Dispatch from the Razor's Edge, the Blog of Michael Stephen Fuchs
Liberalism Is Back
The Coalition Declares War On Dependency
"The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good, in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it."
- John Stuart Mill

So Liberal Democrat leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg published an opinion piece in today's Times that was so incendiary that the Times also ran a front page news article gawking at the opinion piece.

by Nick Clegg

Our welfare system is broken — and everyone knows it… One and a half million people have been receiving out-of-work benefits for at least nine out of the past ten years. Almost two million children are growing up in households where no one is in work…

Welfare needs to become an engine of mobility, changing people’s lives for the better, rather than a giant cheque written by the State to compensate the poor for their predicament…

First, the liberal notion of fairness implies social mobility. A fair society is not one in which money is simply transferred by the central State from one group to another. It is a society in which people are able to make a better life for themselves, with support from government and the broader community…

[L]iberals believe that people should be in charge of their own lives. Independence is a central liberal value. Dependency of any kind offends against this unwavering liberal commitment to self-reliance: and welfare dependency is no exception.

This, my friends, is died-in-the-wool classical liberalism. Or, as I like, and as we used, to call it: liberalism. A Young Turk in my debate club usefully pointed out that what we nowadays call "liberalism" is actually "statism in the service of progressivism."

At any rate, this is beautiful, powerful, staggering stuff. I'm not even sure the Republicans in the U.S. could necessarily get away with saying stuff like that. I have no idea how it's come into, not only being, but into power, here in Britain.

There have actually been a ton of examples of this Tory/LibDem coalition government turning Britain around on a dime, injecting stark sense and grownupness into governance, and basically saying and doing a lot of things I couldn't have imagined a year ago. (Just one good example, of many I've been too busy to blog about: a government web site soliciting ideas from citizens about what crappy, intrusive, meddling laws should be repealed! Can you imagine? A government which doesn't think its job is to keep passing laws until everything is either mandatory or forbidden . . .)

Then again, while I have been in London seven years now (this Saturday, in fact), I've only ever been in it under New Labour. Pretty much all of the things that bugged me about Britain – but which I generally kept my mouth shut about, being a guest in this country (at least until last month, when I gained dual citizenship) – turned out not to be things about Britain, but things about Labour.

Somewhere John Stuart Mill is dancing around merrily in his grave.

Rule, Britannia.

Bonus Mill Quote Just Because It Kicks Such Enormous Ass

"The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
- John Stuart Mill

  excerpts     freedom     politics     the uk  
about
close photo of Michael Stephen Fuchs

Fuchs is the author of the novels The Manuscript and Pandora's Sisters, both published worldwide by Macmillan in hardback, paperback and all e-book formats (and in translation); the D-Boys series of high-tech, high-concept, spec-ops military adventure novels – D-Boys, Counter-Assault, and Close Quarters Battle (2014); and is co-author, with Glynn James, of the bestselling Arisen series of spec-ops zombie apocalypse dark action thrillers. The second nicest thing anyone has ever said about his work was: "Fuchs seems to operate on the narrative principle of 'when in doubt put in a firefight'." (Kirkus Reviews, more here.)

Fuchs was born in New York; schooled in Virginia (UVa); and later emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lived through the dot-com boom. Subsequently he decamped for an extended period of tramping before finally rocking up in London, where he now makes his home. He does a lot of travel blogging, most recently of some very  long  walks around the British Isles. He's been writing and developing for the web since 1994 and shows no particularly hopeful signs of stopping.

You can reach him on .

THE MANUSCRIPT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
PANDORA'S SISTERS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
DON'T SHOOT ME IN THE ASS, AND OTHER STORIES by Michael Stephen Fuchs
D-BOYS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
COUNTER-ASSAULT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book One - Fortress Britain, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Two - Mogadishu of the Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : Genesis, by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Three - Three Parts Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Four - Maximum Violence, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Five - EXODUS, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Six - The Horizon, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
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