Throughout the past week, the world has been shocked by the devastating riots that have broken out in London and across the UK. As the government struggled to gain control of the situation, people began calling for authoritarian measures to be put in place. Rash solutions were proposed that oversimplified the situation and trampled on the basic civil liberties of all UK citizens. For example, David Cameron stated, “When people are using social media for violence we need to stop them,” and ridiculously planned to interfere with mobile networks and social media sites, such as Twitter, claiming that, “It will just be a temporary suspension of the freedom of speech.” The government even seriously debated implementing curfews, as well as mobilizing the army against the rioters.
In the face of the possible adoption of such authoritarian measures in the UK, ESFL’s Anton Howes spoke up. Over the course of the week he wrote a series of articles for the Adam Smith Institute’s blog, which challenged the measures the government was considering and dug deeper than the shallow explanations offered for the cause of these violent outbreaks. In such alarming times, it is more important than ever that we make sure our voice is heard – the voice that will stand up for the strength of communities, not armies, and the unconditional defense of individual liberty. As Milton Friedman once warned us, “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.”
Check out some of Anton’s articles and posts on the subject:
“If this is about poverty, it is poverty of spirit amongst a young few, rather than any widespread material poverty.” – The London Lootings Need Real Solutions (Tuesday, August 9th)
“We need to recognise that the rules of the game have changed, just as with every leap forward in communication technology.” – Freedom of Communication is Helping Communities Defend Themselves. Don’t Curb It. (Wednesday, August 10th)
“[…] you curtail civil liberties for immediate security at the peril of never regaining them” – Stop This Authoritarian Knee-jerk (Thursday, August 11th)
“Gleeful malice rather than anger at the system is not the sign of the young person with limited opportunities.” – What Really Caused the London Lootings? (Friday, August 12th)