Monday, April 23, 2007

Today's must-read

There is a brilliant - and devastating - critique of this government's attack on civil liberties in today's Independent (read it here). It points out that while Labour pushes forward an agenda that attempts to make our lives more "transparent" (ie, under constant surveillance), it does its utmost to reduce accountability for itself - the Inquiries Act and Civil Contingencies Act being two cases in point. But perhaps the best argument I've read for opposing this relentless erosion of personal privacy are these closing paragraphs:

"But maybe the transparent society really is sinister, for reasons that are spiritual rather than practical. Maybe it is unhealthy for a society to behave itself not because it is underpinned by morality and watched by its caring family or neighbour, but because it knows it'll get caught and punished if it doesn't toe the line."

It's this which sums up all that is wrong with this government - imposing its values instead of educating people and then trusting them to understand that freedom and responsibility are irrevocably intertwined. After all, what use is freedom if it's abused to the extent that everyone impinges on everyone else's freedom to the point where it becomes meaningless?

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