Monthly Archives: March 2007

Sean Gabb on the Tory “Intellectual Revival”


http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc158.htm

Free Life Commentary,
A Personal View from
The Director of the
Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 158
31st March 2007
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The Emperor Has No Clothes:
by Sean Gabb
On Fraternity:
Politics beyond Liberty and Equality
Danny Kruger
Civitas, London, 2007, 95pp, £7.50 (pbk)
ISBN 978 1 903386 57 6

At the beginning of the short book, its author insists that “I do not speak for the Conservative Party”. This being said, Dr Kruger is a special adviser to David Cameron and is a former leader writer for The Daily Telegraph. He also showed the manuscript of his book to David Willetts, Oliver Letwin, Daniel Hannan, and to various other people more or less closely connected with the Leader of the Conservative Party. It was, moreover, discussed before publication at one of the lunchtime seminars hosted by Civitas. I have attended several of these, and it is easy to imagine that this one was attended by just about every important academic or intellectual connected with the Conservative Party.

The disclaimer, therefore, is a matter of form. The book is – and is intended to be regarded as – an authoritative statement of Conservative Party thought. I do not see how there can be any reasonable doubt of this. But it is a point that I must ask my readers to bear continually in mind. I once sat next to Dr Kruger at a private dinner party. I do not recall that we disagreed on anything. He wrote a very nice article last year, regretting the death of Chris Tame. Some of the names given his his Acknowledgements are of friends. If I now say that this book is an intellectual fraud in its intention, and shabby in its execution, I hope he and they and you will not take my comments as personal.

So far as I can understand him, Dr Kruger is trying to analyse the current state of affairs in this country. During the second half of the twentieth century, he says, we tried two great experiments. The first was socialist equality. This began to break down in the 1960s, when trade union privilege and heavy spending on welfare led to inflation and a loss of competitiveness.

The second was a return to market liberty under Margaret Thatcher. This restored the economy, but led to a collapse of various customs and institutions that gave meaning to the lives of individuals. Before coming to power in 1997, Tony Blair did promise to sort out the resulting disorder and general loss of faith in the system. However, since then, that promise has been comprehensively broken. We therefore need a new government that will reconcile the jointly necessary but often opposed impulses of liberty and equality. Thus the title of the book.

Exactly how these impulses are to be reconciled within a new and stable order is not made clear. But Dr Kruger does excuse himself in advance with the statement:

In this essay I try to outline the political philosophy which justifies the ‘communal [but] not official’. It is necessarily abstract, a ‘resort to theories’, in Burke’s disparaging aside. It is devoid of detailed policy, yet I hope it demonstrates that, all our common rhetoric notwithstanding, there are real differences between Right and Left, founded on very different ideas of how society works.[p.11]

This is a wise excuse, as it saves Dr Kruger from having to admit the fraudulent nature of his analysis. For there was no return to market liberty in the 1980s. If it took me until nearly the end of the decade to shake off the false assumptions I had made as a teenager, I was one of the earliest conservatives to understand the real nature of the Thatcher project. It was to reconcile the fact of an extended and meddling state apparatus, plus big business privilege, with the need to generate enough wealth to pay for it all.

There was no reduction in tax for the middle classes. There was no overall cutting of regulations. Instead, the taxes and regulations were revised so that we could, by immense hard work, reverse the long term relative decline of the British economy.

As for the working classes, their ability to slow the growth of gross domestic product was checked by the ending of various – and perhaps indefensible – protections, and by the importation of a new proletariat from elsewhere in the world that had no perceived commonality of interest with the native working classes, and that would, by its presence, drive down their living standards.

So much for economic liberty. Where other liberties were concerned, we saw a consistent rolling back of the gains made since about 1600. Procedural safeguards were shredded, so that the law was turned from a shield for the people into a sword for the state. A close surveillance was imposed over our financial affairs. Freedom of speech and association were eroded – partly by direct changes in the law, partly by creating a general environment within which disobedience to the expressed will of the authorities became unwise. At the same time, verbal and institutional associations that bound us to a more liberal past were progressively broken; and structures of democratic accountability were replaced by indirect rule from Brussels and from a more general New World Order.

The election of a New Labour Government changed very little. Government under Tony Blair became more politically correct than it would have been under the Conservatives. But this was balanced by a greater caution in matters of European harmonisation. The destruction of the Common Law and its replacement by a panopticon police state went on regardless.

There is not – and has not been during the past quarter century – any political conflict in this country between liberty and equality. We are both less equal today than we were in about 1980, and we are less free. Such debate as there is between the two main political parties is over details. The project common to both Labour and Conservative Parties is the transformation of this country into a place where the upper reaches of the ruling class can enjoy a status and relative wealth not known since early Stuart times – and in which there can be no challenge from below.

The Conservatives under Mrs Thatcher started this. It was continued by Labour under Mr Blair. It will not be reversed by the Conservatives under Mr Cameron.

Given these facts, it is not surprising that Dr Kruger has refused to discuss any detailed policies. Where nothing new is intended, nothing at all should be promised.

But this brings me to the apparent purpose of the book. Our politics may be degraded from the level even of the late 1970s. But we have yet to sink entirely to the level of America, where elections seem to be decided wholly by money and competing armies of drum majorettes. It is still expected that political debate in this country should proceed from an intellectual basis. The Conservatives have no intellectual basis that they dare honestly explain to us. They must at the same time convey the impression of one. They have, therefore, put Dr Kruger up to write a whole book about Conservative principle, but to do so in a way that will allow almost no one to understand him.

The language of his book is in all matters of importance pretentious and obscure.

Take, for example, this:

Central to the Hegelian concept of Aufhebung or ‘sublation’ is the preservation of the antithetic stages passed through by the thesis. Not only is the thesis ‘realised’ by its sublation: the antithesis too is strengthened and perpetuated. But the thesis only preserves those elements of the antithesis it finds conducive to itself – there must be, in the key Hegelian word, an ‘ethical’ relationship between thesis and antithesis, by which one relates to another in a natural and organic manner.[p.18]

Or take this:

The person abstracted from all contingent circumstances – the main in isolation – is not truly a man at all, merely (Hegel again) ‘the sheer empty unit of the person’. The original Kantian individual who signs the social contract from behind the veil of ignorance, with his objective intellect and dispassionate morality, is admirable and necessary. But he is not enough.[p.49]

Or take this:

For freedom is attained, said Hegel, not by the individual divorcing himself from society but by marrying it. True – what he called ‘concrete’ – freedom is not ‘the freedom of the void’. It is the freedom of ‘finding oneself’ in society; of ‘being with oneself in another’. By my marriage with society I attain my true self, which before was abstract. I am realised, socialised; I whisk aside the veil of ignorance, ‘the colourful canvass of the world is before me’; I plunge into it, and find myself ‘at home’.[p.51]

The meaning of this second and third can perhaps be recovered. They appear to mean that individuals function best when they are surrounded by familiar things that give meaning and security to their lives. As to the first, your guess is as good as mine.

There is page after page of this stuff. We have commonplaces dressed up to look profound. We have manifest nonsense. We have knowing references to Plato and Aristotle and Hobbes and Burke and Mill. We have untranslated words and phrases, or words that have been taken into English but never widely used. There is, of course, “Aufhebung“. This is at least translated – though, until I looked it up in a dictionary, I could only understand “sublation” from its Latin roots. But there is also “noumenal”[p.13], “heteronomous”[p.38], “soixantes-huitards“[p.40], “thetic”[p.66], and much else besides. Oh – and we have the word “discombobulated”[p.58]. This is an illiterate Americanism from the 1830s, and has no fixed meaning. Such meaning as Dr Kruger gives it must be gathered from the context in which he uses it.

There are many subjects, I grant, discussion of which requires a specialised language. There is music. There is the law. There are the natural sciences. But this is so only for the most elaborate discussions. For basic presentations, plain English has always been found sufficient. And it is not so for discussing political philosophy. For this, plain English is ideally suited. I do know languages – Slovak, for example – where foreign or unfamiliar words are needed for meaningful discussion of political philosophy. Even here, though, I deny the utility of asking thinkers like Hegel or Kant for guidance. German philosophy is notoriously a learned gibberish. For nearly two centuries, it has been used to justify every imaginable lapse from humanity and common sense. Dr Kruger is supposed to be an expert on Edmund Burke. It is worth asking why he has, on this occasion, avoided all attempt at imitating the clear English of the Enlightenment.

The likeliest answer is that enlightenment is not among his intentions. As said, that must be to express himself in a manner that almost none of his readers will understand. This book has been sent out for review to hundreds of journalists and general formers of opinion. It is hoped that these will all skim though it and scratch their heads. “What a bright young man this is” we are all to say. “What he says is all above my head, but I do not wish to look stupid, so will join in the applause at his erudition and profundity.”

It is all like the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes. Newspaper articles will be written about the “intellectual revival” in the Conservative Party. Gossip columns will be filled with references to the gigantic intellect of Dr Kruger. Even hostile articles about Mr Cameron will contain some flattering mention of the philosophical depths with which he has been put in touch.

If this were all one could say about his book, there would be much reason to condemn Dr Kruger. But there is more. His book is not only pretentious and obscure. It is also incompetent. If he were one of my students, and he were to offer this to me as a long undergraduate essay, he would have it thrown straight back in his face.

Look at this:

But the 1980s also saw the defoliation of the natural landscape. In The City of God Augustine quotes a Briton saying ‘the Romans make a desert and they call it peace’.[p.2]

Never mind that defoliation happens to trees, not natural landscapes. What matters here is that St Augustine did not say this, and could not have said it, bearing in mind the purpose of his City of God. The correct reference is to Tacitus in his biography of Agricola: “Auferre, trucidare, rapere, falsis nominibus imperium atque ubi solitudinem faciunt pacem appellant“. Dr Kruger went, I believe, to an expensive public school, I to a comprehensive school in South London. Perhaps the classical languages are not so well studied in these former places as they once were. But anyone who wants to quote the ancients should make at least some effort to do it properly.

Is this pedantry? I do not think so. The quotation should be familiar to everyone of moderate education – even to people who do not know Latin. Its use is not absolutely required for the meaning of what Dr Kruger is trying to say. Like much else, it is there to impress. And he gets it wrong. And the fault is not confined to him. This book has gone through many drafts. Remember that it has been read and discussed by every intellectual close to the Conservative leadership. Even so, this glaring error on the second page was not picked up and corrected. This says more about the intellectual quality of modern Conservatives than anything else in the book.

Or take the casual reference on p.71 to Frederic Bastiat as a “nineteenth-century anarchist”. Bastiat believed in far less government than Dr Kruger or his employers. But he was a liberal, not an anarchist.

Or take this:

Not everything that ‘is permitted’, said St Paul: ‘is beneficial’.[p.55]

This is a reference to 1 Corinthians 10:23: “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not”. The meaning of the verse is difficult, and may refer to the eating of sacrificial meat. It does nothing to advance whatever point Dr Kruger is making. It is, again, there to give an impression of learning that he does not seem, on examination, to possess.

Or take this:

‘The state is an association’ says Aristotle in the first sentence of The Politics.[p.79]

Aristotle may not have said this. In Greek, he says – and do pardon the Roman transliteration – “epeide pasan polin horomen koinosian…“. The word in question is given in the standard translations as “community”. It might bear the Oakeshottian sense of “association” – but this is a gloss that needs to be explained.

Or – to inhale yet another blast of Teutonic hot air – take this:

Hegel famously argued that the slave could be more ‘free’ than the master, for the slave is contextualised, subject to circumstances, and related to his fellows even if only through their common bondage. Even though he lacks liberty, one of the three rights of negative freedom (even slaves, in ancient Rome, had the right to life and property), he has more positive freedom than his master, whose wealth makes him independent, and so unrelated to others. The slave is realised, and the master is not.[p.70]

Regardless of whether Hegel actually said anything so ridiculous – not that I would put anything past him – these words astonish me. In the first place, Roman slaves did not have a right to life: they had, from fairly late in the Imperial period, a right not to be butchered by their masters without what a court run by other slaveholders considered to be good reason. Their property was at best a peculium, to which they had no legal right. In the second place, no playing with words can possibly obliterate the factual difference between freeman and slave. If Dr Kruger doubts this, I only wish I could oblige by chaining him to an oar for a few days, or putting him in one of those disgusting underground prisons, or setting him to tend the fish for Vedius Pollio.

Much else in this book is worth despising. These three sentences simply make me angry.

But I turn back to the foreign words. I have found three uses of “Aufhebung“. These all look like the products of a cut and paste operation. They are all unexplained. When I come across phrases like “the crash of Platonic speculation into Aristotelian reality”[p.19], I now find it worth asking if Dr Kruger himself has the foggiest idea what he is trying to say.

Some decent endnotes might help to answer this question. But the notes are about as slipshod as they could be without not being added at all. Quotations are referenced with the author and title and date of the relevant work. But no editions or page numbers are given. Bearing in mind the length and complexity of the works cited – by Adam Smith, Hegel and Hayek, for instance – we can legitimately wonder how many of these Dr Kruger has actually read.

Of course, I blame the Conservative leadership for trying to make us believe it intends to do other than continue the work of turning England into the sort of despotism that would have made James II gasp and stare. But I also blame Dr Kruger for executing his commission so incompetently. And I must blame many of my friends for having let their names be used as an endorsement of his efforts – and for having brought themselves into disrepute by not objecting to so many scandalous blunders.

Above all, I blame Civitas – otherwise the most authoritative and radical of modern policy institutes. It has published the longest petition of intellectual bankruptcy I have read in years. I do most strongly urge David Green to withdraw this book at once and remove it from the Civitas catalogue.

NB – Sean Gabb’s novel The Column of Phocas (£8.99) will be withdrawn from sale in the next few months, prior to its reissue in February 2008 by a multinational publishing group. Buy copies of the first edition while you can from http://tinyurl.co.uk/z31v or via Amazon: http://tinyurl.co.uk/2cnw The sequel has already been completed.

You can download the first three chapters free of charge from: http://tinyurl.co.uk/kkl4

Health Commission poll proves ‘NHS staff no longer care’


I like these survey results presented by the BBC from a Health Commission poll of more than 128,000 people who work in Britain’s national socialist NHS. However, as is typical with so many reports from the BBC the obvious conclusion is not made.

Observation 1) Less than 40% of NHS workers would want to be treated in their own NHS hospitals.

Observation 2) Less than half (45% compared with 50% in 2003) think “patients are the top priority.”

Observation 3) Stress-related problems at work have fallen among nurses and other staff (39% to 33%).

Conclusion: NHS nurses and other staff have stopped giving a shit.

I blame the government and say privatise it all now. Crucially, that also means de-monopolising the General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Increasingly, the NHS looks less like the pure juice of altruistic kindness and more like a Nazi concentration camp system in which the feeble and weak are experimented on by the immoral agents of a ruthless and deranged political leadership.

We don’t need a Ministry of Justice or for that matter the Home Office


The day after the British Home Secretary announced a splitting of the Home Office with a newly created Ministry of Justice I am reminded of the excellent work of Dr. Bruce L. Benson some of which can be found here (scroll down) and here   Together, these works provide a great body of knowledge on why security, law enforcement and justice should be left up to the free market.

Deconstructing Al Gore’s panic-mongering on global warming


The blog Classically Liberal has recently added a new article regarding the issue of global warming.

This article discusses how the green left anticipated Gore’s testimony before the US House and how they tried to claim he has academic credentials unlike Prof. Lomborg. In reality the truth is the complete opposite. Gore has a bachelors degree and dropped out of law school. Lomborg has a Ph.D and lectured at university.

Then we look at Gore’s actual testimony and link to a transcript of it. It was the same old apocalyptic nonsense of recent years. It’s a global emergency threatening “the survival of our civilization and the inhabitability of the Earth.” We look at the few claims he did make which can be verified (as opposed to pure rhetoric) and find he was wrong in all of them. He didn’t even get the meaning of the Chinese word for “crisis” correct.

The numbers are in from Gordon Brown’s 2007 budget and tax freedom day stays at 1st June


Having crunched all the numbers from last week’s budget the Adam Smith Institute concludes that tax freedom day remains at 1st June

This means that the average person will go on spending the first five months of the year working for the state. Only on 1st June will they start to work for themselves. Who said slavery has been abolished?!

UK Passport fraud and opposition to ID cards reminds of me of John Lennon’s Imagine


This recent story on passport fraud reminded me of just how much I detest the intrusive and bureaucratic nonsense that is all governmental passport and ID card schemes.

Not only should passports never have been introduced in the UK in the middle of the nineteenth century but we must now oppose, at every turn, the government’s plans to introduce ID cards.

While Dr. Sean Gabb wrote this seminal paper against ID cards, it was Adam Chacksfield who argued: Open the Door! The Case for Abolishing All Immigration Controls

On re-reading Chacksfield’s paper I am reminded of the Libertarian vision at the heart of John Lennon’s song Imagine. I particularly like these words in verse two:

Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people

Living life in peace…

 

You my say I’m a dreamer

But I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will be as one

A year on from the passing of Dr. Chris R. Tame and there is a ghost in the machine


Yesterday was the anniversary of the death of the LA’s founder and former Director Dr. Chris R. Tame.

While my wife and I had a few of Chris’s old friends around to our London home for dinner, on Saturday a small team of LA stalwarts took a boat out from Ramsgate and finally scattered Chris’s ashes in the English Channel. Led by LA Director Dr. Sean Gabb it was a thoughtful and moving voyage.

Having arrived in Ramsgate earlier on Saturday afternoon the LA team – Dr. and Mrs Gabb, David Carr, Dr. Helen and Petica Evans – and I all met up at Rebecca Baty’s house for a cup of coffee. We then walked with Rebecca through the town centre down to the harbour.

On the way, I stopped off at a cash machine to get some money out. On withdrawal I suddenly noticed that I had received my first twenty pound note with Adam Smith on it.

It was a magical moment that reinforced the many achievements of Chris’s life. As if the product of a ghost in the machine the twenty pound note in my hand was a small yet tangible demonstration that we really do live in a world governed by ideas.

Martin Summers publishes an excellent review on Bernard Henry-Levy’s book ‘American Vertigo’


In his latest contribution to global intellectual life libertarian commentator Martin Summers has published an excellent review of Bernard Henry-Levy’s book about America – American Vertigo. Now available on the Institute of Ideas’ Culture Wars website the review can be found here.

Spring Libertarian International/Libertarian Alliance Conference: Berlin, Germany, 2-3 June 2007


The annual Libertarian International Spring conference (in conjunction with Libertarian Alliance) will be held in
Berlin this year. The confirmed dates are the 2nd and 3rd of June for the main conference but with a reception on Friday night, June 1st. 
 

Venue

 The location for the conference will be the famed Hackeshe Höfe complex in the old
East Berlin. Behind the facade of chic shops and restaurants lies a complex of eight interlinked courtyards each with its own ambience. Located one block from the Hackescher Markt S-Bahn station (itself something of an architectural landmark) the complex is filled with restaurants, shops, art galleries, boutiques, a live theatre and a movie theatre with films from around the world. Originally built in 1906/7 it became the largest complex of courtyards in
Europe. It survived the war but was left to decay under Communist rule and was painstakingly restored to its original format 10 years ago. The complex is now one of the most popular spots for tourists to stop for lunch or to shop. The surrounding area throbs with the famous
Berlin night life. 
 For a information on each of the courtyards go here http://www.hackesche-hoefe.com/index.php?id=32 and click on “start Virtueller Rundgang” and click on any courtyard and then click on the coloured squares to see the photos or illustrations.    http://www.berlin-tourist-information.de/bilder/sehenswuerdigkeiten/hackesche-hoefe_03_gross.jpg One can also take a 360º tour of the first courtyard here: http://www.berlin.de/stadttouren/360/hackesche_hoefe/index.en.php 

Reception (optional)

 There will be a reception on Friday night, 1st June for those who arrive the day before the start of the conference. The reception is optional. The evening will include Pizza and soft drinks for a €5 charge. A film will be shown in a second meeting room later in the evening or one can remain in the main reception area to socialise. This will begin at 6:30 with Pizzas beginning at 7:30. No booking is necessary for the reception.  Conference  The conference will begin on Saturday morning with registration between 8:00 am and 9:00 am. A short welcome will kick off the day followed by numerous speakers. Conference organisers are working to bring in top quality experts on various topics. The main thrust of discussion will focus on the threat that the European Union poses especially to those nations just entering it as members.  
Eastern Europe has moved in directions which horrify the old, staid welfare states of Old Europe. The former Soviet bloc is starting to boom while the welfare states are barely growing at all. Plagued with high unemployment, lacklustre economies and bureaucracies that meddle in all aspects of daily life Old Europe can’t compete with the more nimble economies of the East. The European Union is doing its best to makes sure that competition is not necessary by saddling these new EU members with regulations and rules meant to protect the dying economies of the West.  In addition to exploring the dangers of the European Union and welfare statism the conference will look at topical issues of the day. More information on speakers and topics will be released shortly.

Sunday Evening tour and dinner (optional)

The conference will end on Sunday afternoon and be followed with an optional walking tour of the immediate area, which was the old Jewish Quarter before the war. The streets bristle with a history that highlights the dangers of the omnipotent state. Only a few blocks away is the site of the famous Rosenstrasse protests — the only public protests against the Nazi regime during the war.  In 1943 the Nazi regime rounded up the last remaining Jews of Berlin, most were men married to non-Jewish women. The men were housed temporarily at the Jewish Community Centre on Rosenstrasse before deportation to
Auschwitz. But the wives learned of the location and a couple of hundred of them descended on it where they stood outside protesting loudly.
 Nothing the Nazis did could intimidate these women. Each day, for a week, the women and other relatives stood outside protesting. It is believed that up to 6,000 different people participated in this dangerous protest over the week. Finally the Nazis surrendered. Unarmed, with no leaders, the protest succeeded.  You will visit this site and tour the old Jewish Quarter. This tour will begin after the close of the conference and is optional. There will be a light dinner after the tour followed by an evening where we will either have a speaker on the Rosenstrasse protests or show a dramatic film on the events. The tour and dinner are optional. If not enough people will be in
Berlin that evening the tour will not take place so reservations are required. Estimated cost for the walking tour with an English-speaking tour guide plus the dinner is in the range of €30. Detailed information will be available later. If you wish to take this tour please let us know.

Conference Pricing

The two day conference, without meals, can be reserved in advance for €95.00. This includes tea and coffee before the start of the conference on Saturday and Sunday, two tea breaks with snacks later on Saturday and one break with snacks later on Sunday. (We are considering having donuts brought in as an option for those who don’t eat on the way. These will not be included and will cost about €1 each.)  The €95 registration price is for early registrations received before April 20th. After April 20th registrations will increase to €124.95 and those received after May 20th will be €149.95. It is also important to know that seating is strictly limited. Due to the popularity of the location, and the tentative speakers scheduled, we believe that it is likely that seating will run out. Delaying your registration not only costs you more but increases the chance of not being able to attend.

Conference meals (optional)

The conference has an optional meal package available. This includes lunches on Saturday and Sunday and a dinner on Saturday night. The dinner alone is €25. One lunch by itself is €12, but both lunches together can be purchased for €20 in total. All three meals are €40. Meals will be held at one of the restaurants in the courtyard.  Our venue is in the centre of a major tourist area so there are lots of restaurants and take-aways nearby if you prefer. These include some very low cost outlets. You are free to purchase none, one or all of the meals if you prefer. A menu will be announced closer to the time of the conference when the restaurant’s summer menu is avialable.

Scholarships

Students requiring financial assistance to attend are urged to contact the three local organisers immediately at peron@orcon.net.nz. Scholarships can cover up to the entire cost of the conference itself. However, funding will be allocated first to those students asking for the least amount of funding. A student asking for a €20 scholarship will have that filled before one asking for a €95 scholarship. Larger scholarships will be distributed last and will be dependent on available seating.

Budget Restricted Guests

Budget restricted guests should know that it is possible to attend the full weekend quite inexpensively.
Berlin is filled with low cost hotels and hostels and our venue is on the main train route and just off the the route of the underground. One can find hostels with shared rooms from as low as €15. There are hotels that are nearby that cost €80 to €100 per night. Of course there are the more up-market options as well. With many low cost food outlets near the venue you can also cut food costs. You need to make your own hotel reservations and we recommend you book early as
Berlin is a popular destination in the Spring.

Hotel and Hostel Information

We have found that www.all-hotels.com is a good location to book hotels. Also www.hotel-rates.com  We recommend checking several such on-line discount services as the rates often are lower on one site than on another. A few minutes time on the net can save you a good amount. Below are some options, in a range of prices, which are relatively convenient to the venue.

A&O Hostels

Either the location Hostel am Zoo or Hostel Mitte are convenient for you. From either you will need to take the train to the Hackesche Markt station. Both are short train rides but Hostel Mitte is a slightly longer walk to the local station but a shorter train ride. Rates depend on whether you take a single room, a dorm room, etc. But assume prices of between €15 and €40 per night.  A&O Hotel Mitte, located a short walk from Oostbahnhof and then a short ride to Hackersher Markt. 

On line information:

http://www.aohostels.com/en/berlin/  

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Hotel Amelie is located a short walik from the Friedrichstrasse train station and it is then just a quick train ride to Hackerscher Markt. Room rates begin at about €80 per night.

http://en.venere.com/hotels_berlin/hotel_hotel_amelie_berlin.html?ref=42461

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Old Town Apartments are a 5 minute walk from the conference venue. It has 2 person, 4 person and 6 person apartments. Prices range from €85 to €185 per night depending on the size of the apartment.

http://www.ota-berlin.de/english/index.php 

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Arte Luise Hotel  Room rates range from €50 for a single with shower and lavatory not attached) to €180 for a suite. Singles range from €82 to €115 and doubles from €121 to€150. It is a short walk to the Friedrichstrasse station and short train ride to Hackerscher Markt or a 3k  taxi ride.

http://www.luise-berlin.com/en/reservation.htm 

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Hackersher Markt Hotel. A very neary hotel with prices around €130 or so per night.

http://www.loock-hotels.com/hackeschermarkt/01_hotel/hotel.html 

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Hotel Taunus. Close to conference venue. Rates around €90 to €100 per night.

http://www.eurocheapo.com/berlin/hotel/hotel-taunus.html 

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The Alexander Plaza Hotel is nearby, within walking distance. Costs are around €160 per night.

http://www.alexander-plaza.com 

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Arcotel Velvet. Nearby hotel. Rooms range from €115 to €150.

http://cc.arcotel.at/document.asp?id=1329  

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Park Inn Alexanderplatz. A short walk to the Alexanderplatz train station and short ride to Hackersher Markt. A large hotel with casino. Room rates for a single run around €100 to €120 per night.

http://www.parkinn.de/

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Adlon Hotel is an up-market hotel located about 15 minutes from our venue by foot or taxi. It is a short walk to the U-Bahn which can be taken to Alexanderplatz where you can take the S-Bahn to Hackersher Markt. So taxi or walking might be just as effective due to its location regarding transit lines. Rooms begin at €300 per night.

http://www.hotel-adlon.de 

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Regent Charlottenstrasse is located about 15 minutes from the venue on foot. You can also take a short U-Bahn trip to Friedrichstrasse and transfer to the S-Bahn or take a short taxi tride. The hotel is a luxury hotel. Rates begin at €250 per night.  http://www.regenthotels.com  

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Grand Hotel De’Rome. This luxury hotel is about a 15 minute walk or short taxi ride from our venue. Rates state at €420. I suggest also checking their “offers” section to find reduced rates.

http://www.hotelderome.com / 

Transport

A detailed transit map for Berlin can be found here.  http://www.lodging-germany.com/info/Berlin/berlin-7citymapubahn.htm More detailed information is available here:  http://www.berlin-tourist-information.de/english/berlin-infos/e_bi_stadtinfos_nahverkehr.php You can purchase a day transit pass for €5.80. You want the day pass for Zones A&B only. A single journey ticket is €2.10. Tickets can be purchased at main train stations. If you arrive by air you can purchase tickets or a day pass from the bus driver. The TXL bus to Alexanderplatz will take you to Hauptbahnhoff and from there it is relatively easy to get to any of the hotels on our recommended list. If you are staying at Alexanderplatz then take the bus to the end. If you stay at A&O Hostel am Zoo then you want to take the bus to Zoologischer Garten. This drops you one about half a block from the Hostel.   If you only go from your hotel to the conference and back then single journey tickets are cheaper. If you take more than 3 trips per day the day pass is cheaper.  You can purchase a Welcome Card which will give you access to all public transit, including buses to and from the airport. A 48 hour pass is €16.00 and a 72 hour pass is €21.00 The Welcome Card gives you a discount to various museums and tourist sites in the city. The Welcome Card is propably not worth the cost during the conference weekend.

Location

The precise location of the Hockershe Höfe is Rosenthaler 40/41.  By S-Bahn (train) you wish to go to the Hackesche Markt station. Exit the station on the side with the large square (north). As you exit the station on your right will be a busy street with trolley tracks ( An der Sapandauer Brücke). Keep the tracks on your right until you get to the crossing. Cross the street and go around the corner (just a few meters). You are now on Rosenthalerstrasse. At the pedestrian crossing there cross over to the opposite side of the street and turn right. (Be careful of trolleys turning the corner from your left.) You are now standing in front of the Hackesche Höfe. As you walk up Rosenthaler you will find a gateway into the first courtyard. Go through the gateway. The ticket office for the theatre will be on your right. As you come into the courtyard you will see another gateway in front of you and to the right. That takes you through to the second courtyard. When you walk into the second courtyard look straight ahead and to the left and you will see an entry to the office complex. It is next to the entrance to the bookshop.  You are looking for the offices of the Institute for Free Enterprise, which hosts our conference. These are on the third floor. Either coming up the stairs, or using the lift, you will find their doors immediately to your left.   For a visual of the buildings and street names go here:   http://maps.google.com/maps?q&hl=en&q=Berlin+deutschland&layer=&ie=UTF8&om=1&z=18&ll=52.523392,13.402323&spn=0.00173,0.005407&t=h&iwloc=addr  If you are looking at this visual the train station is the long building on the bottom. Exit north and walk toward the main street to the right. You can see a street trolley on the picture where the pedestrian crossing is located. You can see the trolley tracks turning to the right onto to Rosenthaler. Go around the corner and cross immediately at the pedestrian crossing.

Tim Evans speaks about Ayn Rand at tonight’s LA Putney Debate


The speaker at tonight’s Putney Debate – Friday 9 March 2007 – will be LA President Dr. Tim Evans who will give a talk on the ‘ideas and significance of Ayn Rand’.

Today, Rand is mentioned on more than one and a half million web pages and in this context she is fast catching with Karl Marx. Indeed, Rand is heralded by many as being one of the greatest thinkers of the twentieth century. However, what did she believe and why are her ideas so attractive to so many people? Come along tonight and find out.

For more information email tim@libertarian.co.uk