Individuals matter

Allister Heath’s ‘Editor’s Letter’ in City AM is one of my daily must-reads. Even if you can’t pick up a copy of City AM in the morning, you can catch up on Allister’s latest thoughts here.

He’s been on top form this week. Yesterday’s piece on inflation was excellent, but the pièce de résistance was Tuesday’s letter – ‘UK is wrong to have turned its back on individual freedom’. This is, quite simply, one of the best things I’ve read in a newspaper for a very long time:

Our country is dominated by busybodies and collectivists who believe that they and the state have the right and duty to tell us all what to do, to spend our money for us and to control what we can eat, drink, trade or say. It’s all gone too far. Individual freedom and its twin sister personal responsibility are the cornerstones of successful Western, liberal capitalist societies; yet these are being relentlessly undermined…

So this is my plea: let’s put the emphasis back on the individual. Let’s stop trying to ban everything. Let’s stop describing a tax cut as a “cost” to the government or – even worse – as morally identical to public spending. Let’s stop assuming adults should no longer have the right to eat fast food, or smoke, or drink, or paint their walls bright green, or build a conservatory in their back garden, or whatever it is they wish to do with their own bodies and with their own private property. Let’s once again speak up for the rights of consenting adults to choose how to live their own lives, even if we disapprove. Let’s allow people to hold, discuss or display their beliefs freely, especially if we disagree.

Here at the Adam Smith Institute, we couldn’t agree more.