Libertarian conferences

For the jet-setters among you — there are a couple of international libertarian conferences coming up. One in Europe and the other in America.

Conference organiser Mikolaj Barczentewicz asked me to pass on this invitation to the European get-together — which can be found here. The conference will be in Warsaw (Poland) from June 28-29, and has the support of Libertarian International.

The other libertarian get-together is FreedomFest, being held in Las Vegas, Nevada from July 10-12. The ALS did get an invite to participate, but it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to send over a delegation. If you would like to go over and waive the ALS flag, please contact me.

29 thoughts on “Libertarian conferences

  1. I went to Vegas a few years ago although I only stayed a day. It’s a cool place in a wacky kind of way. A bit like Disneyland without an entry fee.

  2. Hope vegas didn’t get to you TerjeP. I grew up in the south west and have been to most major cities in the US and seriously feel Vegas is my least favorite of every one I have been to. A few interesting buildings but once you have been there a few times the novelty really wears off after a while.

    I doubt I will head out to Freedom fest. There will probably be a carpool of people here in Southern California that I could get in on but $500 is far too much for me right now.

    Another big event is Porcfest in NH promoting the free state project. I have heard that this is an absolute blast and people here are starting to take the FSP seriously. Their winter event, The NH Liberty Forum, is probably the libertarian event east of the Mississippi. There are alot of long time libertarians who are beyond pissed with the Libertarian Party and are now looking for much viable alternatives and the FSP may take the thunder. New Hampshire is quickly becoming the epicenter for libertarianism in action.

  3. There are alot of long time libertarians who are beyond pissed with the Libertarian Party and are now looking for much viable alternatives

    I’m interested in knowing why they are “beyond pissed”. How do libertarians become so angry with a libertarian party?

  4. @3. Well there is a bit of a few things building up to this whole deal.

    A few years ago the LP came a lot more mainstream by eliminating their previous call to abolish the FBI and CIA. Rather minor but this caused some people to feel that the LP will start to sell out its principles to seem less scary to average Americans.

    In 2006 at the convention a significant number of the party planks were removed. This really irritated many people because it was these planks that separated the LP from other parties.

    There was an exit strategy for the Iraqi War. At first I figured it would be the obvious, put all the troops on what ever flies, floats, or rolls on the ground, and get them out of Iraq. But no, it consisted of a managed exit, massive aid, deploying large amounts of troops in neighboring countries ect.

    The final straw happened this last week. When the LP chose Bob Barr and Wayne Allen Root as their Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates. Both of these people are brand new to the party, are not part of the libertarian thought circles, and are just focusing on getting the disgruntled Republican vote instead of Libertarian values. Bob Barr voted for the Patriot Act, wrote the defense of marriage act (anti gay marriage thing), was a huge leader of the drug war during the 1990s. He came to the party two years ago and was selected as their presidential candidate. I know people who were on the ground floor and watched it on the live webcast. People at the convention were heated.

    The VP I consider to be far worse. Wayne Allen Root has all the appearances of a neocon. He was a long time Republican and has been focusing now on mainly Republican issues. On his campaign website are pictures with him, Bush, Guiliani, Romney, Karl Rove, Jeb Bush, Newt Gingrich, Michael Chertoff (Secretary of Homeland Security) and a bunch more hard core neocons. This is is the type of thing that you would normally think would disqualify a person immediately for most Libertarians. http://www.rootforamerica.com/home/photos.php

    People are very upset about this. We had Mary Ruwart running, a principled libertarian activist and author of 25 years, long time party member and huge contributor to the libertarian intellectual movement. Probably the best communicator of libertarian ideas in the spotlight in a long time (Harry Browne and Micheal Badnarik make that no easy task, these guys were amazing).

    The general feed back among people on my forum has been utter disgust to a distrust. Some of the new recruits, who are former Republicans are glad because they feel that they will attract more votes. A huge amount of people feel the LP has sold out, they are canceling their party membership and are no longer sending money.

    On Free Talk Live (freetalklive.com), a libertarian radio show/podcast, a show I highly recommend for libertarians worldwide, their consensus has been that this is the end of the LP and that is proof that the LP is a sell out organization. Their callers also expressed a particular frustration.

    Sadly here in America I don’t have a real libertarian to vote for this year. Obama, McCain, Barr, Nader, and Baldwin (constitutionalist, party has little to do with a name, hard core right wing christian nationalist party).

  5. Thank you for that explanation Riley.

    It is unfortunate when some people feel so strongly about an idea that they vehemently reject those who share 90% of the idea but disagree on the last 10%. It is not uncommon for the vehemence to be more heated than when disagreeing with someone who rejects 90% of the idea. Socialists are notorious for doing it, but libertarians are not far behind them.

    The most common area of disagreement is tactics ie how should the core principles be pursued. Some are certain there is only one way to succeed and everything else is profoundly wrong and even deleterious. What you have described appears to be an example of that.

    I don’t mean to sound like I’m preaching, but there is no single right way to make progress on libertarianism. It is a multi-front battle. Further, it is seriously unproductive to fight with those who are fundamentally your allies. The people you are describing as sell-outs are far closer to your way of thinking than either the Democrats or Republicans.

    Barr and Root are not going to win the presidential election. The key question is whether their ‘moderate’ approach is more electorally appealing than the LP’s previous approach, and will allow it to do better next time. That will be seen in the results, from which the party can decide whether to continue or abandon it.

    A political party is neither a think tank nor a lobby group. Politics might be the battle of ideas, but it is also profoundly pragmatic. Results are measured in votes. It is quite legitimate to try different approaches and see which ones work best. Judging by the LP’s past history, it is high time it tested another approach.

    By rejecting the LP because it currently does not reflect more than 90% of your views, you will simply become politically irrelevant. Worse than that, libertarianism is the loser.

  6. The real issue with Bob Barr is that for the majority of his career he was very anti-libertarian. He voted for the War in Iraq, the patriot act, defense of marriage act, rallied for the war on drugs. It goes far beyond 10% disagreement and enters of the realm of deal breaker. He may of changed in 2006. He definitely has a home within the LP but putting a person with such an unlibertarian past and an incredibly recent chant of heart into the most prominent position in the LP is a huge mistake.

  7. If Bob Barr is really the same person he was in the past, it may be a mistake running him as a candidate as you claim, especially if the LP or libertarian cause is badly tarnished. But anyone can have a road to Damascus transformation and the possibility he had one can’t be discounted. If he is genuine, it may even inspire others to do the same.

    As for the issues you mention, there is no consensus among libertarians on Iraq beyond agreeing that it may have been unwise to stay after overthrowing Saddam and the subsequent conflict was not well handled until recently. Debates on this blog confirm that.

    Most libertarians also seem to have a blind spot on one issue or another. Many in Australia have trouble with drugs or guns, others oppose gay marriage and some think terrorism is a big enough threat to warrant specific legislation. Fellow libertarians, myself included, obviously disagree with them on their blind spot issues but agree with them on most other things. That’s a lot better than all those high taxing, interfering busy bodies with whom we disagree on nearly everything.

    You’ll probably find you have more in common with Barr than Obama, Clinton or McCain, no matter how far short of your ideal he is. The ‘least worst’ is probably far better than the alternatives.

  8. It depends what you mean by consensus… but I think there is an overwhelming opinion among world-wide libertarians against the Iraq war.

    When I went to the USA in 2002 I met with the Pres of the LP and we chatted about a few things. My friend (another Australian libertarian) mentioned how the libertarian community was split on the idea of the Iraq war. The LP stared at him for a while, obviously confused. Then he looked releaved and said “oh no… you mean the afghanistan war”.

    They had done market research and about 95% of US libertarians were strongly against the Iraq war, while people were split on Afghanistan. 95% was about as high as they got on anything… including basic things like low tax, free trade and civil liberties.

    The situation looks different in Australia. I have a theory for why. While the US libertarian community is large enough to be self-aware… Australian libertarians have often teamed up with other “anti-left” forces and have been overly influenced by the conservative crap promoted by right-wingers.

    It’s a shame. For my mind… stupid, costly and obviously counter-productive massive government programs for no good reason is pretty much the definition of statist. The opposite of libertarian. But unfortunately in the Australian context, we have to be inclusive of pro-war libertarians because the libertarian community is so small that we can’t afford to be split. And as David says… many people have “blind spots”. Hopefully if we build the libertarian community enough we will be able to escape the conservative shackles… but not yet.

    As for the US LP — I agree with David. While Barr & Root might not be perfect, they are better than the rest and deserve the libertarian vote.

  9. Temujin; Australian libertarians have often teamed up with other “anti-left” forces and have been overly influenced by the conservative crap promoted by right-wingers.

    In attempting to find a one size fits all answer, you are being patronizing, and doing good libertarians a great disservice. I for example probably have very different reasons for my various stands than say Pommy or any of the others who disagree with you.

    Far from being ‘influenced by the conservative crap promoted by right-wingers’ I for one spend as much time attacking right wing conservatives as I do lefties. The pure libertarians over there do not tend to share your view that While Barr & Root might not be perfect, they are better than the rest and deserve the libertarian vote.

    Look around the libertarian blogs and you will find plenty of dropkicks who will try to stop them getting elected, as they feel the ‘neocons’ of the party have betrayed them.

    There are a number of very good practical libertarian republicans such as Arizona Congressman Jeff Flake and his anti-earmarks campaign, Florida Congressman Tom Feeney of Orlando, Butch Otter, Governor of Idaho, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, and California State Senator Tom McClintock.

    While some of these may not meet your criteria on individual issues they are distinctly libertarian in nature. Which ones do you want to see out, probably replaced by liberals?

  10. Jim,

    As a non libertarian I think Temujin has hit the nail on the head. I have frequently criticised libertarians for being too preoccupied with leftie bashing thus leaving people like myself with the impression that libertarians are just an extreme branch of right wing thought. Granted you, Jim, take on the Left and Right but clearly the perception of many is that libertarians simply represent another right wing party and this is, in my view at least, a problem for libertarians.

    I think libertarians need to get hold of the fact that increasing numbers of the populace are becoming very cynical about politics in general. Rudd conned us, he lied about being different and offering a new brand of politics, he is just another clone of the party politic machines.

    We are tired of the Left and Right taking cheap shots at each other. We just want to find politicians who really do think differently and do have different solutions to put forward. Libertarians have the potential to be a viable alternative but first they must unequivocally disassociate themselves from the Right so that we have some possibility of perceiving libertarian ideas as being viable alternatives.

  11. Libertarians have the potential to be a viable alternative but first they must unequivocally disassociate themselves from the Right so that we have some possibility of perceiving libertarian ideas as being viable alternatives.

    John, I’ve been reading your comments here and on Catallaxy for a while now. I’m not sure your definition of Right is the same as others understand it.

    I’m not necessarily disagreeing with you, but I’d be interested to know what aspects of the Right you consider libertarians should dissociate themselves from.

  12. Pure libertarianism doesn’t sell. It simply doesn’t connect with the average voter. (And when it does sell it’s got hard core anarcho-capitalists and objectivists accusing it of not being ‘pure’ enough!!!). The US experience has proven this beyond any doubt. A country based on libertarian values, which have made it the largest economy in the world and it’s only current superpower, with heaps of libertarian thinkers and writers, still can’t get openly libertarian politicians into Congress. Even the US Founding Fathers threw a bit of God into the mix and they knew what they were on about!

    Pure libertarianism is good for working out ideas and examining concepts. If you want to be successful politically you need to 1. give the voters something they can get a handle on e.g throw in some conservatism, God or national pride, and 2. learn how to market yourself. Libertarians, whether they are here, the US or just about anywhere haven’t realised there isn’t a critical mass of population who are motivated by rationality and ideological purity, and even if they did realise this they don’t have the creative flair to sell the message (probably because they’re so rational).

    There are people here who just don’t like the right and would rather our prospective constituency ‘got a handle’ on libertarian ideas through throwing in things like environmentalism, or peace with Islam, or a compromise on some soft squishy left-wing cause into the mix. At the highest level I don’t really care, but this is going to go nowhere fast. Left-wing views are not going to let you keep your money – it is inherently against left-wing values – but right wingers advocate reward for hard work. Left-wing is inherently big government, whereas right-wingers still espouse the ideals of government only doing what it does best. Left-wingers want large, intrusive and expensive social experiments in the name of ‘equality’ and ‘social justice’, whereas right-wingers will defer to simpler institutions like the family or sports club. There is a hatred of true individualism in the left – every lifestyle choice needs to be sanctioned by political correctness, whereas even when the right defers to your ‘obligations to society’ (which is usually something like military service), they don’t write-off the individual as one of their principles. The right is at home in the mainstream – middle suburbia is where it sees it’s place in the world and it’s where the votes are to be won – the left still hate the bourgeois. The right still believe in an entitlement to human quality of life and see it as a goal, the left agenda is about reducing your consumption or convenience in the name of the environment or ‘fairness’ to someone else.

    (For any objectivists I’d say the fundamental problem is that the right still holds a man’s life as their yardstick of value which is in line with libertarian values. Usually without knowing it, the left hold death as their primary value and we will never reconcile that with libertarianism).

    In short, pure libertarianism is not currently a viable political platform, so case closed on that one. It could well remain this way for the next twenty generations. I see a lot more value in working with the right than the left in moving forward. In fact, I’m confident that if we applied the same determination in pushing such an agenda politically we would gain supporters at a much faster rate than the libertarian movement, which has long periods of stagnation.

  13. David,
    This just came up on Cat:

    Skin deep every hard lefty is just a self interested, self absorbed, intellectually inadequate dishonest idiot.

    ——-

    Need I say more? Yes.

    David, you once asserted on this forum that there is no evidence for dangers from GM foods. I put forward a number of primary research articles indicating otherwise. Where did your opinion come from David? Did you actually bother to check your assumptions? No. If you want to know my opinion on GM foods then google my name, the first hit will be from a Nature discussion forum on the subject. I am an advocate of GM but unlike yourself I am not that naive as to presume these must be safe just because Monsanto says so. Check your facts.

    In that same discussion some overblown fuckbrain asserted there was no pollution at OK Tedi, I cited a reference from the MD of OK Tedi who stated otherwise. Idiot.

    Trying to link the Left with the ideas of Nazis is simply going to be perceived as utter nonsense. Why do people here even bother doing that? Just to take cheap shots. You fuckers love taking cheap shots.

    Just today a report found that 21,000 workers in Vic suffer from work related depression. Do libertarians give a damn? No, they think OH& S laws are a monstrosity. Go tell that to the relatives of dead James Hardy employees. And how come you people weren’t up in arms about that? Why weren’t you lot demanding that relevant exes at JH be held up for manslaughter? Oh that’s right, big business is fine but greenies, lefties, and unions are all fucked in the head.

    I have consciously put up posts using the same rhetorical style as many libertarians then walked away and choosing not to respond to criticism, just observe the responses. You lot for this simple trick time and again and attacked those posts for your same rhetorical style that so many libertarians employ. Some of you lot have the self awareness of a dead gnat.

    Mick says the Left hates the bourgeois. Crap! They are the bourgeois! As for the Left hating individualism. Just another stupid generalisation.

    Forget this Left-Right crap, atavistic nonsense. Don’t waste your time criticising, waste your time putting forward a libertarian solution to problems. Give up defending the Right, give up condemning the Left, focus on developing libertarian ideas.

  14. Mick — you vastely over-estimate the libertarian tendencies of most on the right… and equally under-estimate the libertarian tendencies of some on the left. Really, “left” and “right” are ambiguous terms anyway. As DavidL alludes to — whether somebody is “right-wing” or “left-wing” often depends on the definition used by the person I’m talking to.

    Libertarians have tried to “work with the right” for decades, and it’s gotten us failure after failure. In the 21st century — libertarian and conservative do not match. We should try to appeal to conservatives and social democrats… but not sell out to either.

    As for “making peace with Islam”… I hope you’re not suggesting that we should be making war with Islam? It’s that sort of weird, anti-intellectual bigoted right-wing hatred that libertarians should be avoiding. Conservatives may hate people based on groups, and may hate all non-christians, or enjoy war… but those are not libertarian traits.

    Jim — obviously I’m not talking about all Australian libertarians. Yes, I was being a bit patronizing. But I also think I have identified a legitimate reason for the difference in attitude.

    The patronizing element is to try and jolt some Australian libertarians into considering why the Australian libertarian movement is out of step with our American libertarian friends on the issue of war. Is it because we’re pro-America, but American libertarians are anti-American? 🙂

  15. ….whether someone is “right-wiing” or “left-wing” often depends on the defintion used by the person I’m talking to.

    Left and right have both traditional and modern meanings. In the modern sense left tends to mean collective rights and responsibilities, and right means individual rights and responsibilities. Conservatism has evolved over time as well. In it’s most modern sense it means more carefully considered change (in contrast to radical social experiments) and less ‘gays undermine family values’. Now, what has social democracy evolved into? Something along the lines of ‘markets can OK sometines but we should be more like France…death to America’?

    Libertarians have tried to “work with the right” for decades, and it’s gotten us failure after failure……>/i>

    Libertarianism has failed everywhere it’s stuck it’s head up, ever. It’s an ideal. People can’t manage it. Most people on earth haven’t experienced freedom or good government. In a way we’re ahead of our time! To ignore the fact that the closest we’ve come to libertarianism on earth eg. later post-enlightenment England or pre-1950s US, has developed from environments most people would classify as ‘right’ is personal bias and self-delusion. That right-wing move from collectivist tribal values to individual choice and responsibility – not to mention property – is essential to go anywhere in the libertarian paradigm. Left-libertarianism never has enough rationality or practicality to progress beyond the conversation or the page.

    As we watch left-wing idealism and experimentation bring about the decay of what remains of Western values it frustrates me to think that people such as yourself would support this decay in some idealistic hope that a new enlightened libertarian environment will emerge like a phoenix from the ashes! Western values were hard won, pioneered by radical thinkers, courageous citizens and forged through things like revolutions. The idea that you can adopt an ‘enlightened’ state of mind and that will somehow elevate you to a higher plane of being like Buddha is not based in objective reality.

    As for “making peace with Islam”….I hope you’re not suggesting that we should be making war with Islam?……

    Only the ones that want to kill us or force us to conform to their value system. 🙂

    Now to ignore the fact that Islam has a major element that wants to use violence to oppose Western values, and should be opposed with violence, is really straining for that elightened state of mind. Let me know when you start levitating!

  16. Surely ‘Libertarian’ is a direction, away from government! You can have all kinds of ideas whilst all of you agree on less government. Some people even want zero government.
    If we keep in mind that Libertarian can be broadly used, we’ll be better off.
    For instance, I think of myself as a Co-Monarchist AND a libertarian, because comonarchism is my narrow section of the broad libertarian movement.

  17. I was against the prospect of the Iraq War even before I started applying the term libertarian to myself. However I find some truth to Micks statement about left versus right. And in Australia my libertarian views more often get me refered to as right-wing than left-wing and sometimes I even get called extreme right-wing. In fact my views on drug liberalisation, gay marriage and euthanasia are as frequently dismissed by my “left-wing” friends as they are by my “right-wing” friends and certainly seem to do nothing to temper the right wing labeling exercise. The idea that left wingers are socially liberal does not always hold true. Many and perhaps even most left-wing friends are economically socialist and socially conservative rather than economically socialist and socially liberal. In other words they are quite authoritarian in general even though they would not describe themselves that way. Political correctness rather than liberal principles does tend to guide their thinking.

    However when the left get it right (ie correct), even if for the wrong reasons, I think we should move quickly to be inclusive. Differentiating libertarianism from right-wing is a necessary marketing exercise. And many right wingers are nothing more than war waging, socially conservative, authoritarian nut jobs. 😉

    I wonder how many Australians adopt left-wing or right-wing labels. I suspect that most average Aussies are comfortable with neither and see both as extreme. Most Aussies are pragmatic moderates keen to stay reasonably close to the herd. They might support a libertarian view espoused by a major party but will not feel comfortable if it is opposed by both major parties. The major parties matter a lot in determining what people think of as extreme.

  18. Nick – I agree. Building an alliance of those that favour smaller government is far more important to me than building an alliance in favour of small government. In fact before I found the LDP I considered the idea of a party called “The Party for Smaller Government”. So long as such a party could never change it’s name it would remain a useful vehicle. Of course having been through the last election under the LDP banner I am far more sober in regards to the notion of setting up such a political party purely on a whim.

  19. Mick makes some good points. libertarians have far more in common with those on the Right than the Left. this is a good thing 🙂 as the Left has been wrong on almost every issue for the past 40 years.

    however, i also think the terms ‘left’ and ‘right’ have become redundant. whether the means of production should be owned by the state or by private capital is no longer a debate worth having.

    the relevant debate today is how much should the state interfere in our lives. interestingly many conservatives (and nearly all lefties) believe the state should play a strong, paternalistic role – that is our point of difference.

  20. but American libertarians are anti-American? Well maybe anti the direction things are going.

    I don’t think any of want to go to war with Islam, but I think radical Islam wants to do so with us. We need to make a clear distinction there.

    I tend to feel that to appeal to the mainstream we just need to bang away at limiting the size and scope of the state – fiscally conservative, socially tolerant. I am not sure what those Liberals coming over to us are disillusioned about, but I would take an educated guess that the expansion of government and lack of fiscal responsibility would play a part.

    The Liberals in my opinion have lost their way and in the process all sight of what classical liberalism is about. They will never defeat socialism by trying to outspend and out-nanny state Labor. I have held the opinion for a while, that the way forward is to have a party just based on classical liberalism with the strongly libertarian core behind us, but separate. (You’re going to give me shit over this aren’t you Temujin.)

    We should try to appeal to conservatives and social democrats… but not sell out to either. I must have a different perception of the term ‘conservative’ to you, The American conservatives are in no way consistent with our values, nor are they terribly consistent with Republicanism in its true sense.

    I tend to find many of the more moderate Republicans to hold views quite similar to mine, although they tend to use the term conservatism as a badge of honor, which is a mistake. Many like myself, and probably most of us hold to values of personal conservatism. This is in no way inconsistent with libertarian values.

    Inconsistency doesn’t even arise if we try to persuade others to adopt those values, unless we use fear or violence to achieve the persuasion. Inconsistency does arise however if we try to have those values enforced by the state. Morality is a personal value. Virtue is only present for example if it is the chosen path in the presence of vice.

    My perception of political conservatives is that they are narrow minded enough to peer through a keyhole with both eyes, want their views enforced by law, and don’t mind big government as long as it does what they want. Most of them are very bitter that Huckabee is not the nominee. It was noticeable that in his campaign he saw the state in every solution to any problem that was mentioned.

    Huckabee recently did a rant in which he blamed all of the problems of the GOP on the moderates and libertarian elements within it. His supporters are currently backing a campaign initiated by John Tanton, to try to replace many of the moderates with ‘true’ conservatives. Jeff Flake had to put up a hell of a fight to keep his spot.

  21. Mick — you make so many mistakes, I don’t know where to begin.

    The terms “left” and “right” do not have agreed meanings, and none of the current meanings align with the traditional meanings anyway.

    Very few “right-wingers” have any sympathy with actual individual freedom. They are more likely to want to invade somewhere, stop funny looking people from immigrating, oppose gay rights and get more help for pensioners than they are to argue for even simple “right-wing” issues like privatisation or free trade. (eg the NSW Libs are opposing electricity privatisation.)

    But when we find a “right-winger” who does appreciate freedom, we should make sure we identify them as a philosophical friend. Yourself for instance.

    Likewise… most “left-wingers” don’t have sympathy for individual freedoms. But I’ve met enough that do. And when we find them, we should identify them as a philosophical friend too. Shem for instance.

    If forced to pick “left” or “right” I would call myself “left” (though many would disagree — showing the ambiguity of the term). I know plenty of others who do likewise.

    This is probably a function of the people we mix with and our attitudes. When I considered myself a “right-winger” I could find lots of excuses to justify my label. When I started hanging around with different people and using a different rhetoric (while remaining radical libertarian) I found a totally different outcome. Certainly — semantics matter.

    Your semantics alienates a significant group of potential libertarians… and the reason seems to be that you just have a habit of saying “left evil… right good”. This is why Australia needs to build a separate libertarian movement that avoids the rhetoric of right or left.

    ===============

    Mick — Contra what you say, libertarian policies have succeeded everywhere they have been tried. 19th century UK & US… 20th century HK & Singapore… dutch social policies… taiwanese trade policies… irish tax policies… chinese property laws…

    What you perhaps mean to say is that it’s currently not popular. Correct. But that has happened while libertarians have teamed up with conservatives for the past 100 years. It made sense 100 years ago when conservatives were conserving relatively free markets… but now it’s just a joke.

    If the world is going to trend back to freedom, it will require people to fight for libertarian ideas. That cannot be done within the conservative movement. Our success or failure will not be measured by the votes for libertarian parties… and certainly not by votes for a conservative party… but by how policy develops in the future. I’m not sure that we will succeed — but I prefer to fight for what is right, rather than give up.

    You think that 19th century UK & US was a “right-wing” movement. Not so. The libertarians of the times (“whigs”) fought against the conservatives of the time (“tories”). It was only when the socialists became a real threat that the two got together. That wasn’t so bad because the conservatives were conserving free-markets… but that has changed now.

    Australia has a similar, though watered-down, story… with the free-trade party (whigs) and protectionist party (tories) eventually merging to oppose the socialists (labor).

    To not see this might be personal bias or self-delusion on your part. Or perhaps you simply don’t know the first thing about history? I’ll let you decide.

    You hate left-libertarianism because you don’t understand it. Right-wingers often hate things that confuse them. That’s why they’re often bigoted. It’s a shame.

    I disagree that western values are decaying… unless you mean the values of “no vote for women” or “slavery” or “gay bashing” or “anti-immigration”. I didn’t like those values anyway.

    But I do lament the growth of government. The conservatives have to take a large part of the blame for this. I do not (as you seem to imply) support the growth of government. Indeed, that’s why I’m fighting for libertarian ideas. You may not have noticed, but I have had a passing interest in the ALS & LDP & CIS & IPA for a while now.

    I agree that enlightenment ideas came from radical and courageous thinkers. They weren’t conservatives.

    As for your strange comments about buddha, you should religion to a different debate as it doesn’t help you. Especially as you believe in sky-fairies and I believe in objective reality.

    Regarding war… if your problem is with people who want to control our lives by force, then the correct term would be “socialist”, not “islam”. You seem very confused.

    It’s true that most violent religious socialists these days follow islam… but that doesn’t mean the problem is islam. If any group pursued violent socialism as a goal they are a problem. We need to identify the enemy correctly or we will never win. The enemy is socialism.

    I don’t believe in levitation. Let me know when your sky-fairy talks to you next or when he next breaks the laws of physics.

  22. Jim — why would I give you crap about your suggested approach to politics. Having a classical liberal party (say, LDP) with more radical libertarians in the background. Perfect! I wish I’d thought of that… 🙂

    I think we have the same definition of conservative. I was just saying that we should be happy to appeal to people from many philosophical backgrounds.

  23. Yeah, whatever. Go pioneer the new paradigm.

    So, Singapore’s a model of libertarianism now? Didn’t they just legalise oral sex……for straight couples! Guess that’s libertarian progress for ya!

    I disagree that western values are decaying… unless you mean the values of “no vote for women” or “slavery” or “gay bashing” or “anti-immigration”. I didn’t like those values anyway.

    Funny. I would expect to find more of all these things in non-Western countries. Next time you get to the middle east (not including Israel) I dare you to walk around hand-in-hand with a gay guy! Human rights didn’t come out of China, sweetie!

    (Now you are showing a true left-wing trait – changing reality to suit your argument and ignoring true Western progress in order to portray all value systems as equal).

    Australia has a similar, though watered-down, story… with the free-trade party (whigs) and protectionist party (tories) eventually merging to oppose the socialists (labor).

    Why didn’t the Protectionist Party join with the socialists? Surely they had more in common? Why would they join with their nemesis, the Free Trade party? Enlighten me with your deeper understanding of history. Or heaven forbid, was there some synergy there?

    It’s true that most violent religious socialists these days follow islam… but that doesn’t mean the problem is islam.

    OK……..no delusions here. Yes, Temujin there are many fine versus in the Quran and we can consider the wisdom of each one. But that’s as deluded as the Galations 5:1-5 verse in the quotes section at the top of this page being somehow equated with libetarianism. Completely out of context. PS: I don’t believe in a god. I think you do, or do you just not say anti-god things as to not offend the non-christian religions?

  24. Whilst it’s true that the Koran has some nice verses, the whole tenor of Islam is built around communal values. They take it as their duty to impose sharia on others- when they can’t wage war, then they say that jihad means self-struggle!
    The tenor of christianity is individual choice- indeed, the early Christians tried not to get noticed, and did not set out to take over the Roman Empire! (I often think that Christianity was degraded by the embrace of the state, but that’s for another site.)

  25. If you’re looking for a title, and Decentralist sounds too much like you’re simply trying to undo the past, how about ‘Ultra-Localist’? Point out to any inquirers that you’re sick of ‘Kanbra’ meddling in local affairs, and you think that locals are always best qualified to decide any and all local issues. ‘Let Locals Rule!’ could be the catchy cry. Speak in broad terms of how the Swiss manage without a dictatorial center. Of course, what you really mean by ‘local’ might be ‘landlord’, or ‘owner’, but the emphasis will be on manageable-sized governments!
    This way you sound cool, and people always think that far-off ‘others’ are trying to control their lives, so you’ll always be relevant.

  26. Michael… you’re simply not making sense. I never said that non-western countries were more liberal than western countries. What I said (listen closely) was that the change in western culture had been towards more individual rights for women, gays, blacks etc… and that instead of being a “breakdown of western values” this was actually a good thing.

    You accuse me of “ignoring western progress”. That is idiotic. My whole point was that the west was progressing. I said this in response to your point that the west was decaying. You need to (1) take more effort at understanding english; and (2) make up your mind about whether the west is “progressing” or “decaying”.

    If changing reality to fit an argument is “left-wing”, then not understanding simple english and being confused about your own argument must be “right-wing”.

    Of course Singapore is not a model of libertarianism. You’re missing the point. Singapore has introduced a number of libertarian policies over the years, and they have worked. Did you really not know this?

    You ask why the protectionist party didn’t join with the socialists. I already answered that. A century ago we had (roughly) a liberal democracy. Therefore, conservatives were (roughly) defending liberal democracy. Socialists wanted to change to bigger government… while “whigs” wanted smaller govt and conservatives didn’t want change. The alliance made sense. Now conservatives are defending big government, so the alliance doesn’t make sense.

    This has been explained several times. I’m not sure if I can dumb it down any further. Try re-reading the paragraph several times… and if still confused then it’s probably best to give up thinking and just play footy and shoot things.

    As for islam… you’re just showing your bigotry. You certainly seem intent on living up to the right-wing stereotype. Of course there is a lot of crap in the Quran. There is a lot of crap in all religion. The entire book of Joshua (6th book of the bible) is dedicated to the god-inspired mass-genocide of a relatively peaceful and free trading sub-set of the phonecean civilisation by the murderous israeli tribe. Nice. Thankfully, (most) christians have stopped killing people when they hear voices in their head… (though it took them long enough).

    All religions, when put in the wrong hands, is used to justify stupid behaviour. The difference between christianity, islam, sikhism, hinduism, judaism, jainism, paganism, etc is not that some preach peace and some preach war. They all preach both when convenient and if you want to find it.

    The difference is that most christian countries have embraced the values of the “enlightenment” and a large part of the muslim world still hasn’t. That is a problem and we should talk freely of the problem in the muslim world. But the problem isn’t islam itself. The problem is that the islamic world hasn’t had their enlightenment yet. This distinction is evidenced by western (enlightened) muslims like Amir Butler, who follow islam and radical libertarianism.

    (regarding the quotes — you can find pro-market quotes all through the quran… and anti-market quotes in the bible… but this proves nothing. It’s the interpretation that matters.)

    As for me apparently not insulting religious people… I’m sure nicholas finds that funny. I tease him all the time about believing in “sky-fairies” and following a god of genocide, confusion, jealousy and hypocracy.

  27. I’m not interested in arguing this but I want to clarify my positions that you’ve commented on from my previous post:

    – I believe the west progressed way ahead the rest of the world after the enlightenment and is now in decline/decay. Decline is due to a move towards socialism and rejection of individualism and reason.

    – I was accusing you of having an anti-western bias and being unwilling to judge other cultures and value systems objectively. An example would be stating “unless you mean the values of “no vote for women” or “slavery” or “gay bashing” or “anti-immigration”” and equating them with the west, even in jest. I couldn’t imagine you listing these things in the context of Islam, even in jest. Don’t take this the wrong way it’s just a personal opinion! (and I consider both those traits to be popular with left-wingers (fact), and you a smelly left-wing hippy (joking 🙂 ).

    – Singapore isn’t a model of libertarianism. Singapore proves that free-market conservatism works. You can take a bunch of very different people with different values, religions, cultures and races and with free-market economics and strong (to brutal) social conservatism get them work together to generate wealth and conservative civil society. I personally believe that free markets feed social freedom, but in a conservative society there is an effort to prevent that liberalisation flowing from the economic sphere to the social sphere. Did you really not know this? Maybe not. What social libertarian policies have been introduced in Singapore? (And don’t use the example of legalising straight oral sex in 2007!). My understanding, and experience, is that Singapore is still socially conservative verging on the extreme.

    – The only bigotry I show is toward mystic value systems, rejection of reason, tribalistic behaviour, collectivism and statism. I’m happy to stand on this bigotry as a civilised human being in the fine post-enlightenment western tradition. I don’t consider it a virtue to be nice to someone who possesses an undue amount of these traits just for the heck of being nice. You probably do. Good for you.

    – As you say “It’s the interpretation that matters.”. The actual words/foundation/teaching/holy book/previous history is largely irrelevant, so unless you want to get all theological about it, why even bother with it. The interpretation and application of Christianity is largely good and has worked mostly for the benefit of human kind. So Christianity good. In its current day context if you feel you need it then go get some churchin’. The interpretation and application of Islam has been mostly destructive, and increasingly so over time. So Islam bad. In this modern age if you feel you need it then, Brother Hicks, you have me worried. Christianity can be ignored and it will probably go way. Islam has proven it needs to be dealt with in some capacity. As you say, they haven’t had their enlightenment yet, so that in itself will result in a strong tendency to making violence the way in which conflicts between value systems are resolved.

    – As for the whole political parties discussion, I listened to the inaugural speech of Alex Hawke, thinking I wouldn’t like the guy as an ultra-conservative. He spoke on reducing government and it was good. I think he spoke there, but it might of been elsewhere, on Christianity and capitalism as a basis for society. I don’t hate it. I can work with it. But most importantly it offers a real means of moving forward for liberalism, and this came from an ultra-conservative. As I said, western values are in decay/decline. The fight for liberty and individualism is not going to be easy, and it’s possible the world will fall into another period of overwhelming collectivism and statism. I’m leaning toward the radical approach not being viable, and the gradual claw-back being the only way. People are not drawn to the radical cause, but if you present them with a social order that was present in the few places that liberalism flourished then we may have a way forward that has a hope of ever seeing the inside of Parliament House. In this context I see right being viable, and the left not. If you don’t get that I don’t think this is the forum to present my ideas, so I’m not wasting the time arguing it out. I’ll leave the ALS to pure libertarianism, and indeed, that’s good in itself. I just don’t think it can save us in time. And when I hear “paid maternity leave is a human right” I know times are dire!

  28. Yeah… we don’t actually disagree much. Our conflict is more in style than substance. I have come to the conclusion that the fluffy terms “left” and “right” don’t actually point towards any consistent political philosophy, but more a personal attitude and style.

    You and I largely share a political philosophy… but our style shows the difference between left & right.

    I agree christianity is currently better than islam in terms of political consequences (though both are full of shite). But I think it is important to point out the reason.

    The reason is that too many muslims don’t interpret their religion with a post-enlightenment mentality. When they do (and when their economies develop I think they will) then islam will not be a problem. I think it’s important to make that distinction. By saying “libertarian v islam” we prevent muslims considering our ideas. By saying “libertarianism v any-sort-of-socialism (including islamic socialism)” then we are open for business with progressives like Amir Butler.

    And we take another opportunity to identify socialism with something bad.

    I’m happy to abuse islamic countries for their backward attitudes. When I mentioned “women voting” etc I was trying to make the point that the west was *better* because of those reforms, not worse. I’m a big defender of western civilisation, and was disagreeing with your suggestion that it was decaying.

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