Refreshing, realistic, and uncompromisingly radical

by Swithun Dobson

I believe my first memory of Sean was him defending the introduction of the R18 certification by the BBFC in 2000 on a 5 Live phone-in – even though this maybe a phantom, it is certainly an apt one given Sean’s unwavering belief that consenting adults should legally be able to do as they please. In the year 2000, I had very little idea who he actually was. In sixth form, a few years later,  I began to really discover classical liberalism, reading many of the works of the Institute for Economic Affairs. In my early years at university I devoured more hardcore libertarian texts and then stumbled across the Libertarian Alliance blog. What was refreshing about it was that it was an uncompromisingly radical organisation from England. Sean linked his appearances on BBC radio in which he called for the entire abolition of alcohol licensing laws and the rolling back of the police state. This was a far cry from some of the dull, wonkish publications from the IEA, in particular the egregiously dull title, The Dangers of Bus Re-Regulation. There was simply no-one else who was vaguely in the public eye who would defend some of the more radical libertarian positions.

Sean also provided a strong defence of the British Empire, at least in comparison to other historical Empires. His complete lack of apology and ethnomasochism was refreshing considering that any ethnic Englishman typically feels compelled to reel off a multitude of qualifications when attempting any kind of this defence – he did not then and nor does he now. His fusion of English nationalism and libertarianism, which in his view was effectively just the historic birthright of the English, is compelling. This synthesised well with the more theoretical approach of Hans Hoppe whom I had then recently discovered. Sean’s view that every individual belongs to a nation is an accurate description of human nature unlike the deracinated individuals of some libertarian thought. It follows from the weighty existence of nations that some immigration restrictions are justified. I would further add that this is a deeply realistic policy given the social dislocation that would be caused by open borders with a generous welfare state.

Sean’s major contribution to the libertarian cause is his focus on culture rather than on just economics. He rightly points out that the current threat to liberty is not from the unreconstructed dishevelled Marxists who wish to nationalise all the means of production, but rather the fine wine swilling suit wearing media types. The reason that radical libertarianism and English nationalism is considered so beyond the Overton window is that the population is inundated with story lines and characters in the TV and films they watch which are inimical to it: the demonisation of the white working class from at least since To Death Do us Part; the normalisation of divorce and family dysfunction in Eastenders; procedural rights shown to be preventing justice in many police dramas; the absurd frequency of interracial marriage and the depiction all businessmen as moral black holes amongst others. Only when a significant quantity of media is created with a broadly libertarian conservative view, such as the novels by Sean’s close friend Richard Blake, will the population find such a world view compelling.

This view of culture ties in with his broad view of the ruling class. It is not just the present executive but rather:

“(It is a) loose coalition of politicians, bureaucrats, lawyers, educators, and media and business people who derive wealth and power and status from an enlarged and active state”[1]

The corporate media provides the legitimising ideology for the current ruling class. Sean’s recognition that there is in fact a multifarious ruling class furnishes him with a clear cited policy in the event of a libertarian conservative electoral landslide. Changing the policies here and there without removing the ruling class itself will just invite future resistance – note the ruling class’s constant attempts to thwart a genuine Brexit. The focus must be on annihilating the bureaucratic state from day one: the shutting down of the BBC, the Commission for Racial Equality and the Department for Education, in addition to firing the heads of the police departments and the civil service amongst others.  Such devastation would take the ruling class years to build up their networks and bureaucracies again.

Overall, without Sean, English libertarianism would be entirely associated with corporate capitalism, wonkism and smoking cannabis. The fact that it isn’t entirely the case, is largely Sean’s doing.


[1] Gabb, Sean. Cultural Revolution, Culture War. Hampden Press 2008. Pg 8

3 thoughts on “Refreshing, realistic, and uncompromisingly radical

  1. Pingback: Time’s Feathered Arrow | The Ludwig von Mises Centre

  2. Pingback: Time's Feathered Arrow (2019), by Sean Gabb - SEAN GABB

  3. Pingback: Erudite, Scholarly, and Unfailingly Polite: To Sean Gabb on the Occasion of his Sixtieth Birthday

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