Tag Archives: Sean Gabb

Meanwhile, someone’s been reading about the Enemy Class


David Davis

Perhaps Dr Sean Gabb’s book (Culture Revolution, Culture War) and C S Lewis’s ideas about Bulverism have something in common.

Sean on Telly Yesterday


by Sean Gabb

Dear All,

I made a brief appearance yesterday on BBC1’s “The Big Question”, where I
argued that voting should not be made compulsory. Here is the relevant
footage: http://www.vimeo.com/10010978

On Saturday the 6th March 2010, I recorded a long interview with Al Gore’s
television station all about the decriminalisation of incest. Stand by for
news about where to find this.

Tomorrow morning, I shall be interviewed by BBC Radio Bristol about CCTV
cameras. I will upload the recording of this shortly after.

On the 17th March 2010, I shall be talking to Haberdashers’ Aske’s school
for boys all about libertarianism.

On the 24th April 2010, I shall be speaking at this event:

PUBLIC MEETING
FREE ADMISSION
Saturday 17th April 2010
2.30pm to 4.30pm

CARRS LANE CHURCH CENTRE
Carrs Lane, Birmingham B4 7SX
10 minutes walk from city centre New Street station.
See website http://www.carrslane.co.uk for directions

TIME FOR TRUTH
Who Speaks for the People of Britain?

In the Chair
GEORGE WEST
Chairman, Campaign for an Independent Britain

Speakers

Dr. SEAN GABB
Director The Libertarian Alliance

FIONA McEVOY
The Taxpayers Alliance, West Midlands

STUART NOTHOLT
Vice-Chairman Campaign for an Independent Britain & organiser of General
Election “Candidate 2010″

Published by The Campaign for an Independent Britain
http://www.eurosceptic.org.uk. For 35 years,CIB has led efforts to safeguard our
nation’s sovereignty. We are a democratic, independent and strictly
remaining a non-party political pressure group, supported by membership
subscriptions and donations from members of the public. Our objective is
Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union whilst maintaining trading
and friendly relations with other countries

. Enquiries 07092 857684

Daily Mail backs Gabb Russian Climategate hack hunch – official


Michael Winning

You’ve read it first here! (From our own Sean Gabb)

now it’s official, here

Libertarian Alliance and Libertarian International Conference, London 24th-25th October 2009


David Davis

As and when we arrive at the event, outer-London-parking-controls and tribulations permitting, we shall attempt to “live blog” parts of this (whatever “live-blogging” might be: I hope someone will tell us!) We are armed with laptops which I guess is a requirement, and we assume that modern trendy venues like the National Liberal Club have some kind of internet connection…

New inside look at OCR ICT education…….. …..First hand experience!


Peter Davis

I did this last year at my school, and you could just tell that this task was thought up by the government.  May I point out that the task was to create a video in Windows Movie Maker about recycling.

I think that, well yes, its fair enough that we have to make a video, as we would learn the skills to be able to do it…..But do we have to do it on ‘Recycling’?

Anyway, this was my submission for OCR nationals Unit 23. It got a very high mark, and it took me 20 minutes. I hope you enjoy it … or maybe not.

Yes, you saw it: this is what your children do in year-9 at secondary school it the UK (for foreign readers, this is 13/14 year-olds.)

Blogeditor says:-

Something to do with this stuff would have been more fun…

(…but most of the poor buggers don’t even know what these things are, let alone that they might have even existed.)

LA … The News Release on Home Education Proposals


Sean Gabb

(UPDATE1:- I see that Blogdial has picked this up – well done, please tell everyone asap. There are a lot of other outgoing links in Blogdial about this matter, which later you may care to follow. UKIP (and here too): Renegade Parent: old Gerald Warner: the Quisling-Graph for once is good and right, and this editorial too. plus links to the usual GramscoFabiaNazi Maoist lefty stuff as well, for entertainment if it were not so sinister and if the buggers did not really mean it, as they do.)

(UPDATE2:- And here’s Daniel Hannan, on how Thatcher saved Britain. That’ll get the Ballses, Ed and Yvette (she a chav or summat?) ranting.)

NEWS RELEASE FROM THE LIBERTARIAN ALLIANCE
In Association with the Libertarian International

Release Date: Thursday 11th June 2009
Release Time: Immediate

Contact Details:
Dr Sean Gabb on 07956 472 199 or via sean@libertarian.co.uk

For other contact and link details, see the foot of this message
Release url: http://www.libertarian.co.uk/news/nr075.htm

“HOME  EDUCATION  AND  THE  BRITISH  STATE :

KEEP  YOUR  HANDS  OFF  OUR  CHILDREN”

The Libertarian Alliance today denounces Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families in the British Government, for taking the first steps towards what will be the outlawing of home education.

[Mr Balls has accepted a report recommending that all home educating families in England will have to register annually and demonstrate they are providing a suitable education. It further recommends that children should be forced into state schools if parents do not meet certain standards set by the education bureaucrats. See here for further information: http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/pns/DisplayPN.cgi?pn_id=2009_0105 ]

According to Sean Gabb, Director of the LA:

“The right of people to educate their children within the values of their family, their faith or their community has always been respected by the British State. Parents have been legally obliged to proved their children with an education – but have never been obliged to send them to school, or even to notify the authorities of what they intend.

“The current proposals sound moderate. The talk is of giving support, not of forbidding. But they are the first step to outlawing home education. Registration will, for the first time, let the authorities know who is educating their children at home. Once these parents are known, they will be visited and inspected to ensure that they are providing a ‘suitable’ education. What this means – though not all at once: it will take several years of salami slicing – is that parents will be hit with impossible and ever-changing health and safety rules. They will be forced to keep records in rigidly prescribed formats – records that will almost certainly demand disclosure of the race and probable sexuality of the children, and that will (if not first lost on a railway train) be shared with foreign governments and private companies. paper qualifications may be required from parents. They will eventually be forced to teach the feared and discredited National Curriculum.

“At no point will home education be made into a criminal offence – as it is in Germany and Belgium, among other European countries. Instead, it will be surrounded by so many rules and by so much supervision, that most parents who now educate at home will give up. Many who carry on will be picked off one at a time – their children conscripted into a state school for some trifling infraction of deliberately conflicting and arbitrary rules. In extreme cases, parents will have their children taken into ‘care’.

“The motive for regulation is not the safety of children or to provide them with a decent education. State schools do not – and are not intended to – provide children with a decent education. Their purpose is to indoctrinate children with the values of the Establishment. These values used to be love of Queen and Country and a perceived obligation to go and be shot at when rounded up and put into uniform. Nowadays, the values are politically correct multiculturalism.

“As for regulation as a guarantor of safety, we only need look at the nursery worker arrested this week for sexual assaults on children. Since this is a matter before the courts we make no comment on the woman’s guilt or innocence. We do note, however, that she will have been closely examined by Ofsted, and checked against all the relevant databases, and judged officially safe with children. Anyone who thinks regulation makes children safe needs his head examined.

“This current proposals will lead ultimately to a state of affairs in which children can be torn from their homes and forced into schools where they will be brainwashed into values that their parents find abhorrent – and where they will probably be kept illiterate and innumerate as these things were once measured, and where they might also be bullied into suicide or lifelong depression.

“Ed Balls, the Minister concerned, wants all this because his Government has turned Britain into a soft totalitarian state. No child – except, of course, of the rich, who can always buy their way out – must be permitted to escape the ideological apparatus of the New Labour State. Home educators are the equivalent of the Kulaks in the Soviet Union. They show too much independence. They must be destroyed.

“The Libertarian Alliance denounces Mr Balls and the Government in which he is a Minister, and calls on people everywhere – British or not, parents or not – to write to him expressing their own contempt of and opposition to this attempted mass kidnapping of our children.”

The address details for Mr Balls are as follows:

The Rt Hon Edward Michael Balls MP
Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families
Sanctuary Buildings
Great Smith Street
London SW1P 3BT
dcfs.ministers@dcfs.gsi.gov.uk

His Deputy, Delyth Morgan, can be reached as follows:

Baroness Morgan of Drefelin
Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families
Sanctuary Buildings
Great Smith Street
London SW1P 3BT
dcfs.ministers@dcfs.gsi.gov.uk

For those who think these things still matter, Mrs Morgan should be addressed in correspondence as “My Lady”

Letters should be brief. They should refer to the report “Review of Elective Home Education in England (June 2009)”
(available at http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/everychildmatters/_download/?id=6080 )

Points worth making are:

  • Home education is a fundamental human right. In a free country, people are left alone to bring their children up in the values and traditions of their own communities or faith. This right has always so far been respected in Britain.
  • The mainstream of research into home education is unanimous that children educated at home receive a better education than at school – even when the parents have little formal education of their own.
  • The current proposals are the thin end of a wedge that will make home education impossible in practice for any but the best-educated or best-connected.
  • The current proposals open homes to inspection by probably hostile officials. These officials will inevitably discriminate on the basis or race or religion or class or sex.
  • Parents will be made to teach subjects that they may find abhorrent in ways that may be inappropriate to their own circumstances.
  • The regulatory system will be expensive and bureaucratic. It will put children at risk by gathering information on them and then losing it.

END OF COPY

Note(s) to Editors

Dr Sean Gabb is the Director of the Libertarian Alliance. He is regarded as one of the most prominent British writers on home education. He is co-author of “Homeschooling in Full View: A Reader“, 1995. His “Home Schooling: A British Perspective” can be read at http://www.seangabb.co.uk/academic/homeschooling.htm

He can be contacted for further comment on 07956 472 199 or by email at sean@libertarian.co.uk

Extended Contact Details:

The Libertarian Alliance is Britain’s most radical free market and civil liberties policy institute. It has published over 800 articles, pamphlets and books in support of freedom and against statism in all its forms. These are freely available at http://www.libertarian.co.uk

Our postal address is

The Libertarian Alliance
Suite 35
2 Lansdowne Row
Mayfair
London W1J 6HL
Tel: 07956 472 199

Associated Organisations

The Libertarian International – http://www.libertarian.to – is a sister organisation to the Libertarian Alliance. Its mission is to coordinate various initiatives in the defence of individual liberty throughout the world.

Sean Gabb’s personal website – http://www.seangabb.co.uk – contains about a million words of writings on themes interesting to libertarians and conservatives.

Hampden Press – http://www.hampdenpress.co.uk.- the publishing house of the Libertarian Alliance.

Liberalia – http://www.liberalia.com – maintained by by LA Executive member Christian Michel, Liberalia publishes in-depth papers in French and English on libertarianism and free enterprise. It is a prime source of documentation on these issues for students and scholars.

Robert Henderson on Margaret Thatcher


Sean Gabb

          With  his  mixture  of  vaulting  intellectual  ambition  and
          howling  mediocrity  of  mind,  Lenin  is  the  MaGonagal  of
          philosophers.  (Connoisseurs  of   intellectual  incompetence
          should  browse through ‘Materialism  and  Empririo-Criticism’
          for an especial treat).   Nonetheless,  like Hitler,  the man
          possessed a certain low animal cunning and a complete absence
          of moral sense,  which qualities  permitted him to make a few
          acute  psychological and sociological  observations.  Perhaps
          the  most interesting of these is the concept of  the  useful
          idiot.

          For  Lenin  this  was the role to be  played  unwittingly  by
          simpleminded,  tenderhearted,  bourgeois dupes in preparation
          for  the   proletarian  revolution,   a  revolution   utterly
          antipathetic to simpleminded, tenderhearted bourgeois  dupes.
          But  the concept is of general political utility,  for it  is
          essentially  that of the political naif who believes  against
          all the evidence in the good intentions of those in authority
          or aspiring to authority and the rightness of their ideology.
          The useful idiot should be distinguished from the Uncle  Tom,
          the latter being a mixture of shrewd self-promoting  civility
          and  psychological  subordination.  The  useful  idiot  is  a
          self-deluding,  self-committed political adherent.

          In practice, all political movements seek their useful idiots
          and none more so than those operating within an mass elective
          system, for   no party standing for election  is ever willing
          to  tell the whole truth about its desired ends  or  intended
          means.  The best of all useful idiots are, of course,   those
          in positions of the greatest political power.

          Margaret Thatcher might seem an unlikely candidate for such a
          role of useful idiot.  Was she not the Iron Lady,  the Hammer
          of the Left, the slayer of the socialist dragon?  Did she not
          speak  of turning back the tide of coloured  immigrants?  Was
          she   not  the  rock  from   which  the  European   Leviathan
          rebounded?  Did she not ensure that Britain was respected  in
          the world as she had not been since Suez? Was she not a mover
          and shaker in the nationalist cause?

          In  her own rhetorical world  she was all of these things,  a
          veritable  Gloriana who enchanted some and banally  persuaded
          many  more,   but in practical achievement she  was  none  of
          them.  This  discrepancy between fact and fancy made  her  an
          extraordinarily   useful  idiot  for  the  soldiers  of   the
          ascendent ideology of the post-war period, the sordid bigotry
          that is latterday liberal internationalism.

          In  her the  Liberal Ascendency  found a massive shield  for,
          by constantly promising what she could or would not  deliver,
          she allowed the primary  corruptions of the  post war  period
          –  immigration,  multiculturalism,  “progressive”  education,
          welfarism,  the  social work  circus,  internationalism,  the
          attachment  to  Europe  –  to not merely  continue  but  grow
          vastly whilst she

          .  whilst all the time the general public was fed a rich diet
          of lies by the agents of the Liberal Ascendency,  the  Public
          Class – that  unwholesome melange of politicians, media folk,
          educationalists,  social workers and  senior public  servants
          who  have  come  to dominate our lives  –  about  the  savage
          deprivation of funds for  education,  health  and the welfare
          state and the damage done by rampant Thatcherite  ideological
          hooliganism in all important parts of life.

          A  harsh judgement?  Well,  at the end of her reign what  did
          Britain have to show for her vaunted patriotism,  her wish to
          maintain Britain’s independence, her desire to drive back the
          state,  her  promise to end coloured  immigration?   Precious
          little is the answer.

          Her enthusiastic promotion of the Single European Act  (“It’s
          a market and markets are good”),  which she ruthlessly  drove
          through Parliament,  allowed the  eurofederalists to  greatly
          advance  their cause under the guise of acting to  produce  a
          single  market;  her “triumph”  in reducing  our  subsidy  to
          Europe  left us paying several billion a year  whilst  France
          paid next to nothing; our fishermen were sold down the river;
          farmers placed in the absurd position of not being allowed to
          produce even enough milk for British requirements; actual (as
          opposed  to  official) coloured immigration  increased;  that
          monument  to  liberal bigotry,  the  Race Relations  Act  was
          untouched,  welfare  and  health spending  rose  vastly;  the
          educational  vandals were not only allowed to sabotage  every
          serious  attempt  to overturn the progressive  disaster,  but
          were granted  a great triumph in the ending of ‘O’ levels,  a
          liberal bigot success amplified by the contemptible  bleating
          of successive education secretaries that “rising  examination
          success means rising standards”;  foreign aid continued to be
          paid  as  an  unforced  Dangeld;   major  and   strategically
          important industries either ceased to be serious  competitors
          or  ended  in  foreign  hands;  the  armed  forces  were  cut
          suicidally; local government spending rose massively

          But what of her supposed triumphs,  what of privatisation and
          the sale of council houses,  the subjection of the unions and
          the winning of the Falklands war?  Perhaps this will have the
          most  lasting effect.  However,  that is a  different  matter
          altogether from saying it was an unreservedly good thing.  We
          may  celebrate the liberation of British Telecom and BA,  but
          is it such a wonderful thing to have no major car producer or
          shipbuilder?  The  trouble with the  privatisation  of  major
          industries,   which may either be greatly reduced,  go out of
          business  or  be  taken over by foreign buyers,  is  that  it
          ignores  strategic and social welfare questions.  Ditto  free
          trade generally. Both assume that the world,  or at least the
          parts which contain our major trading partners ,  will remain
          peaceful,  stable and well disposed towards Britain for ever,
          an  absurd  assumption.  What,  for example,   would  be  the
          response  of  a  future British government  to  BMW  if  they
          decided  to  move production of all Rover models  abroad?  An
          absurd  scenario?  I don’t see why it is for BMW  might  make
          such a move for financial reasons or be directed to do so  by
          a future  aggressively nationalist  German government.

          There  is  also a moral question connected  to  privatisation
          which was never properly answered by Tories:  what right does
          the  state have to dispose by sale  of assets which are  held
          supposedly  on  behalf  of  the general  public?  This  is  a
          question  which should be as readily asked by a  conservative
          as  by  a socialist for it touches upon a  central  point  of
          democratic  political morality,  the custodianship of  public
          property. The same ends – the diminution of the state and the
          freeing of the public from seemingly perpetual losses – could
          have  been achieved by  an equitable distribution  of  shares
          free  of charge to the general public.  This would have  had,
          from  a  Thatcherite  standpoint, the additional  benefit  of
          greatly increasing share ownership.

          As for the sale of council houses,  I have never been able to
          persuade   myself  that  this  is  anything  other   than   a
          socialistic measure,  a redistribution of wealth to the poor.
          It  is  also  inequitable because it excludes  the  poor  not
          living in council property and discriminates amongst  council
          tenants  according  to  the quality and  situation  of  their
          properties  – there is a vast difference between  having  the
          right  to  purchase a detached house which is not part  of  a
          vast estate and having the right to purchase a small flat  on
          the  twentieth  floor  of  a  tower  block.   Nor  will  many
          purchasers  of leasehold right-to-buy properties be  thankful
          that they made the decision to buy, for after five years they
          are  left  at the mercy of vengeful councils which  may  levy
          what  service and repair charges they like.  Nor can many  of
          such  leaseholders  view  moving with any  equity  for  their
          chances of finding a buyer at any price, let alone that which
          they paid, are minuscule.

          As  someone who is old enough to remember the  Wilson,  Heath
          and  Callaghan years I have no illusion of exactly how  awful
          the  unions  were when they had real power.  What  I  am  not
          convinced  of  is the prime position granted  in  Thatcherite
          hagiography  to  her union reforms. In 1979 two  things  were
          already apparent: full employment was likely to be a thing of
          the  past and many union members had a  sufficient   material
          stake  in  the country to not welcome frequent  strikes.  Had
          full employment returned in the Thatcher years it is dubious

          But what of her clients, the Liberal Ascendency?  Would  they
          not be dismayed by much of what she did?  Well,  by the  time
          Margaret  Thatcher  came to power liberals had  really   lost
          whatever interest they had ever had in state ownership or the
          genuine   improvement of the worker’s lot.  What they  really
          cared about was destroying  They had  new clients,  the  vast
          numbers  of  coloured immigrants and their  children,  women,
          homosexuals,  the  disabled,  In short,  all those  who  were
          dysfunctional,  or could be made to feel  dysfunctional,   in
          terms  of British society.  They had new areas of  power  and
          distinction,  social work,  education, the civil service ,the
          mass   media  to  which  they  added,   after  securing   the
          ideological high ground,  the ancient delights of politics.

          I can hear the cry,  but was not Margaret Thatcher undone  by
          circumstances?  In  some  degree  that  is  of  course  true,
          particularly in her early years as prime minister.   Had  she
          been  a single term prime minister it would have been a  fair
          excuse.   But the thing to remember about the woman  is  that
          she  was prime minister for eleven years.  Where she  can  be
          utterly condemned is in her failure to ensure that she had  a
          cast iron  majority of like minded ministers in cabinet.  Not
          to  have  done that by the beginning of her second  term  was
          stupid;  to fail to do it at any time in her premiership  was
          both scarcely credible and unforgivable.  To leave Europe  in
          1979  can reasonably be seen to be a pipe  dream  considering
          the  state  of the Tory hierarchy  and  indeed  parliamentary
          party  at  that time.  But to arrive in 1990 at  a  situation
          where  not only was Britain still being  taken for a mug  but
          to be forced into the absurdity of the ERM. Dear God! She was
          so  weak  that  she  was  unable  to  prevent  the  effective
          sacking  of  a  favourite  cabinet  minister  by  the  German
          Chancellor.

          Think of her major cabinet appointments. She ensured that the
          Foreign  Office remained in the hands of men (Howe and  Hurd)
          who  were both ardent Europhiles and willing tools of the  FO
          culture,  the Chancellorship was entrusted to first Howe  and
          then Lawson who was also firmly committed to Europe. The Home
          Office sat in the laps of the social liberals Whitelaw,  Hurd
          and  Baker,  Education was given to Baker and  Clarke.  Those
          appointments  alone  ensured  that little would  be  done  to
          attack the things which liberals held sacred.

          What would be a fair summation? She is that most dangerous of
          incompetents, a proactive incompetent.

          She is one of those strange creatures who appear  charismatic
          when  placed in the supreme position but vaguely  absurd  and
          curiously  insubstantial  in any other state.  I  remember  a
          Radio  4   interview  between Michael Chalton   and  Margaret
          Thatcher  in  which  Chalton  was  speaking  in   his   usual
          coherent  but intellectually sophisticated  manner.  Thatcher
          failed  to answer many of his questions but this was not  for
          the usual reason of political evasiveness:  rather she failed
          because  she  patently did not understand what he was  saying
          and  produced  some  extraordinary non sequiturs  by  way  of
          reply. There is also her performance at Oxford where she took
          a  Second in a subject (chemistry) which lends itself to  the
          achievement  of  a  first  by  any  undergraduate  of  normal
          intelligence. ?

New Libertarian blog just spotted


Hat tip Brian Micklethwait.

Here’s Life, Liberty and proper tea. He even linked to us here – a famous and well-under-reported speech by Sean Gabb about British conservatism!

Libertarian Alliance Meetings


Sean Gabb

1) This is short notice, but there will be a Libertarian Alliance meeting on Monday the 9th March 2009, starting at 7:00pm. The meeting will be in the upstairs room at The Coach and Horses on Great Marlborough Street, Soho, London. To find out who the speaker will be, and to ask any further questions, send e-mail to David McDonagh mcdonagh10@yahoo.com

2) The Chris R. Tame Memorial Lecture will take place on Tuesday 17th March 2009 between 6.30pm and 8.30pm at the National Liberal Club, One Whitehall Place, London SW1 (nearest tube Embankment). Professor Kevin Dowd will speak on “Lessons from the Financial Crisis: A Libertarian Perspective”. For further details, contact Tim Evans tim@libertarian.co.uk

3> Here is a video of my speech to the Marlborough Group on the 22nd February 2009. In this, I take issue with those who claim that British law and the British Constitution have been breached by New Labour. Constitutional lawyers like Michael Shrimpton are wholly correct that whatever goes through Parliament has the force of law. He is also right that the Queen cannot be held to have broken her coronation oath – any Act that conflicts with the words of her oath are taken to have altered the meaning of the oath. My reply is to ask “so what?” The law and Constitution exist to enable ordinary people to live in peace and freedom. They draw their legitimacy from the extent to which they achieve this purpose. When they stop achieving this purpose, or when they begin to frustrate this purpose, they become illegitimate, and can rightly then be overthrown and replaced. Where the Monarchy is concerned, I argue that, whatever the lawyers may claim, there is a contract with us. We agreed in 1688 to regard these people as the Lord’s Anointed, and they agreed to respect our rights, and also to protect them. Since the present Queen has broken her side of the bargain, she had no right to our deference. This speech was given in the heart of England to a meeting of rather elderly conservatives. There was barely a single person there who had not been made by circumstances into a fan of Oliver Cromwell. Here is the speech link:

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-1760896777516663004

4> My speech to the Oxford Union on the 26th February 2009 went very well. I will write a full report of this in the next week or so, but am very busy at present.

Best wishes,

 

Sean

Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism: Sean Gabb Remarks on My Org Theory Book


Kevin Carson

Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism: Sean Gabb Remarks on My Org Theory Book

fakecharities.org has been noticed by charitable trough-piggers themselves. That was quick….


…..and shows that they must have been waiting, pooing their pants in fright, to get rumbled by someone. God, how slow can bloggers be sometimes? (But    _IF_    you go here, you will see that the Libertarian Alliance’s duty-Chimpanzee-Type-Writing-Shift for 2004 (in the unheated Nissen-hut, not the other one) had indeed spotted ASH already!) (And if you go here, we have a raft of ancient writings about fake-charity and its iniquities, or even real charity, and its role in a liberal civilisation.)

David Davis

The Landed Underclass notes today that Charity Finance (whatever that is for) has logged the existence of fakecharities.org, a site set up by the estimable Devil, to expose and monitor the use of public funds directly by “charities”.  

The “charities” named in fakecharities.org are almost entirely engaged in fake lobbying: lobbying, it may be added, for mainly liberty-restricting ends such as more persecution of smokers, alcohol-likers, drivers, people who enjoy tasty food such as burgers and chips, other kinds of poor people, and suchlike.

Libertarians of all kinds will know that under liberal or what we call “free” societies, history shows the greatest rate of expansion of private charity. This is contrasted with the situation of charities under a Big State, which forcibly confiscates so much of people’s resources that charities actually suffer and attenuate. The only way they can survive is to actually abdicate their caring role in favour of the Big State tkaing it over, and than “caring” on behalf of “the people”. Naturally, the “charities” which then do best out of the pig-trough are those with the most Statist ends themselves. Small charities which actually do charity may survive in odd niches and localities, such as this one: but those which don’t trough-pig mega with the sharpest elbows will eventually go down.

Of course, this is what a Big State wants.

Or you could have a charity like this one, which not only has been doing something supremely useful for many decades, but takes no money from Big States.

Good old piece by Sean Gabb, about the vulnerable connections between advertising and liberty


Here.

Nice Canadian comments on Sean Gabb’s speech to Conservative-Future


David Davis

Here. This chap is a Canadian conservative: I have always hoped that there would be some of these.

More on Sean Gabb speech to Conservative-Future: trenchant comment


David Davis

I take the liberty of using this comment (freely available on the thread for this post) as a new post:-

And here’s me been trying to impose a commenting moratorium on myself. Oh well, here I go again.

Sean’s prescription for what to do when power is gained, while perhaps or perhaps not perfect in the detail, is a good one, and is the kind of thought experiment which may bring one temporary cheer. However it does not (nor, one must absolutely acknowledge attempt to) answer the question of how such a position may be gained. As such it is much like discussing which stars to visit in a starship, while ignoring the hard problem, which is how to build a warp drive.

The problem is that by not discussing in the same breath the gaining of that position, we overlook the fundamentally recursive nature of the discussion. If a government of libertarians, or of “the right” (I dispute that label, but let us let it pass for now) or of “real conservatives” (I dispute that even more as I said before) has gained office in our thought experiment, then the war is already won. That which should be done by such government then becomes a trifle, as it will have the authority to do whatever it wishes.

Unless it has gained power by subterfuge, rather than gained office by honest campaigning, this imaginary government has already told the populace that it will slash government to ribbons, immediately leave the EU, abolish the BBC, hound the enemy out of local government, strangle all the quangos and so on. It can only thus gain office if it has the support of the majority of those citizens who care. To achieve that, it must have gained a cultural hegemony and, more significantly a moral hegemony.

It will have become moral to support small government and immoral to support big government. It will have become moral to support tax cuts, to despise the enemy class, and so on.

To achieve the initial conditions for such a libertian cultural revolution, the public morality must have already become libertarian, rather than the current secular evangelical statism.

This is the Hard Problem, and it would seem at this juncture to be entirely intractable, since altering the moral hegemony requires cultural hegemony, while the cultural hegemony is driven by the moral hegemony.

What is oft mistakenly believed is that the statists/Left/whatever invaded the institutions- government, education etc, from outside. This is not true. There were always socialists inside the elite; indeed it is an elite project and always was. We, on the other hand, have no insiders; and the defenders against whom we wish to move are entirely alert to the possibility of any counterhegemonic entryism and are thus able to nullify it before it gains purchase. The Hard Problem is thus profoundly hard. 

Sean Gabb Gets It Right, And Oh So Wrong. | I am Keith Neilson


Comment from Blogmaster:- I should have said that this is the post which Keith Neilson comments on below. The original post was a stormer, which has mightily upset certain Tories in the UK.

Sean Gabb Gets It Right, And Oh So Wrong. | I am Keith Neilson

Sean Gabb at the Oxford Union, 26th February 2009


Thursday, 26th February 2009…a date to watch, for some fireworks…..

At The Oxford Union,

Dr Sean Gabb of the Libertarian Alliance

shall oppose the following  motion:-

“This House Would Restrict The Free Speech of Extremists”.

Sean Gabb: Speech to Conservative Future


Groan:- I don’t know what that smiley is doing there, but I can’t remove it. It’s none of my doing.

UPDATE3:-Please read this response-post, and _in particular_ the comment posted thereupon by an informed member of the blogateriat.

UPDATE2:- Here’s Sean Gabb’s thoughts earlier this year on holocaust denial, a hot subject.

Earlier comment from Blogmaster just after main post filed:-

(1) A direct link from the young Conservatives, who were kind enough to report the event charitably, is here.

(2)  This post by Sean is not for the faint-hearted: that is to say, those who may quail when the real assaults finally come. The prognosis for liberty in the UK is not currently good, and may not get better.

I have just read this on another forum, and would have published it unilaterally had not Sean Gabb done so already. You will find, on reading down, that the floor-response to Sean’s address was not as positive as a rational person would have hoped from today’s Tories, in Britain, embattled as they seem not to realise – or else prefer not to know, and pretend that all will be well if only they take power.

I think we can expect that, on ZanuNewLieborg being thrown out, as they will be, but not decisively (as we fear) then the British Conservative Party will remain a less certain but still definite enemy of individual liberty. this was not always the case as Sean points out. But it is now.

Free Life Commentary,
A Personal View from
The Director of the Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 181
16th February 2009
Linking url: http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc181.htm

Text of a Speech to Conservative Future,
Given in The Old Star Public House, Westminster,
Monday the 16th February 2009
by Sean Gabb

I’d like to begin by praising your courage in having me here tonight to speak to you. I am the Director of an organisation that tried hard during the 1980s to take over the youth movement of the Conservative Party. The Libertarian Alliance provided a home and other support for Marc-Henri Glendenning, David Hoile and Douglas Smith, among others, when it looked as if libertarians might do the same to the Conservative Party as the Trotskyites nearly did to the Labour Party. Sadly, our efforts failed. Since then, the Conservative Party has become more watchful of people like us. It has also, I must say, made itself progressively less worth trying to take over.

I did say that I would come here and be rude to you. But that would be a poor thanks for your hospitality. Besides, while your party leadership has consistently ignored my advice during the past twelve years – and has, in consequence, been out of office during this time – there is no point in dwelling on what might have been. We are where we are, and I think it would be useful for me very briefly to outline my advice to a future Conservative Government.

Now, this is not advice to the Government that looks set to be formed within the next year or so my David Cameron. I may be wrong. It is possible that Mr Cameron is a much cleverer and more Machiavellian man that I have ever thought him, and that he plans to make radical changes once in office. But I do not think he is. I think what little he is promising to do is the very most that he will do. In any event, he is doing nothing to acquire the mandate without which radical change would lack legitimacy. And so this is advice that I offer to some future government of conservatives, rather than to any prospective Conservative Government. It may even be a government formed by the people in this room.

My first piece of advice is to understand the nature of your enemy. If you come into government, you will be in at least the same position as Ramsay MacDonald, when he formed the first Labour Government in the 1920s. He faced an Establishment that was broadly conservative. The administration, the media, the universities, big business – all were hostile to what it was believed he wanted to do. The first Labour Governments were in office, but not fully in power, as they were not accepted by the people with whom and through whom they had to rule the country. To a lesser degree, Clement Attlee and Harold Wilson faced the same constraints. A future Conservative Government will find much the same.

Over the past few generations, a new Establishment or ruling class has emerged in this country. It is a loose coalition of politicians, bureaucrats, educators, media people and associated business interests. These are people who derive income and status from an enlarged and activist state. They have been turning this country into a soft-totalitarian police state. They are not always friendly to a Labour Government. But their natural political home is the Labour Party. They will accept a Conservative Government on sufferance – but only so long as it works within a system that robs ordinary people of their wealth and their freedom. They will never consent to what should be the Conservative strategy of bringing about an irreversible transfer of power from the State back into the hands or ordinary people.

A Cameron Government, as I have said, seems willing to try coexistence with the Establishment. The Thatcher Government set out to fight and defeat an earlier and less confident version of the Establishment – but only on those fronts where its policies were most resisted. It won numerous battles, but, we can now see, it lost the war. For example, I well remember the battle over abolition of the Greater London Council. This appeared at the time a success. But I am not aware of one bureaucrat who lost his job at the GLC who was not at once re-employed by one of the London Boroughs or by some other agency of the State. And we know that Ken Livingstone was eventually restored to power in London.

If you want to win the battle for this country, you need to take advice from the Marxists. These are people whose ends were evil where not impossible. But they were experts in the means to their ends. They knew more than we have ever thought about the seizure and retention of power. I therefore say this to you. If you ever do come to power, and if you want to bring about the irreversible transfer of power to ordinary people, you should take to heart what Marx said in 1871, after the failure of the Paris Commune: �the next attempt of the French Revolution will be no longer, as before, to transfer the bureaucratic-military machine from one hand to another, but to smash it, and this is the precondition for every real people�s revolution�.�

The meaning of this is that you should not try to work with the Establishment. You should not try to jolly it along. You should not try fighting it on narrow fronts. You must regard it as the enemy, and you must smash it.

On the first day of your government, you should close down the BBC. You should take it off air. You should disclaim its copyrights. You should throw all its staff into the street. You should not try to privatise the BBC. This would simply be to transfer the voice of your enemy from the public to the private sector, where it might be more effective in its opposition. You must shut it down – and shut it down at once. You should do the same with much of the administration. The Foreign Office, much of the Home Office, the Commission for Racial Equality, anything to do with health and safety and planning and child protection – I mean much of the public sector – these should be shut down. If at the end of your first month in power, you have not shut down half of the State, you are failing. If you have shut down half the State, you have made a step in the right direction, and are ready for still further cuts.

Let me emphasise that the purpose of these cuts would not be to save money for the taxpayers or lift an immense weight of bureaucracy from their backs – though they would do this. The purpose is to destroy the Establishment before it can destroy you. You must tear up the web of power and personal connections that make these people effective as an opposition to radical change. If you do this, you will face no more clamour than if you moved slowly and half-heartedly. Again, I remember to campaign against the Thatcher “cuts”. There were no cuts, except in the rate of growth of state spending. You would never have thought this from the the torrent of protests that rolled in from the Establishment and its clients. And so my advice is to go ahead and make real cuts – and be prepared to set the police on anyone who dares riot against you.

I fail to see how you would face any electoral problems with this approach. Most Conservative voters would welcome tax cuts and a return to freedom. As for those who lost their jobs, they do not, nor ever will, vote Conservative.

Following from this, however, I advise you to leave large areas of the welfare state alone. It is regrettable, but most people in this country do like the idea of healthcare free at the point of use, and of free education, and of pensions and unemployment benefit. These must go in the long term. But they must be retained in the short term to maintain electoral support. Their cost and methods of provision should be examined. But cutting welfare provision would be politically unwise in the early days of our revolution.

I have already spoken longer than I intended. But one more point is worth making. This is that we need to look again at our constitutional arrangements. The British Constitution has always been a fancy dress ball at which ordinary people were not really welcome, but which served to protect the life, liberty and property of ordinary people. Some parts of this fancy dress ball continue, but they no longer serve their old purpose. They are a fig leaf for an increasingly grim administrative despotism. I was, until recently, a committed monarchist. I now have to admit that the Queen has spent the past half century breaking her Coronation Oath at every opportunity. The only documents she has ever seemed reluctant to sign are personal cheques. Conservatives need to remember that our tradition extends not only through Edmund Burke to the Cavaliers, but also through Tom Paine to Oliver Cromwell. We live in an age where it is necessary to be radical to be conservative.

But I have now spoken quite long enough, and I am sure you have much to say in response. I therefore thank you again for your indulgence in having invited me and the politeness with which you have heard me.

[A combination of silence and faint applause]

Comment 1: You accuse the Conservatives of having ignored you for twelve years. From what you have just said, it is a good thing you were ignored. Under David Cameron’s leadership, we have a Conservative Party that is now positively desired by the people. Your advice is and would have been a recipe for permanent opposition.

Response: I disagree. There is no positive desire for a Conservative Government. If there were, the polls would be showing a consistent fifty point lead or something. What we have is a Labour Government that is so dreadful that I have trouble thinking what could be worse.

[In a private conversation before my speech, I said that the Labour Party had turned out to be about as bad in government as the Green Party or the British National Party or Sinn Fein.]

There are two ways of doing politics. One is to listen to focus groups and opinion polls, and offer the people what they claim to want. The other is to stand up and tell them what they ought to want, and to keep arguing until the people agree that they want it, or until it is shown not to be worth wanting. I think I know what sort of politicians will run the next Conservative Government. What sort of politicians do you want to be?

Comment 2 [from an Irishman]: What you are saying means that the country would be without protection against obvious evils. With no child protection services, children would be abused and murdered. Without planning controls, the countryside would soon be covered with concrete. Without planning controls, cities like Manchester would be far less attractive places.

I will also say, as an Irishman, that I am offended by your reference to Oliver Cromwell, who was a murderer and tyrant. You cannot approve of this man.

Response: You have been taken in by the Establishment’s propaganda. This is to insist that we live with vast structures of oppression, or that we must accept the evils they are alleged to curb. I say that that these structures do not curb any evils, but instead create evils of their own. We have, for example, seventy thousand social workers in this country. They appear to have done a consistently rotten job at protecting the few children who need protecting. instead, they are taking children away from grandparents to give to strangers, and are setting the police onto dissenting ministers who allow their children to climb onto the roof. None of this should be surprising. The Children Act and other laws have created a bureaucratic sausage machine that must somehow be filled. I say let it be destroyed along with all else that is evil in our system of government.

[What I might have said, but was too polite to say: As for Oliver Cromwell, he was one of the greatest Englishmen who ever lived. It is partly thanks to him that we have just had around three centuries of freedom and political stability. When you refer to his actions in Ireland, you are repeating Fenian propaganda. What he did in Ireland has been exaggerated by the enemies of England, and in any event was in keeping with the customs of war universally admitted in his own time. If you want to throw an offended fit every time an Englishman in London praises an English hero to other Englishmen, you should consider moving to Dublin where all the letter boxes have been painted a reassuring green, and your own national sensitivities never need be offended again.]

Comment 3: All you speak about is winning and the destruction of enemies. Yet you are willing to consider keeping the welfare state. You are nothing but an unprincipled trouble maker. Thank God the Conservative Party no longer has any place for people like you.

Response: If we were facing the sort of Labour Government we had under Clement Attlee and Harold Wilson, you would be right. However, we have an Establishment that has already given us the beginnings of a totalitarian police state. Today, for example, the authorities will start collecting details of every telephone call, text and e-mail sent in this country. Children are about to have their details stuffed into a giant database that will enable them to be monitored by the authorities until they are adults – and probably through their entire lives. We live in a country were privacy is being abolished. Speech is increasingly unfree. The police are out of control. Everything is getting rapidly worse, and it is easy to see the end state that is desired, or total control.

If a government of radical conservatives ever does take power, it will have one attempt at saving this country. That means radical and focussed actions from day one. Anything less than this, and it will fail. I am suggesting a revolution – but this is really a counter-revolution against what has already been proceeding for at least one generation. If we are to beat the heirs of Marx, we must learn from Marx himself.

Comment 4: You are wasting our time with all this radical preaching. People do not want to hear about how they are oppressed by the Establishment, and how this must be destroyed. What they want to hear is that taxes are too high, that the money is being wasted, and that there are ways to protect essential public services with lower taxes. That is why the Taxpayers’ Alliance has been so much more prominent than the Libertarian Alliance. We must have nothing to do with the ranting lunatics of the Libertarian Alliance.

Response: You may have a desire for electoral success that I do not share. But I am the better politician. All debate is perceived as taking place on a spectrum that has a centre and two extremes. If the Libertarian Alliance did not exist, the relevant spectrum would simply reconfigure itself with the Taxpayers’ Alliance at one extreme, and the centre would be still less attractive than it now is. Since most people consciously take centrist positions, it is in your interest – regardless of whether I am right – to say what I do. It makes you and your friends moderate in relation to me.

[At this point, some unfortunate woman began screeching that I was a fascist, and the debate came to an end.]

[I normally like to comment on these events once I have described them. I think, however, the above stands by itself.]

NB—Sean Gabb’s book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back, can be downloaded for free from http://tinyurl.com/34e2o3

Labour “Peers” and “cash for law changes”: the buggers get off.


Of course they will: whatever did we suppose?

David Davis

There are two nations now – firstly, the one the Enemy Class inhabits (see Dr Sean Gabb’s site for further clarification of these buggers) into which there is Active Transport of money, up a very very steep Concentration Gradient.

And then there is the one they chain us in  – fenced in by cameras, terror-police and DNA databases, where the money is produced, and from which it is extracted, as if we are their farm animals.

At least Old Holborn has said something about this sad matter. Everybody else seems as bored as we are.

Sean Gabb on the BBC re Carol Thatcher


http://www.libertarian.co.uk/multimedia/2009-02-04-sig-thatcher.mp3

Should the BBC have sacked Carol Thatcher because she said in a private conversation that someone looked like a golliwog? No, says Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance.  Jo Brand was investigated by the police for allegedly inciting violence on BBC 1 against her political opponents. Carol Thatcher used a word. One gets the sack, the other the BBC’s unconditional support. But, then, Jo Brand is part of the New Labour Establishment. Carol Thatcher is the daughter of a Prime Minister who still makes the ruling class shudder.

Sean Gabb: Another Rant about the Recession


Free Life Commentary,
A Personal View from
The Director of the Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 179
28th January 2009
Linking url: http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc.179

The Car Industry Bail Out:
Are There no Politicians Now Who Understand Economics?
by Sean Gabb

The British Government has just announced what may be £2,000 million of subsidies for the car industry in this country. Responses to the announcement range from gratitude that jobs and manufacturing capacity are to be saved to complaints that the subsidies do not go far enough. My reading and viewing may not be comprehensive, but I have seen nothing in the mainstream media denouncing the subsidies as at best politically motivated – much of the car industry being located in constituencies held by Labour – and at worst economically illiterate. Since the first grounds of denunciation ought, after nearly twelve years of these people, to be self-evident, I will devote myself here to the second.

We are continually told at present – which is somewhat more than usual – how government spending had created, or will create, so many jobs. Therefore, the immense expansion of the British State since 1997 has created three hundred thousand jobs or whatever. Some deplore this because most of those employed can be expected to vote Labour. Hardly anyone denies there has been a net addition to the number of employed. The same reasoning underlies all discussion of how we are to get through the recession on which we have now started.

The truth is, however, that government spending does not so much create as displace employment. Every pound spent by the Government must first be taken from the people, who cannot then spend it for themselves. If the money is taken is taken through taxes, it exactly reduces the ability of the people to spend or invest it for themselves as they wish, or to save it for transfer, via the banking system, for others to spend or invest as they wish. If the money is borrowed, it again exactly reduces the amount of money that the people can borrow to spend or invest.

It is more complex if the money is printed by the Government – or, more likely nowadays, borrowed from the banks in a fractional reserve system. But if its effects are often hard to trace until after the event, inflation is no less a tax than any other means of providing money to governments. It may reduce the actual purchasing power of money left in the hands of the people. Given the downward pressure on manufacturing costs we have seen during the past generation, inflation will at best reduce the potential purchasing power of money that already exists.

This being so, the argument that government spending creates employment relies on a blindness to the concept of opportunity cost – that every pound spent on paying one salary is a pound less to spend on another salary. Put more simply, it is a case of what Bastiat described as “what is seen and what is not seen”. We see the jobs created by the Government in it “regeneration” projects. We do not see the jobs that would otherwise have been created to supply things that people actually would have bought had the money been left in their own pockets.

For the past six months, the argument has been reinforced by the claim that government spending is needed to make up for a disinclination by others to spend or invest. This being so, it will not be a zero sum game, but will create net employment. There is no doubt that there has been a deflation. People are borrowing less and saving more. The banks have been increasing their financial reserves. But it does not follow from this admission that government spending is needed to make up the deficiency. The fall in spending is not the cause of the problems we face, but is a symptom.

For perhaps the past decade, many central banks in the rich world have kept interest rates below the level needed to balance the supply of savings and the demand for loans. When other prices are forced below their equilibrium – rent control, for example – the result is shortages. In the fractional reserve system that we nowadays have, however, pushing interest rates below their equilibrium has simply enabled the commercial banks to create money out of nothing. In the past, this would have led almost at once to price increases. This time, with most consumer goods made in countries where supply curves are very elastic, and with exchange rates only loosely related in the short term to the financing of foreign trade, and with financial and property markets able to absorb what long seemed to be limitless amounts of money, the result was a speculative bubble, in which consumer prices hardly rose, and in which most of us were persuaded that we were growing richer.

These bubbles never last. The new money is brought into being through bank lending that cannot continue forever. There comes a point where people have taken as much debt as they can service, or  where they have invested on the basis of trends that stop rising. It is then that some event that would otherwise have been overlooked becomes the excuse for a panic. The bubble bursts. Net borrowing turns negative. Prices of overbid assets fall. Prices of securities fall to the value of their underlying assets – assuming there are any that can be identified. Much investment in new capacity is shown to have been unwise.

On this reasoning, the present fall in spending is not an event in itself that needs to be and can be cured by higher government spending. What we now have is really part of a cycle that began with the artificial lowering of interest rates, and that will end with the liquidation of the unwise investments and the correction in asset prices. The British Government’s policy of trying to halt the deflation with higher spending and even lower interest rates cannot do better than lengthen the cycle during its unpleasant phase. It also increases the size of the State – which already takes far too much of our money and spends it on things we would never buy given a free choice.

But I return to the bail out of the car industry. This is not a case of limiting collateral damage. The car industry is not a fundamentally sound victim of circumstances. It is instead one of those sectors in which unwise investments were made. There is no shortage of finance for businesses that really are considered sound. Even I still receive one or two pre-approved loan offers from banks I never knew existed. If the car companies cannot borrow to maintain their working capital, it is because no one believes in their fundamental soundness. Even at the height of the boom, it was claimed that there were too many car makers, given present and future demand for cars. There will now be several years when hardly anyone with an ounce of common sense will spend money unless he must on a new car. No one seems to care if estate agents all over the country are losing their jobs. If car workers are now to lose their jobs, it is for the same reason.

Of course, there are things the Government could do and ought to do to help the car industry. These are all negative. For the past twelve years, it has been running propaganda campaigns and piling taxes and regulations that have tended to make driving less attractive than it might otherwise have been. These propaganda campaigns should be ended. The road excise and petrol duties should be cut. The cameras and yellow and red lines should be taken away. The police officers now deployed to harass drivers should be dismissed – there being, in any event, more policemen than needed to enforce the laws of a free country.

I move back now to the general difficulties we face. With increasing desperation, Gordon Brown is denouncing anyone who questions his policy of inflation as wanting to do nothing. Well, doing nothing at all would be an improvement on what he has been doing. However, there are things the Government could do. None of it would take us back straightaway to the prosperity we have lost. But it would shorten and moderate the pain that stands between us and recovery. I suggest the following:

  • The Government should balance its budget – and do so not by increasing taxes, but by spending less. This would tend to restore confidence to markets that are presently working on the assumption of a soft pound, and where default on the national debt is no longer thought impossible.
  • The Government should force all banks that have limited liability to reveal their true financial position. This would not be an interference in their private affairs, as limited liability is a privilege bringing responsibilities that may be varied as thought reasonable. This would again tend to restore confidence, and it would do more than printing money has to persuade the banks to start lending to each other.
  • The Government should return to a fully convertible gold standard. Unless otherwise contracted, it should be regarded as fraud for a banker to take a deposit and not have sufficient reserves to redeem it at once on demand. This would prevent the periodic explosions of credit that are behind the trade cycle.
  • Of course, the Government should also abolish income tax, valued added tax and excise duties. If this does not cut the tax burden by three quarters, it should abolish some other taxes. To keep the budget balanced, it should also cut spending.

I could go on, making more and more claims unlikely ever to be conceded by the British Government or any other. But the first two, plus a few cuts, would go far to shortening the recession. Sadly, even these will not be tried – not at least until the Keynesian remedies everyone wants have been tested to destruction.

Further Reading:

Murray Rothbard, America’s Great Depression
Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson
Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Credit Creation or Financial Intermediation?: Fractional-reserve Banking in a Growing Economy

NB—Sean Gabb’s book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back, can be downloaded for free from http://tinyurl.com/34e2o3

Be of Good Cheer: Christmas Greetings from Sean Gabb


Sean Gabb

Free Life Commentary,
A Personal View from
The Director of the Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 178
25th December 2008

Comments| Trackback

Be of Good Cheer:
A Christmas Greeting
from the Director of the Libertarian Alliance
by Sean Gabb

There being nothing else on any of the channels we can receive, my wife and I have spent much of the day watching the various Christmas greetings from religious and political leaders from around the world. These range from the vacuous (Her Majesty the Queen), to the impressively malevolent, so long as the volume is turned down (the Bishop of Rome), to the plain stupid (the Archbishop of Canterbury). I will not bother with reviewing these utterances. Instead, I will issue one of my own.

There is little doubt that 2009 will be a bad year in every respect where the politicians have influence. In England, we may have a general election before the summer. If this happens, and if the votes are fairly counted, or if the police decide not to arrest all the opposition leaders, Gordon Brown and his Labour Party will be ejected from office. In the past decade, he has helped turn this country from the incipient police state established by the Conservatives into a true police state that is tempered only by the mockery we are still permitted to heap on its projectors. It would be nice to see these people out of office – especially since they could never be re-elected, and the only thing they have ever really wanted in life was to be in office. But there is no reason to suppose the Conservatives would do much to prevent our final slide into totalitarianism. They have too many nasty inclinations of their own to break up the vast apparatus of control brought near perfection by Labour. Even otherwise, I suspect they are too stupid and lazy to know how to break it up.

I would ignore political developments elsewhere in the world – only it would deprive me of the opportunity to feel sorry for the Americans. I saw their President-Elect in a newspaper the other morning. Posing shirtless, he looked for all the world like one of the more raddled black boys you see selling their bodies in Leicester Square. I think this says more about the tone of his coming leadership than his choice of Hillary Clinton and the usual neo-con suspects to run his foreign policy, or his having accepted the full climate change nonsense. I have no doubt the BBC will cover his inauguration as if it were the Second Coming. It will be watched in much of England, even so, with laughter and contempt. President Obama will be rather like Tony Blair, but without the taste or restraint which Princess Tony will, by comparison, be shown to have possessed.

Since they too are influenced by the politicians, 2009 will be a bad year in most respects economic. I am not sure when the present cycle started, but interest rates have, for many years, been manipulated by the politicians below the level needed to balance savings and loans. The resulting additional demand for loans was satisfied by creating new money out of nothing. This enabled a gigantic speculative bubble that sprang a puncture last year, and that has now burst. Recession is the natural result. The structure of relative prices has been distorted. Investments have been made that are now shown to be unwise. There must be changes. The beginning of change is to allow interest rates to rise and unsound businesses to go bankrupt. The faster this is allowed to happen, the sooner we can return to prosperity.

Sadly, the political response has been to look for any scheme to save or replace the speculative bubble. Interest rates have been cut in England and America. The taxpayers’ money has been lavished on propping up the more unsound banks. Governments are threatening to inflate without limit. The stated purpose of this is to avoid recession. The result will be to make the recession longer and deeper than it needs to be. The politicians tell us that Keynes was right after all. Perhaps that is what they believe. More likely,  they have been taken in by the bankers with warnings about total collapse of the financial system, and are now responding like the victims of those Internet frauds run from Nigeria. I see the car makers have taken up the bleat for subsidies. I suppose they will be joined soon enough by the coffee bars and every other business that overexpanded.

2009, therefore, will be a bad year in the economic sense. If it is not, the pain will only have been delayed until 2010, when it will be felt with compound interest.

Here, though, is an end of my gloom. Much is bad now, and will get worse in the next few years. So long, however, as we can avoid a collapse into totalitarianism, the future is nowhere near so bleak as we are presently assured. Scientific and technical progress continue at the most wonderful speed. Sooner or later, there will be a renewed scramble to bring the results to market, and our lives will be still further enriched – and this time, I hope, considerably extended.

And there need be no relative decline of the West. We have been told for years – usually by self-righteous lefties, gloating over a fall that they assume they and their families can personally avoid sharing – that the coming economic giants of this century are China and perhaps India. This is as fatuous as earlier claims about Japan. If you type the phrase “population pyramids” into Google, the first result will be an American Government website showing how the population of every country in the world is, and will be, distributed by age. Until we know how to extend not merely life but also youth, the most dynamic people in any country will be aged between twenty five and forty five. In England and in America, this age group will predominate throughout the present century. In the Orient, every developing country is following the Japanese pattern of rapid ageing, followed by actual decline of population. The Japanese at least reached Western standards of living before they stopped having children. The Chinese may simply grow old before they get rich. After a fashion, China has been getting richer for about thirty years. We shall see how long that can continue once the majority of the population is over the age of fifty, and have neither savings nor children to support them in old age.

And China has been getting richer only after a fashion. About thirty years ago, its Communist rulers decided to turn the country into one big sweatshop, supplying the West on razor thin profit margins. They managed this by unlimited force. Ordinary working people in China have been ruthlessly exploited. With the banning of real trade unions, and with generally oppressive contracts of employment, labour there is free only in the nominal sense. Otherwise, costs have been socialised for favoured companies; and competitiveness has been maintained by an undervalued exchange rate. Look beyond those glittering towers built for the ruling class and its foreign partners, and you find endless and increasing misery.

Even without the start of demographic crisis, this may now be ending. We are told about the huge scale of the foreign currency reserves maintained by the Chinese Government and its banks – as if money were the same as riches. At least the mercantilists in old Europe wanted their governments to accumulate gold and silver. These could eventually be made into imports. What the Chinese Communists have done is to send us a continuous stream of manufactured goods, accepting in exchange a mountain of dollars – and at an undervalued rate – that are only worth anything if they are not spent. The moment these reserves are used for imports, or switched into more stable currencies, their value will collapse.

The Americans have had the main benefit from this fraud. But so far as the Orientals have had an insatiable hunger for dollars, and the rest of us have had no trouble in getting dollars to hand over, all other Western peoples have benefitted.

This brings me to the supposed crisis of our national debt. The English and American Governments have been borrowing for the past decade on a scale that would once have been thought reckless. Gordon Brown has already given this country the ratio of debt to output that we last had after the Second World War. This is without the further borrowing he has announced. The Americans are facing the same explosion of public debt. Some economists are telling us that we shall have to pay higher taxes for at least a generation to service these debts.

But this is not true. Our governments will borrow little from us – most of us having no savings to lend. They will instead continue selling bonds to the Arabs and the Orientals, and a few Russians if the price of oil recovers in time. The real value of these will then be inflated away.

None of this pleases me. Inflation harms us all, if in ways that are often hard to trace. But once the mess of the last boom has been cleared away, it will become plain that the chief victims of that boom were the very countries everyone thought were the chief beneficiaries. We shall have had our cheap notebook computers and our flat screen television sets. We shall have increased our wealth in the present, and increased our abilities to grow wealthier in the future. Those who screwed their peoples to the edge of destitution to make this possible will find themselves holding our increasingly worthless paper. Chinese growth will grind to a halt. India will break up. Eventually, the Arabs and Russians will learn that we have discovered some cheaper source of energy than their carbons. All we need to do is somehow bring our politicians under control, and we shall enjoy a most agreeable twenty first century.

And so I wish all the lucky members of my mailing list a Happy Christmas, and – if the coming year will be dreadful – the prospect of much better times to come.

NB—Sean Gabb’s book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back, can be downloaded for free from http://tinyurl.com/34e2o3

Sean Gabb, Director’s Bulletin, December 2008


Director’s Bulletin
9th December 2008
Introduction
Book Recommendations 1
Book Recommendations 2
Libertarian Alliance Conference
Eton College
Media Appearances
Negative Scanner Wanted

Introduction

I will begin by wishing a Happy Christmas to everyone who celebrates these things, and a Happy Holiday Season to those who don’t. You can see my personal card here: http://www.seangabb.co.uk/christmas.htm

Book Recommendation 1

Richard Blake, who is a very dear friend of mine, has now published his first novel in Italian. La Cospirazione Papale. This has already received a most flattering review by Marian Halcombe. I urge all my Italian readers to go out and buy copies of this novel. It will make an excellent Christmas present for any Italian interested in how an Englishman sees his country in the seventh century. And Mr Blake promises that, unlike certain other popular novelists, he will never give a million pounds to the Labour Party. You can order your copies here: http://tinyurl.com/567q47

Book Recommendation 2

I have discovered another box of my own first novel, The Column of Phocas. This means that after a year of being unavailable, it can now be offered again to the public. Again, it will make an excellent Christmas present for people who already have everything else. You can order copies from me directly at http://www.candidlist.demon.co.uk/hampden/phocas.htm All orders received will be sent out the same day. Again, I can promise that not a penny of the proceeds will go to the Labour Party – assuming, that is, the British State is not nowadays simply the executive wing of the Labour Party.

Libertarian Alliance Conference

This has been set for the last weekend in October 2009 at the National Liberal Club in London. As yet, we are unable to make any announcement regarding speakers or subjects. However, bearing in mind the continuing economic collapse, we have decided for a second year to keep the conference fee at the old rate of �85. So many of our friends have now lost their jobs and are facing hard times in the year ahead, that we feel obliged to dip further into our reserves to subsidise the conference. Do stand by for more detailed announcements.

Eton College

On the 19th November 2008, I spoke about libertarianism to the Shelley Society at Eton College. I had always thought of Eton as a place where the boys were stuffed at night into cold and filthy dormitories and flogged all day into learning how to write Greek iambics. It is actually a most impressive place of learning. The boys were all polite, and they asked me some very interesting questions. How so many members of our ruling class emerged from here as thick as they are is a mystery.

Media Appearances

I have done about a dozen media appearances in the past month. Sadly, I have only bothered to record two of them. This is most remiss of me, I accept – indeed, which writing this, I was called by a Christian radio station and asked to comment on the Government’s further steps towards banning tobacco. I made my comments without recording them. The recorded appearances are:

My debate with Lord Levy on the 19th November 2008. This went out on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme and was heard by millions of people.
http://www.libertarian.co.uk/multimedia/2008-11-19-sig-lester.mp3

A comment on the Queen’s Speech on Talk Sport Radio from the 3rd December 2008.
http://www.libertarian.co.uk/multimedia/2008-12-03-qe2speech-sig.mp3

Negative Scanner Wanted

I have several thousand negatives from the Chris R. Tame collection of photographs. I want to have these scanned in for upload to the Internet. Is there anyone out there able and willing to lend me a good negative scanner?


Sean Gabb
Director, The Libertarian Alliance
sean@libertarian.co.uk
Tel: 07956 472 199

http://www.libertarian.co.uk
http://www.seangabb.co.uk
http://www.hampdenpress.co.uk
http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com

FREE download of my book – Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back
Wikipedia Entry

Libertarian Alliance home

Spending Our Way to Economic Collapse


Sean Gabb

Free Life Commentary,
A Personal View from
The Director of the Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 177
24th November 2008

Comments| Trackback

The British Government’s Tax and Spending Proposals:
Testing Keynes to Destruction (Again!)
by Sean Gabb

Tomorrow afternoon, all the journalists have been primed to say, the British Government will cut taxes and increase spending. The alleged purpose of this is to prevent a deep recession. The real purpose, there can be no doubt, is to win the next general election for Labour – and, since the Conservatives remain as useless as ever, it may well work. I will, however, discuss the alleged purpose. Politics aside, it will be about as catastrophic a response to our current troubles as can be imagined.

The politicians of every party, and every journalist I have read, are agreed on the nature of these troubles. The crises of the past year in the banking sector have caused investment to fall. Consumption is now beginning to fall. To use the Keynesian jargon, aggregate demand has fallen, or is falling, below the level needed to keep national income at its full employment level. The answer is for the Government to cut taxes, thereby encouraging people to spend, and to increase its own spending.

It is also agreed by all that interest rates should be cut, thereby encouraging people to spend still more and encouraging firms at least to go back to investing as much as they were until the troubles began. It is admitted that doing all this might cause other problems. But this admission is followed by warnings about the horrors of the deflation we otherwise face.

This kind of economic reasoning is not as worthless as some of my friends believe. In countries as heavily regulated and corporatised as modern Britain and America, an increased preference to hold cash will not be balanced in the short or medium term by changes in the structure of relative prices. Firms will cut production rather than prices. Trade unions will prefer job losses to wage cuts. This can mean a very long and severe recession. There can be little doubt that, regardless of whatever would have followed, even without the Second World War,  the currency debasement of 1931 moderated the effect here of the Great Depression.

However, while not entirely worthless in certain conditions, what we are now being told is entirely worthless now. There is no doubt that people are spending and investing less than they were, and that they will continue to spend and invest less for some while to come. But, before agreeing that the politicians should be allowed to do what they most enjoy – namely, spending money that is not their own and that often does not yet even exist – we need to ask why we are in such trouble. The answer will explain why the proposed response will be catastrophic.

For many years, interest rates have been held below the sort of level needed to balance the supply of savings and the demand for loans. The result has been inflation. That many consumer prices have been falling is no argument against this proposition. Inflation is best seen not as price increases but as monetary expansion. There was a time when monetary expansion led fairly soon to price rises. Where at least Britain is concerned, though, most consumer goods are imported. So long as foreigners are willing to finance a growing current account deficit without devaluation, demand for imported consumer goods can expand rapidly and for years without any increase in prices.

The new money will therefore be used partly for investments in new production that may or may not be wise in the long term – and also to bid up the prices of property and of paper assets.

These bubbles never last. There comes a point where people lose faith in a currency, and where the upward spiral of asset prices is checked.  The fall in the currency will push up consumer prices. Overvalued assets will fall in at least real terms. Many other investments will be shown to have been unwise. The immediate reasons for their bursting are less important than that they always will burst. This has now happened. There is no definite rule in these matters. But it seems that the length and intensity of the boom is roughly in proportion to the scale of the recession that follows.

The financial collapse we are now witnessing, therefore, should not be seen as some autonomous fall in aggregate demand that can be offset by increasing other variables in the national income income equation. It is instead part of the unavoidable correction to past experiments in demand management. All the clever people disagree. They do believe that playing with aggregate demand can avert, or at least moderate, the coming recession. Now, these people are often very clever – most of them more so than I am. They are still wrong.

Cutting taxes is always a good idea. Not balancing them with spending cuts is not so good. If the British Government will do tomorrow what the journalists say it will, the inflation will be continued, though now without the confidence in sterling that allowed it before last year to create the illusion of prosperity. Taxes will fall. Government and other spending will rise. Interest rates will be cut. In the short term, this may be enough to win the next election for Labour. It not even before, though, the pound will collapse shortly after. Interest rates will then need to rise sharply, if the Government is to continue selling its bonds and if consumer prices are not to rise sharply and continuously.

There is no reasonable chance of deflation. For the next few months, while the collapse of sterling is only gathering momentum, firms will be able to reduce prices to keep up demand for their products. This will give the appearance of deflation. Eventually, though, their margins will not be further reducible, and the collapse of sterling will raise costs that must be handed on. This will happen even without further action. The bank rescues of last month were financed by money creation that will, sooner or later, find its way into circulation. Deflation is the last of our worries.

I have no professional expertise in finance, and so give no warranties of any kind. This being said, I think it a good idea for anyone who has a mortgage to get the best fixed rate he can between now and Easter, and otherwise to avoid saving money at any rate fixed longer than six months ahead. If he wants to buy imported consumer goods, he should do so now or, at latest, in the sales after Christmas.

Beyond this, I have no advice. Just because I do not believe in the solution that everyone else is urging on us does not mean that I have any alternative solution to offer. We should never have got ourselves into this mess. Failing that, the recession should have been allowed to hit last year. Since it was then deferred, it should be allowed to hit now. It will do nothing to moderate the inevitable recession. But there is a good case for cutting taxes and government spending now by at least a third, and then by five per cent a year every year for the next decade. And there is a case for returning to a fully convertible gold standard.

Of course, no politicians will take my advice. If any do read what I have just said, they will at best laugh with contempt. But I am right, and I feel some grim satisfaction in being able, come 2010, to send this article out again under the heading “See – I Told You So!”.

NB—Sean Gabb’s book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back, can be downloaded for free from http://tinyurl.com/34e2o3

Sean Gabb on the BNP Ban


A debate with Lord Lester on the BBC Radio 4 PM Programme, on the 19th November 2008:

http://www.libertarian.co.uk/multimedia/2008-11-19-sig-lester.mp3

Libertarian Alliance Remembrance Post 6: what ought Libertarians to plan for, and discuss, regarding what’s worth defending, and why ought we to defend anything at all?


UPDATE….and Tim Worstall does it better than I do as well….

David Davis

That’s it for this year, you’ll all be relieved to know…but first, I will direct you to the Devil, who writes all this quite important stuff, which ought to be noted and spread virally into the endarkening before it’s too late, far more effectively that I do. Then I’ll just make the point that this being the 90th commemoration of the end of World War 1, it’s probably the last one of any size: moreover, that it’s remarkable that we have any of what my old dad used to dub “the poor old chapsleft to witness it.

The centenary will probably have State-regulated fireworks compèred by Jonathan Ross. There will be scantily-dressed BBC-news-readerettes who will hand out strangely unfamiliar red flowers in the streets shopping prestinks, to bemused passers-by, the whole thing edgily-videoed by wildly-waving handycams. (“And now it’s back to you, Russell Brand, in the studio!”)

There are many strands of Libertarianism. Chris Tame used famously to say that “there may be two Libertarians somewhere who agree about everything, but I’m not one of them!” Of course he was just making a point theatrically, which he was good at, but he meant that, unlike Trotskyo-Marxian fascists and big-statists, we can amicably discuss a large range of ideas without pogromising each other.

For example, Sean Gabb and many others have always opposed British involvement in Iraq (and for all I know elsewhere too) as not involving any vital British interests and therefore totally unjustified. He may turn out to be right, but I have always disagreed. I think the West responded with much too little, and much, much too late after 9/11, dragged down and back (until it was too late) as it was, by internal traitors in the UN, the EU, on the Beltway especially, and elsewhere, from the easy and clean fulfilment of its essential and unitary objective.

Then, there are Libertarians who would restrict the Franchise on property criteria. Insofar as we have a State, and a government, and while this is unavoidable, then it should be a pluralist democracy and so therefore I support these people, Salisburianly speaking. But I risk scandalising others as a result. It does not matter: we will not bury ice-picks in each other’s skulls.

To libertarians like me, Western Civilisation, especially when conflated with all the popular externalities created BY free markets and minimal State-Planning and especially when un-influenced by what Sean Gabb calls the Enemy Class, offers the fastest and least-destructive path for all Men to improve their lives and be happier. We do not know what comes after this life, if anything (that can be perceived in a physical sense) and can’t ever so far as we know find out; although many of us – even among Libertarians – believe there is a God, and that He approximates to that Being hazily described in 1.Genesis and also in 1.John.1. Paul of course said that “for now, we see as through a Glass, Darkly”: all we can therefore do is what seems best, or least bad, at the time. Human existence is imperfect, but small bits of progress can be made, and accumulated, provided they are allowed to. It’s the “not allowing” bit that totalitarians do that causes the problem.

What distinguishes Western Christian (in the old pre-secular sense) Civilisation from those others it has had the bad fortune to have to oppose and defend against, is the gradual if imperfect rise of a notion of individual conscience and liberty of thought and action. The going has not always been easy or uninterrupted. But in the end, we arrived shakily, “darkly”, at something whereby one could go through life substantially without coming into contact with the jaws of the State (Sean’s words roughly interpeted, not mine) and a degree of liberty meant also that there was a degree of spontaneous order.

These poor old chaps now finally pass out into the sunset of history, soon to be followed by those left from a later and worse conflict. They thought through the prism of their time, rightly or not, about what was worth defending. It would be nice to think we didn’t have to, but what we face now is just another manifestation of the enemies of individual freedom, this time very sadly right at home inside the West. Yes there may be a few terrorists skulking about, but add up all the deaths and destruction they have wrought and yet could, and it’s a pinprick compared with what the Gramsco-Marxians intend and are incrasingly coming out into the open with. Terrorists can only kill people and blow stuff up: they can’t begin to erase ideas.

If individual people are strong in what they believe, and if they honestly believe it, then terrorists can only isolate themselves further. But if we all acquiesce in the deliberate and purposeful Gramsco-Marxian elimination of our culture and the freedoms it gave rise to, then there is no place for llibertarianism to hide.

Via the UK Libertarian Party…


Sean Gabb will speak at the Oxford Union. We had already flagged this much earlier but it’s worth repeating, and also plugging our friends.

I don;t think Sean resembles the totty on the frontispiece of this youtube thingy:-

The metric Martyrs and the Constitution: Libertarian Alliance Showcase Publication no-19, by Sean Gabb


Sean Gabb

By way of intro, der Überblogmeister writes:-

For the benefit of overseas readers, English people have been in the habit of being able to trade in – and buy/sell in (legally) “imperial” measures for as long as these have been commonly understood, which in some cases such as “a Pound” (weight) is about fourteen centuries. These measures were indeed widely used in Europe and other places in the Known World, until the advent of the Metric System, statutorily enforced throughout conquered Europe by Napoleon. Just doing that thing on its own did not make Napoleon a fascist pig, but a fascist pig is what he was all the same, for integrated reasons.

Indeed, it has ALWAYS been legal in the UK to buy/sell/manufacture ot trade in metric measures of any kind. Scientists almost universally use the MKS (and understand the cgs) systems, both of which are metric, and this is logical as it makes the use of Standard Form Numbers much easier, in conjunction with any metric unit.

The ZanuLaborg British Stalinist fascist political parties, including the Tory party, here have all colluded in the forced metrication of all aspects of British life and thought, whether this was asked for, beneficial, or not.

it is advantageous to be fluent in both the “Imperial” and the Metric systems, but libertarians do not see this as a justifiable area for compulsion or legislation, so long as the standards in each are defines and known.

Here follows a sad story:-

 

Permanent link at: http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc063.htm

Free Life Commentary,
an independent journal of comment
published on the Internet
Issue Number 63
21st February 2002

The “Metric Martyrs” and the Constitution
Sean Gabb

On Monday the 18th February 2002, judgment was given in the Court of
Appeal on the “Metric Martyrs” case (Thoburn v Sunderland City Council.)
These were appeals from four men who had in different ways been told by
lower courts that it was no longer legal for them to use the English
system of weights and measures for any purpose of trade.

The grounds of their appeal were that the relevant laws had been made
further to powers contained in the European Communities Act 1972, whereas
it appeared that their right to continued use of the English system had
been protected by the Weights and Measures Act 1985. According to the
doctrine of implied repeal, an earlier Act cannot be used to amend or
repeal a later Act. Instead, where any conflict arises between Acts of
Parliament that cannot be smoothed by judicial interpretation, the later
one always takes precedence: leges posteriores priores contrarias
abrogant .

What made this case so important was that it was brought to clarify the
constitutional status of our membership of the European Union. Either the
Judges could apply the doctrine of implied repeal, in which case, our
membership of the European Union was compromised to whatever degree the
European Communities Act had been repealed, or they could announce that
Parliament was no longer sovereign, and that we were now unambiguously
under the rule of a centralising, Roman Law despotism based outside this
country. In the judgment given last Monday, the four men lost their case.
According to Lord Justice Laws and Mr Justice Crane, the 1972 Act was
protected against implied repeal by the 1985 Act, and the English system
of weights and measures has been legally abolished to the degree stated
in the disputed laws.

Now, looking at the superficial aspects of the case, it is a defeat. As a
conservative, I deplore the legal suppression of weights and measures
which are an integral part of our culture. Whatever its merits considered
purely in themselves-and these are probably not so great as is usually
claimed-the metric system is an alien thing. Its imposition cuts us off
from part of our history, and makes it harder for us to enjoy that
intimate communion with the past that is part of any nation’s strength
and cohesion. As a libertarian, I deplore the imposition of anything. If
greengrocers want to sell bananas by the pound or the kilogramme-or
indeed by the ancient Athenian mina-that is a matter for them and their
customers, not for the authorities. However, if we look beneath the
surface, we can see that the judgment was not so much a defeat as a great
if conditional victory for both conservatives and libertarians. For while
it would not have been politically conceivable for the Judges to strike
down any part of the European Communities Act, they did preserve
parliamentary sovereignty to the extent that a majority of the House of
Commons will be able in due course to repeal that Act by positive
legislation; and that is, let us face reality, how we shall eventually
withdraw from the European Union-not by some clever legalistic trick, but
by full public debate followed by parliamentary repeal. And of equally
great importance for us, when the Judges squared the apparent circle
given to them, they did so by reviving the ancient doctrine of
fundamental law.

This is a mediaeval doctrine that last flourished in the rather strange
legal soil of the 17th century. Its most famous statement is in Lord
Chief Justice Coke’s judgment in the case of Dr Bonham (1610). Bonham had
been fined for practising medicine without a licence from the Royal
College of Physicians. The charter under which he was fined had been
confirmed by Act of Parliament. In giving judgment for Bonham, Coke CJ
commented:

“And it appears in our books that in many cases the common law will
controul acts of parliament, and sometimes adjudge them to be utterly
void: for when an act of parliament is against common right and reason,
or repugnant, or impossible to be performed, the common law will controul
it, and adjudge such act to be void” (8 Coke’s Reports, 117-18).

By the end of that century, though, the whole notion of a fundamental law
that could be used to judge the validity of Acts of Parliament was in
decline. In the American colonies, the notion retained its hold among the
lawyers, and is preserved in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. But in
this country, the very different notion emerged of the absolute
legislative sovereignty of the Crown in Parliament. Our rulers were
restrained by their sense of right and wrong-or more often by their
caution-in exercising power, but were under no legal restraint so long as
they could rely on Parliament to pass whatever Acts they wanted.
Parliament was sovereign. Its Acts could be interpreted by the courts-and
frequently have been into senses that no Member of Parliament might have
recognised in the division lobbies-but could not be called in question.

The doctrine as a whole was elaborated to its full logical conclusions by
A.V. Dicey in his Law of the Constitution (1885). It was fully accepted
by the courts. “For us an Act of Parliament duly passed by Lords and
Commons and assented to by the King, is supreme, and we are bound to give
effect to its terms” said Lord Dunedin in 1906 (Mortensen v Peters, 8
F.(J.C.), 93,100).

The only limitation of sovereignty was its protection. It was held that
no Parliament could bind itself. Parliament could do anything, except
preserve its own Acts from repeal. An Act from the time of Henry VII, for
example, states that it cannot be repealed. An early 19th century
annotator of the State Trials refers to this as a void provision. A later
Act would always override an earlier one-and do so regardless of whether
that had been the intention of Parliament. Repeal could be intended or
simply implied. “The Legislature cannot, according to our constitution”
said Lord Justice Maugham, “bind itself as to the form of subsequent
legislation, and it is impossible for Parliament to enact that in a
subsequent statute dealing with the same subject-matter there can be no
implied repeal” (Ellen Street Estates Ltd v Minister of Health [1934] 1
King’s Bench Reports , 753. 14.).

Now, suddenly, the notion of fundamental law has been pulled out of the
legal grave in which it had been rotting for three hundred years, and
declared part of the law of our Constitution. In one sense, it was the
only way out of the paradox that the “Metric Martyrs” case had apparently
raised. By announcing that there was a “hierarchy of Acts of Parliament”
– “ordinary” and above them “constitutional”, the Judges were able to
save the European Communities Act from implied repeal. Undoubtedly, they
emphasised, European Union law is supreme in this country-but only to the
extent given by the European Communities Act, which can be repealed
should Parliament explicitly decide to do. Even so, short of explicit
repeal, it is immune from any implied repeal.

But in another sense, the judgment is only an extension of the growing
impatience that Judges have felt for a very long time with the
constraints imposed on them by the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty.
And, in spite of the status given for the moment to the European
Communities Act, these are constraints that should be regarded with
impatience by everyone who values freedom in this country.

“The sovereignty of the Crown in Parliament” is a nice set of words. The
phrase rolls off the tongue and carries the mind back to earlier ages in
our history. But the phrase no longer describes what is at all a
desirable state of affairs. We are ruled by people who get an almost
sexual thrill from messing up our lives. Because they run the two main
parties, they are able to pack the House of Commons with a combination of
sheep who would vote black white and white black if ordered, and of
weaklings who know that something is wrong, but are controlled by bribes
and blackmail. Every so often, a few decent people get elected. But that
is because the control is not yet perfect; and its main effect, sadly, is
to keep alive in some minds the delusion that parliamentary democracy
still actually exists. The general result is tyranny mitigated by
recollections of a better time.

The Judges have been worried by this for generations. According to Lord
Wright in 1942,

“Parliament is supreme. It can enact extraordinary powers of interfering
with personal liberty. If an Act of Parliament… is alleged to limit or
curtail the liberty of the subject or vest in the executive extraordinary
powers…, the only question is what is the precise extent of the powers
given” (Liversidge v Anderson , Appeal Cases, 106).

Since then, things have grown worse. Bad laws pour out in a continual
stream. A well funded interest group only has to demand, or a media
campaign to start, and the politicians reach for their legislative
hammer. In the 1960s, the insurance companies complained about the level
of awards in civil cases where they were known to stand behind a
defendant; and so the politicians virtually abolished the right to trial
by jury in the civil courts. In 1987, there were complaints when some
defendants in a criminal case pooled their right of peremptory challenge
to secure a more sympathetic jury; and so the politicians abolished that
right. Around the same time, the authorities wanted to raise the
conviction rate or financial crimes; and so the politicians created the
Serious Fraud Office, and gave it the right to compel self-incrimination.
In 1991, a few children were bitten by dogs; and so the politicians
brought in a law that almost everyone now regards as mad. Arguments about
the rule of law drew at best a blank stare, at worst an exultant sneer.

Nor is it just that Parliament is churning out bad laws-though many are
very bad. It is that Parliament is churning out thousands of pages of new
law every year, supplemented by thousands more of statutory instruments.
No one has read or can read all of these. No one is co-ordinating the
process of their manufacture. Quite often, no one knows what the laws are
on an issue from one day to another. Not surprisingly, they frequently
contradict each other. This is what led to the challenge to the
metrication laws. The Weights and Measures Act does contradict the
European Communities Act. No one intended this to happen. No one noticed
it had happened for about 15 years. But it did happen.

Now, the politicians are being brought under control. Let me quote from
the relevant sections of the judgment:

“In the present state of its maturity the common law has come to
recognise that there exist rights which should properly be classified as
constitutional or fundamental…. And from this a further insight
follows. We should recognise a hierarchy of Acts of Parliament: as it
were “ordinary” statutes and “constitutional” statutes. The two
categories must be distinguished on a principled basis. In my opinion a
constitutional statute is one which (a) conditions the legal relationship
between citizen and State in some general, overarching manner, or (b)
enlarges or diminishes the scope of what we would now regard as
fundamental constitutional rights. (a) and (b) are of necessity closely
related: it is difficult to think of an instance of (a) that is not also
an instance of (b). The special status of constitutional statutes follows
the special status of constitutional rights. Examples are the Magna
Carta, the Bill of Rights 1689, the Act of Union, the Reform Acts which
distributed and enlarged the franchise, the [Human Rights Act 1998], the
Scotland Act 1998 and the Government of Wales Act 1998. The [European
Communities Act] clearly belongs in this family…. The ECA is, by force
of the common law, a constitutional statute.

“Ordinary statutes may be impliedly repealed. Constitutional statutes may
not. For the repeal of a constitutional Act or the abrogation of a
fundamental right to be effected by statute, the court would apply this
test: is it shown that the legislature’s actual not imputed, constructive
or presumed intention was to effect the repeal or abrogation? I think the
test could only be met by express words in the later statute, or by words
so specific that the inference of an actual determination to effect the
result contended for was irresistible. The ordinary rule of implied
repeal does not satisfy this test. Accordingly, it has no application to
constitutional statutes. I should add that in my judgment general words
could not be supplemented, so as to effect a repeal or significant
amendment to a constitutional statute, by reference to what was said in
Parliament by the minister promoting the Bill pursuant to Pepper v Hart
[1993] AC 593. A constitutional statute can only be repealed, or amended
in a way which significantly affects its provisions touching fundamental
rights or otherwise the relation between citizen and State, by
unambiguous words on the face of the later statute.

“This development of the common law regarding constitutional rights, and
as I would say constitutional statutes, is highly beneficial. It gives us
most of the benefits of a written constitution, in which fundamental
rights are accorded special respect. But it preserves the sovereignty of
the legislature and the flexibility of our uncodified constitution. It
accepts the relation between legislative supremacy and fundamental rights
is not fixed or brittle: rather the courts (in interpreting statutes, and
now, applying the HRA) will pay more or less deference to the
legislature, or other public decision-maker, according to the subject in
hand. Nothing is plainer than that this benign development involves, as I
have said, the recognition of the ECA as a constitutional statute.”

Some people, I know, are angry that the European Communities Act has been
given this special status. However, its protection against implied repeal
comes not-as the Sunderland City Council lawyers argued-because on
entering the European Union, we accepted a new legal order in which our
own constitutional arrangements were reduced to the status of a town
council, but because the Common Law now recognises a whole class of
special Acts of which the European Communities Act is presently one. If
we ever repeal the European Communities Act by explicit Act of
Parliament, it will drop out of this special class, but the special class
will remain.

And we can repeal the European Communities Act. That much is now certain.
The various judgments in the Factortame legislation left the position of
European Union law highly ambiguous-was it or Parliament supreme?. This
judgment make it clear that the laws of the European Union enjoy a
borrowed primacy in England. Parliament may have chosen to indulge a
foreign authority, but cannot subordinate itself to it:

“there is nothing in the ECA which allows the Court of Justice, or any
other institutions of the EU, to touch or qualify the conditions of
Parliament’s legislative supremacy in the United Kingdom. Not because the
legislature chose not to allow it; because by our law it could not allow
it.”

This is not the outcome that the supporters of the “Metric Martyrs” were
hoping for. It is not an outcome, I think, that anyone was expecting. The
point of fundamental law was not raised in any of the hearings, and it is
highly unusual for Judges to go beyond the points raised in a case except
for giving obiter dicta , which have no binding force as precedent. But
it is a not a judgment that the Government was hoping for. Its general
implications have yet to be revealed. But it seems reasonable that a vast
mass of bad laws can now be set aside as inconsistent with fundamental
laws that they have not explicitly repealed.

Therefore, the sections of the Road Traffic Act 1982, that allow the
Police to impose fines on motorists without going to court, may be
inconsistent with the guarantee of due process in Magna Carta. The
various Firearms Acts-especially the most recent ones, which are intended
to criminalise rather than regulate the possession of guns-may be
inconsistent with the Bill of Rights. The Government’s proposed
Confiscation Agency, which will import the American doctrine of civil
asset forfeiture, will require the explicit repeal of Magna Carta and
parts of the Human Rights Act.

At a stroke, the Judges have put the politicians under a restraint that
may be as severe in practice as that imposed by the Supreme Court in
America. It means that they can carry on their game of stealing our
freedoms-but they must do so in the open, by spelling out what they are
doing in words that cannot be ignored by the courts. I have no doubt that
if they had known in advance the outcome of this case, the authorities
would quietly have connived at breaches of their metrication laws.

We have lost the right to use our traditional weights and measures. But
we may have gained the vast benefit of living again under a Constitution
that protects our fundamental rights. I feel sorry for the four men who
have taken on the considerable legal costs of getting this case into
court, and I hope that the public appeal will be sufficient to pay these
costs. But it was, most emphatically, a case worth getting into court. It
has given us, I repeat, a great and unexpected, if conditional, victory.


Sean Gabb
Director, The Libertarian Alliance
sean@libertarian.co.uk
Tel: 07956 472 199

http://www.libertarian.co.uk
http://www.seangabb.co.uk
http://www.hampdenpress.co.uk
http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com

FREE download of my book – “Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How
Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back” -
http://tinyurl.com/34e2o3

Wikipedia Entry: http://tinyurl.com/23jvoz

9/11’s 7th anniversary approaches, and it’s all-but-forgotten. Sean Gabb writes…


Sean Gabb

…thoughts on the 9/11 events just after the event, from a cottage in Greece.

Libertarian Alliance Showcase Publication No-18.

THE FUTURE OF THE USA. (Libertarian Alliance Foreign Policy perspectives, No-36, 2002 (from 2001))

(You may also fly forwards, to a post of 9th September 2008, here.

Sean Gabb to be interviewed by “Tyzden” tomorrow (the main Slovak weekly)


Sean Gabb

1. I shall give a two hour interview tomorrow (Saturday 26th July) to a magazine called Tyzden, which is the main weekly in Slovakia. It will run a four page spread about libertarianism. David D will link it here when it has been published.
 
2. Derek Jacobi has contributed a puff for the paperback edition of my first novel. There is no link to this review yet, but it will be posted as soon as it appears.

More on Sean Gabb at the Oxford Union, 6th November 2008


Sean Gabb

As blogged earlier, I’ve been invited to speak to the Oxford Union this coming autumn term.

The topic will be officially announced later, and speaking to it, I shall explain why our Labour Government does not need a police state to fight the war on terror: it wants the war on terror as an
excuse for a police state.

Report on Property and Freedom Society Conference in Bodrum


Sean Gabb

http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc173.htm
Free Life Commentary
,
A Personal View from
The Director of the Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 173
4th July 2008

The Third Meeting of the Property and Freedom Society,
Bodrum, May 2008:
A Brief Record
by Sean Gabb

I dreamed last night of the Hotel Karia Princess in Bodrum. I do this perhaps once a week. Last night, though, the dream was unusually vivid. I was walking down the stone steps from the Migros supermarket, a bag in each hand. On my left, at the foot of the step, the taxi drivers were gossiping loud in Turkish and chain smoking. The sun beat down on me from overhead. I could smell the dust of the road and of the aromatic plants all around. Directly across the road, the Hotel shimmered vast and white.

I cannot remember going in through the revolving doors into the cool, marble interior. But as I write, I can imagine the smiles of the reception staff, and the endless loop of the Third Movement of Mozart�s Jupiter Symphony, and being called over by Paul Gottfried checking his e-mail, or Justin Raimondo, or by one of the semi-permanent German guests.

It is now two years since my first conference there with the Property and Freedom Society. I got the e-mailed invitation out of the blue from Hans-Hermann Hoppe. How he found me and why he wanted me I have never thought to ask him. But his conference was set to happen in the middle of my summer term, and I was minded at first to send a polite refusal. But I discussed it with Chris Tame as he sat in his hospital bed waiting for death.

“You�ve got to go, Sean” he had said, looking up from the list of attendees. “Whatever people say about him—and, let’s face it, all his enemies are envious windf*ck*rs who don’t like us either—Hoppe is the Big Man of the Movement. Now Rothbard is gone, he�s it.” He brushed aside my whines about teaching commitments, and sent me off to book my ticket.

And so, just over two years ago—after a journey that involved the failed theft of my wallet at Heathrow, and a most civilised encounter with a Turkish customs official who found Chris� Swiss Army knife in my camera bag: the Heathrow machines had failed to spot that!—I found myself sat with Hans beside the Hotel swimming pool, sipping chemical cola and discussing the failed war in Iraq.

Since I wrote at some length about the first Property and Freedom Society Conference, I will avoid repeating myself. But I was back for the second—this time with Mrs Gabb. And I wrote about that one too. This year, I was back for the third—this time not just with Mrs Gabb, but also with the Baby Bear.

And it was an astonishingly good time. I will try not to say more than I already have about the Hotel, beyond that it is the sort of place you read about in novels or—always with nostalgia for what is long past—in the memoirs of people who are or soon will be dead. Bodrum can be a hectic place come June. As the temperature goes about the hundred mark, so the population rises from 30,000 Turks to around two million tourists. Within the Hotel, though, all is quiet; all is ordered; all is, without ostentation, civilised.

The Turkish State, sad to say, had this year decided to flash its European credentials by forbidding smoking in enclosed public spaces. And, to my surprise, the police were showing a certain zeal in enforcing the ban. But when you are used to lighting up outside in the high thirties and the pouring rain of London at any time of year, stepping out into the gardens for a cigarette is hardly worth a moan.

It may be the venue—though I doubt it—but I do believe the Property and Freedom Society is an indispensable part of what Americans call the paleo-libertarian movement. If you think libertarianism is defined by wanting to privatise the paving stones while mouthing politically correct platitudes, these gatherings are not for you. These conferences provide a time and a place where nothing is off limits. There are no forbidden subjects, no polite suggestions that whatever is being loudly debated over dinner by the swimming pool might be “inappropriate”. The only rule is the obvious one—that you listen to the other side before making reply.

These are conferences where social conservatives sit down with anarcho-libertarians, where Czechs and Chinese discuss where history went wrong, where English is the preferred language, but a knowledge of half a dozen other languages will frequently come in handy.

They are also conferences useful for what everyone nowadays describes blandly as networking, but what the old Marxists, with a more sinister and accurate turn of phrase, called “cadre building”. It is in Bodrum, every May, that the connections and ideas that will be the future of the libertarian movement are first to be perceived.

I will not bother summarising the actual conference speeches. This year, I made video recordings of everything, and have already uploaded it all to Google Video. Of all the sessions, though, I think most people enjoyed the debate over Ron Paul and what he means to the wider Movement outside America—particularly within Europe. Justin Raimondo and Robert Groezinger were particularly eloquent on this.

My own favourite speech was John Lott on guns.  I live in a country, where gun ownership has been made into a crime except for the police and the very rich, and where being caught with a peashooter will probably soon carry the same prison sentence as rape. I liked the relentless piling up of cases and the statistical analyses. I will use them myself the next time I go on television to talk about guns. Should I also say that, however degraded it may have become, I am part of a culture that has more respect for proven fact than for elegant hypotheses?

Hans was profound on the nature of the State. Paul Gottfried was at his venomous best about the roots in American Protestantism of political correctness. Mustafa Akyol and Peter Mentzel were interesting on Turkish and late Ottoman history. I was quite good on the nature of financial markets in the ancient world. But, as said, all the speeches are recorded, and—allowances being made for the air conditioning and the public address system—are pretty well recorded.

Let me return to the cadre building. I knew we were in for a good conference when Paul Gottfried walked into the hotel lobby, his bags carried behind him. He threw a benevolent glance at the Baby Bear and then demanded of me the aorist of χαίρω.

Εχαίρα? Εχαίρον?” I hazarded. He gave a contemptuous sniff that I really should investigate, and asked if I could help him connect to the Internet. Over dinner, he went into full flow—in two languages denouncing the Germans for their gutless historical masochism. Perhaps they were to blame for 1939: it is at least arguable. But 1914? he sneered. That was at most a no fault car crash. And some Germans are even blaming themselves for 1870!

Then there was Justin Raimondo. I first discovered his writings during the Iraq War, when large stretches of the British and American libertarian movements had come together and agreed what fine things maiming and killing and torturing were when called “assisted regime change”. It was good to find someone even more forthright in his condemnation than I was of the neo-imperialist project. I rather envied the fear and loathing I discovered he could inspire in all the right people. I greatly admired his biography of Murray Rothbard—it is a model of how to summarise and judge the life of a turbulent intellectual. Now we were together in Bodrum, there was all the time in the world for getting to know each other, and for argument and debate.

Narrating all that we covered in ten days as we puffed away in the open would take a short novel. But one recurring argument was over the coming Presidential elections in America. Justin supports Barak Obama, which is fair enough, bearing in mind the only alternatives at the time were a geriatric warmonger and a venomous old harpy. But he also believed Mr Obama could win. I accept I know little of America, but I was unable to agree. “Whatever they tell the pollsters” I kept insisting, “the American people will not vote in sufficient numbers to elect a black man as President. Our only hope of avoiding war with Iran is for the money to run out in Washington.”

Another discussion that stays prominent in my memory is towards the end of the conference. It was late, and there just a few of us sat at a table beside the swimming pool with G�l�in Imre, the owner of the Hotel—since last year, she has been G�l�in Hoppe. After a general conversation, we focussed on happiness. Rather, we focussed on why so many people in the rich world appear to be unhappy. Most people no longer die at absurdly young ages. Most people do not bury half their children cough and sweat their way to early graves. We all have enough to eat. We have soap and water and warm clothes. We have an endless succession of shiny electronic toys to divert us. In another decade or so, what we have now will doubtless seem as inadequate as MSDOS and video cassettes now do to us. But we already live in something approximating the utopia of the early twentieth century science fiction writers.

So why so much unhappiness? Why are the streets of every Western city teeming with plainly bored and aimless sheep of every age and condition? Was it always this way? We agreed that it probably was not. Most of us were old enough to remember a time when there seemed to be more quiet contentment, even though there was much less in the material sense to be contented with.

No one thought to raise the silly old argument that wealth and happiness are and must be inversely related. I can understand that the rich have generally tried to impose, and the poor have too often taken comfort in, the belief that three meals a day and the chance of living past thirty five are to be pitied rather then envied. But I see no reason whatever for sharing the belief. Certainly, some of the people round that table were rather well off, and were not obviously unhappy. Speaking for myself, I have been moderately embarrassed in the financial sense, and moderately comfortable; and I know which state for me is more conducive to happiness.

We did briefly touch on whether mass enrichment has been accompanied by a loss of freedom and of identity. Very few people may want to do any of the things that have been banned over the past century. But everyone is in some sense aware of the immense structures of guardianship that shapes our lives. And everyone to some extent has noticed the rise of a new and utterly malevolent ruling class, that enriches and privileges itself behind a palisade of words about “equality” and “diversity” and “tolerance”.

What more interested us, however, was whether happiness in the long term is not so much about bodily pleasures and material consumption as about being able to follow some self-chosen mission. What mission each person might choose will depend on his inclinations and general abilities. For one, it might be bringing up children in a respectable family home, or building a successful business. For another, it might be collecting classifying every species of butterfly in the Falkland Islands. For someone else, it might be understanding and opposing the ambitions of our new ruling class. Whatever mission is chosen, it gives meaning to life. Anything short of catastrophic failure gives some protection against becoming just another of those depressed, apathetic sheep in the street.

Nothing novel here, of course. But it was a good conversation, in good company. And it was a conversation this part of the world must have heard many times before. The cities of Asia Minor seem to have been places where Epicurus and his philosophy were always particularly honoured.

Yes, it always for me comes back to the ancient world. Modern Turkey, the Ottoman Empire and Byzantium all have much to commend them. But I can never go to the Mediterranean without feeling the endlessly renewed thrill of realisation that it was here where the human race went through the first of its two great enlightenments; and that this particular enlightenment was wholly spontaneous. Miletus, the birthplace of scientific rationalism, is just a drive up the coast. Cos is a ferry ride away. Barely anything remains in modern Bodrum of Halicarnassus. But you can stand on the beach at sunrise, and ask if it was here that Herodotus once stood, looking out to sea and wondering what lay beyond the horizon….

There is much else I could mention about the conference and its attendant comforts—the belly dancers, the boat trips, the visit to Ephesus, and the opportunity for sitting down with intelligent Turks to discuss what it is really like to live in the most dynamic and interesting country in the whole Mediterranean. But I will not do more than mention these things. If you are really interested, contact Professor Hoppe, and try to find out for yourself.

And so, for the third time running, I commend the Bodrum conference of the Property and Freedom Society. Any libertarian or conservative who has not managed to secure an invitation at least once is very much to be pitied.

NB—Sean Gabb’s book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back, can be downloaded for free from http://tinyurl.com/34e2o3

Sean Gabb to speak at the Oxford Union, 6th November 2008


Posted on behalf of…

Sean Gabb

Sean Gabb (away from home computer)
Director, The Libertarian Alliance
sean@libertarian.co.uk

I have to find out what the title of the debate will be, and will let all of you eager commentariat, wetting yourselves with anticipation, know what it’s about asap.

No doubt, Sean has – as usual – got himself stuck in a waterlogged trench opposite the Socialist Politically-Correct-Deaths-Head-Hussars, about something or other, and it will be an amusing show…. – DD

The LA. The Director’s Bulletin, 1st July 2008 (well-wicked stuff!)


Sean Gabb

The entire bulletin is here.

Comment to follow later today on selected issues. Everyone is massively busy today trying to earn a little money.

Sean Gabb debates with Simon Hughes, about compulsory voting


David Davis

http://www.libertarian.co.uk/multimedia/2008-06-24-vote-sig.mp3

I didn’t listen to it, but i can’t imagine that Sean was in favour of making ballots compulsory. The idea stinks.

Liberty: Briefing materials from the Libertarian Alliance, in the light of our support for David Davis.


 Sean Gabb

NEWS RELEASE FROM THE LIBERTARIAN ALLIANCE
In Association with the Libertarian International

PLEASE NOTE:- This list of links is primarily intended as a resource of materials about liberalism and liberty, and the Principles that Inform It.

It will be useful for Editors and Producers, who will or may be working on stories to do with David Davis’s resignation on principle, over the “42 days detention” affair, currently in the news. The current British Government proposes (and has made Parliament vote in favour of, by just 9 ( = nine) votes) to lock up people for UP TO SIX WEEKS, without trial or charge (this is unprecedented in the last 800 years) for “suspected terrorist offences”.

Release Date: Sunday 15th June 2008
Release Time: Immediate

Contact Details:
Dr Tim Evans on 07956 472 199 or via tim@libertarian.co.uk
Dr Sean Gabb on 07956 472 199 or via sean@libertarian.co.uk

For other contact and link details, see the foot of this message
Release url: http://www.libertarian.co.uk/news/nr067.htm

Libertarian Alliance provides background reading on UK Civil Liberties

In light of David Davis’s decision to stand down as a Member of Parliament the UK’s radical free market and civil liberties think tank, the Libertarian Alliance, today launched an online publications list tailored to inform journalists and ordinary people on a range of key civil liberties issues.

LA President, Dr. Tim Evans, said:

*With more than 800 publications freely available on www.libertarian.co.uk it is only right that the LA now steps up to the plate and widely circulates intellectual ammunition designed to inform people on a range of civil liberties issues.�

LA Director, Dr. Sean Gabb added:

*The publications promoted in this release are just a taster of what the LA has on offer. Today, more than ever, it is vital that friends of liberty in Britain circulate this list as far as possible.�

Why we Support David Davis: http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc172.htm

Introduction to LA material on civil liberties:

Dr. Sean Gabb, Against Identity Cards (pdf)

Dr. Sean Gabb, A Libertarian-Conservative Case Against Identity Cards (html) – (pdf

Antony Grey, Why Pornography Should Not Be Censored (pdf)

David Botsford, Why the Right to Armed Self-Defence Against Criminals Should Not have Been Suppressed in Britain and How It Might Gradually Be Re-Established
(pdf

David Botsford, Fear of Violence and the Current Britsih Anti-Gun Hysteria: Blaming Objects Instead of Criminals For Crime (pdf)

Brian Micklethwait, Why Guns Should Not Be Illegal (pdf)

Simon Birch, The Censorship of Films on British Television: How It Works and Why It Should Stop (pdf)

Dr. Nigel Ashford, Human Rights: What They Are and What They Are Not (pdf)

Russell Whitaker, Against the Censorship of Electronic Communication: A Libertarian Argument Against All State Interference in the Provision and Transmission of Pornographic Imagery on Data Networks, Computer Bulletin Board Systems and Information Services, and Public Switched Telephone Services, 1994, (pdf

Tom Burroughes, Free Speech, Privacy, Property and Contract in the Electronic Age: A Journalist’s View (pdf

Brian Micklethwait, How and How Not to Achieve Good Taste in Advertising: Free Market Regulation is Better Than Government Regulation (html) – (pdf

Dr. Sean Gabb, The Case Against Sex Censorship: A Conservative View (html) – (pdf)

Matthew Parris, On the Need to Allow People to Harm Each Other (pdf)

Paul Staines, Acid House Parties Against the Lifestyle Police and the Safety Nazis
(pdf)

Tim Evans and Helen Govett, Big Mother’s Deadly New World: How The Government is Going to Destroy Patient’s Health Records and Kill People (pdf)

David J. K. Carr, Don’t Trust Me, I’m a Lawyer: The Operation, Scope and Possible Effects of the Government’s War on Money Laundering (pdf)

Dr. Sean Gabb, The New Tyranny of Global, European and British State Control of Financial Transactions (pdf)

Dr. Sean Gabb, The Full Coercive Apparatus of a Police State: Thoughts on the Dark Side of the Thatcher Decade (pdf)

Mark Roberts, Related To Bigotry: The Repression of Swingers in Early 21st Century Britain (html) – (pdf)

Avedon Carol, The Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill 1994 Is Undemocratic, Unjustifiable and Dangerous (Submission by Feminists Against Censorship to the Home Affairs Committee) (Published jointly with the British Association of Libertarian Feminists) (pdf)

Avedon Carol, Censorship Won’t Reduce Crime: Submission by Feminists Against Censorship to the Home Affairs Inquiry into Computer Pornography (Published jointly with the British Association of Libertarian Feminists) (pdf)

Avedon Carol, How British Broadcasters Are Promoting the Unjustified Censorship of Pornography: An Open Letter (To The Independent Television Commission, The Broadcasting Standards Council and the Broadcasting Complaints Commission) (Published jointly with the British Association of Libertarian Feminists) (pdf)

Other Material by Sean Gabb

Freedom of Speech

Free Life Commentary 159 24th April 2007 Defending the Right to Deny the Holocaust,
http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc159.htm
Free Life Commentary 157 2nd January 2007 More on the Persecution of the BNP,
http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc157.htm
Free Life Commentary 145 16the April 2006 Emma Chamberlain and the Astor Theatre: How Dissidents are Treated in Modern England,
http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc145.htm
Free Life Commentary 140 28th September 2005 The Difference between Doing and Looking: Reflections on the Case of Subhaan Younis,
http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc140.htm
Free Life Commentary 37 14th November 1999 Reflections on the Gary Glitter Case
http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc037.htmCivil Liberties

 

 

Free Life Commentary 155 26th October 2006 On Opposing the DNA Database,
http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc155.htm
Free Life Commentary 138 16th August 2005 The Reform of Alcohol Licensing in England: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back,
http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc138.htm
Free Life Commentary 131 14th March 2005 The Jaws of the Trap Are Closing: Hunting, the Courts and the Constitution, by Sean Gabb
http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc131.htm
Free Life Commentary 120 27th April 2004 Fat Children: Sad, but not Our Problem,
http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc120.htm
Free Life Commentary 116 28th November 2003 In Defence of the Right to Encourage Gross Fatness,
http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc116.htm
Free Life Commentary 88 17th January 2003 Hunting Paedophiles in England: Present Madness, Future Shame
http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc088.htm
Free Life Commentary 87 16th January 2003 Identity Cards: Some Brief Objections
http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc087.htm
Free Life Commentary 81 4th December 2002 A Record of a Debate Held by the Local Government Association on Wednesday the 4th December 2002 on the Motion: �This House Believes Promoting Diversity Causes Discrimination�
http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc081.htm
Free Life Commentary 75 6th November 2002 The Conservatives: Will They Surprise Us?
http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc075.htm
Free Life Commentary 73 25th October 2002 Saving the Kiddies, Enslaving Adults
http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc073.htm
Free Life Commentary 67 26th June 2002 Why the Double Jeopardy Rule Should not be Changed
http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc067.htm
 

END OF COPY

Note(s) to Editors

Dr Sean Gabb is the Director of the Libertarian Alliance. His latest book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back, may be downloaded for free from http://tinyurl.com/34e2o3. It may also be bought. His other books are available from Hampden Press at http://www.hampdenpress.co.uk.

He can be contacted for further comment on 07956 472 199 or by email at sean@libertarian.co.uk

Extended Contact Details:

The Libertarian Alliance is Britain’s most radical free market and civil liberties policy institute. It has published over 800 articles, pamphlets and books in support of freedom and against statism in all its forms. These are freely available at http://www.libertarian.co.uk

Our postal address is

The Libertarian Alliance
Suite 35
2 Lansdowne Row
Mayfair
London
W1J 6HL
Tel: 07956 472 199

Associated Organisations

The Libertarian International – http://www.libertarian.to – is a sister organisation to the Libertarian Alliance. Its mission is to coordinate various initiatives in the defence of individual liberty throughout the world.

Sean Gabb’s personal website – http://www.seangabb.co.uk – contains about a million words of writings on themes interesting to libertarians and conservatives.

Hampden Press – http://www.hampdenpress.co.uk.- the publishing house of the Libertarian Alliance.

Liberalia – http://www.liberalia.com – maintained by by LA Executive member Christian Michel, Liberalia publishes in-depth papers in French and English on libertarianism and free enterprise. It is a prime source of documentation on these issues for students and scholars.

Libertarian Alliance home

Libertarian Alliance Showcase Publication No-14: Free Life (our occasional Journal) No-47, 4th August 2003


David Davis

No, your eyes did not deceive you – there was no showcase-publication no-13.

http://www.seangabb.co.uk/freelife/flhtm/fl047.htm

“Free Life” has been published exclusively on-line for some years. Older, paper editions before about 1995 still exist here and there, in private libraries, but they are scarce.

Libertarian Alliance Showcase Publication no- 12a: How English Liberty was created by accident and custom, and then destroyed by Liberals.


Sean Gabb

How English Liberty Was Created by Accident and Custom – and Then Destroyed by Liberals, 1998, 19pp. 
ISBN: 1 85637 410 6

http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/histn/histn031.pdf

Libertarian Alliance Showcase Publication No 12: reflections on the origin and the stability of the State


Sean Gabb

Prof. Hans-Hermann Hoppe, 2008

Political Notes No. 193

ISBN 9781856376143

ISSN 0267-7059

 

http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/polin/polin193.pdf

Extraordinary! Wonderful! fascinating! Queer! Marvellous! Incredible! Oh-dear-dear!


David Davis

interesting search-engine strings. Today, now.

“Sean Gabb tallywhacker”

“What grades did Gordon Brown get at school”

Yeh, well I guess it’s important to know what a tallywhacker is, as, since I know Sean well, I could then comment constructively.

Libertarian Alliance Showcase publication No 6: Ayn Rand and the Ascent of Man.


NB!!! If the below-tag does not work, here’s another possible one!

http://www.saint-andre.com/thoughts/ascent.html

With the spring breaks and summer hols coming up, all you people will be wanting good poolside reading material, to garnish effectively your enjoyment of Sean Gabb’s latest novel. We therefore continue the week’s series of key papers from the Libertarian Alliance Library of online publications.

David Davis

Here’s Peter St-André, in fine form, on “Ayn Rand and the Ascent of Man.”

http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/histn/histn049.htm

Blogging light today…wine drunk, books bought, Sean Gabb, David Davis and families, relaxing in Southport


David Davis

That’s it really. We’ll think of something portentious and earth-shattering tomorrow.

Sean Gabb on the Radio tonight Saturday 26th April, BBC Radio 5 Live, after 23.45 BST


David Davis

From Sean Gabb,
Director, the Libertarian Alliance,
to: Yahoo Group: Eurorealists

Dear Fellow Eurorealists,

I’ve been invited on the radio tonight to debate with one of the senior
advisers to the Archbishop of Canterbury on whether high salaries should
be “capped” in order ot help the poor.

I shall probably be allowed about three discontinuous minutes, while the
majority of time goes to some clerical communist droning on about
“compassion”. However, what I will try to argue is as follows:

The salaries of those who work for the State come from a forcible
transfer of wealth, often form the poor. Such slaries should be capped at
£20,000. The salaries and rewards of those who run big business and the
City are often based on a grant of state privilege. Such people should be
exposed to real market competition.

But most people who do well in this country do so by offering goods and
services on terms that others find attractive. Their wealth is justly
acquired, and it is immoral to call for it to be taken away. Certainly,
what I earn is for me and my wife and daughter. It is not for some
feckless prole in a council flat. The modern Church of England would
never dream of calling for the regulation of what consenting adults do
with each other in bed. Why therefore call for controls on what they do
with their cash?

Beside this, the whole idea of capping the rich is based on evil
premises. The assumption behind these calls is that England is like some
gigantic ant heap in which the few own and control the many. This
assumption destoys all scope for exercising the free will on which
salvation is supposed to depend.

Now, I shan’t be able to say much of this. But YOU CAN HELP!

Please tune in, either with your wireless or via the Internet. Try to
call, e-mail or text your points across. You will probably be filtered
out to make room for more whining communists. But it’s worth the effort.
Do this if you live in england. But why not give it a try from abroad? If
you think the Christian Faith is worth saving from the Left, here is an
opportunity.

Here are the details:

From 10pm onwards – though me probably around midnight: 22:00 Stephen
Nolan Show

Wireless frequency: 909 or 693 khz AM
Internet: http://www.bbc.co.uk/fivelive/programmes/nolan.shtml

Call 0500 909 693 [free from BT landlines; charges for mobiles and other
networks will vary].

Text 85058 [network rates].

E-mail: nolan@bbc.co.uk

Good luck.

 

Islam our enemy? (Or maybe … not? Are the real enemies of the West closer to home, like in Transport House, or the “town halls” or whatever these places are now called? I have no clue, you will have to go along and hear him …)


On Monday 14 April, 2008 at 7pm, Sean Gabb will talk on “Islam: Our Enemy?”

Place: The London Center College, Pride Court (Unit 1), third floor,
80/82 White Lion Street,London, N1 9PF.

The nearest tube is Angel, and White Lion Street is just opposite the
station. Admission Free.

A full video record will be made.

It is a custom to bring along wine, or beer, but also to go to the pub
after the meeting too. Lately, people have been bringing snacks to
share also.

Further details: contact David McDonagh (mcdonagh10@yahoo.com)


Sean Gabb
Director, The Libertarian Alliance
Tel: 07956 472 199

sean@libertarian.co.uk http://www.seangabb.co.uk
http://www.libertarian.co.uk http://www.hampdenpress.co.uk/

Download my new book – “Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How
Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back” -
http://tinyurl.com/34e2o3

CHRIS TAME, TWO YEARS ON


Sean Gabb

Free Life Commentary,
A Personal View from
The Director of the Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 171
20th March 2008
postCount(‘flc171′);Comments | postCountTB(‘flc171′); Trackback

Chris R. Tame: Two Years After
by Sean Gabb

When Samuel Johnson died, his friend David Garrick commented: “He has made a chasm, which not only nothing can fill up, but which nothing has a tendency to fill up. Johnson is dead. Let us go to the next best:-there is nobody; no man can be said to put you in mind of Johnson.” It is now two years since the death of Chris R. Tame, Founder and first Director of the Libertarian Alliance. I can think of nothing more fitting that to repeat those words.

I first met Chris on Monday the 31st December 1979. I was back in London from University, and had decided to inflict myself for the day on National Association for Freedom. I spoke for about half an hour with Gerald Hartup, after which we ran out of anything more to say. He was busy. I was boring. Robert Moss was not available. Stephen Eyres, the Director, was available, but I was not his type, and so he refused to come off the telephone when Gerald introduced us.

Eventually, I was persuaded into a small room without windows and left to consult the “archive”. As I skimmed through the unsorted mountain of literature and old issues of The Free Nation, I read about a new bookshop that had opened just round the corner in Covent Garden. It was wholly devoted to books about liberty. Having no reason to linger in hope of a meeting with Mr Eyres, I made my excuses and went in search of Floral Street.

As yet, the Alternative Bookshop had no fascia, and I walked past the place once. Inside, thousands of books, both old and new, were packed into rudimentary shelves. On the plain, whitewashed walls were various posters, most of these from the Libertarian Party of America. One that I particularly remember was a listing of the core principles of the National Socialist German Workers Party that emphasised its socialist origins and ideals.

I saw none of this at first, as the inside of the shop was very hot, and my spectacles steamed up as soon as I was through the door.

“Can I help you?” asked someone behind the counter to my left. As my spectacle lenses adjusted to the new temperature, I saw a slim, rather short young man with a mass of tight black curls and long sideburns that framed a rather sharp, mobile face. In the blast from the several fan heaters placed behind the counter, he sat in black trousers and a white frilly shirt open to the waist.

“I’ve just come from the NAFF offices” I said. “I read about this shop in The Free Nation.”

The man smiled. “I’m Chris Tame, the Manager” he said. There was a slight but distinct emphasis on the word Manager. I now know that Chris was eleven days past his 30th birthday, and this was his first position of any importance. And it was an important position. He had previously worked at the NAFF, but as a researcher and in strict subordination to people whose views he largely did not share and whose persons he generally despised. Plucked from there, he was now in charge of his own operation, from where he could spread his own distinctive views of liberty without close supervision. He had every reason for that slight emphasis. He was a young man going places, and he wanted the world to know that.

Introductions made, Chris took me on a tour of the bookshop. Here were the Austrian economics, here the Ayn Rand. Here was the history, and here the attacks on socialism, both national and international. He darted from stack to stack, pulling out books for my inspection. I bought some Bastiat, whom I had found in old translations at York, and Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson, and something by Leonard E. Read. With the exception of this last, I still have the books.

After a while, I got the impression that Chris had given up on trying to sell more to me. Instead, he was pulling down books simply to discuss them. He seemed to have read them all, and was interested in what I might think of them. I mentioned that I was studying the history of the later Roman Empire. He paused for a moment. He had nothing about that on the shelves, but could recommend books I might find elsewhere. And he did.

It seemed to be over in half an hour, but we sat alone in the bookshop all afternoon. We spoke and spoke. In that first meeting, we covered in outline all the points of difference that were to keep us gently arguing for the next 26 years. I never did ask Chris what he made of me, but I found him both fascinating and disturbing.

At last, it was time for the bookshop to close. Chris invited me for coffee. But I had agreed to meet someone else down at Charing Cross. Before I left, though, he told me about the Libertarian Alliance. This was an organisation he had started. He said I might find it more congenial than the NAFF. I looked at the leaflet he gave me. It looked pleasantly uncompromising, and I joined at once. I think the subscription for students was £7.50. For this, I was promised four issues per year of Free Life magazine and written notification of events of interest. As ever with Chris, there was no distinction made between the work he wanted to do and the work he was paid to do. It was over a year before I realised that the Alternative Bookshop was other than a projection of the Libertarian Alliance.

I pass over the next twenty six years. I do so because so much happened in the time, and because it will be fully narrated in my biography of Chris. I pass over all the scandalous and comical and exciting things I shared with Chris. I pass over the diagnosis of cancer and the rapid failure of his health. I pass over those last terrible months.

But he has now been dead two years. No one can possibly replace him as a centre of gravity for the British libertarian movement. At first or second hand, he inspired every libertarian alive in this country. When the history of British libertarianism is written, it will be seen that all the lines of continuity between the nineteenth and twenty first centuries run through Chris.

Chris is dead. But he is not forgotten; and as time goes by, his memory will be more cherished.

Here is Sean’s UKIP Speech from Exeter 8th March 2008


On 8th March 2008, Sean Gabb spoke by invitation, in his capacity as Director of the Libertarian Alliance, to a UKIP rally held at Exeter University. The title of his talk was “National Independence is not enough”. 

The speech was well-received at the time, and Sean wrote this eulogy about his outing. he was detailed to speak to at least one more such rally in Morecambe in the North West, which would have been on 29th March – and possibly others.

Objections were raised inside UKIP and on “democracyforum” about some of the content, as a result of which UKIP’s leadership issued a blanket ban on Sean appearing on any UKIP platform again. You can read his blogpost for us on that link just above.

Watch it in detail above, and draw conclusions!

The War: Five Years on – Was Sean Right?


Sean Gabb 

Free Life Commentary,
an independent journal of comment
published on the Internet
Issue Number 71
11th September 2002
http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc071.htm

Why Britain Should not Join in the War against Iraq
Sean Gabb

The newspapers—at least, those that I read—and virtually all the politicians, seem agreed on war with Iraq. There is, as ever, much dissent from the Establishment position, not least in the opinion polls. But the only questions outstanding among those who matter in this country are when and with how much force. I am among the dissidents. I believe that war with Iraq would not secure any sufficiently great British interest, and therefore that it would inflict unnecessary suffering. In this article, I will explain the grounds for my belief.

I accept that war is a legitimate instrument of state policy. This being said, it is a terrible instrument. It brings immediate death and maiming to serviceman, and nowadays to much larger numbers of civilians. It also can have longer term and still worse consequences in terms of further commitments and lingering hatreds. And it is commonly used as an excuse for higher taxes and losses of freedom at home. Before going to war, then, we need closely to examine whether the full weight of certain and probable suffering can be justified in terms of the national interest.

This is, I know, a loose concept, and can be twisted by bellicose politicians and journalists in defence of any number of foreign interventions. Even so, it can be given reasonably clear meaning. We can divide the national interest into primary, secondary and tertiary. For Britain, as for other countries, the primary interest is the security of our home territory, so that we can go safely about our everyday business. For us, since we are a trading nation largely dependent on imported food and other resources, primary interest also includes securing the sea approaches to our islands. Our secondary interest includes remaining on friendly terms with our immediate neighbours—and, where convenient, enjoying a loose and benevolent dominion over them. Our tertiary interests are the protection of British lives and property in other countries.

The first of these interests is about as absolute as can be imagined. A credible threat of nuclear annihilation, without hope of retaliating, might justify abandoning it. But short of that, territorial defence justifies any degree of force—always granting it is reasonably unavoidable, and no more than is needed to secure its object. The second and third depend much more on circumstances, and require nice judgements of whether the force needed is worth the desired object.

Of course, even primary interest is not always easy to define in detail, and there is room for disagreement. I do not think, for example, there is any doubt that our first big war with Louis XIV was justified. He had taken in the exiled Stuart King, and was actively working for his restoration. That would, if successful, have entailed the voiding of our constitution and our becoming a satellite of France. But was our second big war with him—over the Spanish succession—equally justified? Perhaps the effective joining of France and Spain would have enabled a more successful attack on us in the future. Perhaps not. Some claimed it was a war of national defence, others that it was an excuse for the Whigs and the moneyed interest to entrench themselves still further. There are similar debates over our two big wars of the last century, and over the Cold War. I take a pacific line on all three, though accept that there are often persuasive arguments on the other side. But, while there is room for debate over its meaning in any given set of circumstances, primary interest usually can be defined, and even defined without controversy.

What makes these arguments over interest so important it that a clear understanding of them is the best means of avoiding or containing wars. When a country’s interests are settled and stated to the rest of the world, they can be taken into account by other countries. Sometimes, they will conflict with those of other countries, and there may be a war. At least as often, though, their statement will provide a stable framework within which other countries can pursue their own interests in the most economic manner. For example, in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, Bismarck knew that helping France was not in British interests, and that its reduction would in itself bring no adverse consequences. At the same time, he knew that trying to shorten the war by an attack through Belgium, or a long occupation of France, or a seizure of its colonies, would provoke some level of British response. There are many other cases where wars have been avoided or contained by turning foreign policy into a game of chess.

To be sure, a country can try to widen its primary interest to include more than territorial security. The Romans and British did this in defence of their empires, and the Americans in Indo-China when they announced the containment of Communism to be part of their primary interest. However, unless—as with the British and Romans – the additional territories are seriously regarded as part of the home territory, this will tend to destabilise international relations. Despite all that was said in Washington, the Soviets and local Communists knew that the American commitment to South Vietnam and Cambodia was not absolute, and that enough escalation of the war would get the Americans out.

Nor is it merely prudential for a country to narrow its definition of primary interest to defence of the home territory. A state is nothing more than the agent of the people who live in a country. It is therefore morally obliged to take a narrow—and even selfish – view of the national interest. If a man, acting in his personal capacity, gives money to charity, he is rightly praised for his virtue. If he does the same as a trustee, without taking instructions, or against the clear terms of his trust, he rightly opens himself to action in the courts. It is the same with politicians. It is one thing for a minister to resign from office and sign up for some foreign cause in which he passionately believes. It is something else for him to commit the lives and money of other people to going about the world as a knight errant.

And so, before starting a war with Iraq, it is necessary for our Government to show as clearly as possible what British interests will thereby be secured and at what probable cost. So far, this has not been done.

We are told that Saddam Hussain has, or soon will have, “weapons of mass destruction”, and that he plainly intends to use these against us. If true, this would justify war. However, there is no credible evidence that he has these weapons. His country has been under close blockade since 1990. Nothing enters or leaves without knowledge. For much of this time, it has been subject to close internal inspection by the United Nations. Notoriously, the inspectors have found nothing. Claims that Mr Hussain is “about” to develop such weapons are based on simple assertion: any evidence on which the claims are based remains unpublished. Even if he does or soon will have these weapons, there is no reason to suppose he intends to use them against us. Where are his means of delivery against a modern, well-defended country like ours? What reason have we to believe he would even try? We are told that he might try using them. He might try doing any number of things. He might dye his hair green, or have a sex change operation. But there is no reason to suppose he will do any such thing. Until 1990, his main objectives were to keep himself in power by murdering anyone who got in his way, and to bully his neighbours whenever he thought the Americans would approve. His known character is as black as can be imagined, but does not seem likely to endanger any primary British interest.

There is the oil. Iraq has large reserves, and the invasion of Kuwait would have greatly increased these—as would whatever degree of control over Saudi Arabia Mr Hussain might have contemplated in 1990. But there is a lot of oil in the world outside his reach; and at best, he might simply have increased his own revenues by selling oil at prices set within a larger market. Tertiary British interests might have suffered by his local hegemony—and might still suffer if he were freed from the blockade of his country. But the necessary action in defence of these would not be proportionate to their value.

Even without the Americans to do most of the fighting and spending, we could probably invade Iraq at little immediate cost. But we are not just talking here about immediate cost. Destroying the present Iraqi Government would almost certainly fragment the country, leading to threats of partial annexation by Turkey and Iran and Syria, and to chronic instability in those parts that remained. Conquest must therefore entail indefinite occupation. This in turn must raise hatreds throughout the rest of the Islamic world that we now know cannot be ignored. We cannot know exactly what would be the final costs of war would be, but we have excellent reason to know that they would be heavier than of any previous intervention in that region.

There is another attempted justification—still passing round by word of mouth. This is that the Iraqis were behind the American bombings last 11th September. If they were, this might justify war. As I have granted elsewhere, these bombings were rather like piracy, so far as they could easily be repeated against any other Western country; and therefore, a war of punishment could possibly be justified in terms of primary interest.

The problem here, though, is credibility. We were repeatedly assured that Osama bin Laden had directed those bombings. On the strength of these assurances, we invaded Afghanistan. We are now stuck there, trying to keep order between various gangs of bandits; and the evidence on which we went in has turned out so insubstantial that it is being quietly withdrawn in favour of a new set of accusations. Without firm, published evidence for an Iraqi connection, I for one do not intend to give a moment’s belief to these accusations.

I can think of one other valid reason for war. This is that we have a strong interest in keeping friendly with the Americans. Sooner or later, some mainstream British politician will squeeze together enough courage to argue for withdrawal from the European Union. This argument will be more easily won if there is the alternative open of joining NAFTA. I would prefer withdrawal to be followed by no other connection. To twist the old Socialist Worker slogan, I want neither Brussels nor Washington, but complete national independence. However, domination by the second would be less humiliating and more accountable than by the first. And if we are to keep that option open, perhaps we need to show willing in whatever crusade Mr Bush cares to announce.

The argument against is that there is probably no such need. The Americans encouraged the formation of the European Union back in the days when they wanted a local counterweight to the Soviet empire in Eastern Europe. Those days have passed, and the Americans are now beginning to see the European Union as at least an annoying competitor for world influence. Weakening it, by pulling Britain out, is in their interests regardless of whether we join or fail to join in their war against Iraq. Indeed, for the British Government to take the European line, of neutrality, might bring the weakening of the European Union closer to the top of the American foreign policy agenda.

And so, for what little it may be worth, my sentence is for peace. If the Americans really want a war with Iraq, let them fight it by themselves, and let them by themselves pay whatever costs it may entail.

A Day with UKIP, by Sean Gabb


Free Life Commentary,
A Personal View from
The Director of the
Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 169
10th March 2008

A Day with UKIP
by Sean Gabb

I drove down to Exeter last Saturday the 8th March 2008, to speak at a United Kingdom Independence Party rally. If I had bothered checking in advance that the round journey would be 600 miles, I might have declined the invitation. I am glad, though, that I did not check, and that I did accept.

Imagine, if you can, a party rally, put on by one of its regional branches, and attended by several hundred decent, ordinary people. Imagine, then, being able to watch a dozen or so people called to the podium to speak fluently and with passion about what they truly think. Imagine also being able to mingle throughout with the leaders and elected representatives of that party. Imagine all this, and you have UKIP.

I watched parts of the Liberal Democrat conference on television yesterday. As with all the Regime Parties, these people talk about the need for commitment and fundamental change, and then carefully avoid saying or promising anything that might resemble either commitment or change. What I saw on Saturday with my own eyes was politics as it always used to be in England.

I last voted Conservative in 1997. Since then, I have voted UKIP whenever possible. So far, I have done this as a means of punishing the Conservatives for being so dreadful. I will now vote UKIP because I like the party and because I admire its leaders.

I will not summarise my speech, as I made a video record of it, and of the one made by Marc-Henri Glendening of the Democracy Movement. There was some coordination between us, and so our speeches are worth watching one after the other. I am never happy with filming in a room where public address equipment is in use, but the sound quality is adequate. Our speeches are available courtesy of Google Video. In time, I hope, UKIP will make its own video footage of the whole rally available on-line.

Now, though it was right to say how much I enjoyed myself last Saturday, the real purpose of this article is to confirm in writing what I did say then several times. I was approached by one very senior person in UKIP and by someone who has the ear of other senior persons, and asked if I would like to stand in the European Elections, and with a position on the party list that would give me some chance of being elected. I said no, but am not sure if my refusal was taken as more than false modesty.

There would be certain advantages in having me as a candidate. I am a clear and prolific writer. I speak reasonably well without notes. I can think on my feet. I know how to handle the media. I am not that old, nor particularly displeasing to look at. I have shown no tendency as yet to megalomania, and most of the things in my private life I would not have known are more comical than scandalous.

This being said, my answer is still no. I do not wish to stand with any party endorsement in any election that I might win. Here are my reasons.

First, I am Director of the Libertarian Alliance. This is a non-party organisation. I accept that we have had our greatest impact during the past thirty years on the youth movement of the Conservative Party, and that we now have a certain influence within UKIP. But we do have supporters in the Labour and Liberal Democrat Parties. For all these parties are loathsome at the top, there is some chance of libertarian pressure from the membership. And there are still some libertarians who do not share my opinion of the European Union. It is one thing for the Director of the Libertarian Alliance to say what he thinks as an individual, but quite another for him to be a UKIP candidate.

Second, I have certain qualities that, while useful for directing the Libertarian Alliance, rule me out as a party politician. I am poor at giving and taking instructions. I am not much of a team player. I have little charm, and am easily bored with the ordinary things of life. What interests me is often seen by others as unimportant or obscure. In politics, I would be another Enoch Powell, but without the brilliance.

Third, there is the nature of my opinions. I may believe in withdrawing from the European Union, and I may be a firm patriot. But I have also spent much of the past thirty years trying as clearly and persuasively as I can to say things that most would regard as not on but considerably beyond the lunatic fringe in politics. I believe in legalising all drugs. I am not for decriminalising possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use, or for diverting the enforcement budget to “education”. I would make it no more illegal to buy a packet of heroin than it is now to buy a packet of tea; and I would not allow the authorities to spend a penny of our money on telling us whether and how to use it. I believe in repealing all the race relations and other hate crime laws. I would allow employers and landlords to qualify their advertisements with phrases like “niggers and faggots need not apply”. I do not believe possession of child pornography should be a crime. I do not even believe it should be a crime to publish child pornography here that was made abroad by and with foreigners.

I like to think I can justify these opinions – plus all the others I cannot be bothered to mention or may have forgotten that I hold. But it should be clear that no party mad enough to adopt me as a candidate would get a fair hearing ever again in the media.

 And so, I wish UKIP well. I wish it more than well. It is our last and our best hope in politics. I enjoyed last Saturday in Exeter. I look forward to the weekend after next at another rally in Morcambe. If I am seriously asked, however, to do more than this, my answer must be thanks but no thanks.

SEAN GABB and marc Glendening, speaking at the UKIP RALLY, Exeter University, Saturday 8th March 2008


Here they are.

 http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8401101275920303395 

SEAN GABB is speaking at a UKIP rally in Exeter University, as I write …. so I suppose …


… that I ought to write about UKIP from a Libertarian point of view.

David Davis

A week is such a long time in politics, especially in a country where the government set out in 1997 to wreck all private liberal institutions and seems to manage to throw one a week into the NaziSaddam-type-people-shredder, that UKIP is now an “oldie” as parties go. Even the UK Libertarian Party, under 3 months old, is getting long in the tooth by these standards! Do visit the LPUK, for I predict it will start to upset the calculations of older parties sooner than our dear leaders think.

Here is UKIP’s main page. Beliefs are explained reasonably clearly if you have the patience (which I have not at this time as I blog, but I know what they are anyway. “I have no time, therefore I blog” is a sentiment I shall be examining soon.)

To summarise, UKIP approximates to what I would have called, in say 1900, > liberal Conservative Unionist free-Traders < if such things as “electric wire news commentator typists” (ie Blogs) had existed.

I have no clue what Sean will say, but I think it entirely right that a spokesman for the Libertarian Alliance should be instructing people on why “national independence is not enough”, when it comes to discussing what should be done after the UK (or whichever parts of it such as England choose to go) leaves the EU. I think he will say that safeguards should be put ocnstitutionally in place, such that, although “no parliament can bind a later one” – as we all know – it should be ensired in some constitutional settlement such as 1215 or 1689 types, that “NO PARLIAMENT CAN GIVE AWAY (to any foreign power or “Prince”) SOVEREIGNTY LENT TO IT BY THE PEOPLE, for a time, or for ever”.

As I never cease to have to point out here, this place is the birthplace of liberal ideas of the sort that finally became effective, here and elsewhere, even if only for a time in some places. If Britain was to go down, it would be a singularly enormous feather in the cap of the Stalinists and their friends, the unutterably evil Fabians – denizens of morgothic sub-human darkness, who are posing as caring human beings. 

A party such as UKIP, that has current hopes of gaining even some little power either in Westminster, or even inside that unfathomable den of thieves, the “European Union” bureaucracy, ought to have Libertarians as its friends.

I await the DVD of Sean’s talk with interest.

SEAN GABB to speak at UKIP meeting … EXETER … Sat 8th March 2008 … COME …


… BE THERE …

Here are the details:

UKIP Rally, the Great Hall, Streatham Campus, Stocker Rd, off Prince of
Wales Road, Exeter University, EX4 4PZ

Saturday 8th March 2008 …. 

At 3.25 pm, Dr Sean Gabb, Director of the libertarian Alliance, will speak on the topic:

“National Independence is not Enough”

 Other speakers will include: Graham Booth MEP, Christopher Gill, Prof Tim Congdon, Lord Pearson of Rannoch, Nigel Farage, Lisa Duffy, Marc Glendenning, David Jones (deputy, the Estates of Guernsey) Roger Knapman, Trevor Colman, and Richard Heaslip. 

It will be interesting, nearer the time as is always the case (for the enemy chooses his moment well) to see if the Marxist Nazi “students” and “concerned academics” get this meeting either banned or at least a little bit “jostled”, using their “workers” and storm-students.