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Graeme Archer

What an excellent, excellent article.

Do you have an opinion on a more micro-level forging of this dichotomy, Peter? I get very worked up about rubbish councils being allowed to destroy community high streets. I would be hard pushed to explain exactly why I am nearly always on the side of the shopkeeper over the (avowedly free market) council planning department, in preferring to have the Georgia coffee shop rather than Starbucks, or the Bouche deli rather than a Tesco metro - but I know that I am, quiveringly so, in my deepest bones. I like to dress this up as being on the side of the little platoons - some sort of spurious post hoc theorising I fear, however. (I do know it's got nothing to do with the Lord of the Rings!). I would happily have joined the Heathrow protest as well. It's about the powerlessness that people feel at the hands of the state bureaucracy I think. How nice to think that Disraeli would have approved!

Stephen B

Hmmm...seems about the right moment to recommend Rod Dreher's Crunchy Cons (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Crunchy-Cons-Conservative-Counterculture-Return/dp/1400050650/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/203-1089460-2432755?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1187775659&sr=8-1)book and articles (http://www.nationalreview.com/dreher/dreher071202.asp).

Although written from a US perspective with a heavier emphasis on the religious, I think the message may strike a chord with many UK conservatives (and infuriate others) it argues that conservatives have values in common with crusties and people protesting against the effect of big businesses on their neighbourhoods (among other things)

Andrew Ian Dodge

This piece is a wonderful example of what is wrong with modern Conservative thought. Redwood gives you a way out of the malaise that is concensus fluffy headed rightish socialism and you baulk at it.

Andrew Lilico

Peter sets up a curious dichotomy - as if the only alternatives were to be of what he seems to think is the "Right", apparently some sort of anarcho-libertarian, government-free, privatize-the-army, get-drunk-in-the-Union-bar-whilst-singing-"Haaaang, Nelson Mandela" brand of student lunacy; or central-planning-the-green-Conservative-way, with noble environmentally-oriented government deciding which are the technologies of the future, whilst the rest of us accept that "growth cannot continue for ever" and all agree to live within ten minutes walk (or a short bike ride) of our place of work and never drive our cars for fun (unless they are solar-powered).

I don't accept that matters reduce to just these options. Furthermore, I believe that it is a considerable error to attack advocates of market-only solutions. Even if we consider their laissez-faire visions unconvincing or unlikely to be optimal (as I often do), they nonetheless remind us of an important truth: the Market provides solutions to virtually all of these problems, and solutions that often work well, so if we are to propose schemes of government intervention to improve on or complement the Market's outcome (which I agree will often be potentially useful) we should do so humbly - understanding that we will be trying to improve on solutions that are already likely to be good, so our own state-directed efforts have a high hurdle to overcome if they are to be justified. An approach of denigrating the priests of the Market will only lead us into the error of believing that Market outcomes are so bad that any old thing that the State does is bound to be an improvement, with the consequence that State solutions will be lax, inefficient, and often make things worse rather than better.

Paul Marks

Government spending is over 40% of G.D.P. and the rest of the economy is tied up in a vast web of regualtions (more than 80% of the new ones E.U. inspired - but that means that some are still H.M.G.s idea).

And Mr Franklin is talking about "hyper captialism" and laissez faire.

As for the Lord of the Rings, both the Dark Lord and the White Hand beleived in state control (the opposite of laissez faire).

On Lord John Manners and Young England - yess Dizzy was on the fringe of this movement (to say he was a "leading member" is overegging things) - but that it is a bit unfair to the rest of them. They were not all like this statist old fraud (Dizzy was totally dishonest, about everything, and to treat him as if he was a serious political thinker is absurd).

If you do not want industry do not have it - and I agree that air and water contamination is a tort (as the person shoving in the filth is harming someone elses air and waters supply).

On atomic power:

Doubtless Mr Franklin is also a believer in man made globel warming.

Sir you really are having it both ways - no to C02 and no to atomic power to.

Lastly John Redwood's suggestion.

Someone makes small suggestions for the reduction of tax and regulations - and Mr Franklin (no apology for making the same point) starts talking about "hyper capitalism".

God help the Conservative party (of which I have been an active member for decades) if this is the state of it.

Yet Another Anon

the traditional bonfire of red-tape and bureaucracy
Unfortunately every time either a Labour or Conservative minister gets rid of a dozen regulations they quickly add a few thousand more on top of those.

Why couldn't Michael Hestletine just say he wasn't going to accept any of the regulations dti bureacrats were proposing until he had examined every single one and only approved those considered vital.

Maybe it's time to scrap BERR leaving just a Department for Science & Technology with no interest in regulating the private sector?

Andrew Ian Dodge

Having re-read this piece I was wondering about the reference to laissez-faire economics in regards to Lord of the Rings. I think it was a lame attempt to equate laissez-faire with evil. A bit sad really.

Yet Another Anon

I think it was a lame attempt to equate laissez-faire with evil.
Aside from the fact that The Lord of the Rings is fiction and so suggesting that it could be used as a method of economic evaluation is no more reasonable than suggesting that Superman or The Mysterons could be; in fact Saruman was seeking to seize power and either work with Sauron or replace him - they desired to become the state and have total control over economic and social affairs, on the other hand Rohan, Lorien and Rivendell very much had forms of War Socialism, the Hobbits seemed to operate with a some kind of anarchist system without any kind of police, military or authorities at all - only an Oxford academic could imagine that a system with no kind of authority could function without disintegrating into riots, in fact the Hobbits then have to organise themselves to deal with Saruman and before this they have been being protected by the Rangers who lament at being taken for granted by a bunch of naive anarchists.

Gondor very much is a mixed economy so far as I can make out.

Yet Another Anon

>>>>As for the Lord of the Rings, both the Dark Lord and the White Hand beleived in state control (the opposite of laissez faire)<<<<
I don't recall Gandalf concerning himself much with economic policy, laissez faire doesn't mean stripping the defences to the bone - that is anarcho-capitalism or hardline neo-liberal thinking.


Any right-thinking hobbit would agree with Mr Franklin. Clearly, in order to avoid a repeat of the hideous War of the Ring, central government need to institute a register of magical ring bearers, introduce racial profiling for orcs in stop-and-search, and security check all wizards for megalomaniacal tendencies. Oh no, wait, that's fantasy - and this article is a load of hokum.

The central problem with this article is that it crassly conflates a range of diverse issues under the perjorative banner of "hypercapitalism". Instead of seriously analysing, for example, the usefulness of nuclear power, it yokes it to a label which is ex hypothesi bad. It simply places every solution to a social or economic problem into a handy box by which we can determine whether it's good or allied to the forces of Mordor.

A truly bad article.

William Norton

This misses the really important question: Is Hogwarts a grammar school?

"Hi-tech conservatism" is too clunky a name - suggest "Cybertoryism" instead.

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