Tag Archives: Chris Tame

National Libertarian Front: Libertarianism 6. The British Movement


Sean Gabb

The resurgence of the Libertarian movement in Britain occurred in the late 1970s under the direction of Chris Thame who’s life was tragically cut short in 2006. During his life he was the key person in organising the Libertarian Alliance, which aimed not to repeat what it saw as the errors of American Libertarianism. Firstly it would not contest elections believing these to be a waste of time and effort serving only to divide the movement and exhaust the movement over matters of triviality. Secondly, the Libertarian Alliance sought to avoid the conflict endemic in the Libertarian movement such as the conflict between Objectivists and Austrians and provide a forum for genteel debate.
The Libertarian Alliance saw its role as not engaging with the masses but in targeting the intellectuals – the 5% of the population that were interested in political ideas. Taking its cue from the Fabian Society, it published scholarly articles, organised conferences, spoke at University and appeared on radio debates in the expectation that these ideas would eventually be picked up by the political classes and implemented, much like the ideas behind the Institute of Economic Affairs were eventually picked up and became the template of thatcherism.
Needless to say it didn’t, the Libertarian movement in Britain which peaked in the early 1990s has been in decline ever since with its aging membership not being replaced with young members, to the point where the pessimistic amongst them predict that eventually there will be too few living libertarians to sustain a movement and it might die just as Libertarian ideas were dead through much of the twentieth century. This decline prompted Sean Gabb in conjunction with Chris Thame to resurrect class analysis, which for many has been regarded as the preserve of marxism. They concluded that Libertarian ideas whilst true were not being given the light of the day because they were a threat to the wealth, power and status of the class of individuals who draw, wealth, power and status from an activist state.
The Libertarian Alliance, in spite of this analysis continues its strategy of courting the intellectuals even though their ideas is not in the self-interest of the many statist intellectuals suckling at the states teat. The National Libertarian Front argues that radical political change cannot be achieved by publishing a few more pamphlets rather it must engage in the sorts of visible activism traditionally associated with the ‘far right’ and ‘far left’.

Posted by KJ at 10:43

2 comments:
Jock Coats said…
The National Libertarian Front argues that radical political change cannot be achieved by publishing a few more pamphlets rather it must engage in the sorts of visible activism traditionally associated with the ‘far right’ and ‘far left’.
I think it’s fair to say that this is slowly happening here. Many are realizing that we need real life examples of doing without the state. You will probably appreciate that we don’t go in much for “revolutionary” agitation here!
So my focus, for example, is in creating a local “sterling free” trading network for business-to-business and business-to-customer use in my county, and market based affordable housing projects without state subsidy, as a visible example of ways in which people can work fre of the state.
In that, it’s much more of a “mutualist” (see your article on Kevin Carson later) approach of building the institutions that will one day replace the state “organically” rather than trying to persuade a naturally not very revolutionary or activist population to decide on one big momentous change (at the ballot box or otherwise).
Time will tell – people do say that gradualism is a recipe for failure, but equally, our “Overton Window” approach is well enough established.

11 July 2009 18:01
Sean Gabb said…
An interesting analysis. A brief correction: the correct spelling is Tame, not Thame.
On the matter of our strategy, we still see our purpose as providing the intellectual underpinnings for any mass movement that may one day emerge.

National Libertarian Front: Libertarianism 6. The British Movement

Sean Gabb, Director’s Bulletin, December 2008


Director’s Bulletin
9th December 2008
Introduction
Book Recommendations 1
Book Recommendations 2
Libertarian Alliance Conference
Eton College
Media Appearances
Negative Scanner Wanted

Introduction

I will begin by wishing a Happy Christmas to everyone who celebrates these things, and a Happy Holiday Season to those who don’t. You can see my personal card here: http://www.seangabb.co.uk/christmas.htm

Book Recommendation 1

Richard Blake, who is a very dear friend of mine, has now published his first novel in Italian. La Cospirazione Papale. This has already received a most flattering review by Marian Halcombe. I urge all my Italian readers to go out and buy copies of this novel. It will make an excellent Christmas present for any Italian interested in how an Englishman sees his country in the seventh century. And Mr Blake promises that, unlike certain other popular novelists, he will never give a million pounds to the Labour Party. You can order your copies here: http://tinyurl.com/567q47

Book Recommendation 2

I have discovered another box of my own first novel, The Column of Phocas. This means that after a year of being unavailable, it can now be offered again to the public. Again, it will make an excellent Christmas present for people who already have everything else. You can order copies from me directly at http://www.candidlist.demon.co.uk/hampden/phocas.htm All orders received will be sent out the same day. Again, I can promise that not a penny of the proceeds will go to the Labour Party – assuming, that is, the British State is not nowadays simply the executive wing of the Labour Party.

Libertarian Alliance Conference

This has been set for the last weekend in October 2009 at the National Liberal Club in London. As yet, we are unable to make any announcement regarding speakers or subjects. However, bearing in mind the continuing economic collapse, we have decided for a second year to keep the conference fee at the old rate of �85. So many of our friends have now lost their jobs and are facing hard times in the year ahead, that we feel obliged to dip further into our reserves to subsidise the conference. Do stand by for more detailed announcements.

Eton College

On the 19th November 2008, I spoke about libertarianism to the Shelley Society at Eton College. I had always thought of Eton as a place where the boys were stuffed at night into cold and filthy dormitories and flogged all day into learning how to write Greek iambics. It is actually a most impressive place of learning. The boys were all polite, and they asked me some very interesting questions. How so many members of our ruling class emerged from here as thick as they are is a mystery.

Media Appearances

I have done about a dozen media appearances in the past month. Sadly, I have only bothered to record two of them. This is most remiss of me, I accept – indeed, which writing this, I was called by a Christian radio station and asked to comment on the Government’s further steps towards banning tobacco. I made my comments without recording them. The recorded appearances are:

My debate with Lord Levy on the 19th November 2008. This went out on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme and was heard by millions of people.
http://www.libertarian.co.uk/multimedia/2008-11-19-sig-lester.mp3

A comment on the Queen’s Speech on Talk Sport Radio from the 3rd December 2008.
http://www.libertarian.co.uk/multimedia/2008-12-03-qe2speech-sig.mp3

Negative Scanner Wanted

I have several thousand negatives from the Chris R. Tame collection of photographs. I want to have these scanned in for upload to the Internet. Is there anyone out there able and willing to lend me a good negative scanner?


Sean Gabb
Director, The Libertarian Alliance
sean@libertarian.co.uk
Tel: 07956 472 199

http://www.libertarian.co.uk
http://www.seangabb.co.uk
http://www.hampdenpress.co.uk
http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com

FREE download of my book – Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back
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Libertarian Alliance Remembrance Post 6: what ought Libertarians to plan for, and discuss, regarding what’s worth defending, and why ought we to defend anything at all?


UPDATE….and Tim Worstall does it better than I do as well….

David Davis

That’s it for this year, you’ll all be relieved to know…but first, I will direct you to the Devil, who writes all this quite important stuff, which ought to be noted and spread virally into the endarkening before it’s too late, far more effectively that I do. Then I’ll just make the point that this being the 90th commemoration of the end of World War 1, it’s probably the last one of any size: moreover, that it’s remarkable that we have any of what my old dad used to dub “the poor old chapsleft to witness it.

The centenary will probably have State-regulated fireworks compèred by Jonathan Ross. There will be scantily-dressed BBC-news-readerettes who will hand out strangely unfamiliar red flowers in the streets shopping prestinks, to bemused passers-by, the whole thing edgily-videoed by wildly-waving handycams. (“And now it’s back to you, Russell Brand, in the studio!”)

There are many strands of Libertarianism. Chris Tame used famously to say that “there may be two Libertarians somewhere who agree about everything, but I’m not one of them!” Of course he was just making a point theatrically, which he was good at, but he meant that, unlike Trotskyo-Marxian fascists and big-statists, we can amicably discuss a large range of ideas without pogromising each other.

For example, Sean Gabb and many others have always opposed British involvement in Iraq (and for all I know elsewhere too) as not involving any vital British interests and therefore totally unjustified. He may turn out to be right, but I have always disagreed. I think the West responded with much too little, and much, much too late after 9/11, dragged down and back (until it was too late) as it was, by internal traitors in the UN, the EU, on the Beltway especially, and elsewhere, from the easy and clean fulfilment of its essential and unitary objective.

Then, there are Libertarians who would restrict the Franchise on property criteria. Insofar as we have a State, and a government, and while this is unavoidable, then it should be a pluralist democracy and so therefore I support these people, Salisburianly speaking. But I risk scandalising others as a result. It does not matter: we will not bury ice-picks in each other’s skulls.

To libertarians like me, Western Civilisation, especially when conflated with all the popular externalities created BY free markets and minimal State-Planning and especially when un-influenced by what Sean Gabb calls the Enemy Class, offers the fastest and least-destructive path for all Men to improve their lives and be happier. We do not know what comes after this life, if anything (that can be perceived in a physical sense) and can’t ever so far as we know find out; although many of us – even among Libertarians – believe there is a God, and that He approximates to that Being hazily described in 1.Genesis and also in 1.John.1. Paul of course said that “for now, we see as through a Glass, Darkly”: all we can therefore do is what seems best, or least bad, at the time. Human existence is imperfect, but small bits of progress can be made, and accumulated, provided they are allowed to. It’s the “not allowing” bit that totalitarians do that causes the problem.

What distinguishes Western Christian (in the old pre-secular sense) Civilisation from those others it has had the bad fortune to have to oppose and defend against, is the gradual if imperfect rise of a notion of individual conscience and liberty of thought and action. The going has not always been easy or uninterrupted. But in the end, we arrived shakily, “darkly”, at something whereby one could go through life substantially without coming into contact with the jaws of the State (Sean’s words roughly interpeted, not mine) and a degree of liberty meant also that there was a degree of spontaneous order.

These poor old chaps now finally pass out into the sunset of history, soon to be followed by those left from a later and worse conflict. They thought through the prism of their time, rightly or not, about what was worth defending. It would be nice to think we didn’t have to, but what we face now is just another manifestation of the enemies of individual freedom, this time very sadly right at home inside the West. Yes there may be a few terrorists skulking about, but add up all the deaths and destruction they have wrought and yet could, and it’s a pinprick compared with what the Gramsco-Marxians intend and are incrasingly coming out into the open with. Terrorists can only kill people and blow stuff up: they can’t begin to erase ideas.

If individual people are strong in what they believe, and if they honestly believe it, then terrorists can only isolate themselves further. But if we all acquiesce in the deliberate and purposeful Gramsco-Marxian elimination of our culture and the freedoms it gave rise to, then there is no place for llibertarianism to hide.

Sean Gabb – Latest Director’s Bulletin, November 2008


Sean Gabb

http://www.libertarian.co.uk/about/bulletin-2008-11-08.htm

Director’s Bulletin
9th November 2008

Introduction
Libertarian Alliance Conference
Chris R. Tame Memorial Prize 2008 – £1,000 Won!
Helen Evans
Norman Barry RIP
Sean Gabb in The Times
Other Media Appearances
Barack Obama
Books Received
Attendance at UKIP Function
Speaking Engagements
Negative Scanner Wanted

Introduction

I have done rather less during the past few months than usual for the Libertarian Alliance. My time has been taken up instead with finishing one novel and working on another, and with playing nursery rhymes to my daughter in many different keys.

But the Libertarian Alliance as a whole has remained very active. We have just held our most successful conference ever, and we continue to put our case in the media and wherever else we are invited.

Libertarian Alliance Conference

Our conference of two weekends ago, at the National Liberal Club in London, was our most successful ever. It is unfair to single out any particular speakers at the expense of the others. However, our three most prominent speakers were Aubrey de Gray, David Friedman and Hans-Hermann Hoppe. These all gave excellent speeches.

When advertising our conferences, I have always urged people to book early to ensure a place. Usually, we get between 80 and 90 people, and there is always room to let people come along on the day – even if dinners are less easy to arrange at short notice. This year, however, we reached the Monday before the beginning of the conference, and had 112 people on our list. The Liberal Club’s fire regulations limit for our usual room was 120. Over the next few days, another 20 people tried to book with us. When I removed the PayPal buttons from the brochure page on our website, people began to telephone us and tried begging for places. In the event, we had 120 people at the conference, and 113 booked in for dinner.

One of these, I am pleased to say, was Teresa Gorman, who was one of our most consistent friends in the Parliamentary Conservative Party during the 1980s and 1990s. Though now in semi-retirement, Teresa looks good and remains on good form.

It is not certain we shall be so crowded next year. Even so, I do recommend early booking.

As ever, we made a full video record of the speeches. Because I am busy doing other things, because it takes time to process video, and because my desktop computer is unaccountably very slow, it took me a fortnight to get the video files uploaded to the Internet. But they are now available. You can see our video record at

http://www.libertarian.co.uk/conferences/conf08record.htm

These files have been radically downsampled for Google. However, if you want better quality copies on DVD, you can use the PayPal buttons at the bottom of the record page. This year, we are happy to take payment in pounds, in dollars and in euros.

Chris R. Tame Memorial Prize 2008 – £1,000 Won!

The subject for this year’s essay as “Can a Libertarian Society be Described as ‘Tesco minus the State’?” I am disappointed that no one came forward to give a robust defence of corporations on libertarian grounds. I did promise impartial judging. However, I received a number of very fine entries, all of which will be published by the Libertarian Alliance. After much deliberation, I decided that the best entry was from Keith Preston in America. His was a very impressive entry, and we shall be delighted to publish this as a Libertarian Alliance pamphlet. For the moment, it can be seen on our blog:

<http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2008/10/25/chris-r-tame-memorial-prize-winning-essay/>

Next year, I am hoping for several thousand pounds of sponsorship, so that we can offer a first prize of £1000, but also several dozen second and third prizes for lesser amounts.

Helen Evans

We were all naturally concerned when Helen Evans, our Events Coordinator, fell dangerously ill just before the conference. However, she is now out of danger and well on the road to recovery. Our thoughts are with her, with her husband Tim and with their daughter Petica.

Norman Barry RIP

For those who have not heard already, I must announce the death, on the 21st October 2008, of Norman Barry. I first met him in 1986, and he was one of my external examiners some years afterward. A most distinguished scholar, he was victim in his final years to multiple sclerosis.

According to the announcement on the University of Buckingham website,

“It is with great sadness that the University has learned of the death this morning of Professor Norman Barry. As one of the foremost exponents of classical liberal theory in the United Kingdom, Norman established the foundation around which the study of politics developed at the University. His work as a scholar of Friedrich von Hayek, as a social and political theorist and as a writer in business ethics contributed greatly to the academic reputation of the University after his arrival in 1982. He received the ‘Liberty in Theory’ Lifetime Award from the Libertarian Alliance (LA) in 2005. Our condolences go to his colleagues, friends and family.

“A graduate of the University of Exeter, Professor Barry lectured in Politics at Queen’s University of Belfast and at Birmingham Polytechnic (now the University of Central England) before being appointed as a Reader in Politics at the University of Buckingham in 1982. His books include Hayek’s Social and Economic Philosophy (1979), An Introduction to Modern Political Theory (1981), The Morality of Business Enterprise (1991), Classical Liberalism in an Age of Post-Communism (1996) and Business Ethics (1998). He was awarded a Chair in Social and Political Theory at Buckingham in 1984. He was also a visiting scholar at the Centre for Social Philosophy and Policy, Bowling Green State University, Ohio, and at the Liberty Fund, Indianapolis. He was a member of the Advisory Council of the Institute of Economic Affairs, London; the Institute for the Study of Civil Society, London; and the David Hume Institute, Edinburgh.”

The full announcement is here:
http://www.buckingham.ac.uk/news/newsarchive2008/norman-barry.html

You can also see an interview with Professor Barry from 1991. This is in our Botsford Archive at:
http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=5778658966132637817

Sean Gabb in The Times

I think I did send this out. If not, I should have done. On Friday the 24th October 2008, The Times carried an article by me in favour of disestablishing the Church of England. Here is the article:
<http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/public_sector/article5003179.ece>

Here is a longer article I wrote a few years back, in which I argue against disestablishment:
http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc082.htm

I have changed my mind about the Church and about several other issues on which I was once a strong conservative.

Other Media Appearances

I have been much in demand by the BBC these past few months. I regret, however, that I have been far too disorganised to record any of these. My most recent was the night before the American election on Radio 5, where I denounced most politicians as motivated by money, kinky sex, or the sheer joy of messing up the lives of others. I scandalised some Labour politicians and politics lecturer, who had come on in the belief that he would be worshiping at the shrine of St Barack the Redeemer. His embittered annoyance, and his attempt to turn the listeners against me with his revelation that the Libertarian Alliance believes in legalising all drugs and even incest between consenting adults, made for an entertaining broadcast. Sadly, I failed to record any of this. I will try to do better in future.

Barack Obama

I did think of betting money on the election of Mr McCain as American President. However, the more I looked at him on the television, the more I realised he was one of those figures, half comic, half sinister, who are thrown up at the end of every ancien regime. I guessed that millions of Americans would vote for him through clenched teeth, bearing in mind it was him or a black man. But I decided in the end he was not worth the risk of losing £20.

So Mr Obama it is. He will contrive, if very differently, to be even worse for America than Mr Bush has been. On the other hand, he will probably be less inclined than Mr McCain would have been to blow the world up. And if he is a closet Moslem, that is certainly less alarming than the acknowledged Christianity of Mrs Palin.

Oh – and, since he is half-Kenyan and was born before 1963, he will be the first American President in many years whose father was a British citizen. I am sure this fact will not be overlooked by Lyndon Larouche and his many followers in America. Perhaps the Empire is striking back!

My comments on his election can be read here:
http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc176.htm

Those who want to understand the true nature of the evil he means to America, should read my book Cultural Revolution, Culture War. You can get copies here:
<http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cultural-Revolution-Culture-War-Conservatives/dp/095410322X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1226250079&sr=8-2 >

I am running out of copies, but want to sell all of these before I set to work on another edition. If you buy now, you may be able to give copies to your loved ones for Christmas/Hannukah/Diwali/Kwanzaa. You are too late for Eid.

Books Received

At the Libertarian Alliance conference, David Friedman gave me a copy of his novel Harald. This is a fantasy set in world loosely based on the early middle ages, and is a very good read. I wish he had brought more copies so he could have sold and signed them. I think it is important for libertarians to write about more than how to privatise the Bulgarian motorways. David has always been a diverse writer, and his novel is a significant move into fiction.

You can buy your copies of this at:
http://www.amazon.com/Harald-David-D-Friedman/dp/1416520562

I have also been sent a copy of The Plan: Twelve Months to Renew Britain by Douglas Carswell and Dan Hannan. This is a remarkable attempt by two Conservative politicians to give their party some actual policies. Of their two main prescriptions, one is excellent, the other on the verge of terrifying. The first is to devolve to every county and city in England all the powers of the Scottish Assembly. This would at once undo the massive centralisation of power England has suffered during the past hundred years. The second is to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998 and to subject the judiciary to the restored legislative sovereignty of Parliament. Giving power with no hope of appeal to 625 of the most ignorant and corrupt people in the United Kingdom is not the way to make the country a better place.

I will review this book at some length in the next few weeks. you can buy copies here:
<http://www.amazon.co.uk/Books/s?ie=UTF8&rh=n%3A266239%2Cp_27%3ADan%20Hannan&field-author=Dan%20Hannan&page=1>

Attendance at UKIP Function

On the 17th October 2008, I was invited to a closed meeting of the UK Independence Party on HMS Belfast. This was addressed very ably by Nigel Farage, who spoke about his party’s strategy for doing well at the next elections to the European Parliament. Though I do not feel able to say more about what was a closed meeting, I was very impressed by all I saw and heard. Regardless of the strained relations for much of this year between UKIP and the Libertarian Alliance, it has been my settled intention to continue voting for UKIP. I am now glad to report that relations are no longer strained.

Speaking Engagements

I have accepted an engagement to speak to the Shelley Society at Eton College. This will be around the middle of the present month. I may record the event, but will only make my own speech available on the Internet.

Negative Scanner Wanted

I have several thousand negatives from the Chris R. Tame collection of photographs. I want to have these scanned in for upload to the Internet. Is there anyone out there able and willing to lend me a good negative scanner?


Sean Gabb
Director, The Libertarian Alliance
sean@libertarian.co.uk
Tel: 07956 472 199

http://www.libertarian.co.uk
http://www.seangabb.co.uk
http://www.hampdenpress.co.uk
http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com

FREE download of my book – Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back
Wikipedia Entry

Libertarian Alliance home

YOU could win £1,000 – for just writing a (good) essay!


David Davis

Essay Competition

The 2008 Chris R. Tame Memorial Prize


£1,000 to be Won

In honour of Dr Chris R. Tame (1949-2006), The PROMIS Unit of Primary Care has established a yearly prize of £1,000 for an essay on a subject to be announced by Dr Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance.

By the 10th October 2008, contestants are invited to submit essays to Dr Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance.

Essay Title: “Can a Libertarian Society be Described as ‘Tesco minus the State’?
Essay Length: 3,000 words excluding notes and bibliography

Explanatory Note

Many socialists and conservatives regard libertarians as cheerleaders for big business. Our belief in free enterprise is understood as support for the bigger, and therefore the more successful, corporations – General Motors, Microsoft, HSBC, Tesco, and so forth – and for an international financial system centred on the City of London.

Some libertarians are happy to be so regarded. They dislike the way in which big government provides opportunities for big business to acquire privileges that shelter it from competition. Even so, they believe that a world without government, or a world with much less government, would be broadly similar in its patterns of enterprise to the world that we now have. It would be much improved, but not fundamentally dissimilar.

Other libertarians disagree. They regard big business as fundamentally a creation of big government. Incorporation laws free entrepreneurs from personal risk and personal responsibility, and allow the growth of large business organisations that are bureaucratically managed. These organisations then cartellise their markets and externalise many of their costs. The result is systematic distortion of market behaviour from the forms it would take without government intervention. These libertarians often go further in their analysis by denying the legitimacy of intellectual property rights and ownership rights in land beyond what any individual can directly use.

Where do you stand in this debate? Are you broadly comfortable with a global capitalism that is raising billions of people from starvation towards affluence. Or are you a radical with a vision of a society that has never yet been tried and is as alien and even frightening to most people as anything promised by the Marxists.

You tell us.

Rules

  • Essays must be original and previously unpublished works.

  • Essays must be submitted in English and typed and in hard copy by sending to The Libertarian Alliance, Suite 35, 2 Lansdowne Row, Mayfair, London W1J 6H, United Kingdom.

  • Essays  must also be submitted by e-mail and in MS Word format to Sean Gabb – sean@libertarian.co.uk

  • Essays must bear the name and full address of the author, including his e-mail address. The name does not need to be genuine, but work submitted under what Sean Gabb considers an absurd pseudonym may be rejected. Certainly, the prize money will be by cheque, and so must be made out to a real person.

  • Essays must have been received ain both hard and soft copy no later than Monday the 13th October 2008.

  • The winner will be announced on the evening of Saturday the 25th October 2008, at the banquet of the Libertarian Alliance Conference, to be held at the National Liberal Club in London.

  • The winner will be required to make a ten minute acceptance speech on Saturday 25th October 2008, at the banquet of the Libertarian Alliance Conference, to be held at the National Liberal Club in London. This speech may be made in person, or by pre-recorded video, or may be read out by Sean Gabb.

  • The prize will be £1,000, made out to the winner and payable in Sterling by cheque drawn on one of the United Kingdom clearing banks. No other form of payment will be considered.

  • The winning essay will be published by the Libertarian Alliance. All essays submitted will be published by the Libertarian Alliance.

  • In all matters of deciding the winner of the Prize and in all associated matters, the decision of Sean Gabb shall be final.

  • The act of submitting an essay shall constitute full acceptance of these terms

  • This prize competition is not open to any Officer of the Libertarian Alliance.

For all questions, please contact Sean Gabb

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