Tag Archives: rights

LGBTs, Leftists and Libertarians


LGBTs, Leftists and Libertarians

By Duncan Whitmore

In a previous essay posted on this blog, the present writer explored the poisonous proliferation of identity politics in today’s political discourse. One of the themes of that essay was that identity politics has served to create false group identities which misrepresent the interests of the individuals who are supposed to make up those groups, solely for the purpose of being able to pit each group against other groups for political gain. The actual interests of the individuals within each group are served poorly, if at all.

Continuing on a similar theme, we will, in the present essay, examine how various minority groups that have been championed by the left – many of which, such as those characterised by race, religion or sexual orientation, have won genuine and much needed victories against prior legal repression – are being exploited by the left in the current culture war. Although libertarians are right to welcome a renaissance of traditional, local, cultural and religious values as bulwarks against the metastasising growth of the state, it is not minority groups (or the vindication of their rights) per se which are a threat to traditional cultures; rather, the genuine threat is the attempt by straight, white, middle class virtue signalling liberals to grant legal privileges to these groups in an attempt to attack and weaken what remains of Western civilisation. Far from having their own, long term interests preserved by allying themselves with the left, these minorities may well be leading themselves over a cliff edge if they are swept up in the backlash against leftism that is manifest in the resurgence of populism, nationalism, traditionalism and anti-globalism. Consequently, we shall why it is libertarianism that can allow minority groups to flourish, and why members of minority groups should become libertarians. Read more

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Libertarian Law and Legal Systems Part Three – Consent and Contract


Libertarian Law and Legal Systems Part Three – Consent and Contract

By Duncan Whitmore

We will begin our survey of the causative events of legal liability in a libertarian legal system with those that arise from consent because, even though people may view “the law” as being synonymous with wrongs such as crimes and torts, consensual legal relations are, in fact, the most frequent types of legal interaction that arise in an individual’s life.

Contract

The predominant form of legal relations arising from consent is, of course, the contract; a person may enter tens of these contracts every single day by, for example, just purchasing a coffee, a bus ticket, or lunch, whereas most people would scarcely commit a single crime in their entire lives (although we might note that today states are happy to spill oceans of ink in criminalising, through legislation, even the most innocuous of actions). While any good legal system must have strong proscriptions against horrific acts such as murder and rape, it is the contract that is the primary preoccupation of everyone’s daily lives.

The first question to consider, then, is what exactly is a contract? Although it should be clear that all contracts concern some sort of bilateral arrangement, different legal systems have varying and often elaborate definitions. Read more

Libertarian Law and Legal Systems Part Two – Self-Ownership and Original Appropriation


Libertarian Law and Legal Systems Part Two – Self-Ownership and Original Appropriation

By Duncan Whitmore

In part one of this five-part series we outlined some preliminary considerations concerning how a libertarian legal system might unfold and develop. We are now in a position to begin exploring the causative events of legal liability in a legal order governed by libertarian prescription.

Prior to considering any specific area of the law such as tort or contract we must explore the ways in which a libertarian legal system will recognise and enforce self-ownership and also the original appropriation of previously ownerless goods.

Technically speaking, the latter topic at least could be covered as part of the law of consent. This concerns the moral imperative that a person should only be liable for the actions that he has undertaken as a voluntary agent – i.e. through his own choice and volition. Both self-ownership and titles over goods allow their owner to not only enjoy the productive services flowing from his body and external goods, but equally and oppositely they burden him with the responsibility of ensuring that, through his actions, those goods do not physically interfere with the person and property of anybody else. Indeed, although law, as understood by libertarians, responds to actions rather than to ownership per se, there is likely to be at least prima facie liability of the owner of property if that property is found to have physically interfered with the person or property of somebody else. Thus, in the same way that it is unjust to physically interfere with someone else’s property, so too is it unjust to hold someone responsible for property that he has not voluntarily asserted control over through his actions. Read more

Libertarian Law and Legal Systems Part One – What is Libertarian Law?


Libertarian Law and Legal Systems Part One – What is Libertarian Law?

By Duncan Whitmore

One of the more fascinating but less discussed areas of libertarian theory is how law and legal systems will operate in a libertarian society. To complete such a survey in its entirety would, no doubt, take a lifetime of study and authorship of one or several treatise-length works. We shall, therefore, be placing a very necessary limit to the scope of this survey by concentrating on where, why and how legal liability would arise in a libertarian society – in other words, our primary question will be what are the causative events that trigger legal liability in a libertarian society, and how will legal bodies develop and apply the law in accordance with libertarian principles? We will not be exploring in too much detail the further questions of legal responses to liability such as punishment, retribution, restitution and so on, nor will we be looking into the question of how competing police and civil or criminal court systems might operate (except, as we shall see below, to contrast them to state-based legislative law-making systems). Even though the treatment of the topic of liability alone will still contain many omissions and areas requiring expansion with more detail, we hope to lay the foundations of how libertarian law might operate.

This first part of this five-part series will examine what law is from a libertarian perspective, how different areas of the law can be categorised, and how legal principles will arise in a libertarian society. Part two will investigate how libertarian legal systems will recognise self-ownership and the original appropriation of ownerless goods. Parts three and four will explore the laws of consent and of crimes/torts respectively while part five will deal with some miscellaneous but nevertheless significant considerations. Read more

Why Libertarians Should Read Mises – Part Two


Why Libertarians Should Read Mises

Part Two

By Duncan Whitmore

Introduction

In Part One of this series of three essays exploring the significance of Ludwig von Mises for libertarian thought, we examined the specific place that Mises holds in our tradition, and outlined the unique sophistication of his utilitarian theory in favour of freedom compared to that of other theories that can be grouped into this bracket.

In this part we will turn our attention to a detailed analysis of the action axiom – the keystone of Misesian economic theory – and its implications for concepts that we readily encounter in libertarianism.

Somewhat ironically, it was largely as a result of his influence that the wertfreiheit of Mises’ praxeology was regarded as a separate discipline from the search for an ultimate, ethical justification of liberty – a belief that was sustained by Murray N Rothbard.1 In more recent years, Hans-Hermann Hoppe has probably come closest to providing a link between the two through his derivation of “argumentation ethics” within the praxeological framework, and his identification of the pervasive problem of scarcity – a key praxeological concept – as underpinning any system of ethics.

Nevertheless, one may conclude that a full reconciliation, or synthesis, between the two is still wanting and that there remain other important commonalities to which this essay will seek to provide an introduction. Some of what we will learn below will have implications for a general understanding of right, and that the truths we reveal are inescapable for any political philosophy. Others will be specifically pertinent to libertarianism and will provide us with insights as to how we can further the libertarian goal. Read more

The Danger of “Presumed Consent”


On August 5th of this year it was reported in the news that Parliament is close to passing an overhaul of the organ donation scheme in England through the so-called “Max’s Law”, under which “adults will be presumed to be organ donors unless they have specifically recorded their decision not to be.1” This is in contrast to the current system where potential donors have to explicitly record their consent on the NHS Organ Donation Register.

One should always be particularly wary of laws that are named after specific individuals or events – almost certainly the story of some child or tragedy has been deployed in order to tug at our heart strings so that we wave through a state intervention while struggling to hold back our tears. In this case, the tragedies are, according to the BBC, the 411 people who, in 2017, died before a donor organ became available to them, and of the plight of approximately 5,000 people currently on the waiting list for such an organ in England.2

We might start by pointing out that the real cause of a shortage of donor organs is, of course, the fact that they are forcibly prevented by the state from trading at a market price. The supply of something that is in high demand can rarely be met by altruism alone and so it is always likely to be the case that either under-pricing a good or removing any benefit, cash or otherwise, from those who could be prepared to supply it will lead to its shortage. That may be an uncomfortable fact for those who cannot bear to imagine people “profiting” from the sale of organs. They might, however, wish to consider whether transmuting a monetary cost into the cost of forcing 5,000 people to wait in limbo for a voluntary donor under the shadow of death is sufficient to justify their moral scruples. Further, they may wish to ponder whether it is worth pushing the trade in organs out of the light of legitimacy and into the shadows of the black market – a highly lucrative underground industry worth between $600m and $1bn in profits per year, and where organs are often sourced from kidnapping and murder specifically for the purpose.3 Read more

Another nail in the coffin of Free Speech


David Davis

I will start by saying that it is very juvenile, and also flies in the face of historical fact and actually existing records created in detail by the people-Immolators Themselves, to deny that The Holocaust took place. It is a pointless and futile act, in some cases I am sure designed only to get attention.

That said, it ought not to be a crime, anywhere at all, especially in Germany and Austria for the mmost clear of Classical Liberal and liberty-relevant reasons, to deny these facts. Mountebanks, idiots, and sad people with self-constructed axes to grind, ought to be allowed to say what they believe. Perhaps even a honing of the truth and a better understanding of it will come about as a result. Also perhaps not. But the liberty to say what one thinks is paramount. Sean Gabb did a large piece on holocaust Denial a while ago, here. It already has 243 comments.

But today we learn that an Australian person has been sentenced to a period in chokey for Holocaust Denial. I can’t see the point of this, can you?

Furthermore, what is Australia, a supposedly sensible and down-to-earth country, doing behaving like that?

The way to avoid States making laws that say things like Holocaust Denial is a crime, is for there to be

(1) less powerful States, and

(2) better people.

Unfortunately, people can only become better by

(a) knowing in advance what is good and what is bad, and

(b) staying awake more.

This all presupposes that there must be such a thing as Absolute Morality, and what I guess I’d call “Objective Good” and “Objective Evil”, and so it rather cuts the ground from under the feet of

(i) Socialists,

(ii) Other forms of moral relativist.

Afterthought….about the sort of people who make Holocaust Denial a crime: AND could the MPs’-expenses fleabag-bag-of-scumbags’ stories get any better? We hope so….and we await.

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