Guido Fawkes is confusing me. He’s campaigning for the death penalty on the grounds that the public want it:
One of the problems with our modern unrepresentative democracy is that it is disconnected from the voters…There are a number of issues where the political class refuses to carry out the wishes of the people. All polls show that there is majority support for capital punishment.
Democratic stuff. And here’s my confusion. Guido has also long claimed to be a libertarian. But libertarianism and democracy conflict, simply because public opinion is on many issues very illiberal, for example:
- there’s overwhelming support (pdf) for immigration controls.
- When offered a list of values and asked (pdf) “Which two or three of the following would you most want a political party to reflect?”, only 20% said liberty/freedom compared to 50% saying fairness and 32% family values.
- The majority are against legalizing drugs. Only 3% want to legalize cocaine, for example.
- There’s strong support for control orders against people not found guilty of any offence. “For most people, national security trumps civil liberties” says YouGov.
The message seems clear. You cannot, comfortably, be both a libertarian and a democrat because a libertarian must believe that public opinion is wrong on many issues. The more intelligent libertarians recognize this.
This doesn’t necessarily mean Guido is wrong to call for the death penalty - though I happen to think he is. It’s just that, from a libertarian point of view, it needs a justification separate from the will of the majority.
So, why then is Guido so keen on public opinion in this context when the public reject principles that any libertarian must accept? Could it be that he doesn’t have a coherent position at all, but is just a rabble-rousing populist?