The Psychology of Fear, Envy and Love
Terrorists and Globalisation
Defence of Liberty in the UK
Depriving Terrorists of Resources
Motives and Manpower
Keep Terrorists Out
Trust The People
Deter Potential Terrorists
Punishment of Young Offenders
Materials and Money
Liberalise Bad Law
Return to:World Views
Ardue Site Plan
See also:The Price of Liberty
"War" on "Terrorism"
Combating Terrorists in the World
The Price of Liberty;
"War" on "Terrorism";
Combating Terrorists in the World.
That is why, simultaneously with my own clumsy attempt to describe what I consider to be the best way of eliminating terrorists from British life, I also re-publish five essays written four centuries ago by Sir Francis Bacon in which he admirably describes the failings that are apt to bedevil human relationships and provides practical suggestions for dealing with them. The essays in question are:
Of Seditions and Troubles
Of Goodness and Goodness of Nature
The "Love" discussed in the fourth of the above essays is romantic love or sexual attraction. "Love" in the sense in which it is generally used on the Ardue Web site is what Bacon calls "Goodness".
Globalisation arises directly from the sophistication of electronic communication and the speed of mass transportation by air. It has its benefits in that it makes people everywhere realise that we all live on the surface of the same small planet, and that we must either learn to get on together or, through conflict, risk a global catastrophe which would seriously diminish the quality of all human life on Earth for a very long time. As learning to get on together is clearly the better strategy for mutually beneficial survival, we must put our trust in the power of love rather than that of fear.
St Paul taught us that love is patient and kind. Loving people are not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude; they do not insist on getting their own way regardless of the interests of other people, neither are they irascible or resentful. They take no pleasure in wrongdoing, but rejoice in the truth. And the truth is that every human individual is an earthly manifestation of the Holy Spirit of the One God, endowed by God with intelligence and will. It therefore follows that the loving way to live is by letting mature human adults do whatever they like as long as they stop short of any act that interferes with the liberty of other mature human adults. Love implies self-restraint.
This practical loving philosophy has not yet been fully accepted or endorsed by more than a small minority of the people of the world. In those few nations in which the representatives of such a minority have gained political ascendancy and made the promotion of personal liberty their first priority, material progress has always followed. But material progress is not an end in itself: it is always a consequence of the application of spiritual principles. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Citizens of illiberal countries who are envious of the material wealth of prosperous countries and seek by migration to reap the material benefits without laying the necessary spiritual foundation will not only fail in their objective but may kill the spiritual goose that lays the golden eggs. So perhaps the most pressing danger arising from globalisation is that mass migration of people will cause the freedom-loving minority in liberal countries to be overwhelmed by an inconsiderate, greedy, and oppressive majority. The current insidious trend to "multiculturalism" in those countries in which a truly liberal culture has already taken root should be resisted, not welcomed, if the "dark ages" are not to come again.
A further relevant consideration is that globalisation makes old-fashioned military defence ineffective against terrorists who are already dispersed among the native population. War can no longer be contained within the confines of a "battlefield". The unpleasantness of war cannot be concealed from anyone who has access to a television set or a newspaper: and so resort to physical fighting with modern weapons is bound to antagonise the very people on whose goodwill the settlement of any dispute must ultimately depend. Even if the current "war" in Afghanistan should turn out to be so "successful" that the remnants of the native population voted unanimously to make their country one of the United States of America, it still would not eliminate fear, and therefore terrorists, from the world. This implies that we can no longer rely solely on the bravery of members of the military and security services to save us from the consequences of our irresponsible actions. Those of us who value personal freedom above all else must be ready to defend it where it exists and endeavour to extend it wherever possible. This calls for personal courage in opposing anti-liberal acts wherever they arise, particularly when they are perpetrated by our own governments and their agents.
We cannot effectively fight for liberty as long as we try to do it from behind a cloak of anonymity. The lives of loving freedom fighters must be open books. If and when we act in public, we must be prepared to have our private lives exposed to public scrutiny. If we are honest with ourselves, other people will generously overlook our little peccadilloes. This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. Courage, like love, is a spiritual quality. The two virtues go together.
Looking back, I feel I had more reason to be proud of the Ardue in which I grew up than of the High Wycombe in which I am now spending my declining years. People in Ardue had very little money: but we were not poor, because we drew most of our living directly from land and sea, and we were kind to each other. High Wycombe is supposed to be "prosperous" in financial terms: yet the people are poor because they are afraid of each other and have no control over the production of their own food. So although the Internet enables me to "preach" to the world, it is here in High Wycombe that I must practise what I preach, endeavour to behave in a friendly manner to everyone I meet, and try to be helpful to anyone who asks me for actual help — as opposed to merely soliciting money. If everyone behaved in this very simple way, it would be a useful first step towards establishing a feeling of community, and I believe this should be the principal objective of primary education irrespective of race or religion.
It is, of course, easy to be friendly towards people who give no cause for annoyance or distrust. We naturally dislike habitually noisy neighbours and people who otherwise draw attention to themselves by behaving inconsiderately. For some, this spills over to those who are "just different". Britain is an "old" country in the sense that it has a long unbroken tradition of self-government and freedom from foreign invasion, and its customs and traditions have contributed to a distinctly "British" way of life that, for all its local variations, is deeply embedded in the British psyche. As young adults who have yet to acquire a sense of personal responsibility and who lack skill in the exercise of self-control are apt to fasten on any superficial difference as an excuse for a fight, obvious non-Britishness is asking for trouble. That is why we are hypersensitive to what we perceive as dilution of our culture by the too-rapid influx of too many immigrants, and why our reputation for tolerance is now in danger of being stretched beyond its elastic limit. We are beginning to realise that if our way of life is to be preserved, tolerance must be based on objective criteria and not on mere sentimentality.
The experience of colonial administration among the better-educated classes was probably helpful in minimising the cultural problems attendant on the influx of large numbers of immigrants during the fifties and sixties. Most came from countries which are now part of the British Commonwealth and were, on arrival, already fluent in English. The great majority either professed or sympathised with the Christian religion which, despite sectarian rivalries, has had a profoundly unifying and civilising influence on the British population for over a thousand years. And so they had little difficulty in adapting to native British customs once they got used to the climate, and their children and grand-children are now seamlessly integrated into British life.
The present invasion by would-be immigrants presents a different problem. Many of them speak little or no English. Many of them come from countries where civil liberties are not respected, and are liable to behave accordingly. Inconsiderate behaviour is naturally resented by people whose ancestors fought and died to gain and preserve the liberties we enjoy; and as we emphatically do not want to have to fight for them all over again, we must fight to preserve and extend them.
All would-be immigrants to any country, regardless of colour, would do well to observe the old maxim, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do". This is particularly important in Britain, which was last successfully invaded nearly a thousand years ago and whose laws and customs, nourished by Christianity, are deeply entrenched. It may seem petty to discriminate against individuals who wear "outlandish" clothes: but such trivia draw attention to difference, and thus result in involuntary discrimination. This can easily become resentment when it leads to what is perceived to be "special" treatment by the authorities — such as the enactment of legislation forbidding "racial" discrimination, the production of administrative literature in languages other than English, and compulsory allocation of quotas of immigrants to localities where the local people don't want them.
Apparent "positive" discrimination in favour of immigrants, allied to increased competition for jobs, homes, and the "state benefits" paid for over many years by compulsory deductions from the pay-packets of the working population, is why we, the people, are now finding it difficult to assimilate the current influx of far more "refugees" than can comfortably be accommodated in a country which, thanks to maladroit administration over several decades, is currently capable of feeding only half the existing population. Resentment among the "native" British is being inflamed to such an extent that in some instances, hostility is now being directed even at second and third generation descendants of well-established and well-integrated former immigrant families. At a time when the Irish "Peace Process" staggers from crisis to crisis and we are reeling under the impact of BSE, Foot and Mouth Disease, political attacks on long-established country pursuits, the imposition of mischievous EU regulations, and the rapid expansion of an alien, illiberal, aggressively proselytising religion, it is no wonder that the United Kingdom is a hotbed for all sorts of terrorists. It would make sense for us now to voluntarily put our country in semi-quarantine for a period while we sort ourselves out and consider how we may best eliminate disruptive influences of all kinds.
In Combating Terrorists in the World, I argued that for true democracy (as opposed to party political dictatorship) to be established, authority must flow from the many to the few rather than the other way round. The two objectives of developing mutual trust and establishing democracy can be approached by the same route: the formation of small groups of, say, ten households, which appoint a trustworthy leader from among themselves to represent them in all forms of local political action. Every ten, or so, such groups, would constitute a local Association, and so on up the tree. In many parts of the UK, the Neighbourhood Watch Associations (NWAs) already in existence could form the nucleus of such a system, bringing together local residents of all creeds and ethnic backgrounds and, building on a common sense of "belonging", develop mutual confidence and a culture of mutual care.
For further continuation from the 'many' to the 'few' end of the administrative hierarchy, the NWAs could mesh with something like the existing Parish, District, and County Councils, each of which would be empowered from "below" rather than dictated to from above. There would be no place for "devolved" tiers of government for Scotland, Wales or the English Regions, which only introduce artificial boundaries within the mainland of Great Britain. There might still, however, be a case for some offshore islands to become self-governing should their inhabitants desire such an outcome. National unity would be preserved under the Monarch, who would continue to save us from divisive elections fought on partisan grounds.
This revolutionary proposal could not be expected to be implemented without opposition from the upholders of the status quo, notably the political parties and the entrenched "professions": but it could be "lovingly" forced upon them by adopting a strategy of civil disobedience (as practised so successfully by the followers of Mahatma Gandhi) against laws, rules, regulations, taxation, and insensitive enforcement which rub local people up the wrong way. Last year's "petrol revolt" demonstrated how current communication systems enable groups all over the country to co-ordinate their efforts much more effectively than was possible in Gandhi's time.
Such a fundamental re-orientation would be a most effective antidote to terrorism, because it would leave terrorists with nowhere to hide. By sharing information with each other and using media such as the Internet to pool filtered information through chains of local representatives, all sorts of criminals from young tearaways to members of terrorist gangs could be informally identified, watched, and deterred from clandestine operations by nothing more restrictive than publicity.
Punishment should always be applied for the purpose of correction and the promotion of a sense of personal responsibility, not for vengeance. Therefore it should wherever possible be cheap to implement, and be applied speedily so that the offender still remembers what it's for. Imprisonment, which degrades the human spirit and takes offenders out of the public eye, should be abandoned as a punishment for all but the most incorrigible and violent criminals. The long-term "protection" of society is better served by giving offenders a short sharp lesson followed by help to reform rather than by locking them up in what is all-too-often a sadistic school for scoundrels safe from public scrutiny. Therefore other high-profile sanctions, such as a few hours in the stocks or publicly administered corporal punishment, should be reintroduced as optional alternatives to fines or spells of compulsory community service.
Thus informally involving the local population in the detection and subsequent punishment of crime would greatly help to deprive all kinds of criminal organisations of their most important resource — manpower.
It is easier to regulate the distribution of material, which has no will of its own, than to restrict the activities of individual persons — who should in any case be free to look after themselves if they are to develop a sense of personal responsibility. The materials of most concern to criminals are weapons, explosives, and drugs. The sale of weapons and explosives to those who can establish a practical need for them can be controlled by a rational system of licensing and certification of ownership.
Drugs are in a different category: they have little potential as offensive weapons; and they harm none but voluntary consumers who should be free to indulge in them and learn at first hand from the natural consequences of over-indulgence. But as long as their use remains unlawful, demand for drugs artificially inflates them into a highly-concentrated form of currency.
The abject failure of the expensive "war" that has been waged on drug-trafficking for the last several decades is due to the fact that the great majority of ordinary people don't care about it. Measures aimed at the prevention of "money-laundering" (whatever that means) are both illiberal and stupid. Money is completely amoral and gets dirty only in the minds of illiberal people.
The customers from whom the drug barons obtain their supposedly "dirty" money are ordinary people or the adolescent sons and daughters of ordinary people, who have no respect for an arbitrary law which seeks to limit their ability to be responsible for their own actions. They spend their hard-earned clean money on whatever takes their fancy. The ordinary citizen naturally categorises vandalising a bus-shelter or stealing a handbag as a crime, because such acts are harmful to society in general. This does not apply to swallowing an ecstasy tablet or consorting with a prostitute. Free agents accept total responsibility for any adverse natural consequences of their voluntary actions, and legislative attempts to "protect" them from these consequences are fundamentally irresponsible. Nature's punishments for substance abuse are quite sufficient by themselves without the arbitrary addition of a criminal record by a hypocritical legislature.
We should by now have learned the lesson of American Prohibition in the twenties and thirties: that bad laws make easy pickings for criminals. It is bad law that enables drug pushers to earn a lucrative living from hanging around outside school gates. And it is bad law that makes addicts resort to burglary to finance a habit that they might be able to control if they could make their weakness known without automatically being branded as criminals.
The best way of depriving organised gangs of funds is therefore to legalise prostitution and make all currently prohibited substances available for sale to adults by licensed traders — just like alcohol and tobacco. This would not only restore some lost liberty to the subject. It would at a stroke pull the financial rug from under the professional terrorists and racketeers. It could make a welcome contribution to local and national treasuries through some form of excise duty. And it would deprive police posing as guardians of public morals of an excuse to forcefully poke their unwelcome noses into private dwellings. We expect the police to provide effective physical protection to homes and businesses, not break into them.
Responsible people are those who can be trusted to look after themselves, each other, and the neighbourhoods in which they live. They should be enabled and encouraged to do just that, unfettered by the agents of remote, insensitive, ill-informed, hypocritical, and doctrinaire governments.
By declaring psychological "war" on all forms of local terrorism and training ourselves for the task on the lines advocated by Sir Francis Bacon, there is a fair chance that, in a few decades, we might make the United Kingdom into a truly "free" and "democratic" country.
In the meantime, we must defend what liberty we already have against enforced cultural change, no matter whether it arises from mass immigration, insensitive intrusion by the bureaucrats of the European Union, or sentimental dictatorship from the European Court of Human Rights. Men and women are born free — which implies that they remain free to defend their freedom if they have the will to do so.