Iain Duncan Smith: Stupid

Libertarian Alliance News Release
Contact Details: Dr Sean Gabb
07956 472 199 sean@libertarian.co.uk
Tuesday the 30th Sepember 2014
Immediate release

Drink and Fags and the Unemployed:
Never Underestimate the Stupidity of Iain Duncan Smith

Conservative Minister Iain Duncan Smith has promised his party conference that welfare claimants will be paid with smart cards that will prevent them from buying alcohol and cigarettes, among much else.

Speaking today in London, Dr Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance, comments on this proposal:

I won’t ask if Mr Duncan Smith is stupid. After ten years of watching him in action, that verdict is well and truly in. What matters more is how stupid he thinks we are. His proposal is insultingly worthless to achieve his stated end.

Make his proposal law, and, if If I’m on the jobseekers, and I want a drink or a smoke, all I’ll have to do is buy half a dozen chicken legs for a friend, who will then buy me a bottle of own brand gin or a packet of twenty.

Also, how are shopkeepers to know who’s on benefits unless we’re all kitted out with ID cards that will let anyone and everyone know our employment status?

Or, if the unemployed are to be paid by giving them some kind of charge card, it will simply be another step towards the abolition of cash transactions.

Another point worth making is that being out of work or generally poor and on benefits is no fun. It’s plain sadism to try blocking those on benefits from drowning their sorrows.

By all means, cut down on systematic fraud by largely foreign gangs and by those working inside the welfare system. Also, make it easier for people to get off welfare – by cutting taxes on low pay and cutting regulations on micro-businesses. But leave the genuinely helpless to enjoy the few pleasures that are still not illegal.

Note: in the financial year 2012-13, Iain Duncan Smith collected from the taxpayers a total of £134,565 in salary alone. In return for this, he supported a government that has done nothing to reduce the deficit, or cut taxes, or roll back the Thatcher-Major-Blair-Brown police state, and that continues to launch and fight unwinnable wars that, even otherwise, would not be in the national interest, and that spends about £50 billion of the taxpayers’ money on the European Union and foreign aid and the global warming scam. He also has the right to benefit from from subsidised round the clock drinking in the Palace of


  1. Sean if you used sensible language (for example talked about real abuses, that YES exist, rather than using buzz terms such as “Police State”) you might not have become a joke figure (who the BBC use to “prove” that libertarians are crazy). Britain is not Nazi Germany – and as you are not in favour of opposing Nazi Germany (or Soviet Russia) anyway, perhaps you should stay off the topic of Police States (as you not in favour of opposing real Police States – you are not Winston Churchill, in fact you make it very clear that you side with his enemies). Of course I can remember when you did not do this Rothbardian tap dance – but you like to pretend you were never a normal person (in favour of NATO and so on), so why should I not play along and just accept that you are a nutcase? Even if I suspect it is all an act – you talk like a nutcase, so……..

    I agree with you that the government has not done enough about the deficit, but I do not think it is 50 billion Pounds (a year) on the E.U. and overseas aid (has it really got that high?) – that is why cutting government spending will require more than getting out of the E.U. and ending overseas aid.

    Although it would indeed be a good start, and I can remember when Mr Duncan-Smith agreed that it would be a good start (when he was in favour of getting out of the E.U. and ending overseas aid). Sadly (like yourself on other matters) Mr Duncan-Smith has changed his tune.

  2. But Paul, the Political EnemyClass wants to and is trying to create a Police State. As the late and sometimes-great-but-not-always Bernard Levin once said in the title of an article in The Times, which I cut in 1978 but have lost…

    “it’s not what they can’t say: it’s the way that they can’t say it”.

    Already, the Police can State What They Say The Law Is. They had a fine time interpreting it for themselves in Rotherham – soon to be followed by a number of other once-great Northern Cities and proud towns, I bet you 1p.
    Nobody’s sacked the Rotherham buggers yet I notice.

  3. Anyway, Paul, how dare anyone – let alone someone in the Gubblentment – tell anyone what he can or cannot buy, with whatever money has been handed to him by anyone whatsoever? Or – worse – try to constrain that wretched person, with some sort of “kids’ entitlement brownie-points-card”?

    I don’t think you addressed that part of the strategic argument for liberty at all. Sorry.

  4. Yes Paul–this “what Sean Gabb thinks” thing is getting old.
    Rothbard was a great man in many ways but a prime fool with his “deal-with-the-Devil” nonsense about co-operating with leftists. You can no more do a deal with those scum than Jesus could have cut a deal with Satan out in the desert. Evil does not work for or with good–except as a tactic to enable the other shoe to drop later on. I have lost a lot of respect for Lew Rockwell after reading the horseshit his contributors (and the opinion pieces by Lew himself) have written about the Scottish independence thing. If they are as ill-informed on the other topics they write about as they are on Scotland that does not bode well.

    So if you have some problem with Sean–call him out and settle it with your fists like men. This constant sniping spoils your otherwise excellent contributions.

  5. “Police State” is a matter of degree and interpretation. The problem is, we tend to compare ourselves to political police states characteristic of the 20th century. A better comparison is a religious police state as found in the Islamic world for instance; and then when we look at the ruthless persecution and arbitrariness of what I term “Moral crimes” (e.g. Emma West) the label starts to look reasonable.

    Anyway, this issue itself conflates two constituencies (possibly more) the first obvious one is the Neo-Puritan temperance nutters, who see this as another way to “denormalise” smoking and drinking and typical of their attempts to reform the lower orders since 1850, since they have this persistent barking idea that people are poor due to moral corruption, etc (see my endless posts in the past on this). The other is the persistent constituency on the right who just enjoy the government being vindictive and sit there at Tory conferences clapping like seals at policies like this one. Hateful people.

  6. David – the contrast between what he was (and still could be – the talent has not gone away) and what he is.

    All people change – for example I am fat and bald (I did not use to be), but some changes are more irritating than others. The systematic undermining of libertarianism (starting with the LA conferences of some years ago – then the Kevin pushing and so on) is hard to forgive (and I am not a forgiving person). The messing about (at different times) with the various different forms of Black Flagger (Fascist, Anarchist and Islamist) is irritating.

    Ian – yes “Police State” originally had quite a lose definition in German 18th century thought. But Sean is not using it like that – he is mucking about. Although his term “soft police state” is a bit less bad.

    The bleeping irritating thing is that Sean Gabb is one of the best people I know (even now) for the specific details for how the specific violations of the classical principles of jurisprudence cause harm, but he wastes his talent and knowledge.

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