Recent Libertarians Articles

Sorry, but Abu Qatada deserves the compo

by Dave Osler     February 19, 2009 at 5:05 pm

‘PREACHER of hate’, ‘truly dangerous individual’, ‘Osama Bin Laden’s ambassador in Europe’; if rhetoric alone were sufficient to secure a criminal conviction, Abu Qatada would currently be in the early years of a very long stretch. Luckily for all of us that live in Britain, any amount of declamation or hearsay is not enough to put somebody behind bars.

Yes, of course this man’s openly expressed views are utterly odious and utterly repugnant. However, until the Thought Police do finally get to run the show in Airstrip One, to endlessly reiterate that undeniable point is to miss what is at stake, namely the quaint insistence that the same rules must apply to all.

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Tech politics: libertarians and the Library

by DonaldS     February 19, 2009 at 11:49 am

A year ago, I wrote a piece here about the great art of the Gothic and Renaissance periods, and how we owe its existence to the Dead Hand of the (Tuscan) State. But where should we look for actions of slightly more modern government working to enrich our lives? Certainly not in the unending flow of nutty, illiberal laws; nor in the insidious creep of compliance culture (subject of a memorable Stephen Fry podcast). So, here’s an idea: look to the British Library.

More specifically, their Turning the Pages project, 10 years in the developing, that put our national library in the very first rank of learning innovation worldwide. (See the video.) The project’s achievement has been to digitize 15 (so far) of the Library’s most valuable manuscripts, and deliver them inside an interactive online environment that re-creates the experience of handling them in the raw.
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EU in ‘not about to lock us all up forever’ shock

by John B     January 26, 2009 at 12:48 pm

One of the most popular sports played by politicans across Europe is ‘blaming unpopular things on the EU’. The specific unpopular thing varies across countries: here, it tends to be Rules And Regulations; in France, it tends to be the ability to buy things without enormous tarrifs; while pretty much everywhere it’s immigration.

However, it’s only in the UK where we have a large, or at least vociferous, group of utter maniacs and obsessives who’re willing to blame absolutely everything that happens on the EU, and to view the organisation as a tool of the Devil, or possibly Hitler, to bring about a communist Hell, or possibly a Fourth Reich.

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Bat-shit crazy libertarians

by Sunny Hundal     January 8, 2009 at 2:34 am

Oh dear, so much for libertarians valuing free speech, disagreement and discussion eh? Old Holborn, a blog I was getting into enjoying, is shutting down because an idiot decided to:

post my name , address, email address, business address, photo of me and my children on the web. Because he was angry with me over my stand on Israel.

Many people now know where I live, where my children go to school, how I earn my crust and I will not put my family at any further risk.

How remarkably unsurprising. This kind of behaviour on blogs is frankly outrageous.

Basic income: good in Namibia, bad in Libertopia

by Don Paskini     December 28, 2008 at 11:00 am

Namibia is piloting a Basic Income Grant, in which every Namibian citizen gets N$100 per month until they are eligible for the state pension, with no conditions and no strings attached, paid for through higher taxes on those in need or not in poverty. It seems to have been very successful, helping progress towards all eight of the Millennium Development Goals. It helps people pay their school fees and healthcare fees, and contrary to what critics suggested, hasn’t led to people sitting around doing nothing.

So why not, as many people on here and elsewhere, from both the right and the left have suggested, introduce a Citizens’ Basic Income in the UK? After all, no one believes that the current welfare system and society, with its bureaucracy, means testing, high levels of poverty and great cost, is perfect.
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Why I am not a Libertarian

by Andrew Hickey     December 26, 2008 at 11:02 pm

Recently, there appears to have been an influx into the Liberal Democrats of Libertarians. This is typified by the members of ‘Liberal Vision‘, which is in turn part of a Tory organisation called ‘progressive voice’ (essentially a bunch of Objectivists).

Now, in many ways I agree with libertarians on many subjects – which is, of course, why we can be in the same party – I am all for more personal freedom, for a lack of government interference in people’s lives, for the restoration of recently-lost civil liberties and so on. But libertarians seem, to me, to have two big holes in their thinking, both of which are summed up by some recent comments by Nick in this thread on Liberal Conspiracy (scroll down).

‘Nick’ is following the libertarian ‘party line’ almost exactly: the government should not interfere with the workings of the market when companies are failing. Not only should they not spend any money bailing out the companies (a reasonable, debatable position) or on retraining the workers so they can get jobs elsewhere (a much less reasonable position in my view) – they should not even pay unemployment benefit to the people who lose their jobs, because the money would be better allocated by the market.

Now, there are two distinct errors here.
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Misunderstanding economics

by Chris Dillow     December 3, 2008 at 11:30 am

Guido has done us all a favour by exposing the innumeracy of some Tories. He accuses the Chancellor of making “fantasy forecasts” and quotes a correspondent querying Darling’s forecast that the economy will grow by 0.75% this year:

Now, when the chancellor stood up at the dispatch box, three quarters of 2008 GDP growth were known:
Q1 0.3%
Q2 0%
Q3 -0.5%
In order to hit the forecast 0.75%, the economy has to grow at feisty 1% in the fourth quarter. Has the Chancellor been outside recently?

This is just drivel. Let me explain.
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Creating a more ‘responsible’ drinker

by Neil Robertson     November 11, 2008 at 11:25 am

I was thinking recently that our approach to regulating the sale of alcohol has an uncanny resemblence to that whack-a-mole game my brother & I used to play in amusement arcades; one second you think you’ve smashed the problem of alcohol abuse, and the next it rears its head somewhere else.

Back in the day, the argument behind liberalising the licensing laws was that in order to ‘large it up’ or whatever, people were trying to cram their drinking into a pretty short period of time, and that was causing the apparent rash of mass leglessness you’d find in towns centres across the country. So, the theory went, extend the amount of time they’re allowed to drink and you might see some reduction in the ‘down it!’ culture that induces half the country into synchronised vomiting every Saturday night.

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We need a different system of schooling

by Dan Harkin     August 18, 2008 at 9:34 am

A few weeks ago, an article in the FT criticised the current proposals for the so-called choice agenda in public services.

Interestingly it doesn’t seem to be a criticism from the left (i.e. that there should be no market in public services) but from a more libertarian perspective – that the choice isn’t a real one.

Those on the traditional free-market right would have “choice” in public services no matter what happens to equity. The argument goes something along the lines that choice would drive up standards everywhere benefiting all. Those of the traditional social democratic/socialist persuasion think equity is too great a thing to be sacrificed in the name of choice.
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Liberals should be fighting Tories, not Labour

by Andrew Hickey     July 1, 2008 at 8:19 am

I am going to make a prediction – the Liberal Democrats are going to lose the next election.

Now, this may not strike you as one of the great feats of prognostication. The Liberal Democrats have never won an election and the Liberals last won an election before the first world war. Even though in the council elections and the Henley by-election we came in second place, I don’t think there’s a single person in the country who actually believes we’re going to win a General Election in the near future.

But I don’t mean we’re not going to gain the majority of seats; I mean we’re actively working against our own interests. The decisions being made are going to actively damage the party – and, more importantly, damage the chances of getting some of our principles put into practice.
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