What Libertarianism Is…

…and What it Must Do

 By Duncan Whitmore

Anyone who has taken the time to study in depth the wealth of scholarly literature of Austro-libertarianism cannot help but be enthralled by the intellectual treasures provided by our school of thought. Not only have we uncovered a body of knowledge which – especially in comparison to mainstream social science – is rigorous, scientific, coherent and interdisciplinary, but, as the true successors of classical liberalism, we have an inspiring vision of the future that can sweep away war, conflict, strife and poverty while propelling the human race to unheard of heights of peace and prosperity. Indeed, for many of us Austro-libertarianism has been the most joyous and rewarding discovery of our lives, providing a sheltered harbour in a world which would otherwise leave us adrift in a sea of chaos.

Unfortunately, we are forced to admit that the intellectual accomplishments of Austro-libertarians are disproportionate to our achievements in effecting real world change which, by comparison, are almost miniscule. Although most forms of direct socialism have been discredited by the disaster that was the Soviet Union, we are today living in a world of unprecedented state power which the majority of the population, buoyed by a sense of control instilled by their occasional visits to the ballot box, views as entirely legitimate. It is bad enough that the modern nation state has accreted to itself power and functions that ancient kings and emperors could only dream of; but we are confronted also by a pervasive attitude that any difficulty, problem, error, injustice or whatever that life may choose to throw at us – including our own personal foibles and failings – is always the state’s responsibility to solve. The problems of paper money, the welfare state, boom and bust, public “education”, crippling regulation, disastrous overseas wars and all of the other ills bred by the state are not going to be vanquished when the majority of the public regards this institution as the magic carpet that will whisk us all away to the land of milk and honey. Continue reading

The unholy trinity: collectivism, sovereignty, corruption

Neil Lock

“Know your enemy,” says the old adage of Sun Tzo. And this idea has, of late, been much troubling liberty lovers. We all agree that, from the point of view of freedom, justice, prosperity and peace, the political tone in Western societies today is bad and getting worse. But can we agree on the causes of this malaise, still less work out what to do about it? That’s hard.

Continue reading

How to get depressed…become a liberal (our sort, not theirs…)

David Davis

I was going to write about this earlier because it cuts to the heart of what’s different in the ways people think and fell in either calitalist-liberal civilisations, on in gramscoFabiaNazi ones. But I got depressingly side-tracked by chores and tasks…as you do. The trouble with being retired and unemployed is that you have to work and think so hard and you get really knackered, and then you worry that life isn’t what it’s cracked up to be as you are chasing your tail the whole time, and well…..

Perry over at Samizdata has done a better quick-analysis of the problem better and faster than I could, and this I think sums up the problem, but do read his whole treatment. Here’s the crux or nub:-

“…collectivism is a form of mass delusion, an ‘opiate for the masses’ method of replacing profane objective truth with sacred, subjective ‘acceptable’ truth… i.e. ‘truth’ is what the collective wants it to be. Indeed I would say much of the allure of collectivism is relief from the weight of individual responsibility, the sense of moral externalisation that comes from outsourcing choice to a ‘higher power’….”

Of course, that’s all very well I guess if “the masses” decide freely to buy into the collectivist delusion.  They certainly did in Germany in the 1930s: of that I have no doubt, whatever people might argue to the contrary. The case of today’s UK I think is more complex, in that while the collectivist delusion has gripped, is gripping and will through the MSM continue to grip a majority of people here, we yet seem to be unhappy and depressed. Perhaps the collectivist magic has not really “taken” and people are unconsciously depressed because they know their freedom has been taken away? I don’t know. Does any one else?

Free Life from August 1994

(The blogmaster comments:- The older we get, the less attention seems to be paid to the roots of 20th-Century war, notably the main one from 1899 to 1989…)

Sean Gabb

From “Free Life”

I have mentioned the year 1914. I am making these loose jottings on the 4th August, 80 years to the day since our declaration of war on Germany. I know that looking at the plain statistics, we can dethrone the Great War from the place that it occupies in most liberal imaginations. Other wars have lasted longer. Others have had higher death rates, both absolutely and proportionately. On the same basis, others have consumed more wealth. I cannot say that our statist ascendency is wholly a product of the War: its roots can be traced far back into the 19th century – even into the age of high liberalism.

Yet for all this, I cannot but regard that war as the greatest of all known calamities. The only real civilisation that has existed on this planet came close to blowing itself apart: and no one but a fool can say that a full recovery has yet taken place, or be sure that one will take place.

I began this jotting with the intention of saying something smart and clever about today’s anniversary. But there is nothing smart and clever to be said. When I contemplate the events that unrolled between the 28th June and the 4th August 1914, I become a child again, in the audience of a pantomime. I want to cry out to the person on stage – “Look behind you!” “Don’t go there!”, “He’s coming for you!”. But there is nobody out there to listen.

And that, perhaps, is why we are so busy commemorating the events of 1944, but have chosen very largely to overlook the still greater and more unimaginable events of 30 years’ earlier.

I understand now, why so many movietroids/actroids/directroids/theatroids become Socialists…

And pop-singertroids too.

David Davis

In the strangely terrifying, and profoundly evil piece, by Madeleine Bunting (who has had the finest education that money can – or even can’t – buy, and thus ought to know better) of the Grauniad, a glimmer of insight into the minds of troids who decide to collectivise humanity, is found.

h/t The Humble Devil for pointing it out.

Bella Gerens correctly dissassembles Bunting’s deeply sinister anti-market position. it needs restating, but we all know that the “markets” which Bunting describes are hedged about with corporate and state regulation, to the extent that they convey no information to traders that’s worthwhile.

But the Bunting article does throw light on the mindset of the kinds of people who are instinctively attracted to collectivist, messianic, precapitalist/barbarian-film-director-warlord-subsistence-farmer nostrums.

Polly Toynbee bashing time … at last the evil woman has revealed how deeply tainted with wickedness she is.

(Edit: And here’s another manifestation, from Legiron this time, of why collectivists and (what he dubs creatively-correctly) “the Righteous” are evil and deliberately so.)

David Davis

I don’t think Polly Toynbee is an ordinary kind human being. Years ago, this hypothesis was moderately tenable, but not any more. Specially after this, just spotted (hat tip Guido.)

As I have never failed to make very clear, I equate a belief in collectivism – in all its forms – with a deliberate will to do evil, and to set out to actively embrace wickedness, on behalf of a theoretical ideal which has consistently failed in practice. This is because the controverting evidence is as clear as bright glass. Therefore, anyone who not only persists in such beliefs but actively proselytises them, must be premeditatedly wicked. Keir Hardie. Stalin. Hitler. Mao tse Tung. Chavez. Ken Livingstone. Polly Toynbee.

There are of course other evils that stalk the World: this is merely a carefully-designed one, and quite new, less than three centuries old. This special evil arose as a result of the Enlightenment, the Scientific Revolution, and Man’s progressive realisation that He could get along quite nicely without self-appointed authoritarian rulers or priests f*****g up His life, taking his stuff, and pissing Him about. Other evils have been conquered in the past: also some, arising in the Dark Ages in South West Asia, pretend to torment us today, specially when in league conveniently with the modern one I have just described….these are not the main problem, and may even wither away.

But the awfulness of being in such a state of existence appalls me.

Perhaps wickedness is not perceived as such by its doers? Maybe they really DO see the world differently from other people, as though through a lens which inverts values as well as brightness and contrast? Or as if with a moral compass where the needle has been repolarised the wrong way round?

The prospect that I could be right fills me with horror.