I remember when Matthew Parris used to masquerade as a libertarian, but his true colours were revealed about a dozen years ago when, in all seriousness, he started going on about how the government should force us all to adopt his own pet hobby horse of the time, geothermal heating:
Please force us to go green
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but we need to learn from Tony Benn about how the State can change people’s habits
(The full text of another of his Times’ articles on geothermal heating can be found here — this one doesn’t have any of the ‘Government please force us’ stuff, but it is amusing because it contains the intensely stupid claim that wind turbines provide free energy — sure they do, if you ignore the enormous costs they take to build in the first place, and to maintain, and to replace one day.)
Now, is geothermal heating akin to, for example, freeing the slaves? Is it so immoral to not use geothermal heating to heat your home that one can agree that Parris is doing the right thing by calling for the government to force us all to adopt it? Is he a modern Martin Luther King, only without the hidden sexual scandals, standing against evil and tyranny? Or is he just another fan of government force who wants it to be used in area he thinks he’s an expert on, whose arrogance will make us all worse off?
When it turned out that geothermal heating wasn’t quite the miracle that Parris thought it was, he went very quiet about it. Funnily, enough, this is not something he mentioned in his recent Spectator article about ignoring the people because the government knows better.