If "evil only happens when good men stand idle" and "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" are we to get involved or sit on our arses watching TV?
Hell does not merely require great evil. Even the worst serial killer can only top so many people. Real evil requires that hundreds or thousands of people do their jobs to the best of their ability. And only a state can so misdirect the energies of a population. Thousands of otherwise decent Germans made the trains run on time, and turned a blind eye to the horror in their midst. Thousands of Cambodians were so wooed by the rhetoric of communism that they murdered their countrymen in their tens of thousands. Russians co-operated with the state terror of Stalin's personality cult and sent counless millions to their deaths in the labour camps.
They did so because it was easier to do so. People are weak. Whole nations aren't good, or evil for that matter, despite what we Britons, Americans or Europeans think
"It could never happen here".It could. What was the French Revolution but people who believed "the end justifies the means" getting hold of a state which had inadequate checks and balances? Hitler was elected democratically.
Freedom not to be arbitrarily murdered by one's own government is about as fundamental as rights get. The important thing is not to give governments the chance to enact that which is wrong. Politicians, and the police, should be reminded at all times that the end DOES NOT justify the means, because crime and terrorism are bad, but the state can be much, much much worse.
Now I do not like Gordon Brown. I do not like Blair. Nor do I like their policies, but I am reasonable (despite my rhetoric), and I know that Gordon and Tony do what they do because they believe that their policies will make The UK a better place to live. I think they're wrong - but we are all human and just doing our best. Which is all we can ask any man.
So when it's a bit too much taxation - it's just a budget that can be overturned by the next lot, I and I intend to do what I can to see this happen. But when it's the fundamental relationship between British subject and Parliament. Between the People and the Government, then I do not brook any compromise. The Legislative & Regulatory reform bill had the potential, before its ammendment, to be an enabling law. I wrote to my MP and to David Cameron. I screamed about it on my blog. And thankfully it was changed (I'm not claiming credit). There are other issues: ID cards enable a government to track its citizens. Road pricing may enable the police to know where your vehicle is at any time. The constant Gerrymandering of the Lords means bills are inadequately scrutinized. Thought crime: laws punishing ideas - however odious - are always wrong. Because these are the laws that an ideologue will use to enforce a set of political ideas on everyone. Why not let the people make up their own mind?
Gordon Brown is not an ideologue. He is a power-hungry shit, he's dishonest, but he doesn't want to enslave us. Many of the policies he espouses however may enable a future ideologue to do so. Even an excessively intrusive bureaucracy is oppressive. If the state takes too much of peoples' wealth then the state directly controls the working life of too much of the population. If they know too much about us, they can use that information nefariously. A population largely employed by the state will demand higher wages for state employees and the unions will see to it that no-one is ever fired. The state salariat grows inorexably making more and more demands on the non-state bit - who are taxed and regulated to death. The end is economic collapse and communism. This was narrowly avoided in the UK in the 1970s. In an even worse case scenario - that bureaucracy could be mis-used. How many people are willing to risk their job on a point of marginal principle? How many need to to effectively check a government? That's why German civil servants processed the Jews.
Unfortunately, being a small cog in a great wheel does absolve you.
So while Aneurin Bevan may have been well-meaning, he paved the way, exactly as predicted by Hayek, to disaster narrowly averted. Just as Gordon Brown is doing now.
Which brings me back to my original question. What is a man to do? Above all remember that only governments can do real evil, and evil is best served by appealing to peoples' altruism.Your own best interest is therefore unambiguously good. Think about that when you vote. And when a politician tells you that you're safe, he's the one who has the most power to abuse you and everyone you know. So the good man is to be ever watchful of the state, because they will take your freedom - for your own protection. More often than not, it's the state we need protection from.
And if you dissaprove of something another person does, that's your problem, not his. Remember that too.