Monthly Archives: December 2006

Public Sector Rich List


The Tax Payers’ Alliance  recently released this excellent analysis of the UK public sector rich.

I have no problem with people in the private sector earning large sums of money as result of their commercial exploits. However, this does not apply to the public sector. As all taxation is theft  these people are the real fat cat parasites of our society.

Something Tory for Christmas?


A few weeks back I bought the book Unzipped and could not put it down. It is well written, very funny and contains many liberal meems.

Unzipped is the story of a senior Tory’s political life in London and also the story of an unusual marriage. For the anonymous author’s wife declared to him at a political dinner that if he was so inclined, she would give her blessing to him having sex with other women. It would cost him, but she would allow him to seek sex elsewhere, as she was no longer interested in this side of their marriage. This led to an avalanche of sexual experiences and a journey leading the politician to love two women – his wife and his prostitute.

Over the years we have all read about political extramarital affairs but in this book we learn in detail about a world of prostitutes and sex parties. For Unzipped exposes a truth behind party conferences, lobbying, and many members of all political parties – high and low.  As compulsively readable as the Alan Clark Diaries, Unzipped is the perfect book for anyone who’s wondered what really happens behind the façade of Westminster and is looking to give a hilarious gift to a friend this Christmas.

The Private Supply of Public Goods


I recently talked to a Conservative councillor from North London who complained about a seeming lack of free market literature specifically aimed at people in local government. While this complaint might be justified, two excellent publications – one a pamphlet and the other a book – come to mind. 

Today, it is popularly believed that the unrestricted operation of market forces in the nineteenth century meant that many so called public goods such as public order and sanitation had to be delivered by the state. Yet this perspective is debunked by Dr. Stephen Davies in his excellent LA paper: The Private Supply of Public Goods in Nineteenth Century Britain, Libertarian Alliance. 

Again, the Independent Institute book The Voluntary City  provides an insightful history and analysis of private, locally based provision of social services, infrastructure, and community governance. Covering the private provision of education, transport, housing, health care and crime control this must read book reveals:

“How the process of providing local public goods through the dynamism of freely competitive, market-based entrepreneurship is unmatched in renewing communities and strengthening the bonds of civil society.”

Capitalist hitchhicking


From LifeHacker, one of my favorite blogs come this suggestion for finding people to share car trips with. The passenger agrees a fare which is effectively held on escrow by Ridester, providing security on both sides.

Subsidies? Nil. Government involvement? Nil. Security? Pretty good, like eBay, you get to read testimonies from previous travel sharers and give ratings.

Two consequences I like: 1) this will tend to reduce pressure for public transport subsidies in remote parts of the USA and provides an ethical alternative to regulated car sharing schemes; and 2) it encourages people to behave responsibly (assholes will be reported as such and lose future opportunities, whether they drive or are passengers).

Consent


If asked to choose one word to sum up what libertarianism is all about, many libertarians would, not very surprisingly, choose: liberty. Of those who didn’t choose liberty many others would instead say: freedom. Most English speaking people, including most libertarians, seem to use these two words pretty much interchangeably. For me, if obliged to choose just one word to say what libertarianism means, that one word would probably be: consent.

Lots of ideologues now believe in liberty, or freedom, or say that they do. But, we all have different views about how to get it, protect it and preserve it, and about what its proper limits are. Libertarians, for instance, do not believe that people should be at liberty (free) to launch unprovoked and violent attacks against the persons or properties of others. Many would say that this means that we believe in restricting freedom. We do. One of the major purposes of property is to enable the property owner to limit freedom, on or in using his property. (We believe that restricting freedom in this particular way nevertheless maximises it.)

Consent is also a slippery concept – a bone upon which flesh must also be put if it is to be clear what is being said – but I think that consent, more exactly than mere liberty, communicates what libertarianism is all about.

Two scraps of descriptive flesh, then.

First, consent is, in particular, a better way to summarise libertarianism than another very popular mantra, involving the idea of harm. That you should be allowed to do what you like so long as you do no harm to others, as a short summary of libertarianism, or of mere governmental wisdom in general, is just plain wrong, and opens the door to all manner of governmental and other interferences into what ought to be perfectly legal activities.

Every professional sportsman who ever gets stuck into an opponent is trying to boost his own career at the expense of the career of his opponent, in short, to harm the other guy. The point is not that a sportsman is not harmed when he loses an important and economically portentous contest; the point is that he consented to the fixture, and to any harm that losing it, or for that matter winning it, might bring to him. He knew when he entered the contest that he might lose, perhaps humiliatingly. His entire career, even the rest of his life, might then be badly deranged. Too bad. Those were the rules he consented to. This definitely includes the physical dangers involved in consenting to a physically violent sport, such as boxing, or to dangerous body contact sports like rugby or American football.

Second, consent, as understood by libertarians, applies to all the individuals who participate in an event, rather than to a mere majority of them, or to a substantial minority of them. The phrase “consent of the governed” to a libertarian, is decidedly contradictory. Which do you want? Consent? Or a whole lot of people who have not actually consented to anything being “governed”?

Every individual involved in a rugby international consented to take part, indeed was probably frantically eager to do so and thrilled to be selected, despite all the dangers of getting quite badly hurt or being made a very public fool of. But if even one individual involved in such an event were to be kidnapped and forced against his will to take part, that would be wrong, say we libertarians. And says almost everyone else. That a mere majority consented to the event would be no excuse for such a kidnapping.

Most would agree about applying the consent axiom to rugby matches, at least when it comes to adults. What distinguishes us libertarians from the rest is that we apply this kind of thinking to as many other arrangements as we possibly can.

One of the major purposes of this blog is to draw attention to the mostly rather less chatty, but more earnestly and thoughtfully ccomposed, publications of the Libertarian Alliance, both recent and not so recent.

So, in connection with the consent principle, or the “consent axiom”, as he calls it, let me draw your attention to Leon Louw’s Legal Notes No. 10, entitled Libertarianism and the Lessons of the Common Law. “Consent” being of the subheadings in this piece, towards the end of page two.

Under which Louw writes:

Libertarianism argues that one may not initiate aggression, or fraud, or theft. The absence of force or fraud is, in my view, not enough to distinguish permissible from non-permissible acts. This is why I prefer to speak of the “consent axiom”. For example, if I leave my car with the key in it and somebody sees it and drives off in it – have they aggressed? Have they defrauded me? It seems to me not. It seems to me that the much better litmus test is whether they have used me or my property without my consent. That is surely a much more universally applicable and useful test.

And, as I say, we don’t just apply the consent axiom to relatively uncontroversial applications, like car theft and sports contests. We apply it, or we try to, to everything.

Libertarian ideas on free market defence and security


In the week that the Iraq Study Group delivered its recommendations to the US leadership and friends in the bloggosphere suggest that increased tax spending on our nationalised military might be a good way forward, I am mindful of a burgeoning libertarian literature on defence and security. In recent years many good pieces have been published on this complex topic and much of it is now thankfully available on-line. Here is an introductory list of just a fraction:

Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe, The Private Production of Defense, Ludwig von Mises Institute:

Professor Murray Rothbard, Defence Services on the Free Market:

Professor Larry Sechrest, Privateering and National Defense: Naval Warfare for Private Profit, Independent Institute:

Garry M. Anderson and Adam Gifford, Order Out of Anarchy – The International Law of War, CATO Journal:Garry M. Anderson and Adam Gifford, Privateering and the Private Production of Naval Power Finally, here are three excellent books well worth purchasing:

Peter. W. Singer, Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry:

Robert Higgs, Arms, Politics and the Economy: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, Independent Institute:

Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe, The Myth of National Defense, Ludwig von Mises Institute:

Gordon Brown spends, spends, spends on doomed state education


Today, the
UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, has pledged in his pre-Budget statement  to the House of Commons, even more tax payers’ money for the vortex of doom that is state education.
 Unlike politicians, libertarians have no faith in state funded, centrally planned and compulsory education. Instead, they believe in a genuine market for learning and a world of real choice. Forget Eaton and Harrow, for while they might have a place in the market, libertarians envisage a world of home education, the University of Life, private schools for profit, private schools for charity, schools belonging to high street brands, private universities, schools belonging to churches and a thousand other options. This would be a market with low barriers of entry – not driven by regulation but reputation. Ultimately, it would be a market driven by real consumers. One of the best libertarian writers on education was of course E. G. West who now has an excellent research and policy unit  named after him at Newcastle University – directed by Professor James Tooley. The E. G. West Centre provides a great reading list.If you are interested in the history and political economy of British education then also have a look at the eleven Libertarian Alliance Educational Notes (numbers 15-25) written by David Botsford and linked to below. They make for excellent reading and should be downloaded by anyone who wants to know the tragic history that has become modern British state education:

Compulsion Versus
Liberty in Education, I: The Calvinist Roots

Compulsion Versus
Liberty in Education, II: The British Road From Freedom to Despotism

Compulsion Versus
Liberty in Education, III: Against Planned Education, III: Against Planned Education

Compulsion Versus
Liberty in Education, IV: The Montessori Movement and Its Enemies, IV: The Montessori Movement and Its Enemies

Compulsion Versus
Liberty in Education, V: The Psychology of Repression

Compulsion Versus
Liberty in Education, VI: The False Freedom of the British Public Schools

Compulsion Versus
Liberty in Education, VII: Violence in Schools

Compulsion Versus
Liberty in Education, VIII: The Third Wave

Compulsion Versus Liberty in Education, IX: TheSchool of
Barbiana

Compulsion Versus Liberty in Education, X: Home Education in
Britain

Compulsion Versus
Liberty in Education, XI: Stirner Versus Calvin

How and why Kate Middleton could get a good day-job…and the evolution of the person of the British head of State


The Evolution of the Person of the British Head of State, and how and why Kate Middleton got a job.

I do not know what the probability is of Kate Middleton marrying Prince William is, nor indeed the probability of his yet being crowned as Head of State, such that she will be Queen. But as a market-maker I would guess 0.63 and 0.19 respectively. I would take 10p at 4-to-6-on for the first and 11-to-2 that William will actually make it to Westminster Abbey. The Queen is 80 but quite fit I am told, and is unlikely to be fired by Blair (his snobbish wife would disagree) or even Brown or Cameron, in her lifetime. Brown admires and looks up to her (his wife is not stupid and will keep her trap shut); he is a Callaghan figure in her eyes. 

However, the “Education Manifesto” has been so successful since 1990, that the Nazi Gumment here has now got a problem.

It has got to stage its Hindenberg-Fuehrer-1933-moment quite soon, to maintain the momentum of socialism in the birthplace of its mortal foe, before so few people vote (or know how to care about what to vote about) that even Labour MPs in Rotten Boroughs will not get elected; this is what “the war against the West”, “PC”, the “New Labour Party” and also the “EU” (which would be a useless weapon without its Quislings here at home) are all about.

 The Queen, bless her, is, despite the efforts of our Nazis to discredit her and her children and their sources of funding, still a focus of unity and nationhood. Her grandfather did a lot to popularise the British Monarchy, her poor father exhausted himself to death against Blair’s backers’ allies, further humanising himself and his office in the process, and were she to turn up in our town this afternoon, everything would stop, even the Police-Attack-Squads would become chatty, and you would feel, in the air of the street, that she was genuinely loved. The poor people (want to) know nothing of her successive betrayals of her Oath in the signings of “scraps of paper” such as Rome, the SEA, Maastricht etc. Nor do they care.

Nazism belongs in faraway countries, of which we know little.

The 20th century was a difficult time for European and Old-World monarchs. Not a few have gone by the wayside, some in blood. This latter mostly where there was no real political communication between the monarch and the “people”. Where there was some understanding of this, they have survived. Britain; Holland; Spain (some trouble due to sundry socialists but they got there.) Scandinavia. That’s about it. I can’t comment on S E Asia, eg Thailand, as I know not enough about its history. But here, the ones that survived had some tradition of engaging with their populations.

The next five years will be hard for our monarchy. the Queen is old, and will be tempted, even pressed by “her Doctors” to take a back seat. This will mean poor, intense, tortured, intelligent (more than you know) Prince Charles having to become invloved in State Business. His green-ness is sad, and there is nothing that can be done about it now at his age, but he has meant well. Saddo remarks like “people having to get over their obsession with cheap food” are unfortunate, and will fortunately be ignored outside the offices of FOE and “Green piece” what ever that might be. However, Poundbury will be remembered and copied, all over the world, especially in Rich China, India and Australasia, long after he is gone.

But to get back to Kate Middelton. This is interesting, for her entry and involvement marks finally a return to a much older English monarchic tradition. England has always been an egalitarian society, in the sense that even socialists defined it, which is the ability of movement up and down it due to ability, or intelligence. they only purport to hate it becuase it is the only one which historically has actually existed, with the exception of the USA (which they hate more becuase it is bigger and newer - no equality there, then!) and the rest of the Anglosphere, whose turn will soon come.

In England, the Monarch has mostly been free to marry whom he/she pleases. This has been so for about 13 centuries, more or less since we have had “one” monarch. I am sure that the previous arrangements were even less subject to “peer” scrutiny. This tradition failed somewhat in the post-Rennaissance years, when dynastic contracts had to be made in order to forestall National extinction at the hands of whatever Continental power coveted England’s revenues at any time, the better (having confiscated them) to assault and engilf its neighbours (and we have gone into a “union” with exactly THESE people???) That must be why we have so much Scandinavian and German blood in our monarchy, and so little French and Spanish.

Kate Middleton may yet save the English from their own bureaucrats, but neither she nor I know how at this time.

At a time when the English Monarchy is facing more threats than for three centuries, from inside its own polity, yet it pulls a rabbit out of a hat, and we may survive. Its Principal male Heir, a popular and good-looking, and by all accounts, a sound intelligent young man (who has been to Sandhurst and may get the Sword of Honour, which is no mean thing I can tell you, and the Army is one of the last unvandalised institutions which is fair and upright) has got a “nice middle-class girl” for his girlfriend, whom he “met at Uni”, which is what they all aspire to do now. Yes, the English monarchy may, yet, triumph again, over changing habits and mores, re-inventing itself to stay the head of this curious, brilliant, yet just now I fear, sleeping, nation. This time, the sleep “may” have been “criminally induced” by its present “Nazi masters”, rather than form outside. I could stomach the EU if its “directives” were enforced locally with the same spirit and zeal that they seem to be on the continental mainland, which is not much – but there is of course another agenda at work in the UK, by our home-Nazis, who have been educated in the past 20 years+ under a curriculum which I intend to dissect in my rducation posts here.

The View from the Bridge


REVENGE

SHIP’S (MORAL) COMPASS (above Bridge)

Today I battled manfully, again, with the task of getting a somewhat irregular student to become interested in reading more. I have been working on this task for quite some time. She and her older sister go to a (middling fair) English private school, so you would expect more drive and curiosity than is present there, but they are kind and well-meaning girls even if only lightly-burdened with information about the world’s great issues of the day, and their only wish is to look and act like “celebs” as often as they can get out of school uniform – then of course, everyone will be happy.

I pressed for some minutes, and finally elicited that in “English”, the younger girl’s class have spent the first 6 weeks of term investigating the significance of a book’s “cover illustration” and “what it can tell us” about the “story”. ” (She is 13.) Then, during November, I revert to direct quotation here;

“Well, we’ve been looking at a book, it’s called “Whispers in the Graveyard”, and it’s like it’s about this boy, he’s called Solomon, and like his dad isn’t very nice, and he has dyslexia, so every evening he goes and sits in the graveyard, then so far it’s threse two men, they are from the council, they want to dig it up. (Ed;” do you remember why?”) No. And it’s been found that they buried people there who had smallpox…(Ed; “where’s the boy’s mother in this story?”) Oh, it’s er like his mother’s left him and the dad…..(Ed; “who’s this book by?”) Er, I don’t know, I can’t remember. (Ed; “what is the opinion of others in your English set, of this book?”) I think we quite like it….I’m ot sure…(Ed; what is your teacher’s avowed purpose in class-readng this book for the last 5 weeks?”) I think we are finding like similes and stuff….(Ed; “you mean, figures of speech, such as “metaphors”…) Yes, and humour, and oxymoron……….erm. (Ed; “how far have you got in the book?”) We’ve only read six chapters so far……………..

I’m sorry. For those of you who are still on the compass-deck and have not gone off in boredom, this is typical of the literary fare that English teenagers are fed, even in the “better” schools. I will return to the pretentious nonsense, masquerading as great literature, that they get rammed down their throats in state schools in due time. If you know of better ways of putting semi- or partly-socialised teenagers from an excitement-filled, post-industrial, powerful 1st world country off the great literature of their forefathers, which could help root them to their chairs for a few minutes and concentrate on some idea worth articulating (any idea!) then please convey it to me!

I want to put a proposition to those of you still on this deck. Becuase I want to do something for these wretched, miserable, deprived, robbed teenagers.

Suppose that you had a 700Mb CD-Rom, an ordinary, cheapo unleaded one, and you had to fill it with the world’s greatest and grandest and most exciting literature? Written with either the most soul-shaking prose: Or containing the finest language that Man could utter: Or painting the most noble pictures of heroism in the face of unguessable odds: Or telling an ordinary story in extraordinary ways?

What would you put on MY CD-Rom? What do YOU think would inspire these poor Lancashire adolescents?

I already plan to give them the complete Shakespeare (BUT, it’s searchable for anything INSTANTLY! So they may even go for it. It’s only 6Mb and I have prepared it.) How about, for example, the King James Bible? (They won’t even think of opening it yet, but in time.) The Principia Mathematica? The entirety of the Lord of the Rings, WITH the Silmarillion and “Unfinished Tales” which are the background that make the rest of the work worthwhile? And of course the Periodic Table?

What would any of you add? I’d love to know.

My wife said “The Ten Commandments” and “all information on how to cure any sick-people”.

There’s plenty of room, so please suggest!

Rewriting the british “National Curriculum”, to help stamp out Nazism


David Davis

I have decided to re-write the whole of the UK’s National(ised) Curriculum (except languages, about which I know nothing except for Latin and Greek. )

It will give me slight amusement in my old age, when, my alternative version being published, many, many thousands of UK primary school teachers will riot (sorry, I meant “demonstrate”) and say “we can’t teach this”. The extrinsic reason will be that they don’t agree with its thrust; for many are trained Marxist destroyers of Western liberal Classical knowledge, and do what they do right now on purpose. But the intrinsic reason will be that they mostly don’t know anything, much, at all, as a result of their Marxist-oriented training. I shall take sad pleasure in being able to say, to many thousands of them: “Well, and, I am so sorry. Go, and go now.” Many of the larger teachers, and there are many, could go…….and break rocks…………..perhaps in China, whose pants are so on fire that rocks still have to be broken, here and there, even in 2007. They could build some of the 562 coal-fired power stations, of which one a week is opening until 2012, as fortunately for China and for us too, it did not sign the anti-liberal Kyoto scam. China is even building a Ground Iron-Rail Way , to, I believe, Tibet. That ought to tell the poor old Dalai Llama something, about where both his real, and his imagined, friends, could now be.

This was brought on today, by my boy, who on coming home, said that science homework this week is a “2-minute “POD CAST” about a science topic in the NEWS”. Firstly, I had no idea what a “Pod Cast” is, and had to take a few seconds out to learn it, as the teacher had not said anything. Then, we had to “Down Load Soft Ware” from the school’s “Web Site”, including, may I add, the homework-brief (I do know what a brief is, altough they did not call it that!)

What is the situation, in all this, of socialistically-overdeprived children whose parents do not know how to interpolate opaque instructions, let alone those who do not possess computers or even internet connections? If they have to pay the electric bill with funny cards in grocery shops, what do they do about internets, I wonder? (Not their fault IMHO – I blame Fabians, Napoleon, Lenin and the Kaiser.) How then can they “access the school web site” and get programmes with which to do the homework and re-upload it ??? We will manage, but I have been just gifted a good laptop with “features”, by the kindness of a friend.

No, this homework was symbolic of new Labour. It was nothing about science, at all, and everything about presentation. Not only is the homework itself a work of presentation, and no more and no less, but it has to be about something else “in the news”. No attempt whatever in the last few weeks has been made to actually teach any science to these poor children.

Libertarian beliefs wiki


InstaPatrick libertarian wiki screenshotYou probably know of Wikipedia, the incredibly useful online encyclopedia that anyone can edit. But you may not be aware of how that same wiki technology – allowing dynamic information to be stored and shared in a truly dynamic format – is being used in personal projects.

Patrick Crozier, a libertarian who has been active in the Libertarian Alliance for many years, has set up InstaPatrick, a wiki where he catalogues his thoughts and opinions on many issues. You can see a listing of all the pages in his wiki here.

Pages like “Why British rail privatisation failed” or “Against taxation” allow Patrick not only a resource to which he can refer others in the course of online conversation, but also can be found by people using search engines to find information on these issues. (It also makes for addictive reading for someone like me, who has come to similar views relatively recently. It is much handier than pestering longtime libertarians like Antoine Clarke and Brian Micklethwait about every question that crosses my mind.)

I have been thinking about how the LA could use wikis to help spread its wisdom and gain influence. For starters, each page about a particular issue could also link to all related LA papers; this would be incredibly useful to journalists and students, among others. If you have your own ideas, feel free to share them in the comments.

LA Conference Media Files Available


 

Record of Proceedings:
THE ANNUAL LONDON CONFERENCE
OF THE LIBERTARIAN ALLIANCE
AND THE LIBERTARIAN INTERNATIONAL


Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th November 2006

The National Liberal Club
Whitehall Place
London SW1A 2HE
England

 

We are delighted to welcome you to Liberty 2006: The Annual London Conference of the Libertarian Alliance and the Libertarian International.
Dr Timothy Evans, President
Dr Sean Gabb, Director
The Libertarian Alliance

SPEAKERS AND SUBJECTS:

 

Saturday 25th November 2006

09.15am – 10.00am Arrival and Registration

10.00am – 11.00am Memorial for Dr. Chris R. Tame
Speakers: Dr. Sean Gabb (Director, Libertarian Alliance), Dr. Tim Evans (President, Libertarian Alliance), Professor David Myddleton (Chairman of Trustees, Institute of Economic Affairs), Dr. Syed Kamall MEP (Member of the European Parliament, Conservative Party)

11.00am -11.30am Coffee Break

11.30am -12.45pm Session 1 The Nation State, the European Union and Globalisation: Libertarian Perspectives
Speaker: Dr. Boudwijn Boukert (Director, Nova Civitas, Belgium)
Panellists: Dr. Syed Kamall (Member of the European Parliament, Conservative Party), Wolfgang Muller (Director, IUF, Germany),
Moderator: Dr. Sean Gabb (Director, Libertarian Alliance)

12.45pm -2.30pm Free time for lunch in the local area

2.30pm -3.45pm Session 2 Tax Simplification, Tax Reduction
Speaker: Dr Eamonn Butler (Adam Smith Institute)
Moderator: Dr. Tim Evans (President, Libertarian Alliance; Director of Development, Stockholm Network; Senior Fellow, Centre for the New Europe)

3.45pm -5.00pm Session 3 Space Entrepreneurship: New Frontiers for Markets and Liberty
Speaker: Dale Amon (National Space Society)
Moderator: Brian Micklethwait (Blogger: Centre for the New Europe, Samizdata.net, Libertarian Alliance, Globalisation Institute)

5.00pm -7.30pm Free time

7.30pm -11.00pm Annual LA Dinner and Awards

Sunday 26th November 2006

10.00am -11.15am Session 4 Culture War: Radical Islam, Ideological Struggle and Lessons from the Cold War
Speaker: Claire Fox (Director, Institute of Ideas)
Panellists: Christian Michel (President, Libertarian International), Perry de Havilland (Samizdata.net)
Moderator: David Farrer (Financial Director, Libertarian Alliance)

11.15am – 11.35am Coffee Break

11.35am – 12.50pm Session 5 The Free Market Movement in Europe and New Technology: The Web, Blogs and Podcasting
Speaker: Helen Disney (Director, Stockholm Network)
Panellists: Jackie Danicki (Founder and Director, Engagement Alliance), Antoine Clarke (Blogger: Centre for the New Europe, Samizdata.net)
Moderator: Dr. Tim Evans (President, Libertarian Alliance; Director of Development, Stockholm Network; Senior Fellow, Centre for the New Europe)

12.50pm-2.30pm Free Time for Lunch in the Local Area

2.30pm -3.45pm Session 6 Sex, Freedom and Pleasure in an Open Society
Speaker: John Pendal (Spanner Trust)
Panellist: Dr. Sean Gabb (Director, Libertarian Alliance)
Moderator: Dr. Tim Evans (President, Libertarian Alliance; Director of Development, Stockholm Network; Senior Fellow, Centre for the New Europe)

3.45pm -5.00pm Session 7 Where now for Free Speech in an Age of Political Correctness
Speaker: Brian Micklethwait (Blogger: Centre for the New Europe, Samizdata.net, Libertarian Alliance, Globalisation Institute)
Moderator: Christian Michel (President, Libertarian International)

5.00pm Conference Close

Note: The above audio files are given in downsampled mp3 format. If you want videos of the speeches, they are available in DVD format from Sean Gabb – all, that is, except the Boudwijn Boukert speech, for which only audio is available.

More Liberty 2006 photos


Liberty 2006

In addition to David Farrer’s photos, I also took a fair amount of pictures at last weekend’s conference. My Liberty 2006 pictures are here. There are lots of the interior of the stunning National Liberal Club, which will also be the venue for Liberty 2007. If you’ve never been there, do check it out – it’s a grand old place.

Podcast on the Libertarian Alliance


The LA’s former Editorial Director,
Brian Micklethwait, will soon be joining us as a writer on this weblog. A long time advocate of blogging he runs the very excellent http://www.brianmicklethwait.com/

Last week, Brian interviewed me about the workings and future of the Libertarian Alliance. Captured as a podcast you can hear the 35 minute long interview via Brian’s site.

Photos from last weekend’s Libertarian Alliance Conference


The Libertarian Alliance’s Financial Director, David Farrer, runs his own weblog .

He also took these excellent photos at last weekend’s LA conference.

Doctor Doom


I’m a fan of the Financial Sense Online website. On Saturday mornings I like to listen to the online weekly broadcast, although it can be accessed anytime. This week much of the programme comes from the “San Francisco Hard Asset ’06″ show. Readers may well enjoy the discussion with Dr Marc Faber (Part 1). Faber produces the wonderfully named Gloom, Boom and Doom Report and sounds like a rather sinister James Bond villain. But he’s on our side and lays into the fiat money crowd.

Sir Rod Eddington’s road pricing plans fall way short on Libertarian vision


The former British Airways supremo, Sir Rod Eddington, has been exploring future options for the UK’s transport network.

However, while pointing out that road pricing might benefit the economy by £28 billion a year and lead to a more rational usage of road space (not to mention the welcome abandonment of fuel duty and the car tax disc) his report falls way short when it comes to libertarian vision.  For no where does it highlight the benefits of private road ownership. No where does it recommend a supply side liberalisation on road building and the abandomement of various planning laws – including compulsory purchase orders. No where does it talk about allowing private law enforcement in public space or the need for complete privacy when in the future people pay their tolls and charges.  Commissioned by the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, Sir Rod’s report instead talks in the usual bland and deeply corporatist language of politicised business-speak. Road pricing is purely couched in terms of cutting traffic, encouraging trains and buses and being generally good for the government. 

For a real vision for roads and our transport network forget Sir Rod and go to this excellent paper by Brian Micklethwait – The Private Ownership of Public Space: The New Age of Rationally Priced Road Use.