Know Your Enemy – Charlie Hebdo and The Freedom of Speech


Know Your Enemy – Charlie Hebdo and The Freedom of Speech 

By Duncan Whitmore

In previous essays posted on this blog, I have often pointed out that opponents of private property (and of capitalism specifically) believe, incorrectly, that to advocate for a free society is to crave an orgy of individualism, greed and selfishness in which each person grabs as many riches for himself as possible while leaving those less fortunate to starve.

Empirically, of course, we know that private property orders have solved the problems of poverty and hunger more than any other socioeconomic alternative, for the reason that the wealth accumulated by the rich takes the form of capital goods that produce more and more consumer goods at lower and lower prices for ordinary people. In other words, even if someone wanted to accumulate as much wealth as possible for himself his only avenue of doing so is to serve the needs of others.

That aside, however, the theoretical error of the anti-capitalists is to confuse permissibility on the one hand with promotion on the other. Yes, capitalism and freedom give you the right to be selfish and greedy, but they do not demand that you be so – you are just as free to give away all of your wealth as you are to accumulate as much of it for yourself as possible. Thus, libertarians are advocating only for your right to choose your actions. They are not stating that any conceivable action within your range of options is necessarily a good and beautiful thing, nor should anything you do be immune from criticism simply because it is peaceful and voluntary.

For instance, a libertarian would say that a person should have the legal right to smoke three packets of cigarettes a day. But he is not saying that a person should smoke three packets of cigarettes a day, nor that such a heavy volume of smoking is a wise and beneficial choice. True enough, there will be libertarians who, out of either naivety or a personal commitment to libertinism, do indeed reason in such a fashion, seeing nothing morally wrong with any possible choice one may make so long as it does not breach the non-aggression principle. Libertarianism itself, however, entails no such advocacy – it is the foundation upon which wider moral problems should be solved, not the final word. Continue reading

The “Big Tech” Problem


The “Big Tech” Problem 

By Duncan Whitmore

“The legislature, were it possible that its deliberations could be always directed, not by the clamorous importunity of partial interests, but by an extensive view of the general good, ought, upon this very account, perhaps, to be particularly careful, neither to establish any new monopolies of this kind, nor to extend further those which are already established. Every such regulation introduces some degree of real disorder into the constitution of the state, which it will be difficult afterwards to cure without occasioning another disorder.”

                  –  Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations

The debate over the power of social media giants such as Twitter and Facebook has intensified this past week when both platforms attempted to restrict the distribution of reports concerning allegations of corruption made against Democrat Presidential nominee Joe Biden. The precise details are unimportant; suffice it to say that the reports are likely to prove damaging to the Biden campaign if disseminated widely amongst the electorate. Both Twitter and Facebook restricted the sharing of the New York Post’s story on the matter, while the White House Press Secretary was locked out of her Twitter account. All of this, of course, takes place against the backdrop of “cancel culture” and the censorship of information (even from authoritative sources) that challenges the official narrative of lockdown and restriction in response to COVID-19.

Although, in this particular instance, the social media companies may end up succumbing to the “Streisand Effect” – the phenomenon whereby any attempt to ban or censor information increases its allure and, thus, leads to a greater degree of exposure overall – those on the right have responded in at least one of two ways to this latest betrayal of the apparent leftist bias that pervades Silicon Valley. Continue reading

Why the State Shouldn’t Manage a Crisis


Why the State Shouldn’t Manage a Crisis

By Duncan Whitmore

Many libertarians, especially at lewrockwell.com, have written of their scepticism to the draconian responses of states around the world to the recent outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). It is not difficult to share this scepticism given that at least some analyses – particularly of infections on cruise ships, which, given the unavoidably close social proximity, present the closest thing to a worst case scenario – suggest there is little cause for any heightened alarm. Indeed, for the very vast majority of us, there is probably more to be feared from state overreaction than there is from the virus itself. Even mainstream commentators, such as Matthew Parris in Saturday’s Times, are beginning to question the wisdom of trashing your economy to prevent the spread of an infection that is, at least at the moment, affecting only a relative minority of people of advanced age and/or with underlying health conditions (in common with many other inflictions). States always have ulterior motives when dealing with (apparent) crises as they always see them as an opportunity to expand the ambit of their power over the populace, given that a scared people is nearly always willing to sacrifice its liberty for the sake of security. In fact, if the true medical seriousness of this current virus turns out to be only a hill of beans then it may well have served as a dress rehearsal that has merely tested our pliability for some later calamity.

This essay, however, will not concern whether the spread of COVID-19 is quite the crisis it is being made out to be. Instead, let us assume, for argument’s sake, that the world was to be threatened by a very real and very serious pandemic threat. Would such a disaster warrant stronger, co-ordinated, globalised solutions managed by states and enhanced state powers to deal with the problem? Continue reading

In Defence of Free Speech


By Andy Duncan, Vice-Chairman of Mises UK

So, there I was, at Speakers’ Corner, in Hyde Park, at 3pm, on Sunday the 18th of March, 2018. So what was I doing there? Attempting, in my own small way, to defend that most sacrosanct of English monuments to civilisation, peace, truth, freedom, and property, the concept of freedom of speech, that’s to say, the ability of an individual to say what some other person or group of people may wish to remain unsaid.

The other group of people who usually wish to suppress free speech are, of course, a group who like to call themselves ‘the government’, or even better than that, ‘the authorities’. Where they get this oft-claimed ‘authority’ is one of those things that they would prefer the rest of us never to think about, I suppose.

I personally prefer to call these people, who I regard as nothing more than a jumped-up tenacious mafia gang, ‘the state’.

And I regard that as a short-hand for Professor Hoppe’s words: The state is … “an institution run by gangs of murderers, plunderers and thieves, surrounded by willing executioners, propagandists, sycophants, crooks, liars, clowns, charlatans, dupes and useful idiots – an institution that dirties and taints everything it touches.”

Continue reading

The Great Firewall of Australia, and a caption competition


David Davis

Perhaps this blog will be filtered. I do not know.

"Free speech? Up yours for the children..."

And the term “Communications Minister” sounds tautological to someone like me. Perhaps Libertarians are just joyless cynical bastards, and don’t deserve such an exciting jolly world to enthuse about, since we just sit about whingeing and monaing about lefty scumbags who want to destroy everything that’s good.

Aynbody going to watch Question Time?


Michale Winning

The fascist left have guaranteed that Nick Griffin of the BNP will get prime time billing tonight or whenever it is. What they don’t get is that we all know they’re spitting tacks over the BNP exact;y ‘coz it’s stripping votes off what they think is their own little Pocket Borough. Ive just learned about these and that’s what Labour thinks its’ entitled to. So they are climibing the wall with anger and rage at the BNP, which is just a socialist party realy but a more nationalist one than they like.

You know, if libertarianism os to get off the ground ever, and les’t face it we are not exactly winning right today, all these bloody people may just have to go. I don’t care where or how, just go. Gone. Deprived of power, amployment (they don’t do anything worthwhile anyway) and the ability to influence events. It’s just too effing difficult to deal with them and their whingeing and obfuscation of everything that’s objectivly right. I’m not saying the BNP is right, far from it: why does everybody have to be seen to say loudly that they think the BNP’s wrong even though everybody knows you know it is?

But the sort of people writhing in public rage for TV consumption,  at the BNP’s man being on the telly, are the same sort of people that attack and try to shut down power stations. This doesn’t make the BNP right, and it just shows up where the enemies of liberty and free speech are coming from.

Sorry about that rant, I couldnt help ot.