The idea that a state with a total monopoly on the use of force, control over the national curriculum, control through state funding of a huge proportion of academic research, the ability to propagandise constantly at taxpayer expense etc. is weak in the face of companies only interested in selling goods and services is too ludicrous for words. Nonetheless, it was a constant theme at the event and I cannot tell if those arguing it are genuinely stupid or dishonestly justifying more state control. I suspect the latter. I know Orwell's point that some things are so stupid only intellectuals can believe them, but this just goes too far.
As did Bennett's complaint that the people of Totnes are getting a branch of Costa Coffee they don't want because the planning system is too weak to protect their "freedom". If the people of Totnes don't want their new coffee shop, it will be gone in months. Opening it is a bet the company is making that they want it very much and all the residents have to do to make it lose is not show up. The idea that planning control promotes freedom, when it actually limits the use by an owner of his own property, destroying value in the process, is again, too ridiculous to be anything but sinister. As so often, when a speaker at the event said "we don't want this" or "we want that" I had a sense that the "we" neither included me nor was meant to.
From a truly superb post by Tom Paine.
Do read the whole article.