Tuesday, March 11, 2008

More on Libertarianism

Apologies, but today seems to be somewhat themed around freedom as I work through the stuff that has been sitting around for a while. However, notwithstanding the fisking that I gave him over the Income Tax policy, the very next day A Very British Dude wrote a quite brilliant defence of libertarianism. It is in a form of a fisking of an article by Seth Finkelstein and the Dude not only defends libertarianism but also destroys some of the myths asserted by its enemies, e.g. that libertarians must automatically be in favour of corporatism (we aren't).

The whole piece is essential reading, and The Dude finishes up with this...
Finally, [Seth] suggests that there has never been a Libertopia. I disagree. There has been one and in it's day it was the richest, freest and most powerful society the world has ever seen. One where poor young men could, with luck and talent make it to the highest offices of the land and do so from extremely humble birth. Liberal Britain - a country which eschewed a standing army for centuries as a foreign and tyrannical imposition on the populus was very nearly libertarian. The state existed to defend its borders (helped by a handy bit of sea) and little else. Even its empire had to be nationalised from private business! It is sad that in an attempt to create a land fit for heroes in the aftermath of the twentieth century's bloody wars, increasing state involvement in education and poor relief has sucked the spiritual and economic strength of a once great nation.

I forget who it was who said (of the third world) "if you want to be a good country in which to live, don't do war and don't do socialism", but it's true of the UK too. Libertopia died in the mud and blood of Flanders in 1914-18 and I for one yearn for its return.

The Dude and I may disagree upon the best way to get there—and we do, volubly and at length—but ultimately we want the same thing: for people to regain their hunger and ambition, their self-reliance and their belief in themselves. In other words, we want the state to just fuck off and leave everyone alone and the best way in which to do that is to remind people what we achieved before the state started insinuating itself into every aspect of our existence.

Go and read the whole thing...

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