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I'm not sure if you really come to a conclusion that people are not Libertarians just because they believe something is wrong. I believe the sexualisation of children is wrong, but it is not the state's job to tell parents what to dress their children in. I believe that abortion is wrong, but I am fully supportive of a woman's right to choose.

Having an opinion does not make you authoritarian, that is only when you start to force your views on others. I'd quite conservative in my social views, but I don't think it is my job to force people to have the same beliefs as me.

But Chris, that's the point. Michael Gove wasn't imposing his views on anyone. He was simply saying there are moral concerns with Zoo and Nuts. The blogosphere went loopy in response.

Surely, for example, a chain store only sells clothes that presents very young girls as sex objects because there's demand for it? As such, the social mores of the parents who buy these clothes should be what politicians seek to address, rather than a simple function of supply and demand.

Isn't simply attacking the effect ignoring the cause?

When I was seventeen I would have enjoyed reading Nuts or whatever. The reason I don't now at 43 is that I am better at pulling the ladies and a happily married man.

Less of the hypocrisy already.

Social conservative,
You are quite right, however what Tim is doing here is confusing people believing in something with people wanting state intervention to enforce their beliefs.

Politicians speaking on a subject is good, so long as they don't force people to comply with their values. eg. Alcohol awareness campaigns as opposed to mandatory weekly drinking limits monitored by ID cards.

The conclusion I would have drawn is that the readership is more socially conservative than it is thought, but to confuse that with a disdain for libertarianism is quite wrong.

The advice I got when I started blogging from Perry De Havilland was good. Don't take any notice of the comments, they are 1% of your readers and mostly the maddest 1%.

I don't think your surveys however are entirely representative of Conservative Party members. Just as the comments come from an unrepresentative 1% the survey returns are also unrepresentative.

Your readership would be far more socially Conservative than Iain Dale's for example. You have to have a representative sample for this to be clear - not saying you are wrong - just that this is not necessarily representative of the views of regular Conservatives.

Henry Mayhew. You don't read Nuts you look at it. Had you ever seen a copy you'd know that!!

When I was seventeen I would have enjoyed reading Nuts or whatever. The reason I don't now at 43 is that I am better at pulling the ladies and a happily married man.

Less of the hypocrisy already.

Posted by: Henry Mayhew, non-Etonian | August 31, 2008 at 20:23

Well done, Henry : better at pulling the ladies and still a happily married man (are you an MP).

Looking forward to your book when it comes out or serialised in the News of the World.

Give us non libertarians a few tips.

They're not perfect samples Guido - I readily concede but the sample is still weighted to the population that in November 2005 came within 1% of accurately predicting the outcome of the Tory leadership race.

Chris: I don't think I'm confused! There is a big range of non-legal interventions between a complete hands off policy stance (which could crudely be called laissez-faire) and banning things (authoritarianism). The threads often suggest that readers of this blog are overwhelmingly close to the laissez-faire stance. This poll does not suggest that readers are authoritarian ("wanting state intervention to enforce their beliefs" as you put it) but that they may be more open to statements of public concern, cooling off periods and perhaps incentives/ disincentives to certain behaviours.


One thing about this survey: It seems to me that the questions you posed belong to very different categories. In particular, the Gambling and Store Cards questions were about policy-imposed restrictions, whilst the children's lingerie and Nuts questions were about the use of the "bully-pit" - so, explicitly not about policy. Someone that thought, for example, that it would be quite proper to use the bully pit to comment upon Gambling or Store Cards, but not to enact regulatory restrictions, might have been forces to say they were opposed to the statements as put.

Another time, it seems to me that you should put your whole list of these questions into the same form - so, all bully pit form or all regulatory restriction form, or indeed all both forms. That way you would have a better idea as to whether the answers reflected people opinions on the propriety of politicians interest in the *issues* or on the means to address the issues.

My guess is that you will think I'm exaggerating the importance of this point, but imagine a series of questions that went like this:

Give your support or opposition to the following statements?

1) A just society looks after the poor
2) The state should provide more taxpayer-funded healthcare
3) Politicians should comment about unemployment


a) The state should provide greater levels of income support for the poor
b) In a just society, healthcare will be available for everyone
c) There should be policies to address the issue of work-shy-ness.

I think you would find totally different answers to (1) to (3) from (a) to (c) - simply because of the different mix of questions about the *significance* of the issues and the correct role of the *state* in addressing those issues.

Chris, fair points. However, in the blogosphere, and in wider society, there is a tendency to assume that not criminalising something equates to approving it. Clearly, that need not be the case, intellectually, but it's as well to bear that in mind.

So how would I be classified by answering the first question - a chainstore is wrong to sell clothes that present very young girls as sex objects - in the affirmative?

I agree that stores shouldn't do so but I don't think politicians should legislate on it or, indeed, pontificate on it. And yet by answering yes to your question, am I defined as a social conservative when I am not? I am a libertarian conservative. I endorse personal morality and do not believe we should legislate morality or, indeed, nudge.

Tim, I think you are thinking from a Christian viewpoint which equates "bad" with "must not do", which questions are too woolly to draw any sensible conclusions.

I might disapprove of any shop that sexualises youngsters, but I would also disapprove of any legislation that sought to decide what could and could not be sold in shops. In general, I don't mind politicians making comments on issues of morality or social behaviour if that is intended as a substitute for legislation.

I agree with what Mark Williams has said - I'm all for politicians inactively encouraging people/companies to do XYZ, or commenting that people/companies should do XYZ. However, demanding and enforcing is something which has no place in the country. We have had 11 years of that under the current regime - look where that has gotten us!

I disagree strongly with what you do, but I will defend to the death your right to do it, as long as it doesn't infringe on others rights. (slightly changed from Voltaire's version I know, but a key belief of mine, and other Conservatives)

I've always thought the comments on here were unrepresentative of opinions in the Associations.

Most Conservative party members are much less libertarian.

There is no doubt that Conservative MPs members and activists are not libertarian. My local association should be renamed the Ann Widdecombe Appreciation Society. I got fed up with their authoritarian, bordering on fascist, views. It appears that Conservative Home's readers are no different.

Seeing a naked female body and fantasising about gorgeous girls are not harmful. Waging illegal wars, imposing "green" (sic) taxes and regulating personal behaviour are more acceptable to Michael Gove and his fellow Cameroons.

The Conservative Party no longer believes in freedom. Dave and Gideon could not run a chip shop. Time to emigrate?

I think the common feature of all of those though was that we're not looking to ban things we don't like, but we're happy to say we don't like them.

Nothing wrong with that, liberty still in place but we've nevertheless made a statement.

The left wing response to Zoo and Nuts is to try to ban them, as many student unions have tried, I have no problem with Gove saying the problems with them, just as long as he doesn't try to ban them.

All depends on what it is to be a libertarian.

"Conservative members are not as libertarian as blog threads suggest."

To be filed under "Dog bites man".

Since when have Conservative Party members ever been particularly sympathetic to libertarian ideas?

Typically, the idea of legalising drugs is met with horror, gun ownership is a non-issue for most, there remains a strong attachment to the socialist NHS, and the presence of the State within the classroom only causes discomfort when leftist ideas are promoted.

There is some vague attachment to "the free market", but even this doesn't really run very deep, as revealed when Michael Heseltine was cheered to the rafters, when he declared at the 1992 party conference, "If I have to intervene to help British companies, I'll intervene before breakfast, before lunch, before tea and before dinner. And I'll get up the next morning and I'll start all over again."

This country is a third world dump now.

Dubai is outstanding on expenses but anyone can do themselves justice in Sunderland/Newcastle. Try staying at the Malmaison and drinking at the Pitcher n Piano. Keep in touch.

I think we could call this 'inconsistent paternalism' or 'hypocritical libertarianism'. In other words we only want politicians to intefere in the areas were we personally feel a sense of outrage or disgust.

This comes as no surprise whatsoever! Not everyone who blogs on a Right Wing blog is a Conservative for a start! We know that well here because apart from our regular friends such as Comstock, Passing Leftie and Gloy Plopwell from the left of the spectrum we also have Henry Mayhew and all the UKIPPERS plus (I suspect) visitors from the BNP and even George Galloway under a Pseudonym!
Such a collection is hardly representative of the average Conservative Party Member!

"When I was seventeen I would have enjoyed reading Nuts or whatever. The reason I don't now at 43 is that I am better at pulling the ladies and a happily married man."

Surely you can still go window shopping, Henry?

I thought authoritarian conservative is a contradiction in terms really... how can more rules be smaller government? or that you want companies to be freer to do things, but not people (including yourself)?

I have to agree with those above that disappoving of something and saying it should be banned are not directly related - the question about gambling that was the only one that suggests some intervention and only got 9% approval - that seems quite libertarian to me.

The whole Nuts thing was not only that it seemed he wanted something done about it, but that it was very discrimantory about what he critisised.

I've got the impression over the time I've been posting here that the CH staff are authoritarians so I'm guessing this survey and article were created because they can't believe so many people who comment have differing views and so they can say "ah, they don't really so we can ignore them as they are unrepresentative"

We've had enough of authoritarianism from the current lot - time for the direction of travel to go to a more conservative and hence libertarian government.
Ignore that if you like, it's unrepresentative of a abritary group of people.

How's about a really radical idea, Norm? That we don't go for people who "label" themselves at all!
All this brings back memories of the battles between the "wets" and the "dries" in the 1980's and it may surprise some of you to know that I was actually amongst the "drys" in those days! In fact I would say my political views have not shifted all that much since then - it is the labels which have changed! Granted I am no longer a hard-line "pro lifer" but apart from that I am still the same - yes, EVEN on Europe!

well yes, if people label themselves it is like building a wall around them and then they might start thinking how they ought to think to fit in with that label, rather than having their own opinions.

But for someone else to place a label on you is just stereotyping and so useful to think of how someone might act in a situation (although this becomes bad if it's used to define how you should/will act)

I've always thought it is as well to be wary of stereotyping, Norm! People are individuals and they don't always jump as you expect them to jump...

‘Don't take any notice of the comments, they are 1% of your readers and mostly the maddest 1%.’

Hello Mr.Guido Fawkes

I shall be ignoring your comment subsequent to your comment as you are clearly as mad as a bag full of frogs and unrepresentative to boot. And so am I, logically.

Except as a feudally inclined land owning, fox squashing, pheasant be-heading, High Tory I genuinely represent less than 1%.

Comments on the Conhome August survey:

“Transparent line of questions aimed at resurrecting David Davis and promoting authoritarian viewpoints – all intended at securing a spot for Tim Montgomerie on the Today programme.

Posted by: Bill Brinsmead | August 13, 2008 at 09:55 “

Failed to resurrect DD and spinning to claim that we are more authoritarian than libertarian. One out of 3 for Tim, or did I miss his appearance on the Today Programme?

Tim we all know through your views on 28 days that you have got very hard authoritarian views. Please through don't try to label everyone else with the same brand. Being a Libertarian doesn't mean a free for all attitude but when the McCain-Palin ticket wins in November we will at least have someone who can stand up to an authoritarian bully like Prime Minister Putin.

I hereby move that an official "Dorian Grape Conservation Society" is set up as soon as possible!

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