I've seen a couple of posts on other blogs that have prompted me to trot out one of my favourite sayings. I've mentioned before that I am in part a liberal, hold certain libertarian views and would prefer a more liberal society (liberal in the traditional British sense - not progressive) where people are free to act, speak and think how they want without fear of upsetting some politically correct nerd who will report them for racism/sexism/xenophobia/homophobia etc. (delete as appropriate).
However, there are problems with this free, libertarian approach. The first question I always ask is how do you prevent libertarianism descending into libertinism?
The usual answer is by the application of the rule of law - but that raises my second question. How is the rule of law supposed to be effective when there isn't an expectation that anyone will be caught and appropriately punished for illegal or immoral behaviour?
And, in particular, if someone knows they can commit a crime for which they know they will never be caught and punished for - what is to stop them doing it?
Before progressivism took hold and while Britain still had an overwhelmingly law-abiding and moral society the rule of law worked fine. There was nothing like the amount of surveillance and state monitoring of every one's business - no CCTV, no local council snoopers, no bugs in your dustbin - and yet most people still chose to obey the law.
Why? Why then, but not now?
Because of God, of course. Most people still believed in God and still believed that even if the government could not catch or punish them - God would. But the progressive movement has set about killing God. He's not wanted in a progressive, secular society - which brings me to one of my favourite sayings.
In the absence of an omnipresent God, the only alternative to restrain immoral and illegal behaviour is an omnipresent state.
This is why we have to have more and more laws and restrictions on what we can and can not do and why the state requires more and more methods for monitoring and surveying what we get up to as we go about our everyday lawful business.
If you don't like God then don't complain about the surveillance society and state intrusion - or if you do complain, put forward a reasonable alternative. Don't give me that bullshit about "you don't have to believe in God to be moral" either. Whilst that is true, it is wrong to assume that just because you can be moral and not believe in God everyone else can as well.
And before everyone reminds me that most people don't commit crimes, let me remind you that 70% of the nation - according to the last census - still believe in God in some shape or form. And don't forget also that smoking a spliff is still a crime (for now, anyway) - as is speeding, being drunk and disorderly or urinating in shop doorways.
I'm not trying to force anyone who doesn't believe in God to change their ways - I'm just pointing out some basic facts about human behaviour. They aren't particularly nice facts, but they are true enough in my opinion. People are not fundamentally good or bad but they are fundamentally weak willed and easily tempted. Morality and restraint are not inherent characteristics of humans - they are behaviours learned from societal norms.
When progressives set about changing those norms they did so by taking God out of the equation - secularisation - wihtout any consideration for what would replace Him. Instead there was just a moral relativity based around the sixties ethic of "if it feels good, do it".
I'm always loathe to make these posts about religion for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because religion is, for me, an intensely personal and private thing and something which I have no desire to foist on others in any way shape or form (although, when confronted I will defend it) - and secondly because I really don't want to alienate what few readers I have who are often secular non-believers.
All I really want to do is get people thinking about it a bit more rather than just airily suggesting that the rule of law will somehow magically impose some sort of restraint on immoral and illegal behaviour. It won't - surely that is obvious from the state of society today? Believe me, I've tried to think of alternatives to an omnipresent God or an omnipresent state - but I really can't find one.
If you can, by all means let me know.