I lost sympathy with Socialists the more I met them. Their creed or system was obviously not to be a means to an end but an end in itself; I could not discover what manner of rich, imaginative life they were planning for the world after poverty had been abolished. More and more Socialism, apparently.Much the same holds true of modern libertarians. It is hard to discover what manner of rich, imaginative life they envisage for themselves after the state has got out of their way. We know they will enjoy smoking in public places, but beyond that it's a bit of a mystery.
So we should be grateful to Tom Papworth, who rather grandly styles himself "Director of Policy" for the blog Liberal Vision, for giving is an insight into libertarian thinking on Liberal Democrat Voice:
Monday night’s Channel 4′s coverage of the Liberal Democrat conference ended with Michael Crick interviewing Ann Treneman and Michael White about the general feel amongst Lib Dems.
Among the usual sniping from a reactionary sketch-writer and the doyen of the urban intellectual elite came a lament that the Liberal Democrat conference did not feel like a Liberal Democrat conference. People were too on message, they moaned; there was not enough rebellion; nor enough eccentricity. Michael White in particular bemoaned the absence of beards and sandals. Lib Dem conference, they felt, had become boring.
We are not in the 1970s, when you could fit the parliamentary party in a black cab and conference delegates looked like they’d drifted in from a Prog Rock festival. Nor are we so marginal that we need policy motions on goldfish and the potential dangers of asteroid attack.
Over the last 20 years the Liberal Democrats have seriously professionalised as a party. And it shows. As we have acquired suits and ties we have acquired 25 seats.For a libertarian, he sounds remarkably conformist. If the state does get out of everyone's way, it seems it will be only to allow the ethos of big business to complete its takeover of the world.
If you want a picture of the future, imagine someone wearing a suit - forever.