"The whole Fabian socialist project, which revolutionised our nation throughout the 20th Century and which eventually took over the Tory Party itself, was intended to change behaviour, and did so. So is the new programme which has replaced it, the politically correct drive for ‘equality and diversity’."As ever, I agree with much of his diagnosis, but cannot endorse his preferred course of treatment, as the kind of authoritarian state which he implicitely advocates calls to mind Massachusettes under the puritans.
If only he could grasp the true meaning of liberty, he would junk the authoritarian contradictions, and rather than fighting a lone rear-guard action against the Age of Enlightenment, he could turn his fire on the real enemies of the principles he holds dear, and not on all those who are neutral with regard to what he believes in, provided he doesn't seek to impose these beliefs on everyone else, and although I find his views interesting because he is a self-declared outsider, he does say some silly things. Thus he states:
The Misuse Of Drugs Act 1971 decriminalised cannabis, with huge results for behaviour. So did the abolition of the old alcohol licensing laws.Not at all. Cannabis is not decriminalised. It's true that you're unlikely to be jailed for simple possession, but if they can charge you with intent to supply, you may well be, and if you're a little old lady with a couple of plants in the greenhouse, they'll nail you up with sadistic pleasure. And as for the licencing laws, they were, as we all know, introduced as a temporary measure during the First World War, and they should have been repealed in 1918. Those laws were an embarrassment to this country, and had the effect of infantilising adults.
What I can't grasp is where there is any answer in Hitchens' philosophy to Juvenal's question; who watches the watchman? To whom are we going to entrust the arbitrary powers over individual liberty which he calls for? It is at this point that his earlier adherence to trotskyism rears its ugly head. Hitchens' system requires a dictator. It also requires a massively inflated state. Yet again he bemoans the end of the grammar schools, but never does it occur to him that there are other, non-state solutions to the problem of state-run education.
So, I'm left wondering; what is this conservatism that Hitchens champions? What is it rooted in? It certainly is not Victorianism, for if it was, he'd be for legalising drugs, which were widely available back then, and he'd see that education should not be a state monopoly. His position is merely a mish-mash of bits and pieces from various past times, bound together in the fires of his irrational animosities.