Thinking For The Individual

Formerly known as 'Thinking For The People', this site offers some reflections on the state of British society and her people from the perspective of a libertarian Conservative with a passionate belief in the pillars of freedom and responsibility.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Fox Hunting: What The State Let Itself In For

The government says it would not oppose the Countryside Alliance if it seeks a court injunction that would delay the ban on fox hunting.

Of course, the government has shown quite a spineless attitude towards the whole issue of the ban. The cynics argue that their only justification for the ban was that they needed to pacify the left-wing class warriors on the Labour backbenchers, and that view is gaining ground all the time, especially now that it seems the government will not stand up for a law that they have enacted.

It's quite embarrassing really that that is how our government behaves. But it appears we're stuck with them.

Those who are opposed to the ban have certainly mounted a clever and concerted strategy, despite one or two tactical mistakes (the protests outside Westminster earlier this year being a case in point). Their campaign is a testament to 'people power'.

I have always been against a ban on hunting for four reasons, some of which are rarely considered in the debate, some of which are considered a little too much:

1) Biological - it is a bad thing when an outside force begins to meddle with the food chain.

2) Agricultural - foxes are a menace to our farmers and so they must be dealt with somehow; there is nothing wrong with letting people make a sport out of this activity.

3) Libertarian - quite honestly, what is wrong with letting people have their fun?

4) Social - whenever the State begins to interfere with the way of life of a group of people, only danger can breed.

The social argument has always been the most controversial argument I have presented on this matter. But the social force is what is behind this issue whenever it is debated. It is usually the socialist 'class warriors' who want it banned, and the upper-class 'toffs' who take part in the sport (barring some anomalies!). There is a social argument behind this whole thing, but usually that argument is working in favour of a ban.

Before slavery was abolished in America in the 1850s, after the States fought a war amongst themselves for it, the slave-owning South was rich and prosperous. Of course, the situation was hardly desirable but the South was a land belonging to a rich gentry. But now, the South is associated with terrible poverty - not just for the blacks whose ancestors were slaves, but for the slave-owning whites too.

It is hard to see what slavery in America has to do with fox hunting. Certainly, I am not arguing for a return to slavery! But this is an extreme example of what happens when the central State meddles with the affairs of people it has little clear idea about.

This State of ours has meddled with the affairs of people it has little clear idea about, other than the puerile prejudices of its political supporters. This State does not know what it let itself in for.


At 1:50 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mark although i thouroughly agrre with your argument i would like to stress 2 points. Firstly how would you deal with the point aobut cruetly and the maming of foxes and also i feel this matter is not of great importance. I may interest you to know that Tony blair spent 112 hours in parliment agrguing about fox hunting whereas did not turn up for the argument on stem cell reaserch. Do you agree with me when I say the goverment needs to asses its priorites. Does fox hunting have a MAJOR impact on todays modern society.Foxhunters: A much maligned and victimised bunch of whining pricks, or spoilt and selfish toffs who excite all the public sympathy of a paedophile
campaigning for access rights to his attractive,
pert-bottomed 6 year old son?

I've been half-heartedly following the whole debate about banning foxhunting in this country, and I've found myself increasingly astounded at some of the things that the Countryside Alliance have been saying. At first I thought that their bleating about how banning foxhunting would lead to a breakdown in society, or how a ban would infringe their human rights, must have been a joke. You know, like when Hitler signed Neville Chamberlains Piece of Paper for Peace, and was afterwards heard to say "Well, he seemed like such a nice old gentleman. I thought I would give him my autograph."

But no, there was no hint of a smirk on their
collective face. They were serious. Or at least, they wanted everyone to think that they were. So why are they so absolutely hell-bent on preserving an archaic and bloodthirsty practice that even they agree is rife with cruelty? And why are we being bombarded with messages from the Alliance that this is the first step on the slide to a brutal and totalitarian government who ride roughshod over the rights of the people? Well, as is always the case in these matters, it's about money and privilege. And, of course, politics.
Mark only 4.78% of the population activly take PART IN FOX HUNTING DOES THIS REALLY MATTER??

At 2:16 pm, Blogger Mark O'Brien said...

Perhaps the talk of this being another step on the way to totalitarianism is one stark detail which I believe is true, as unlikely as it sounds:

There have been two governments which have preceded Tony Blair's in trying to ban hunting with hounds - Hitler's Germany and Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

At 5:12 pm, Blogger Mark O'Brien said...

In addition, the point about animal cruelty is a serious one which is easily forgotten. I believe there is all sorts of research which can be cited showing how foxes don't feel pain (or something like that!). But I myself think that the aspect of cruelty is a little trivial.

Maybe I think that because foxes aren't people. Maybe I'm cruel and vicious because I think that. But if you banned fox hunting because of cruelty, why not ban horse racing? It can't be much fun being ridden around a track all your life and having spectators bet on you!

There are greater human issues involved in fox hunting, and they should be placed more highly than animal cruelty - something on which there is no conclusive proof either way.

At 5:12 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mark i find the point you made about the only two other people who tried to ban fox hunting were sh and ah is this true and if so a very interesting point.


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