Category Archives: European Affairs

The Pretty Façade of ‘Freedom & Democracy’


By Andy Duncan

One of the most wonderful things you can do, just before Christmas, is to visit the street markets of Vienna, one of the grandest old cities in Europe. As well as being able to buy an endless supply of glittering colourful things, the best aspect is that every third or fourth stall you can fill up a copious mug with a delicious draft of hot mulled wine, simply to keep out the icy cold you understand.

What you might also see, if you were to visit this year, is something that looks like this:

ViennaDisguisedBarrier

What could this oddly-sized Christmas-wrapped thing be? A super-sized electric railway set? A particularly large racing bike? A gift perhaps from God Himself?

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The ‘Reactionary’ Libertarianism of Frank van Dun


The ‘Reactionary’ Libertarianism of Frank van Dun
By Richard Storey

Before I reached out to Prof. Frank van Dun, I had it all figured out.  Like many anarcho-capitalist libertarians, I believed that the Church, far from being a hindrance to state growth, was the primary promoter of centralised statism in Northern Europe.  Whilst many of the greatest intellectual defenders of liberty were Christians (Tom Woods, Lew Rockwell etc. etc.), I assumed they were wrong about the Church.  Rather arrogantly, I thought them blind to the historical data and for emotional reasons.  I contacted the good professor, hoping he could teach me a thing or two and, of course, confirm my conclusions.  I got more of the former than I had bargained for.  Permit me to outline the historical perspective I presented to Prof. van Dun before I provide his responses. Read more

Britain and Europe: The Long Goodbye? – Sean Gabb Speech in Bratislava, 15th August 2017


A speech given by Sean Gabb in Bratislava, on the 15th August 2017, to the Institute of Economic and Social Studies (INESS). He spoke to an audience of Slovak journalists and politicians on the background to Britain’s impending departure from the European Union, and discussed what may happen next.

The video was produced and edited by Philippa Gabb.

NB – the main speech is in English, though the flattering Introduction by Richard Durana is in Slovak.

Summary:

  1. In the 2015 general election, David Cameron needed to attract large numbers of UK Independence Party votes in order to secure an overall majority for the Conservative Party.
  2. British entry to the European Union (then called the European Economic Community) had split the Conservative Party. This led eventually to the emergence of the UK Independence Party, which was able to take enough votes in the 2010 general election to deny the Conservatives a majority.
  3. David Cameron’s strategy in 2015 was to offer a referendum on EU membership.
  4. He made an error in calling the referendum in June 2016, when much British attention was fixed on the migrant crisis of 2015. The result of the referendum was largely due to fears of more immigration from Europe.
  5. After the referendum, the Conservatives declared that Britain would leave, but had no plan for leaving. Either they were unaware of the complexities, or they were unable to agree on how to manage these complexities.
  6. They still have not plan. Even so, Britain is to leave in March 2019, and the process will become increasingly exciting for impartial observers.
  7. Dr Gabb’s own view is that the peoples of Europe are bound together by common experience and common problems, and that a close working relationship must emerge from the process of British withdrawal. His final point is that the European Union is not the best vehicle for articulating these commonalities.

Brexit: What Could It Mean?


 

 

Brexit: What Could It Mean?
Andy Duncan (Honorary Vice-President of Mises UK)
A Speech Delivered in May 2017 at the 5th Austrian School Conference of Mises Brasil

Today, I wish to discuss three related topics, how they fit together, and how we can use them to help create a freer world. These topics consist of historicism, the notion that historic destiny dominates free will; the original formation of ancient states, and what this tells us about modern states; and secession, and how this relates to Brexit and to other freedom movements around the world.

In Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’, in Karl Marx’s ‘Das Kapital’, and most recently in Francis Fukuyama’s ‘The End of History and the Last Man’, there exists a constant idea from the left that ‘history’ exists as a living entity outside the lives of men, women, and children. This concept, in a nutshell, forms historicism. Read more

On Ingratitude: A Reply to David Webb


Aaron Kahland

To the question of whether Europeans owe anything to Britain the answer, I agree, is most certainly yes.  As to whether Britons owe anything to Continental Europeans, the answer is surely an even more resounding yes.  That is not to attenuate Britain’s enormous contributions or even to deny that she punches well above her weight but, instead, to give due credit to those other contributors of Western Civilization who are, together, far weightier.  I can assure David that the Dutch do not thank Britain for capitalism, nor are Greeks likely to do so for democracy, or Germans for the automobile.  To claim that Europe’s prosperity was built on a British foundation one would have to claim that the comparative successes of Renaissance Italy, the Hanseatic League, the free Imperial Cities of Germany, or seventeenth century Netherlands could somehow be traced to Britain.  They cannot and yet those are the very foundations of the respective prosperities in those lands.  Indeed, those countries in Europe with many of the strongest historical ties to Britain, such as Ireland, Portugal, Malta and a range of Greek islands are conspicuous for their lack of prosperity.  Suffice to say that the ledger of give and take is not without dispute. Read more

European ingrates


By D. J. Webb

NB – This essay does not constitute an endorsement or condemnation by the Libertarian Alliance of any candidate in the present General Election. SIG

I wrote on this topic recently, but have more to say as the topic is fast-moving. Do Europeans owe anything to Britain? That’s an important question. In the Second World War, Winston Churchill made clear that the war was being fought for the freedom of all European countries, and not for imperial conquest. In his “Finest Hour” speech to the House of Commons on June 18th 1940, he said: Read more

European allies?


By D. J. Webb

Europe is simultaneously the greatest centre of world culture and civilization and a troubled continent characterized by numerous rival middling powers. This is the history of Europe and explains Europe’s foolish self-neutering in the First and Second World Wars even as the continent was at its peak in terms of geopolitical power. The Libertarian Alliance has carried numerous articles from a broadly culturally/civilizationally pro-European perspective, as is appropriate for the continent whose culture and history forms the basis for political and economic notions of liberty anywhere in the globe. While agreeing with that perspective, it is difficult not to descry the gathering tensions in Europe that suggest that old rivalries are becoming a problem again. The greatest nations squabble among themselves: is this how Western civilization itself comes to an end, destroyed from within and not from without? Read more

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