotherhood and the Army have played against each other. All valid law. They say ‗All of us are with the shar‗iah. by a process of reflection known as ijtihâd. and from the Ottoman reformers in the 19thcentury.

When we make the laws. are the first to pay the price. Nowhere in the Middle East are they granted equal rights . with a division of offices between the various sects. The shi‗ites accepted this at the time. We do this because we are heirs to the Christian idea of secular government. The only question then is ‗who are we?‘ What way of defining ourselves reconciles democratic elections with real opposition and individual rights? That. some say no. When God makes the laws. and secondly by Hezbollah. and make them for our purposes. When the states of Lebanon and Syria were carved out of the ruined Ottoman Empire Empire at the end of the First World War they contained large numbers of Christians – in Lebanon probably a majority. in other words to privatize religion and to live by a man-made rule of law. It is for this reason that the fate of the Middle Eastern Christians is of such importance to us in the West. when we legislate for the whole community. And it is a question to which the Islamists give the wrong answer – the answer that sets them in conflict with the modern world. We have learned that. the Iranian backed shi‗ite force that has effectively destroyed the Lebanese constitution. enshrined in Christ‘s commandment to ‗render unto Caesar what is Caesar‘s and to God what is God‘s‘. In the Middle East the Christian communities have remained loyal to that ideal. we must put religion to one side. But in both cases the Christians advocated national and secular government. the laws become as mysterious as God is. first by the totalitarian methods of the Ba‗ath Party under the Assad family in Syria and Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Since then the social equilibrium of the Levant has been undermined. to my mind. is the most important question facing the West today. who have done most to uphold the idea of secular government. When law and order break down Christians. we can be certain what they mean.tell us that investing money at interest is in every case forbidden? Some say yes. since – having been judged heretical by the Ottomans and therefore outside the law – they were happy to live under a secular jurisdiction and to share it with their Druze and Christian neighbours.

since their fate. . is our fate. and their property destroyed. Likewise we should be demanding of the Egyptian government that it openly accept that a large number of Egyptians are Christians. to build mosques and madrasahs. while forbidding Christians who live in their country to do the same. where the army. in the long run. to its credit. It is surely unacceptable that Muslims settle in the West and demand the right to practice their religion.or true protection by the Islamist factions and even in Egypt. their children kidnapped. is advocating equality before the law. to proselytise on behalf of it. Only if Islam is compelled to respect the rights and freedoms of the Christians on its doorstep will it learn to respect the rights and freedoms of the rest of us. and that they are citizens of equal standing to their Muslim neighbours. We in the West must not turn our back on these Christian communities. endorsing acts of terrorism like the bombing of the Boston Marathon or the horrific murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby in a London street. as well as Libya. their churches torched. If it does not acquire this habit of respect it will continue to chafe against the modern world. and in every way to take advantage of the religious freedoms that our society upholds. How then should we respond to the persecution of the Middle Eastern Christians? We must surely make a point of withdrawing recognition from regimes that offer no protection to their Christian minorities – and that includes Saudi Arabia and several of the Gulf States. the Copts find themselves constantly under attack.

The fragmentation of those countries along . Christians and Muslims have lived side-by-side in Syria and the neighbouring Lebanon. on the whole.Ruins of the Great Basilica at Abu Mena (II) (Photo credit: isawnyu) We should remember that.

at whatever price they might one day be able to dictate to us. Readability — An Arc90 Laboratory Experiment Follow us on Twitter » Reload Original PagePrint PageEmail Page The New Politics Of Climate Change: No Space For Deniers In a report published last week in London. the latest precipitated by the Arab Spring. In any final settlement we must insist on religious freedom and secular law as the sine qua non of Western support. then dissenting voices must surely be part of the data. and be prepared to speak with one voice. For this implies that the orthodoxy Miller adheres to is. Andrew Miller. at the time when Galileo stood before the Inquisition. after all. If it is the science that concerns us. and not dismissed out of hand on the authority of the ‗97%‘. If we give up on religious freedom we shall be sending to the Islamists a message that is ultimately dangerous to ourselves. Miller argues. No doubt. which will be his opinion and the opinion of his committee. . accepting collective responsibility for the official opinion.confessional lines is not the least of the many tragic outcomes of the successive civil wars. Just where the figure of 97% came from Miller does not say. What the deniers are peddling. but he is adamant that all government ministers should acquaint themselves with the science of climate change. and the public should be informed that their views are rejected by 97% of scientists. We shall be telling them that our freedoms matter less to us than peace. but a ‗party line‘ that must be supported for the sake of policy. not simply a matter of science.urged the BBC and other media to stop giving time and space to ‗climate change deniers‘. and to accompany any appearance of them with a health warning denouncing their views. is not science but politics. the Labour Member of Parliament who chairs the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee. The invocation of collective responsibility is revealing.

and implies that. But will other things be equal? That is where the disagreements begin. And among other relevant factors there are some for which the science is incomplete or in its infancy – such as the fluctuations in solar energy. has tried to do this. 2011) I studied the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports and the literature that has grown around them. What most struck me in Andrew Miller‘s words. other things being equal. As someone who. much of it supportive. his humiliations were not crowned by an appearance on the BBC with a health warning strung round his neck. quoted in The Times was his insistence that all ministers should acquaint themselves with the climate change science. all I can say is that the attempt will not leave much time for the business of government. . much of it also critical. It is also a reminder of those previous attempts to mask ideological censorship as scientific proof. There is geological and fossil evidence of major and rapid fluctuations in temperature. in a modest way. I concluded that ‗climate change science‘ is not one thing. the accelerating production of carbon dioxide will cause the earth to warm. such as they are. and to describe that orthodoxy as ‗science‘. In these circumstances. In the course of writing Green Philosophy: How to Think Seriously about the Planet (Oxford University Press. Greenhouse gas emissions are only one factor in altering the balance of incoming and outgoing radiation on which the earth‘s temperature depends. prior to the relatively stable Holocene period in which we are living. for a politician to insist on ‗collective responsibility‘ for a particular view of our planet‘s future. depend at every point on disputed ‗models‘ rather than established theories. is an affront to human intelligence. Luckily for Galileo. but the amalgamation of many disciplines and that its predictions. inspired by the ‗scientific socialism‘ of Marx. which probably had much to do with those brief but devastating ice ages in the recorded history of Europe.97% of scientists were prepared to assert that the sun goes round the earth. The greenhouse effect has been known for over a century and a half. and the causes remain uncertain.

I don‘t think Mr Miller is in the same position. But the true extremist is the one who argues in that way. unless they invite one of the Eurocrats from the restaurant downstairs. Mansions in Mayfair will remain shuttered until the stucco begins to crumble. That this will make the . and beyond the pale of rational argument. Heart-broken mistresses in luxury hotels will go unvisited for months on end. most of whom live by other orthodoxies than those that Miller wishes to protect from the heretics. and all would-be challenges had to be scrutinized not only for their scientific basis but also for their social impact. When it comes to the big issues of the day it is tempting to try to silence those who disagree with you and who complicate a question that you wanted to see as obvious and simple. and who cannot entertain an opinion without wanting to protect it at all costs from those who disagree with it. it is not shared by the majority of people. And the easiest way to silence someone is to portray him as some kind of lunatic or extremist. The mafia bosses who surround and depend upon President Putin are no longer to be allowed to travel to their villas in Tuscany or to draw on their extensive European bank accounts. After all. they were guardians of a volatile community of religious believers. For although there is an undeniable religious streak to environmental activism. and struggling football teams and racehorses will look in vain for a purchaser. a person outside the consensus of ‗reasonable‘ opinion. Readability — An Arc90 Laboratory Experiment Follow us on Twitter » Reload Original PagePrint PageEmail Page The Wrong Way To Treat President Putin With characteristic blindness to its real situation the European Union has responded to the seizure of Crimea by imposing ‗sanctions‘ on the Russian hierarchy. They could not treat the prevailing orthodoxy lightly when (as they thought) the moral order depended on it. whose happiness depended on their faith.The Inquisitors who threatened Galileo had a point.

By privatising the Soviet economy to themselves. and adopting a mask of democratic government. For let us look back to the collapse of the Soviet Union in the time of the wily Mr Gorbachev. is the deep ignorance of history that this measure reveals. and if necessary imprison your competitors for tax evasion. able to travel. They were now free citizens of the world. invading. Already in 1989 the high ranking officers who took the leading decisions owned property in the West and had transferred their share of the assets stolen over decades from the Russian people to their Swiss bank accounts. when the whole thing could be achieved by being nice! So what happened? With a few leads from Gorbachev the KGB got the message. it had become apparent that it would not be possible to seize the assets that lay to the West of the Soviet Empire Empire by force. Why was it that. with interests in gas and oil. to go along with the legacy of communist paranoia. however. Pursue a career of . to own property.faintest difference to Russia‘s expansionist foreign policy is an illusion of staggering naivety. Thanks to President Reagan‘s strategy and the North Atlantic Alliance. Over a period of seventy years the Soviet Union had built up a system of espionage and underground banking that essentially conferred on the KGB elite more or less complete freedom of movement on the continent of Europe and a secure system of private finance. the elite backed out of communism into the world of the glitterati. your account in Switzerland and your yacht in the Mediterranean. Draw a life-long salary from your share of the stolen assets. Privatise your own little bit of the Soviet economy. Secure your mansion in London. all of a sudden and with no real forewarning. and pose as a businessman. More important. and to believe that their role as alpha-males depended on threatening. But it had also become apparent that force was no longer necessary. to draw on their stolen billions and play with their own private football teams. How stupid they had been all those years. subverting and tormenting. the Soviet elite relinquished the reigns of power and quietly backed away from government? The answer is simple: because it was in their interest to do so. They then perceived that the process could be completed at no extra cost.

That would be a viable strategy if the European Union had the military means to contain the oligarchs behind the Russian border. They are expressly designed to imprison the Russian oligarchs once again in the country that they ruined. Peace between Russia and the West was secured when the self-interest of the Russian oligarchs required it. confined behind bars that will give way at the first determined shake of them. All across Europe the KGB elite has been able to call upon favours received. So what will be the effect of the proposed sanctions? Note that they target individuals. Readability — An Arc90 Laboratory Experiment Follow us on Twitter » Reload Original PagePrint PageEmail Page . But it is no longer so clear that peace is in their interest: and to assume that they will respect the interests of anyone else is to show an amazing disregard for their recent history. imprisoning Eastern Europe and stirring violent conflict all across the world. disgusting though it undeniably is. and which in any case has never had the whole-hearted endorsement of either France or Germany. not the Russian state. though not so unseemly that the German elite were repelled by climbing and erotic adventure in the West. And the result. So we are back where we started: a powerful menagerie of snarling alpha-males. which was abandoned by Obama when he decided not to proceed with the missile defence system that had been proposed for Eastern Europe. That was the strategy of President Reagan. and leave the old monotowns of Russia to crumble to dust. On the contrary. and to buy its way into a society already rotten with underhand dealing. in which the same elite retained power by oppressing the Russian people. Of course it was an unseemly spectacle. and from which they escaped with flatulent sighs of relief a quarter of a century ago. And it is only a matter of time before the shaking will begin. by inviting Gerhard Schroeder onto the board ofGazprom Gazprom Putin made the German social democrats part of the game. does not compare unfavourably with the previous situation.

We don‘t know what it was. health care and the precious freedoms for which Americans have fought in two world wars. And the object of that suspicion is Islam. to take part in its services and activities and to absorb whatever lessons it had to impart. however. Among the many privileges that they enjoyed religious freedom was by no means the least important. They were able to attend their local mosque. But he will know that at every point he can count on the charitable instinct of the American people to offer help and support that was seldom available in the place from which he came. which believes in equality before the law and the right of each individual to a faith of his own. Their situation was incomparably better than it would have been. after all. Jewish. to turn these two brothers against the gentle society that surrounded them. Why else. They had been granted the privileges of a lawabiding democracy. but only to take issue with what we take to be the abuse of it. Hindu or atheist neighbours. without fear of persecution from their Christian. Our politicians and commentators lean over backwards to distinguish the Islam of ordinary Muslims from the extremism of the radicals. Of course. we don‘t allow ourselves to criticise Islam. did he come? Something happened. Because we live in a tolerant society. including education.A Triumph For The Boston Bombers The two bombers who killed and maimed innocent people at the Boston marathon a year ago had come as refugees to America. He might balk at the severity of a social discipline which treats him merely as the equal of his neighbour and which constantly challenges his high opinion of himself. and no doubt they . but we have a very good suspicion. had they stayed behind in Chechnya. He might be repelled by aspects of the consumer culture that offend the moral and religious norms of his community. from conflicts that America and her people did nothing to cause. and even the recipient of American hospitality might have cause to complain of its more chilling side-effects. not everything in America is perfect.

Nevertheless. who threatened no one. . and in obedience to the conscience that all rational beings share. to punish them. that we can resolve our conflicts without violence and by means of a secular and man-made law. for this too is part of hospitality. She told us that we in the West are heirs to the Enlightenment. The liberal mind-set. that there are Muslims among us who interpret their religion in another way. from Ibn Rushd in medieval Andalusia to Muhammad Ali Jinnah in modern Pakistan. that women are not the property of men. who have worked to reconcile the absolutism of the Koran with the demands of civil society. and this worm can lodge in the brains of otherwise reasonable people and gnaw away at their conscience until no conscience remains. Moreover it is inconceivable to me that my friends who practise the Muslim faith should turn on their law-abiding neighbours and destroy them in the name of Allah. But she took it on herself to explain what that kind of oppression means. today. were to blame for the attacks on us. She herself was the victim of the oppressive attitude to women that is still. and that they continue to live in the open and charitable way for which the bombers chose. we cannot simply disregard the evidence. then we do an injustice not only to ourselves. No doubt we should be careful not to be provoked. and a crazy inversion of cause and effect. that we can live without obeying the arbitrary commands of selfappointed men of God.are right to do so. If we do not acknowledge this. planted in the heart of Islam is the worm of contempt for the infidel. which teaches that all people are equal. which blames their crimes on ‗Islamophobia‘. shows a wilful disregard of the truth. It is in order to emphasize this that Ayaan Hirsi Ali has put her life on the line. the norm in so many Islamic societies. But let‘s face it. for reasons of their own. as though we. but also to those Islamic thinkers. And the peaceful ceremonies with which the people of Boston have marked the anniversary of the bombings show that they have not been provoked. She suffered genital mutilation as a child and was forced to flee from an arranged marriage. Coming to Holland as a refugee from Somalia she set out to remind us of our incredible good luck.

therefore. Elected as a member of the Dutch Parliament. CEOs and celebrities. And because she told her story she became the target of people whose brains had been eaten away by the worm of religious anger. at the first anniversary of the Boston bombings. I am not in favour of the growing habit among universities of awarding honorary degrees to politicians. as all universities should show. is a life in freedom. a commitment to the true life of the mind. or an expression of a life informed by public spirit and lived on behalf of the rest of us. death-threats notwithstanding. to speak out on behalf of Western civilisation and its freedoms. that we believe in ourselves and the people who are prepared to make sacrifices on our behalf? The intellectual life as we know it and as our universities are obliged to endorse it. and who have self-righteously condemned her to death. founded in 1948. in which the dissenter is protected against every orthodoxy that would seek to suppress him.and to appeal on behalf of the many women who are not allowed to enjoy the freedoms in search of which she made the long and difficult journey to the Netherlands. she continued. merely in order to gain status for themselves or to illustrate their political correctness. when Ayaan Hirsi Ali was awarded an honorary doctorate by Brandeis University – to be conferred precisely now. and named in honour of Louis Brandeis (1856-1941). It gave me great pleasure. An honorary degree ought to reflect the recipient‘s achievements in the intellectual sphere. is to show. Deprived of her citizenship by a Dutch government frightened of the truths that she put before it. whose battle on behalf of intellectual freedom has awoken so many of us to its value. when these achievements are either great in themselves. against the tyranny from which she had escaped. What better way to show that we stand for something. The award was all the more gratifying in that Brandeis university. To honour Ayaan Hirsi Ali. on behalf of our civilisation. and learned to tell her story in lucid Dutch. She studied philosophy. the first Jewish Justice . here to continue her work. at risk to her life. she came to America.

since we are so obviously nice – at least. which is not Islam. instead of welcoming her many among us wish to turn her away. and that her presence would make Muslim students ‗uncomfortable‘. We are embroiled in an existential conflict. on the grounds that Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a purveyor of ‗hate speech‘. I recognized the real problem that we now confront. in order to say ‗not so. of course. signed a petition calling for the award to be rescinded.of the US Supreme Court. But when I learned that 85 of the 350 members of the faculty at Brandeis had. Hadn‘t a death sentence been passed on this troublesome woman? Wasn‘t she guilty as an apostate. the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) protested. has made a point of offering a nonsectarian education under the sponsorship of the local Jewish community. and the duty to defend our inheritance turned into a duty to reject it. in response. the liberals among us. No one could possibly want to attack us. I was not surprised by this. but those who defend it. What better way of expressing our solidarity with the victims of the Boston bombing? Inevitably. It is a valued and civilising presence in the Boston area and in the intellectual life of Massachusetts. but the liberal mind-set. Liberals tell us that ‗we‘ are to blame for this conflict and not those who attack us. as Ayaan Hirsi Ali did. Our enemies are not those who threaten Western civilisation. Thus is blame redirected from the aggressor to the victim. the liberals insist. for which innocent people in the West are paying with their lives. The award of this degree at this critical and anxious time made a clear statement. since their words are a ‗provocation‘ and their presence an affront. For her message is a threat to our complacency. on behalf of the values that Ayaan Hirsi Ali has defended in her distinguished and beautifully written books. it is they who are to blame‘. . When someone flees to the West. and hadn‘t she spoken out against the society that created her and to which her allegiance was owed? Wasn‘t all this stuff about the rights of women really ‗Islamophobia‘? Knowing the sanctimonious clap-trap with which CAIR masks its contempt for the American idea of freedom.

The Falklands war delivered a shock to the KGB. when President Reagan took the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO) seriously. Nor was this assumption absurd. Officer Putin and his fellow spies were well connected with the Western European left. and to impress on the Soviet leaders that any attempt to annexe the countries to the West of them would lead to the destruction of their empire. The strategy worked. NATO‘s strategy worked because it was believable. and the offer of an honorary degree has been rescinded.To my chagrin Brandeis University caved in to this petition. however theoretical. and knew how hostile the European socialist parties were to the . Readability — An Arc90 Laboratory Experiment Follow us on Twitter » Reload Original PagePrint PageEmail Page Is Europe Still Defensible From Invasion? Events in Ukraine and the expansionist policies of President Putin naturally raise questions about the defense of Europe. has chosen instead to betray them. which had planned on the assumption that the Western powers would relinquish territory rather than embark on so costly a defense of it. It was clear that America was not only the backbone of the Western alliance. an effort was made to counter the military might of the Soviet Union. In the days of the cold war. there is no doubt that a heavily armed country with dwindling economic assets poses a threat. Whatever Russian aims might be. created by American Jews in order to pass on the values of Western civilisation. buy a house in London and create a fake democracy back home. that an attack on one member is an attack on all. It was clear to the Soviet elite that President Reagan really did intend to introduce defenses that would make the Soviet missiles ineffective. transfer assets to Switzerland. and eventually it became clear to the KGB that it would be easier to give up the struggle. but also entirely committed to its ruling doctrine. This great university. to an affluent neighbor with only tenuous means of defense.

This has led to a massive migration from the former communist countries to the West. will be without a committed and resident class of leaders. however failed.strategy of deterrence. The EU‘s attempt to replace national with European identity has. Polish or Italian. Lithuania. The British Labour Party was committed at the time to nuclear disarmament(CND). But will they return home to fight a . The second reason for European weakness is connected. I refer to the guarantee. whether right or left. British. and to abolish the national customs and beliefs that make long-term patriotic loyalty seriously believable. the German Social Democrats were half-hearted members of NATO at best. No doubt. the entrepreneurial. Very soon countries like Latvia. the Scandinavian socialists were more or less neutral and the French. and its policy of ‗soft power‘ which makes defense in any case more or less inconceivable. should the tanks start to roll. of the right to work and settle in any part of the Union. means that the motive which leads ordinary people to defend their country in its time of need has been substantially weakened. the educated – in short. The people who migrate are the skilled. Poland and Romania. The EU has set out to delegitimize the nation state. Moreover the EU‘s inability to think coherently about defense. pursued an independent strategy whose only clear meaning was that they didn‘t take orders from America. and its policy of dissolving national borders. under the European Treaties. Three factors are principally responsible for this. Patriotism is seen as a heresy. to make it irrelevant to the ‗citizens‘ of the Union whether they be French. all of which are directly threatened by a militant Russia. and the idea that the people of Europe might be called upon to defend their borders looks increasingly absurd in the light of the official doctrine that there are no borders anyway. the émigré populations of those countries will protest. The first is the growth of the European Union. second only to fascism on the list of political sins. and is widely regarded with ridicule. Since that time the Atlantic Alliance has become radically less credible. the elite on whom the resolution and identity of a country most directly depends.

This strategy is unsustainable. Moreover. and President Putin is aware of the point. Nor can the Americans be blamed for this. that the Netherlands has committed only 17. 70 years after the end of the Second World War? Is it really acceptable. at great expense to the American taxpayer. The third factor tending to the indefensibility of Europe is the dwindling American commitment to the Western alliance. but continues to write security checks which it cannot cover.pointless war. U. and the military in both Poland and the Czech Republic were prepared to go along with it. President G.‘ He was surely right. Putin displayed his KGB training immediately. while self- . and the antimissile defenses were not installed. populous allies throughout Asia and Europe.S. Bush was prescient enough to revive the idea of anti-missile defenses in Eastern Europe. Obama weakly conceded the point. Is it not somewhat absurd that the USA should still be maintaining troops in Germany. All the old Newspeak was trotted out in the effort to influence the incoming administration of President Obama against his predecessor‘s policy. by declaring that these purely defensive installations would be an ‗act of aggression‘. America accounts for almost half of the world‘s military expenditures and provides defense guarantees to prosperous. And the effort was successful. The American people cannot go on defending a country like Germany – a country that enjoys a standard of living calculated to arouse envy in its impoverished Eastern neighbor.000 people to its own defense? Writing on this page back in November 2012 Doug Bandow pointed out that ‗today the U.S. At the same time Washington props up unpopular dictatorships throughout the Persian Gulf and Central Asia.000 troops stationed in Europe. forces wander the globe attempting to create democracy and stability ex nihilo. is effectively bankrupt.W. creating the distinct impression in Europe that America is no longer wholeheartedly committed to its defense. Since then the Obama administration has continued to divert resources and attention elsewhere. leaving their newly-won security and prosperity behind? I doubt it. at a time when America has 60.

For those reasons. on behalf of people who would not dream of doing the same for America. called upon to . Do I think she is going to risk her career to defend me. when all her privileged networks are at risk from doing so? Ask that of President Putin. it seems to me. this woman is now my representative in the world of international affairs. And what is Europe doing about it? It is perhaps worth pointing out that the European Commissioner for Foreign affairs – in effect the EU‘s foreign minister – is Baroness Ashton. Their armed forces are trained to fight and die in Europe. More information: My Dictionary of Political Thought has relevant entries. At some point Americans are going to wake up to the fact that they are being unscrupulously exploited.righteously preaching ‗soft power‘ and ‗non belligerence‘ to its pampered people. Even if Putin would prefer a ‗soft‘ to a ‗hard‘ way of acquiring the continent‘s assets. a Labour Party appointee to the House of Lords.‖ and his remark struck a chord in the hearts of his conservative supporters. and who are not prepared to die even for their homeland. President Reagan announced that ―government is not the solution to our problem. and never standing for an election in her life. the availability of the ‗hard‘ way will surely strengthen his hand. Europe is rapidly becoming indefensible. American conservatives. Ashton began her political career in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Readability — An Arc90 Laboratory Experiment Follow us on Twitter » Reload Original PagePrint PageEmail Page The Good Of Government By Roger Scruton | Articles In his first inaugural address. a KGB-funded ‗special operation‘ which almost achieved its goal of making Britain indefensible. government is the problem. Advancing through leftist NGOs and Labour Party affiliates.

picking one by one on the old and settled customs of a two-thousand-year-old civilization. precepts that violate the state-imposed orthodoxies. together with forms of ―sex education‖ calculated to prepare young people as commodities in the sexual market.‖ The seemingly unstoppable expansion of regulations. toward a society of obedient dependents. Non-discrimination laws force many religious people to go against the teachings of their faith in the matters of homosexuality. the increasing control over what happens in the workplace. Everywhere in the European Union a regime of political correctness makes it difficult either to maintain. Activists in the European Parliament seek to impose on all states of the Union. public preaching. rather than as responsible adults seeking commitment and love. aimed at controlling how we associate and with whom. and forbidding them or distorting them into some barely recognizable caricature. regardless of culture. reiterate the message that there is ―too much government. who exchange their freedom and their responsibilities for a perpetual lien on the public purse. an unqualified right to abortion. away from the free association of self-governing individuals envisaged by the founders. The European countries are governed by a political class that can escape from accountability behind the closed doors of the European institutions. or to live by. and even in the family.define their position. the attempts to limit First and Second Amendment rights—these developments are viewed by many conservatives with alarm. the constant manufacturing of new crimes and misdemeanors. faith. A kind of hysteria of repudiation rages in European opinionforming circles. or sovereignty. And you only have to look at Europe to see the result. and the display of religious symbols. Those institutions deliver an unending flow of laws and regulations covering all aspects of life. so that in France and Italy more than half of citizens are net recipients of income from the state while small businesses struggle to comply . And all this goes with a gradual transfer of economic life from private enterprise to central government. They seem to be taking America in a new direction. in the public square. from the hours of work to the rights of sexual minorities.

Wasn‘t it those associations of volunteers that redeemed. whether they like it or not. then. These developments add to the sense among conservatives that government is taking over. the American experiment. however necessary they may be to the future and security of the nation. and were in the business simply of opposing all new federal programs. and one that could reconcile the freedom of the individual with obedience to an overarching law? The emasculated society of Europe serves. the repair of infrastructure. to the point where. which has involved the increasing assumption by the state of powers and responsibilities that belong to civil society. it antagonized the American people. It is therefore pertinent to consider not only the bad side of government—which Americans can easily recognize—but also the good. and it is this same call that animated the Republican caucus in Congress as it prolonged the fight against Obamacare. America. they fear. left to themselves. as a warning to conservatives. might have managed far more efficiently through the associations of volunteers. backed up where necessary by private insurance. The welfare state has expanded beyond the limits envisaged in the New Deal. Such has been the call of the Tea Party movement. the maintenance of law and order. Most of all. by showing that democracy is not a form of disorder but another kind of order. by jeopardizing the fiscal probity of the nation.with a regime of regulations that seems designed on purpose to suppress them. Many of those developments are being replicated in America. and the Supreme Court is now increasingly used to impose the morality of a liberal elite on the American people. For American conservatives are in danger of appearing as though they had no positive idea of government at all. and reinforces their belief that America must reverse the trend of modern politics. they seem to be losing sight of . Those tasks that only governments can perform—defense of the realm. and the coordination of relief in emergencies— are forced to compete for their budgets with activities that free citizens. for Alexis de Tocqueville. is rapidly surrendering the rights and freedoms of its citizens in exchange for the false security of an all-controlling state.

has. Government is not what so many conservatives believe it to be. and what people on the left always believe it to be when it is in hands other than their own—namely a system of power and domination. blown up to mythic proportions in the novels of Ayn Rand. is manifest in all our attempts to live in peace with our fellows. but an expression of those extended loyalties over time. and in the ―little platoons‖ extolled by Burke and Tocqueville.the truth that government is not only natural to the human condition. It is present in the family. . For it is simply the other side of freedom. Although American conservatives have been skeptical of that idea. It is there in the first movement of affection and good will. But the story misleads people into imagining that the free individual exists in the state of nature. We have rights that shield us from those who are appointed to rule us—many of them ancient common-law rights. and indeed stood against its destructive influence during the time of the ‘60s radicals. who takes the burden of his projects on his own shoulders and makes space for the rest of us as we timidly advance in his wake. from which the bonds of society grow. in the free associations of neighbors. But those rights are real personal possessions only because government is there to enforce them—and if necessary to enforce them against itself. and the thing that makes freedom possible. That is the opposite of the truth. Rousseau told us that we are ―born free. of one kind or another. Government is a search for order. they nevertheless also have a sneaking tendency to adhere to it. and that we become free by removing the shackles of government.‖ arguing that we have only to remove the chains imposed by the social order in order to enjoy our full natural potential. This figure. The truth is that government. in the village. They idolize the solitary entrepreneur. They are heirs to the pioneer culture. which bind generation to generation in a relation of mutual commitment. and for power only insofar as power is required by order. like that defined by habeas corpus. a rightful place in the American story. in less fraught varieties.

shielded by their rights and bound together by their duties. They become bound in a web of mutual obligations. party. In everything they do they make themselves accountable. and able to take charge of our lives. They plan things. They promise things to each other.We are not. in the course of our development. have a yet deeper need for it. We are free by nature because we canbecome free. there arises immediately between them a relation of accountability. since there were no offices. their praise. still less are we individuals. who have a deep and in many particular cases justified suspicion of government. When. If there is a lesson to be learned from the so-called Arab Spring it is surely this: that the governments then overthrown were not accountable to the people on whom they depended for their resources. in the state of nature. then what might have been friendship becomes. free. And this development depends at every point upon the networks and relations that bind us to the larger social world. The Middle Eastern tyrannies have left a void in their wake. Government is wrapped into the very fibers of our social being. a form of exploitation. there is a ―calling to account. no customs or traditions that enshrined the crucial relation of . Only in certain conditions are people united in society not by organic necessity but by free consent. Hence we individuals. instead. or tribe. their hopes. the human individual is a social construct. ideology. in the first impulse of affection.‖ and the relation is jeopardized until an apology is offered. endowed with rights and duties. and their blame. And the emergence of the individual in the course of history is part of what distinguishes our civilization from so many of the other social ventures of mankind. We emerge as individuals because our social life is shaped that way. no legal procedures. Our world displays many political systems in which the basic relation of accountability has either not emerged or been distorted in the interests of family. Only certain kinds of social networks encourage people to see themselves as individuals. If one harms the other. To put it simply. sharing their reasons. one person joins in friendship with another. If this relation of accountability fails to emerge.

exercised through family. That is what is implied by the second formulation of Kant‘s categorical imperative. and which raises their conduct to the higher level in which mere power gives way to a true mutuality of interests. But we see them illustrated throughout human life: in the family. in which the other person has a right to be heard. In the Arab tyrannies there was only power. the school. and the freedom . A free relationship is one that grants rights and duties to either party. and without regard to the individual citizen or to the nation as a whole. In such a form of government there was no possibility of enduring civic friendship. too. is Kant‘s message: Sovereign individuals are also obedient subjects. and confession. People become free individuals by learning to take responsibility for their actions. subject to subject. as I read him.‖ There are other ways of expressing those truths about our condition. to base all our relations on the web of rights and duties. Such people are locked into the game of domination. The free individuals to whom the founders appealed were free only because they had grown through the bonds of society. In everyday life. who face each other ―I‖ to ―I. government and freedom have a single source. to the point of taking full responsibility for their actions and granting to each other the rights and privileges that established a kind of moral equality between them. tribe. it is not a free relationship. In other words. in our tradition. there are people who relate to others without making themselves accountable.accountability on which the true art of government depends— the art of government as we individuals understand it. the community. the team. Such free relations are not just forms of affection: They are forms of obedience. which is the human disposition to hold each other to account for what we do. This. If they are building a relationship. No free society can come into being without the exercise of this disposition. And they do this through relating to others. and the workplace. which commands us to treat rational beings as ends and not as means only—in other words.

‖ We don‘t mean a land without government. That is the kind of thing we have in mind when we describe this country as the ―land of the free. in the last analysis. Such a government is not imposed from outside: It grows from within the community as an expression of the affections and interests that unite it. Americans. Thus it was that the pioneering communities of this country very quickly made laws for themselves. in which a shared order would contain and amplify the responsibilities of the citizens. gentler. But this would be a mistake. and which is growing again under the European Union—softer. like the government of an occupying power. but also unaccountable. but for which they depended on the cooperation of their neighbors. It does not necessarily put every matter to the vote.that Americans rightly cherish in their heritage is simply the other side of the American habit of recognizing their accountability toward others. as a result of the liberal policy of regimenting the American people according to moral beliefs that are to a certain measure alien. combine with their neighbors to address it. but also about the American situation as . the authority of the leader derives from the people‘s consent to be led by him. leading them to denounce government tout court. we mean a land with this kind of government—the kind that springs up spontaneously between individuals who feel accountable to each other. When conservatives grumble against government it is against government that seems to them to be imposed from outside. The associative habit that so impressed Tocqueville was not merely an expression of freedom: It was an instinctive move toward government. perhaps. while Europeans sit around helplessly until the servants of the state arrive. And it is easy to think that a similarly alien form of government is growing in America. not just about the fundamental human need for government. rescue squads. and committees in order to deal with the needs that they could not address alone. formed clubs. That was the kind of government that grew in Europe under communism. schools. but it respects the individual participant and acknowledges that. faced with a local emergency.

And because it is a mistake that so many conservatives make. to say as much is not to undermine the complaint against modern government. At this point coordination begins to require government from above. by the natural willingness of citizens to accommodate the desires and plans of their neighbors. Nobody objects to the local judge or lawmaker who is accountable to the people because he is one of them. or to the local planning committee that invites everyone to have an equal say in its decisions. Government emerges in small communities as the solution to a problem of coordination. it is time to warn against it. which has become too intrusive. opinions. which is the mind-set of a substantial and powerful elite within the nation. They are the result of the liberal mind-set. There comes a point at which coordination cannot be achieved from below. and who seek to extend its remit beyond the limits that the rest of us spontaneously recognize. Conservatism should be adefense of government against its abuse by liberals. by which rules and regulations are laid down for the community as a whole. and enforced by what Weber called a ―monopoly on violence‖—a law-enforcing system that tolerates no rival.‖ of which the common law—the great gift that we English-speakers share—is perhaps the most vivid instance. too determined to impose habits. And their arguments suggest that. Hayek and others have studied these forms of ―spontaneous order. The business of conservatives is to criticize the ones who are misusing government. as societies get bigger and incorporate more and more territory. Rules occur.compared with Europe. and values that are alien to many citizens. Of course. That describes our condition. and too eager to place obstacles in the way of free enterprise and free association. But those effects are not the result of government. so do the problems of coordination increase. but as conventions spontaneously adhered to by everyone—like the conventions of good manners. not necessarily as commands delivered by some central authority. . more and more distinct forms of life and occupations.

This became apparent in the two world wars. If the welfare state has become controversial in recent times it is not because it is a departure from some natural idea of government. As we know from both the American and the European examples. The poor. That result is the opposite of the one intended. turn their backs on freedom. when people from all classes of society were required to fight and if necessary to die. They are not responsible for their lives. since they have not been ―empowered‖ to be responsible. if membership in the society for which they risked their lives had brought them no evident advantages? The fundamental principle was therefore widely accepted that the state has a responsibility for the welfare of its more needy citizens. and nothing bad that arises from their conduct can really be laid at their door. it must offer some kind of quid pro quo. This principle is merely the full-scale version of the belief adhered to by all small societies. inherently blameless.This cause has been damaged by the failure of many conservatives to understand the true meaning of the welfare state. and came about in part because of the liberal mind-set. that people should be cared for by the community when they are unable to care for themselves. It is rather because it has expanded in a way that undermines its own legitimacy. Why should they do this. the indigent. on the liberal view. welfare policies may lead to the creation of a socially dysfunctional underclass. which believes that only the wealthy are accountable. During the twentieth century it became clear that many matters not previously considered by the political process had arrived on the public agenda. Responsibility for their condition lies with the . Politicians began to recognize that if government is to enjoy the consent of those who gain no comparative advantage from their social membership. Sustained without work or responsibilities from generation to generation. and the vulnerable are. people lose the habit of accounting to others. and become locked in social pathologies that undermine the cohesion of society. since only they are truly free. The emergence of the welfare state was therefore a more or less inevitable result of popular democracy under the impact of total war.

All goods. but in fact it is psychologically convenient for them. But such a state no longer embodies the ethos of a nation. government increases its power. Wherever this liberal conception prevails. When government creates an unaccountable class it exceeds its remit. and no longer commands any loyalty beyond the loyalty sought by the average chain store. in order to remedy the defects of which state benevolence is in part the cause. therefore. But that way of seeing things expresses a false conception of government. government is the art of seizing and then redistributing the good things to which all citizens have a claim. And the state distributes the goods according to a principle of fairness that takes no account of the moral legacy of our free agreements or of the moral effects of a statesubsidized underclass. It is the creator and manager of a social order framed according to its ruling doctrine of fairness and imposed on the people by a series of top-down decrees. The only question is what more the state should do for them. It becomes the ―market-state‖ of Philip Bobbitt. while losing its inner authority. In the liberal worldview—and you see this magisterially embodied in the philosophy of John Rawls—the state exists in order to allocate the social product. and demands no loyalty or obedience beyond a respect for the agreed terms of the deal. which offers a deal to its citizens in return for their taxes. The rich are not really rich. since it removes the obligation to account for their wealth. The liberal mind-set has therefore led to a conception of government that conservatives view with deep suspicion. As in the social democracies of Europe. because they don‘t own that stuff.) On this view government is not the expression of a preexisting social order shaped by our free agreements and our natural disposition to hold our neighbor to account. (This may seem hard on the rich. On the liberal view. by undermining the relation on which its own legitimacy depends. in liberal eyes. are unowned until distributed. . The responsibilities exercised by government are rooted in the accountability of citizens.state.

The growth of modern societies has created social needs that the old patterns of free association are no longer able to satisfy. by giving time. This change in the phenomenology of government is striking. They take pride in their flag. Conservatives want a society guided by public spirit. They take time off from their conflicts to reaffirm a shared social and political heritage. they believe. but to limit its contribution to the point where citizens‘ initiatives can once again take the lead. ordinary Americans have a conception of government that is not only natural. and the political class as a whole begins to be looked upon with sarcasm and contempt. of shared allegiance and pride in the country and its history. In other words. health care. money. They look for ways to ―join in‖ the American venture. but at variance with the liberal idea of the state as a redistributive machine. But it has not yet been completed in America. conservatives should make clear that they are reaffirming a real and natural alternative. They want to claim ownership of their country. This does not mean that conservatives are wedded to some libertarian conception of the minimal state. They are defending government as an expression in symbolic and authoritative forms of our deep accountability to each other. in their military. But public spirit grows only among people who are free to act on it. in their national ceremonies and icons. united in the spontaneous order that brought us together in this land. dwindle to a few desultory spasms. and still regard the high offices of state with respect. Government ceases to be ours and becomestheirs—the property of the anonymous bureaucracy on which we all nevertheless depend for our creature comforts. and to take pleasure in the result. But the correct response is not to forbid the state from intruding into the areas of welfare. Public spirit . education. Ordinary Americans are still able to see their government as an expression of their national unity.public displays of patriotism. and to share it with their neighbors. and energy to local clubs of their own. In attacking the liberal idea. and the rest. the president does not represent a political party or an ideology but the nation—and that means all of us. In crucial matters.

but another and better kind of government—a government that embodies all that we surrender to our neighbors. when we join with them as a a form of private enterprise. and the limits beyond which action by the government is a trespass on the freedom of the citizen. where common-law justice reminds the citizen that he is accountable to others for the freedom that he enjoys. precisely because they have failed to see that what they are advocating is not freedom from government. But it seems to me that they have failed to offer the electorate a believable blueprint for this. Roger Scruton is the author of Notes from Underground and The Soul of the World. Readability — An Arc90 Laboratory Experiment Follow us on Twitter » . Conservatives therefore have an obligation to map out the true domain of government. and is thriving today only in the Anglosphere. That is why private charity has disappeared almost completely from continental Europe. and it is killed when the state takes over.