13 March 2009
Sometimes, when I am confronted by one of those thornier political issues I ask myself: "What would happen if there were no government?"

I mention this because that was the question I found myself asking the other day when listening to a radio discussion on civil liberties - specifically about what to do with terrorism. The discussion was between a "civil libertarian" on the one hand - all against snooping - and an authoritarian on the other - all in favour.

I found it a rather confusing debate because while I was in theory rooting for the civil libertarian - a bunch I've never particularly liked - I found myself agreeing far more with the authoritarian.

So, I asked the magic question. What would happen if there were no government?

Answer? Simple. Roads would be privately owned and road owners would have every incentive to ensure their roads were terrorist free. Therefore, they would simply ban anyone they suspected of harbouring terrorist sympathies - not unlike the way the Bluewater Shopping Centre banned hoodies a few years ago. My guess is that this would lead to some lookism plus and ad hoc system of passports and people vouching for one another.

But not a lot of snooping.

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