It's probably been the most shambolic week in the government's history. "Pastygate" was fun, but Francis Maude has nearly sparked a fuel crisis by warning people to stock up before an impending strike by fuel lorry drivers.
Yesterday's "pastygate" was a fun moment in England's usually-dreary political scene. Everybody was knowingly parodying themselves in "outrage" at the government removing the VAT exemption from Cornish pasties and sausage rolls — The Telegraph even set up a rolling live-blog. It was a rare display of fun self-awareness by the Westminster set.
This lecture was delivered at the Adam Smith Institute last week, on Prof Klein's paper "Mere Libertarianism", which I recommend reading. You can download the slides for the talk here, and watch a longer version with questions and answers here.
A lot of people don’t like slippery slope arguments. To people who see themselves as pragmatic, slippery slope arguments are a convenient way for ideologues to rule out small reforms. As such, people who don’t already believe in the intrinsic badness of government are usually unmoved by the idea that a little reform they like might lead to a big reform they don’t like somewhere down the line, and dismiss the case altogether.
I’ve struggled to write something about minimum alcohol pricing today. It’s a hugely important issue, and one I care deeply about. But I can’t help but be angry at the people who've proposed it, and the government made up of supposed “conservatives” and “liberals” who plan on implementing it. It's anti-individualism at its worst.
“All political theories assume, of course, that most individuals are very ignorant. Those who plead for liberty differ from the rest in that they include among the ignorant themselves as well as the wisest."
“It is because freedom means the renunciation of direct control of individual efforts that a free society can make use of so much more knowledge than the mind of the wisest ruler could comprehend”
Today, Madsen takes on regulation. This is a funny topic because many people assume that regulation is almost a fundamental responsibility of the state, much as most of us think policing is. But regulation creates real costs, Madsen says, which we dismiss at our peril.