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Friday, 5 August 2011

Letter to Carrie

Very very dear Carrie

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to read my blog - yes, it is a great medium.

Thanks too for saying that I write well.

Needless to say, I am not surprised that you disagree with pretty well everything.

Nor was I very surprised by the fact that you don't know anyone who wouldn't.

When I was a "progressive", I didn't know many (perhaps any) conservatives. As I morphed into a conservative, then into a neo-con and then into a libertarian - quite painful that - I had no personal relationships with other conservatives, neo-cons, libertarians. I was swimming in a progressive sea. I was thrilled (before morphing) by the defeat of Barry Goldwater, by the election of Harold Wilson.

So, I take some satisfaction in having swum against the tide. Of course, this doesn't make me right. But when I examined my earlier mindset (the default mindset of all decent people), I came to realise that it boiled down to: "Wouldn't it be nice if...", "We should elect clever, incorruptible(?) people who will make all the important decisions for our society.", "It isn't fair!"

Yes, I did read the "Nudge" stuff and found it interesting - though I don't remember everything; and I will follow the link you have sent me. What I do remember is my disquiet at the thought that the clever and the incorruptible, having come up with the appropriate solution to any particular issue, the question was how to get a thick electorate to go for it. Really sorry if I am misrepresenting Nudge theory.

My strong belief is that over two hundred years ago Adam Smith described a far more benign idea: individuals act in their own interests, and that (astonishingly), when they are allowed to do so without impinging on the interests of others, the whole community is served. When I innocently serve my interests I serve the interests of my fellow men - and vice-versa. I prefer the Invisible Hand to being nudged.

Do you take my point that where "Social Justice" conflicts with "Justice", the latter should prevail - so what need of SJ?

Much love to you both


XX (one each)

PS there was a debate on Radio 4 last night between Keynesians and Hayekians. Check it out if you have time.

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