This started out to be a comment to Steve’s post and his question, “What on earth is going on back home?” It grew in size and scope to the point it needed to be its own post which I now offer to you. It’s not the first time (here is a collection) I have touched on the subject and for certain it will not the last.
The number of days I have spent in the U.K. can be counted on one hand so I recognize my limitations on being an authority on the politics and mindset there. However, it is my opinion that the rush toward a police state in the U.K. is because of a mindset that developed slowly over the last 70 to 80 years. Read F.A. Hayek’s Road to Serfdom for my best guess at to what is going on. Hayek published the book in 1944 and he was specifically warning the U.K. about the dangers of where they were headed. The basic problem as outlined by Hayek is that the people decided it was the job of government to take care of them. From socialized medicine to giving up their right to self defense it’s always the government who is responsible. Once that mindset is cemented into place and the government fails on any given task the “answer” is always more power to the government.
The really scary part is what comes next. As Hayek points out extreme power, however benign the original people to whom it is given, attracts “the wrong sort of people” and is repulsive to those who would be most responsible with it. Hence the more power the government is given the more you will find people in government that should not be given that power. The examples abound–Soviet Union, Communist China, and Nazi Germany. In the 20th century there were at least 60 million people killed by their own governments because of this sort of error in political philosophy. I hope the U.K. will not be a prime example of the 21 century.
One would think that after 60 million dead the lesson would have been learned but the evidence from the U.K. is that some people may still have to learn it for themselves.