The result is that many women have observed state legal reform as the biggest step forward for their rights. Women have only recently enjoyed the freedoms that western men have enjoyed for hundreds of years and they still see vestigial threats to that freedom in the form of sexist culture.

Libertarian challenges to the State’s social and welfare programs are therefore viewed as a threat to women’s freedom and security… This is not an inevitable or ‘natural’ condition, but has grown out of our particular social history.

But it is one that will persist as long as a sexist culture does. As long as women feel (justifiably) threatened by sexist culture, they will be thinking politically in terms of protecting their own and other women’s security.

If the libertarian movement wants to solve this problem, we need to make it clear that ours is a genuinely humanist movement that wants all people to reach their potential and achieve their goals.

Libertarians need to show that women have nothing to fear by removing state-mandated protections.


Liberty’s “Woman Problem” - by Jebediah Cole for Voluntarist.net

"Conservatives are inclined to use the powers of government to prevent change or to limit its rate to whatever appeals to the more timid mind. In looking forward, they lack the faith in the spontaneous forces of adjustment which makes the liberal accept change without apprehension, even though he does not know how the necessary adaptations will be brought about."

— Friedrich Hayek



History Meme | 4 Leaders | William Ewart Gladstone (United Kingdom)

b. 1809     d. 1898 (heart failure/old age)

In office: 3 December 1868 – 17 February 1874/1 February – 20 July 1886/15 August 1892 - 2 March 1894 

"All the world over, I will back the masses against the classes."

(Source: historyofjasmine)



I’m joining friends who like to talk politics this weekend at the ALS Friedman conference as well as the CIS’s Liberty and Society conference so it’s a weekend where too much freedom is barely enough.

The only downside is the inevitable hectoring to join a new party. Truthfully no party has a monopoly on the freedom vote in this country and I think even those which make the claim most aggressively could re-read the paragraphs in this essay from Hayek quoting Acton as to the risks of making common cause with anyone and everyone to further what you hope will remain the cause of freedom.  

Still the young libertarians are always thought provoking and I look forward to the weekend with much pleasure : )

I’m starting to think that for a small government party to be big enough to have influence becomes a bit of a contradiction in terms. That which characterises our political class isn’t a question of whether government action has a role, it’s a question of to what degree and to advance the causes of which groups of people. All parties are fundamentally paternalistic in this manner, though a more negative way of putting it would be to say that they’re all equally drunk on power. It’s all social engineering, just in different guises.

And then there is the question of whether democracy or liberty is more important. Australians like to bluster about how we don’t need government in our lives and we can do things ourselves, but the data shows that when it comes to specific questions about funding this or that program, everyone will agree that more money is needed. As for where it comes from - anybody but them. Would a libertarian party in government reject democratic, populist policy in favour of a technocratic solution so long as the former was big government and the latter was not? Does that not simply entrench political power in the hands of a legislature and/or executive and develop a culture of alienating the public?

Man, I’ve become so negative about this all.


The Conflation Trap



Roderick Long on Capitalism and The Conflation Trap:

Thus we tend to wince when libertarians (or many of them, to varying degrees) rush to the defense of elite corporations and prevailing business models and practices as though these were free-market phenomena. First, we think this is factually inaccurate; and second, we think it’s strategically suicidal. Ordinary people generally know firsthand the petty tyranny and bureaucratic incompetence that all too often characterise the world of business; libertarians who try to glamourise that world as an arena of economic rationality and managerial heroism risk coming across as clueless at best, and shills for the ruling class at worse.

This is also why we tend to be less than enthusiastic about the word “capitalism” as the term for free-market society; as Friedrich Hayek notes, the term is “misleading,” since it “suggests a system which mainly benefits the capitalists,” whereas a genuine free market is “a system which imposes upon enterprise a discipline under which the managers chafe and which each endeavours to escape.” (Law, Legislation, and Liberty, vol.1, p. 62.)

But it is not only mainstream libertarians (and of course, to a far greater extent, conservatives) that tend to conflate the results of crony corporatism with those of free markets; such conflationism is all too common on the traditional left as well. The difference is that the evaluations are reversed; where the right-wing version of conflationism treats the virtues of free markets as reason to defend the fruits of corporatism , the left-wing version of conflationism treats the objectionable fruits of corporatism as reason to condemn free markets.

I *just* tweeted this and was about to post this to tumblr.


Sidenote: Roderick Long switches between UK English (glamourise) and US English (defense)?

(Source: freemarketliberal)




America Approves

Everyone at work seemed preoccupied with celebrating “their” electoral victory today, so I decided to preoccupy myself by making these.

If you voted for Obama, you not only registered your approval of the things you like, you also officially condoned the many atrocities he’s committed and corrupt policies he’s championed. Congratulations, you’re an accomplice to heinous acts.

If this offends you, there’s hope for you yet.

Fantastic work.

(Source: laliberty, via the-metres-gained)

"There is danger in the confused condition which brings the defenders of liberty and the true conservatives together in common opposition to developments which threaten their different ideals equally… The difference between liberalism and conservatism must not be obscured by the fact that… it is still possible to defend individual liberty by defending long-established institutions. To the liberal they are valuable not mainly because they are long established… but because they correspond to the ideals which he cherishes."

— F.A Hayek



So I kind of went all out and added a bunch of stuff because the last ‘letter’ I wrote to that effect was quite a while ago.

It’s difficult because there’s no way to separate oneself from the Federal level whilst still remaining part of the NSW Division - like it or not, my money goes to people…

"Some, whenever they see any good to be done, or evil to be remedied, would willingly instigate the government to undertake the business; while others prefer to bear almost any amount of social evil, rather than add one to the departments of human interests amenable to governmental control."

J.S Mill, On Liberty

When people ask me what the difference is between being a liberal and being a progressive leftist, this is always what I come back to. And it’s an axiom, it’s foundational, it’s irreconcilable. This is why so many arguments between two well-meaning people of differing political persuasions just have to come down to ‘agree to disagree’. The foundational principles that inform my worldview are different, and while on specific issues they may converge with those of someone on the left, they will never be the same view.


Why Free Speech Matters, and is Absolute


Some animals have developed amazing ranges of expressions which allow them to project how they think and feel, but humans are the only animals to have developed something quite so absolutely descriptive as speech.  It’s not universal though; I can understand those who communicate in English, German and French but human animals which communicate in Farsi do it beyond my range of understanding.  Despite how non-universal human speech is, there is still nothing in the universe so descriptive as human speech.  We export understanding of our thoughts, our feelings, our actual existence, a million times better than any other animal.

This is why the concept of free speech matters.  Before I go on I regrettably need to define that term.

Free speech means the ability to say anything.  Free speech is to use that human animal expression mechanism free of any caveats.  Free speech is not the ability to use speech which is inoffensive,  it is not liberty to express speech which fits within any particular social, religious or even legal norm.  Free speech is not responsible speech, or morally correct speech, or the speech which makes you feel good and like there is consensus and love and inclusion.  Free speech is absolute.

Free speech might vilify.  It may be lies.  IT MAY BE PAGES OF LIES.  It may hatefully describe other humans and it might do so without any justification; on the basis of race, and religion, and gender, or sexuality.  It may have an agenda.  It might be bile-laden vitriol dropped from a great height on people who don’t deserve it.  Free speech can be one of the most horrible things that you’ve ever encountered.  It can be partisan, and sneaky, and hateful, and illegal, and wrong.

But it’s free.

The thing about free speech is that despite those bad things, it’s STILL that human-unique ability to express one’s thoughts, beliefs and feelings in articulate sounds.  The minute you say “but” to anything regarding free speech you are putting caveats on someone’s thoughts and essence.  

It’s easy to support free speech when those thoughts and beliefs are the same as yours, or pleasant, or morally right.  The real test - and the value of free speech if it has any at all - is when the speech is not pleasant.   The test is when it’s wrong.  The point where you know that you are on the side of freedom is when you support the right of somebody to vilify race, religion, gender, political persuasion and the facts.  You may rightfully support the consequences of that speech; legal consequences around damaging character, or causing physical injury, or gaining advantage, but you support the expression of belief via articulate noises.

So given all that, here’s how you know you don’t support freedom;

  • When you say “free speech doesn’t mean you can say anything” when that is exactly what it means
  • When you say “free speech except for hate media”
  • When you say “free speech but for when the French/Israel/basketball players/women/gays/Aboriginals/journalists/cows are vilified”
  • When you say “free speech unless it crosses the line”
  • When you say “free speech up until the limit, because even free speech has limits”
  • When you support the establishment of a body to regulate speech
  • When you support the establishment of a license to speak, or support a political party that does, knowing that a license is permission and exists only to provide the option to revoke it

When your position is anything other than “I may not agree, they may even be wrong, but I support the right of that other human to translate their beliefs, feelings and essence into a conveyable format, because if I don’t I’m just making excuses for putting caveats on their worth as a human.”

I support actual freedom of speech.  Do you?  I won’t restrict your answer, but I will point out that a single word will do.

I believe in free speech.