Χριστός ανέστη εκ νεκρών,
θανάτω θάνατον πατήσας,
και τοις εν τοις μνήμασι ζωήν χαρισάμενος.
Here we see the Salt-Nazis regrouping for another attempt to either ration salt, or tax it, or both. As War Secretary of an incoming British Libertarian Minimal-Statist Classical-Liberal government’s first administration, I’m not especially worried about these people, for they will simply “have to go”. What salt is in what purchased food will become a matter for the manufacturing sellers and their buyers, as is good and right.
However, there is hope for proper capitalism still since there seem to be enough people still alive who are old enough to write stuff like the following:-
It’s 2014, and almost four years after (some of us) elected a load of self-regarding cheapskate tightwad moochers who were thought to be slightly less venal that the previous thirteen years of identical moochers.
In reality little has changed: the moochers and the bureaucrats are still in charge, but mostly busy trying to defame, talk down and generally smear another lot of wannabe-moochers. Although the ferocity with which this is being conducted suggests that the parvenu-moochers aren’t quite like the incumbent moochers, and may actually reduce career-mooching opportunities if allowed to get near the “destruct” levers.
We can but hope: it’s all there is now.
He was a man of great brilliance and achievement, and an occasional writer for the Libertarian Alliance. I knew him less well that I wish I had. He died yesterday after an illness in hospital. I will post a regular obituary when I have further information.
E-Cigs To Be Classed As Tobacco It appears that the World Health Organisation has jumped the shark and is now entirely under the control of their pharmaceutical industry paymasters.
Via the Financial Times, I challenge any tobacco controller to say that this is a proportionate response to something which is helping hundreds of thousands of smokers to quit tobacco. Continue reading
Review of Dr Nigel Gervas Meek’s book on the Conservative Party
Libertarian Alliance editor Nigel Meek’s book on the Conservative Party is favourably reviewed in the forthcoming issue of Political Studies Review, one of the four journals of the Political Studies Association, the UK’s leading academic politics association.
by Sean Gabb
One of my interests is long term movements in living standards. I have the full Phelps-Brown and Hopwood Index for the 12th to 20th centuries, but not in a form that can be easily republished. Here is a graph showing movements between the 15th and early 20th centuries.
The problems with making a long term series ought to be obvious. Even for England, we don’t have the complete data. The prices commonly used are for wholesale goods, and the most complete series of wage rates we have are for building workers in London, which may diverge for long periods from the wider average. Until fairly recently, money wages were supplemented by shifting degrees of payment in kind, and this is hard to take into account. Then we have unknown degrees of substitution between goods. Continue reading
I had business yesterday at the London branch of the Internal Revenue Service. This meant going inside the American Embassy – a vast, forbidding building, stuffed with armed guards and surveillance equipment. After twenty minutes of having my clothing and possessions pawed through, I expected I’d be confronted by some gloating fascist who would rip my papers across and send me back to Deal to start again. I found myself instead in the company of a rather jolly man. He confirmed I had the wrong papers with me and that I’d been given the wrong advice by everyone else. But he then filled out a long, and previously unknown form, telling me this was how to get a refund of all taxes paid to the American State and make sure I wasn’t bothered for another five years. I signed it. He stamped it. I left the building with a slightly better opinion of America than when I went in. That wouldn’t be hard, however, and I doubt it will last.
by Keith Preston
Note: Mutatis mutandis, this is worth discussing for England.
For some years now, I have advocated for the anarchist movement in North America a change in direction from the course it has followed since the 1960s. Essentially, the general flavor of the anarchist milieu is one that expresses the same set of primary values as Marxists, social democrats and left-liberal Democratic Party activists, with the added qualification of “by the way, we’re also against the state as well.” A principal problem with such an approach is that it fails to distinguish political anarchism from run of the mill leftism. Furthermore, anarchism exists primarily as a kind of youth culture/subculture which focuses on a very narrow ultra-leftism and hyper-counterculturalism that inevitably has the effect of relegating political anarchism into a fringe ideological ghetto.
This is a situation that I have sought to change. I have done so by advocating a broader, more expansive approach for political anarchism than what the current mainstream of the movement will allow for. This effort has won me many highly sympathetic friends within the anarchist milieu, and many bitter enemies as well. In a recent and highly controversial essay, I argued for a “revolution within anarchism.” What I was calling for is the future advent of a “non-leftoidal” anarchist movement, meaning one that is more substantive, comprehensive and original in its approach, rather than simply championing the run-of-the-mill causes and issues favored by leftists and post-60s counterculturalists. Continue reading
In what way does the actually existing libertarian movement, anarchist or otherwise, threaten the existing political order? If anything, the libertarian movement is a microcosm of the wider society. There are the “right-libertarians” who extol the virtues of capitalism, Christianity, and the American way (kind of like, you know, the Republicans). And there are the “left-libertarians” who jump over the Democrats and even the far left to demonstrate their opposition to racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, “bigotry, “brutalism,” etc. There may not be anything inherently wrong with these ideas, but in what way do they threaten the state or the establishment? They don’t. Instead, they just reflect contending factions of the system. Continue reading
by John Kersey
Dr Gabb has recently posed to us the questions “Was Crowley a sort of national socialist, or a sort of libertarian? Was he a sex-obsessed libertine, or did he preach absolute self-control?” He suspects that all these questions have the same answer, and that such an answer does not reflect well upon the self-styled Great Beast. I hope I can propose to him a rather more nuanced appreciation of this complex and enduringly fascinating – though hardly entirely admirable – character.
An understanding of Crowley – and by that, I mean an understanding of what Crowley himself intended by his work and actions rather than the various re-interpretations and smoke-and-mirrors exercises that even he indulged in, should start from the context of the revival of interest in Western esotericism in which Crowley became a pivotal figure. The key to this revival is that it was by nature anti-modern; its proponents were counter-Enlightenment conservatives who sought to recapture the wisdom and ways of the ancients. Their models of spiritual belief were hierarchical and retrogressive at a time when the demos was in its ascendancy; they proposed not only an aristocratic replacement for modern ecclesiastical structures, but furthermore that progress towards the upper echelons of this enlightened aristocracy would involve exposure to and understanding of progressively more advanced ritual practices and the results thereof, bringing about the growth of the soul and rewards that were to be expressed beyond the present world. Continue reading
by Robert Henderson
Note: We have a mature oligarchy in Britain. As oligarchies mature they become more and more exclusive – the Venetian council in the Middle Ages is a classic example – and the quality of their members becomes less and less. This failure of generational renewal is disguised from the oligarchy members by the sealed nature of the oligarchy and they all go around discounting the views of anyone outside the oligarchy and praising the oligarchies’ members lavishly. Clegg demonstrated how limited our political elite are as individuals. He did not even have the wit not to tell easily revealed lies.
As for Farage, he missed quite a few obvious points in the debates and he is poor at explaining the detail of policies. Time and again he starts making a point or a reply strongly, then two or three sentences later he fades noticeably. Ideally you want him exposed in situations where he can make his point quickly and get out. I could seriously improve his performance by preparing him to anticipate and answer questions in detail a Q and A, whereby you put down all the likely questions your opponent will ask and all the responses he is likely to make and then follow that with anticipated secondary questions and answers. You can go on ad infinitum, but my experience of using them when working for the Inland Revenue and questioning someone under caution is that an initial question or reply and one supplementary is all you can usefully create. Lawyers who have to cross examine often use such Q and As.
The other advice I would give Farage is (1) cut out the jokes because they are generally poor and he is not a natural comic and (2) never but never make the mistake of whining about how hard his job is, as he did in the first debate when challenged over putting his wife on the EU funded payroll – the general public really do hate that sort of thing.
It is important to understand that while the general public detest the likes of Clegg, Cameron and Miliband and have a strong dislike of the EU, that does not mean they have any great liking for or trust in Ukip or Farage. There is also the inertia factor whereby it is the devil’s own job to get people to vote for a party in Britain which does not have a Westminster presence. Moreover, most people will not to vote in UK elections – the turnout in EU elections is generally in the 30 per cents and only in the 60 per cents in recent general elections.
BBC 2 Farage versus Clegg debate 2 April 2014
Chairman David Dimbleby
The full debate on IPlayer can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0401ht2/The_European_Union_In_or_Out/ It will only be up until 10th April so catch it while you can. If I can find a permanent recording of it on YouTube or suchlike I will post the url here.
The re-match between Farage and Clegg resulted in an even more humiliating hour for Clegg than the first debate. YouGov and ICM polls taken shortly after the debate had Clegg and Farage scoring as follows:
The YouGov poll gave Farage 68%, Clegg 27% Undecided 5%
As last week, this YouGov survey for The Sun questioned just over 1,000 people who viewed the debate. We weighted the data to ensure that it was representative of Great Britain as a whole by voting intention and attitudes to the European Union, but did not weight demographically; it therefore reflected the actual audience by age (older than average), gender (more male) and social class (more middle class). It was a fresh sample: we did NOT re-interview people we questioned after last week’s debate. Continue reading
by Kevin Carson
Note: A further requirement for majoritarian democracy is a belief that being in the minority doesn’t carry any risk of being robbed or murdered or stripped of identity however conceived. Take away that belief, and the most likely political outcomes are despotism or civil war. Continue reading
by Sheldon Richman
In Praise of “Thick” Libertarianism
I continue to have trouble believing that the libertarian philosophy is concerned only with the proper and improper uses of force. According to this view, the philosophy sets out a prohibition on the initiation of force and otherwise has nothing to say about anything else. (Fraud is conceived as an indirect form of force because, say, a deceptive seller obtains money from a buyer on terms other than those to which the buyer agreed.)
How can libertarianism be concerned with nothing but force? This view has been dubbed “thin libertarianism” by Charles W. Johnson, and it strikes me as very thin indeed. (Jeffrey Tucker calls it “libertarian brutalism”; his article explains this perhaps startling term.) Continue reading
by Dick Puddlecote
A Seedy End To A Seedy Campaign I suppose the campaign for plain packaging – riddled throughout as it was with cronyism, corruption and lies – could only possibly end with the same tawdry values being exhibited in the House of Commons itself.
Yesterday’s post-statement debate has been well reported and can be read in full here, but a couple of contributions stand out for their jaw-dropping gall. Firstly, Jane Ellison in reply to our Phil. Continue reading
by Thomas Knapp
I’ve never been very enamored of Hoppe, but that piece not only offers a pretty good summation of “class struggle” but also a pretty good explanation of why I disagree with Kevin on the fate of wage labor in a free market.
Vis a vis libertarianism, “class struggle” is and always has been an element that libertarians consider important, regardless of school. Comte and Dunoyer described the “productive class” versus the “political class,” and that continues to be the distinction that libertarians make (Marx forked the class distinction, erroneously in my view, into “proletariat” versus “bourgeois,” and his analysis was so faulty it had to be continuously re-forked, e.g. “lumpenproletariat” vs. “industrial proletariat” and so forth).
The difference between “right libertarians” and “left libertarians” is their analysis of what kinds of actors belong to which class, “productive” or “political.” At both ends of the libertarian right/left spectrum, the analysis tends to admit of mixed claims. Even right libertarians will generally admit to the existence of “crony capitalism,” while holding that most of the employing class is part of the productive class. And left libertarians support markets (productive class activity) even though we hold that existing markets are highly distorted by political class affiliations of the employing class and the attendant state subsidies/privileges.
With respect to wage labor and “exploitation”:
Hoppe explains that latter in terms of time preferences — the “capitalist” works on a longer time horizon for greater rewards, the “worker” accepts discounted rewards in order to get them on a shorter time horizon. The only thing I’d add to that is that wage labor shifts RISK as well. The “capitalist” may make bank or go bankrupt over the long term; the wage laborer makes small bank in the short term, so even if the company goes tits up, he’s already reaped real rewards.
The only real disagreement I have with Hoppe is on whether or not wage labor is “exploitative.” Of course it is — in BOTH directions. The employer exploits the worker for profit, and vice versa. And there’s nothing at all wrong with that.
Carson’s view is that in actually existing capitalism’s wage labor milieu, a political employing class uses state power to extract a greater discount from a productive working class than it could extract in a free market, in various ways, including using the state to bar competition and steal property so that some workers are de facto forced into wage labor versus self-employment. I agree. But I think he over-estimates how many people would give up lower risk and short term discounted rewards in favor of higher risk and long term greater rewards.
I think one precursor cause of Kevin’s position versus mine is that he subscribes to a Labor Theory of Value, and I don’t.
Marxist and Austrian Class Analysis
by Hans-Hermann Hoppe
Department of Economics
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
The Journal of libertarian Studies, Vol. IX, No. 2 (Fall 1990)
I want to do the following in this paper: First to present the theses that constitute the hard core of the Marxist theory of history. I claim that all of them are essentially correct. Then I will show how these true theses are derived in Marxism from a false starting point. Finally, I will demonstrate how Austrianism in the Mises-Rothbard tradition can give a correct but categorically different explanation of their validity.
Let me begin with the hard core of the Marxist belief system: 1 Continue reading
by Richard North
From the press office of Open Europe yesterday came a brazen attempt to control the “Brexit” agenda, with a tendentious evaluation of how Article 50 cannot work, leading to a predictable call for EU reform.
Having now opened a Berlin office, it does seem that the organisation is learning from a previous denizen of the city, offering a Goebbels-like claim that it is an “independent think tank” which is “seeking to contribute new thinking to the debate about the direction of the European Union …”.
Yet, it far from being independent, <i>Open Europe</i> is a front for the “EU reform” wing of the Conservative Party. And, rather than “seeking to contribute new thinking to the debate”, it is seeking to close down the “Brexit” debate and concentrate attention on the EU reform. It is not a think tank. It is a propaganda operation.
So desperate is the Goebbels Institute to stake its claim that it has issued a 24-page booklet purporting to be the “real Brexit debate”. This reports on its fatuous “war games” last December in which it managed a bizarre simulation of Article 50 negotiations, devised to produce a messy failure and thus demonstrate that reform was the better option.
So weak was the argument that the Goebbels Institute finds it necessary to distort the exit options, maintaining its classic stance that if the UK adopted the “Norway Option”, it would have “no say over EU decision-making”.
This has been addressed so many times, that even Open Europe director Mats Persson can’t pretend he doesn’t know it is a lie, but still the Muppets continue with it. They have little alternative because they know that, if they acknowledge the truth, their game is over, Their vision of reform is bankrupt.
Thus the Muppets contrived a simulation which had pretend “colleagues” expressing concern that allowing the UK to join the EEA would establish a dangerous precedent. They were wary of allowing member states to “cherry pick” access to the single market without actually being an EU member. Not a word was said about the “colleagues” offering precisely that to Ukraine and the rest of the “Eastern Partnership”.
Keen on what they call a “reality check”, the presumptuous Muppets then tell us that the EEA “was designed as an improvised measure for governments seeking closer integration with the EU, but whose electorates had rejected full membership”.
This gives them another opportunity to inject a dose of poison, concluding with the a scary tale of a dismal future. This is the one where the UK has to accept “many of the existing tenets of EU membership”, and expensive EU law, “with no way of influencing it”. The net effect, goes the narrative, “would be less opportunity to hold Brussels to account, not more”.
Underpinning the Goebbels Institute are analyses of several different exit options, but they contrive to offer just sufficient detail to make their evaluations look plausible, but the options never quite manage to be workable. They cannot be allowed to provide a better alternative to their preferred option of reform.
Article 50, the Muppets then tell us, is a one way street. Once triggered, there is no going back, they say – as if that was a disadvantage. This, they actually say, “it is likely to put the UK on the back foot in any negotiation”, then whingeing that the UK will not take part in the final qualified majority vote on whether to accept the new deal, sounding for all the world like and out-take from a Gerald Batten video.
But, having stacked the decks against “Brexit”, they then come to the stunning conclusion that Article 50 is “best kept as an implicit threat, as in practice it cedes more control than it provides. However, “any leader negotiating new membership terms must clearly be ready to trigger it”.
So that’s the Open Europe game plan: EU reform of an unspecified nature, backed up by a threat, implicit or actual, that if the “colleagues” don’t do exactly what we want, we threaten them with Article 50 – without actually using it, of course, because it doesn’t work anyway.
In offering this scenario, we are of course seeing a fundamental failure of imagination and nerve. <i>Open Europe</i> is staffed and supported by timorous wee beasties who haven’t the wit to devise a proper exit plan. But, confronted with the inherent impossibility of achieving meaningful EU “reform”, they have to rig the debate in order to offer anything that looks even remotely workable.
Oddly enough, in this endeavour, they claim one Martin Ricketts, a registered supporter of Open Europe. By pure coincidence, he is also a Managing Trustee and Chairman of the Academic Advisory Council of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), and a member of the judging panel for the IEA’s “Brexit prize”. In another of life’s coincidences, so is Roger Bootle a registered Open Europe supporter.
And in yet another complete coincidence, the IEA now looks set to pick an exit option straight out of the Open Europe play book – one that looks superficially plausible, but which cannot possibly work. Thus does the Open Europe/IEA propaganda nexus keep the faith.
by Stewart Cowan
Farage Defies Clegg’s Lies on Televised Debate
Like Frank Davis, I too watched Round 2 of Clegg vs Farage on BBC iplayer, seeing as I don’t pay the TV tax. I mention Frank, because I left a long comment on his blog that I thought I would make into a post here. As he says,
The battle was between two visions. On the one hand there was Farage saying that the British should govern Britain, and on the other hand there was Clegg saying that we had to find “strength in numbers” by being a member of the “world’s largest economy”.
Clegg was almost unbearable and spoke just like the very worst internet trolls type. Always banging on about “turning the clock back”. Progressives assume that conservatives think there was some bygone “Golden Age” to which we can simply go back. There was indeed a golden age for those who profited from the Empire. It gave us full employment (mainly slave labour) and Glasgow, where I come from, was transformed through trading with the Empire into a magnificent city, much of which was still evident when I last visited in 2006, but one-by-one, those fine-looking 19th century – and earlier – buildings are being replaced by monstrous carbuncles: proof that modern isn’t always better. Far from it. Continue reading
Watt’s big list of failed global warming predictions
Watt has a big list of failed global warming predictions. None have been fulfilled, many of them have been falsified.
Here is the subset of Watt’s list that has been clearly and obviously falsified.
May 15, 1989, Associated Press: “Using computer models, researchers concluded that global warming would raise average annual temperatures nationwide [USA] two degrees by 2010.” Continue reading
by Kevin Carson
How Not to Respond to Charges of Hyprocrisy
More than a decade ago, neoconservative bloggers coined the term “Fisking” for the polemical device (originally demonstrated against left-leaning journalist Robert Fisk) of taking apart a commentary, sentence by sentence, analytically ripping each part to shreds. Although the neocon positions in this debate range from misguided to repugnant, the technique itself is a good one. And President Obama’s recent remarks on the Crimean crisis, in his March 26 address to European youth, are admirably suited to such deconstruction. Let’s take a look at the relevant remarks, point by point, and compare them to reality.
Moreover, Russia has pointed to America’s decision to go into Iraq as an example of Western hypocrisy. Now, it is true that the Iraq War was a subject of vigorous debate not just around the world, but in the United States as well. I participated in that debate and I opposed our military intervention there. But even in Iraq, America sought to work within the international system. Continue reading
by Dick Puddlecote
Welsh Minister Confirms It’s Never Been About Health He may, to borrow a phrase, have the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk and the analytical thinking skills of a mackerel, but I suppose I should be thanking this creature today.
|A provincial pratt, pictured recently|
You see, he has helped to categorically prove my long-held assertion that smoking bans have never, ever, had anything whatsoever to do with health.
by Stewart Cowan
Latest Tory Law: Go to Jail for not Loving your
Future scenario…This poor child feels unloved after being refused a skateboard and is considering suing his parents for emotional distress because all his friends have one.
H/T to Anna Raccoon for news of this incredible new law about to benefit lawyers soon, whereby parents will face up to ten years in prison if they fail to love their children. As Anna writes,
This will set off a maelstrom of judicial activity, trying to define what exactly is ‘love’. Mr Buckland, who is, of course, a Barrister, would have known that. Jobs for British workers eh?
I found it hard to believe, so I had to double check after I had done a double-take and sure enough,
Parents who starve their children of love and affection face prosecution under a “Cinderella Law”, The Telegraph can disclose.
Anna informs us that it could get even more bizarre, nay unworkable,
‘Scape-goating’ a child is also to be made a criminal offence. Now ‘scape-goating’, for the benefit of Mr Buckand, is helpfully defined as the practice of singling out a person for ‘unmerited blame’. T’would be wise to only have one child in future – for to tell little Johnny that you don’t actually care which of his siblings left all the bingo balls at the bottom of the stairs, he WILL go and pick them all up before Grand-ma breaks her flippin’ neck, is likely to result in a swift call to Slater & “are you being scape-goated, we can help” Moron.
As all recent UK Governments have been following the Fabian agenda of family destruction as the only possible route to a totally socialist state, coupled with the ‘family planning’ eugenics to reduce the population, perhaps this is yet another arrow in their quiver?
Just when you thought it was impossible to concoct a law arguably more stupid than all the thousands of stupid laws which have gone before in recent years. This one again via a ‘Conservative’ MP, Robert Buckland.
Robert Buckland MP. He has ears – just – but what’s in between them?
Or maybe, it’s yet another method of gaining access to other people’s families.
“Children’s rights” is a term which sounds wonderful, but is in reality a way of removing parental rights and giving them to the State.
Peter Tatchell talks about “children’s sexual rights” so add the two together and one day soon, mum and dad (or both ‘mums’, both ‘dads’ or to borrow from Boris Johnson, “three men and a dog”), will get arrested for not allowing their 12 year old to sleep around.
You can imagine the ‘judge’ of the future declaring, “This degree of cruelty cannot go unpunished. I sentence both/all the parents to the maximum prison term allowable, being as it is at present, a paltry ten years. The dog shall be impounded in kennels for the rest of its natural life”.
It’s barking mad.
P.S. When can I marry my dog?
March 31, 2014
The explosive growth in the number of converts to libertarianism since Ron Paul first ran for president is one of the most exciting developments of my lifetime. But I’d like to issue a note of caution.
There are several ways a young libertarian can distinguish himself. He can be an effective communicator of libertarian ideas as a writer or speaker. He can employ his unique talents — as an artist, animator, interviewer, or whatever — to convey the libertarian message in new and compelling ways. He can become a specialist in some area of scholarly inquiry relevant to libertarianism. Or he can add to the edifice of libertarian thought by solving a longstanding problem, critically reexamining an old question, or applying libertarian theory to new areas as technology develops and civilization evolves.
I can think of people who fit all these descriptions. What distinguishes them all is that they worked very hard to establish their well-deserved niche within the community of libertarian thinkers.
By contrast, people might establish niches for themselves by devising their own peculiar version of libertarianism, and claiming that their discovery alone is the real thing. Not only is this method easier than the ones I described above, but it also allows the creator the pleasure of rendering sanctimonious judgment on those benighted souls who cling to plain old libertarianism, with no labels, no caveats, and no apologies.
Might we gain the sympathy of the left by parroting their language of egalitarianism and loudly proclaiming our allegiance to the moral strictures of the state? It is not absolutely impossible, I suppose. But I consider it far more likely that the left will be amused at such transparent attempts at ingratiation, and go on viewing libertarians with the same contempt as before.
Of course, it’s wonderful to collaborate on important issues with people who have different perspectives from ours. I should not be understood as opposing that. You would be hard pressed to find a more eclectic libertarian website than LRC. Mr. Libertarian himself, Murray N. Rothbard, was happy to talk with and learn from anyone he could, as his wide-ranging library, owned by the Mises Institute, amply attests.
But if we expect to trick people into becoming libertarians, we will fail. And if we think libertarian flirtation with egalitarianism is a good idea, we have already failed.
Yes, we do believe in unfashionable things like the abolition of antidiscrimination law. If we didn’t, we would not be libertarians. Bound up in the principle of freedom of association is every defining libertarian principle: self-ownership, the meaning of property titles, and nonaggression.
It’s easy to defend the rights of people who are popular and whose views are in fashion. It is much more difficult – thankless, even – to defend the rights of those whom society despises. Libertarians need not endorse or actually be such people – I know of no one proposing such a thing – but if we do not defend their rights we are frauds.
Some of what we believe may be hard for people to accept when they first hear it. But in the long run, they are more likely to be persuaded by a consistent and principled libertarian than by one who is obviously trying to curry favor with them.
Consider the example of Ron Paul. He gave straightforward libertarian answers to whatever questions he was asked during his presidential campaigns. As we all should, he got a sense of his audience and explained those ideas in ways they were most likely to understand and appreciate. But he never backed down. Was he opposed to antidiscrimination law? Yes. Did he dissent from the received version of the Civil War, from which the regime derives much of its legitimacy? Yes. And so on down the line of unfashionable answers to the thought-controllers’ questions.
The result? The single greatest increase in youth interest in libertarianism in its entire history.
Ron always conducts himself as a gentleman, of course, and his kindly demeanor, coupled with his pure and unrehearsed remarks, certainly added to his appeal. But people were drawn to him because unlike his focus-grouped opponents, he told them the truth, and without shame or apology.
Libertarianism is concerned with the use of violence in society. That is all. It is not anything else. It is not feminism. It is not egalitarianism (except in a functional sense: everyone equally lacks the authority to aggress against anyone else). It has nothing to say about aesthetics. It has nothing to say about religion or race or nationality or sexual orientation. It has nothing to do with left-wing campaigns against “white privilege,” unless that privilege is state-supplied.
Let me repeat: the only “privilege” that matters to a libertarian qua libertarian is the kind that comes from the barrel of the state’s gun. Disagree with this statement if you like, but in that case you will have to substitute some word other than libertarian to describe your philosophy.
Libertarians are of course free to concern themselves with issues like feminism and egalitarianism. But their interest in those issues has nothing to do with, and is not required by or a necessary feature of, their libertarianism. Accordingly, they may not impose these preferences on other libertarians, or portray themselves as fuller, more consistent, or more complete libertarians. We have seen enough of our words twisted and appropriated by others. We do not mean to let them have libertarian.
As Rothbard put it:
There are libertarians who are indeed hedonists and devotees of alternative lifestyles, and that there are also libertarians who are firm adherents of “bourgeois” conventional or religious morality. There are libertarian libertines and there are libertarians who cleave firmly to the disciplines of natural or religious law. There are other libertarians who have no moral theory at all apart from the imperative of non-violation of rights. That is because libertarianism per se has no general or personal moral theory.
Libertarianism does not offer a way of life; it offers liberty, so that each person is free to adopt and act upon his own values and moral principles. Libertarians agree with Lord Acton that “liberty is the highest political end” – not necessarily the highest end on everyone’s personal scale of values.
Libertarians are unsuited to the thought-control business. It’s difficult enough trying to persuade people to adopt views dramatically opposed to what they have been taught throughout their lives. If we can persuade them of the nonaggression principle, we should be delighted. There is no need to complicate things by arbitrarily imposing a slate of regime-approved opinions on top of the core teaching of our philosophy.
Libertarianism is a beautiful and elegant edifice of thought and practice. It begins with and logically builds upon the principle of self-ownership. In the society it calls for, no one may initiate physical force against anyone else. What this says about the libertarian’s view of moral enormities ranging from slavery to war should be obvious, but the libertarian commitment to freedom extends well beyond the clear and obvious scourges of mankind.
Our position is not merely that the state is a moral evil, but that human liberty is a tremendous moral good. Human beings ought to interact with each other on the basis of reason – their distinguishing characteristic – rather than with hangmen and guns. And when they do so, the results, by a welcome happenstance, are rising living standards, an explosion in creativity and technological advance, and peace. Even in the world’s partially capitalist societies, hundreds of millions if not billions of people have been liberated from the miserable, soul-crushing conditions of hand-to-mouth existence in exchange for far more meaningful and fulfilling lives.
Libertarianism, in other words, in its pure and undiluted form, is intellectually rigorous, morally consistent, and altogether exciting and thrilling. It need not and should not be fused with any extraneous ideology. This can lead only to confusion, and to watering down the central moral claims, and the overall appeal, of the message of liberty.
John Kersey writes: We have covered this and other similar matters before but this case is surely one of the most egregious that has yet come to public notice. There must be a clear directive from government that upholds the right to state in public the beliefs of any religion – whether Christianity, Judaism, Islam or any other – in response to a question from a member of the public, without fear of arrest or imprisonment under conditions such as those described below.
This is a clear example of powers under Public Order legislation that are being used far beyond the original intentions of those who passed them into law. The effect of such action is repressive and its targets potentially unlimited.
A story like this gives the lie to any mainstream politician who would maintain that we still live in a free country. Continue reading
Rowan Williams Warns of Climate Catastrophe
In case you’d forgotten what he looks like.
Just what does a former Archbishop of Canterbury do to stay in the limelight? This one, who wasn’t a Christian as far as I could make out; he was more of a Druid; a Pagan, that I could see, joins a populist bandwagon, guaranteed to make him headline news.
This was the leading article on the Telegraph’s website this morning, Rowan Williams warns of climate catastrophe. The MSM has to keep the myth of ‘global warming’ alive so we sign up to treaties to deindustrialise and become impoverished to aid in global governance.
by Robert Henderson
LBC Nigel Farage versus Nick Clegg EU debate 26 3 2014
(The full debate can be viewed here http://www.lbc.co.uk/watch-lbc-leaders-debate-live—26th-march-87667)
Farage walked the debate with a YouGov poll of 1003 people giving this result:
It is rare in a two man debate on any subject for a win to be so crushing and that is doubly so when politicians with such polarised views are put up for the judgement of the public.
by Natasha Petrova
Canadian Immigration Authorities
I had my first experience with the Canadian state this week. The immigration authorities questioned me about my trip to Canada. One dicey moment was when the customs officer asked about whether I paid taxes or not. I replied that I only pay sales tax. I haven’t made enough money to pay income tax since 2006. Another obnoxious question was about whether I had ever been stopped by the police. Both of which were answered for the purpose of smoothly entering the country.
Few aspects of the modern state are more irritating than the control of borders. Our movements are circumscribed by the nationalistic regimentation of migration and travel. This makes it more difficult to vote with your feet. One polity may be particularly oppressive, but the entrance requirements of another can be rather repressive too. This renders it more difficult to escape unjust conditions and reside in a more just area. Continue reading
by Kevin Carson
Factory Farming: Who are the Real Statists Here?
In the mainstream libertarian movement, accusations of “statism” typically focus on a fairly predictable set of targets. Anyone who complains of racism, sexism or other social justice issues, the economic exploitation of workers or degradation of the environment is reflexively accused of statism on the assumption that exploitation, injustice and pollution could only be problems for people who hate freedom.
Protecting Children, Enslaving Adults:
Latest Case Study
By Sean Gabb
I have just heard about the existence of the Authority for Television On Demand (Atvod). This is yet another of those “independent” bodies that exercise powers of compulsion delegated by the British State. Its powers derive from the Communications Act 2003, and allow it to regulate the market in streaming video. Its latest act has been to announce that large numbers of children – which it seems to define as persons under the age of eighteen – are watching pornographic videos on the Internet. To deal with this alleged problem, it wants a law to stop British banks from handling payments to any pornographic video site, anywhere in the world, that does not check the age of all its visitors.
At the moment, British sex sites are required to check the age of their visitors, whether or not they buy anything, and to make their records available to the authorities. Because they are outside the jurisdiction, foreign sites cannot be directly forced to do the same. But the British market is large, and Atvod hopes that blocking payment to foreign sex sites, unless they comply, will close this loophole. Every act of watching a pornographic video, free or paid, will then be on the record.
by Kevin Carson
This is Not Your Ancestors’ Collapse Scenario
A forthcoming “NASA study” that predicts medium-term collapse has gone viral on the Internet, based entirely on Nafeez Ahmed’s advance writeup for The Guardian (“NASA-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for ‘irreversible collapse’?,” March 14).
To start with we should note, just in passing, that it turns out not to be quite a “NASA study” after all. It was the work of independent researchers at the University of Maryland, using analytical tools that had previously been developed for an entirely different NASA study. It wasn’t commissioned or funded by NASA. And on top of everything else, a lot of the authorities cited to support its premises aren’t all that pleased with the authors’ interpretation of their work (“Keith Kloor, About That Popular Guardian Story on the Collapse of Industrial Civilization“; “Judging the Merits of a Media-Hyped ‘Collapse’ Study.” Discover, March 21; ).
by Dick Puddlecote
Have Politicians Ever Been More Vile? Via Snowdon, there is a marvellous piece at the Telegraph today by Peter Oborne which is a must-read. It’s all good, but this passage is especially pertinent.
Politicians of Right and Left have been transfixed by these anti-smoking campaigns. Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, has shown hardly any appetite to challenge the conventional wisdom of his own department, while Luciana Berger, the shadow health minister, is a breathless proselytiser for the anti-smoking lobby. No mainstream politician has dared to challenge the consensus, and only Rothmans-puffing Nigel Farage of Ukip really gets the point.
by Keith Preston
The Stark Truth: Robert Stark Interviews Keith Preston Listen to the interview at Counter-Currents.Com Robert Stark welcomes back Keith Preston of Attack the System. Topics include: Keith’s article “Who am I? Left, Right, or Center”: http://attackthesystem.com/2014/02/21/who-am-i-left-right-or-center/ How his anti imperialist views on foreign policy overlap with the far Left as well as Paleoconservative and New Right thinkers How he finds his critique of capitalism often overlaps with both those of the far Left but also those of Catholic distributists and social nationalists on the far Right How he shares some views on social issues with the Left, but swings back to the Right on decentralist, anti-statist or civil More…
by Kevin Carson
Carson on C-Realm
Kevin Carson, Senior Fellow and Karl Hess Chair of Social Theory at C4SS, was recently interviewed by KMO on the C-Realm podcast.
KMO talks with Kevin Carson, author of The Homebrew Industrial Revolution about the technologies that seem poised to end the dominance of capital-intensive production methodologies and break the stranglehold that capitalists and the government minions hold over our lives.
You can listen to the podcast here.
by Kevin Carson
The “Progressive” Welfare State Fantasy
Liberals are prone to conflate all forms of decentralism and self-organization with the right wing, framing the range of possibilities as a stark contrast between their own managerial-centrist approach on the one hand and Paul Ryan, Marvin Olasky and Newt “Culture of Dependency” Gingrich on the other.
A good example is Mike Konczal’s recent column “The Voluntarism Fantasy” (Democracy Journal, Spring 2014). Konczal repeatedly equates voluntary efforts with “alms given by the wealthy few to the poor” (Truman’s phrase). I know what he means by this. You can’t open up the “Community” or “Society” page of the local newspaper without seeing a bunch of Rotary Club yahoos attending “charitable fundraisers,” handing over giant checks and cutting ribbons. Guess what? I don’t like these people either. My idea of a “voluntary, private” welfare state is a lot closer to Pyotr Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid and E.P. Thompson’s Making of the English Working Class than to the United Way.
by John Pittman
Historical Perspective of Why Yamal Matters
“I can say conclusively that the hacked emails are just blips of information that will have absolutely no impact whatsoever on the push to get policymakers to back the science,” said Anne Kelly, the policy director at Ceres, a sustainable business network whose members include PepsiCo, American Airlines and Bloomberg. Already the damage control is starting. The Monbiot is a classic. http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2009/11/23/the-knights-carbonic/ “”But do these revelations justify the sceptics’ claims that this is “the final nail in the coffin” of global warming theory?(8,9) Not at all. They damage the credibility of three or four scientists. They raise questions about the integrity of one or perhaps two out of several hundred lines of evidence. To bury manmade climate change, a far wider conspiracy would have to be revealed””. Continue reading
A couple of reservations on this:
1. I never think of a story before I write a novel. I begin with a vague idea of the mood, and hope that the plot will come to me a chapter at a time.
2. My usual efforts come in at 160,000 words.
Other than this, sound advice – especially the last point!
by Stewart Cowan
The UK’s Most Radical Revolutionaries are in Government
I look forward to reading Frank Davis’s blog every morning. Yesterday, he wrote that while the mainstream media paint UKIP as the revolutionaries, it’s actually the so-called mainstream parties who are,
After all, with a few exceptions, the political class is now fully signed up to merging the UK into Europe. After 1000 years or more of being a nation-state, it’s all going to be replaced with membership of the brand new European Union. And this is an extremely radical departure. It’s nothing short of a revolution. And it wasn’t being seriously contemplated just 40 years ago, when the EU was still the European Economic Community. Continue reading
E-Cig Ad Whac-A-Mole Sigh, here we go again.
An advert for an e-cigarette brand has been banned after the advertising watchdog ruled that claims including that it was “the healthier smoking alternative” could not be substantiated.
Of course it can be substantiated. Even the tobacco control industry as a whole has had little option but to concede that e-cigs are safer than tobacco; only the certifiably insane amongst them are claiming otherwise. Continue reading
Recently, Jeffrey Tucker, formerly of the Mises Institute, published a piece in The Freeman, a publication of the Foundation for Economic Education, that has generated some controversy in libertarian circles. Here’s the original piece. Tucker is basically arguing there are two kinds of libertarians: the nice, friendly, touchy-feely, lovey-dovey, humanitarian “good” kind, and the hateful, reactionary, crypto-authoritarian, bigoted “bad” kind.
Having some experience with this question, I figured I might as well offer some thought of my own. Continue reading
This thriller is a tremendously fun romp through an alternative history set in 1959 where the Second World War didn’t happen. Hitler died in 1939, and the British Empire has sustained its precarious position through careful diplomacy. Britain is still ruled well by a conservative establishment on a mix of traditional values and liberal enterprise: hard currency and technological innovation; beautiful buildings and statues; zeppelins and heated pavements. The sixties (speculated by AnomalyUK to have really started in the 1950s) never happen. Continue reading
VIDEO PUBLISHER Google has given the British government “special permission” to flag swathes of Youtube content for possible removal.
According to the Financial Times, Google has handed over “super flagger” rights to the UK Home Office (paywalled) to help it deal with extremism. This means that rather than have to pick out individual videos and ask Google to remove them, it will be able to tag many at a time and ask for them all to be 86′d.
Google has not yet responded to our request for more information, but confirmed the arrangement to the Financial Times and told it that ultimately what is removed will be its decision.
UK security and immigration minister James Brokenshire told the Financial Times that the material is not always going to be illegal, but will be unsavoury. He added that it would not be “the sort of material that people would want to see or receive”.
In a statement provided to the INQUIRER, Brokenshire said that around 30,000 pieces of material have been removed in the last four years.
“Terrorist propaganda online has a direct impact on the radicalisation of individuals and we work closely with the internet industry to remove terrorist material hosted in the UK or overseas. The Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU) has already taken down more than 29,000 pieces of illegal terrorist online content since February 2010,” he said.
“Through proposals from the Extremism Taskforce announced by the Prime Minister in November, we will look to further restrict access to material which is hosted overseas – but illegal under UK law – and help identify other harmful content to be included in family-friendly filters.”
Youtube confirmed that it will remove content that incites violence, and said that while it already does that internally it was glad to offer outsiders mass-flagging tools.
“We have a zero-tolerance policy on Youtube towards content that incites violence. Our community guidelines prohibit such content and our review teams respond to flagged videos around the clock, routinely removing videos that contain hate speech or incitement to commit violent acts,” it told the Financial Times in a statement.
“To increase the efficiency of this process, we have developed an invite-only program that gives users who flag videos regularly tools to flag content at scale.”
Last year Google distanced itself from the UK, and claimed that as a US company it did not have play by UK privacy rules.
Members of the Libertarian Party of Russia (LPR) organized a series of one-person pickets in front of the Dutch Embassy in Moscow in support of Toine Manders, the former leader of the Dutch Libertarian Party kept in custody since the end of January. In January 2014 Manders was arrested in Cyprus on vague and, we have reasons to believe, trumped-up charges and extradited to the Netherlands where he has been kept in custody all the while. On March 4, 2014, a Dutch court extended Manders’s detention by another 3 months – still on the slurred charges of ‘unlicensed consultancy activities’. The picketers also handed the following letter to the Dutch Ambassador Ron van Dartel from the Chairman of the LPR Federal Committee Andrey Shalnev. Continue reading
by David McDonagh
Anthony Neil Wedgewood Benn (3 April 1925 – 14 March 2014), Tony Benn, is dead.
He seemed to be confused all his life but he seemed very friendly and he never realised that politics was hostile to the people. When he left the House of Commons in 2001, his wife suggested that he could now spend more time on politics, so this is what he said to the media, but this mere propaganda is not so hostile but quite liberal as it may call for coercion but mere propaganda actually coerces none by itself. Continue reading
Recap on Warmism
I have been ignoring the issue of Global Warming for a while, because it is pretty much settled. Anyone who still believes in Warmism is stupid, crazy, or lying. Usually stupid.
But, a short summary: Continue reading
I’ve just heard that Tony Benn has died at the age of 88. Back in the early 1980s, I learned to regard him as the face of all things evil in British politics. Then, in the mid-1990s, I did a series of long radio debates with him. We strongly disagreed on air, but got on well when the microphones were turned off. I found him generally courteous and interested in ideas. Though they jarred with his belief in a large state, he’d inherited a number of libertarian views from his Liberal Party background. We shared a contempt for the new political class as it emerged in the 1980s. We had a jolly time together at a Eurosceptic conference in 2005. We last spoke early in 2013, when we spent an hour together in a taxi, and he assured me that Michael Foot would probably have seen the funny side of how I portrayed him in The Churchill Memorandum.
He had a long and generally a happy life. He was never short of money. So far as I can tell, he remained of sound mind to the last. Lamentation would be appropriate for the passing of a much younger and less generally fortunate man. But I will note his death, and observe that our politics might have become less plasticised had he become Labour Leader in 1983. He hardly ranks with Enoch Powell, whom he admired. Even so, he was a man who usually said what he believed, regardless of what others thought of it.
Let him rest in peace.