One of the things about being off work is that you get to listen to some of the bizarre drivel that passes for national debate. This morning there was a Five Live phone-in about alcohol and whether we should increase its cost to cut down binge drinking and lawlessness on our city streets.
There is no point rehearsing the many fatuous arguments, but I was struck by the spokesman for the Libertarian Alliance who was one of the most bombastic, unpleasant people I’ve heard for a while. Anyway, to quote from their own website:
THE LIBERTARIAN ALLIANCE is an independent, non-party group, brought together by a shared desire to work for a free society. The Libertarian Alliance is pledged to fight statism in all its forms, and to engage in long range propaganda for the Libertarian alternative.
Here are just two contributions from the representative of freedom, paraphrased, but not much: On drinking and the cost to health and policing: “The state has no right tell us how much we can or can’t drink and if people do cause trouble then it’s the police’s job to arrest them and put them in prison.” Hmm. No state intervention there then.
Next, a doctor spoke of the damage to personal health and the cost to the NHS. He was put well and truly in his place. “You are a servant and are speaking out of turn. Go back to your consulting rooms and treat us when we need it.”
Translation: people paid from the public purse have no right to pass comment (very libertarian) and the state should not interfere, but it had damn well be there to bail me out when I get in trouble.
Bizarre. Nobody wants a nanny state, other than the well-paid nannies, but the libertarians sound like a hypocritical bunch to me.