Saturday, July 4, 2009

How Powerful are Libertarians? What is the Point of them?


A few months back I looked at Libertarianism, how powerful it is, and asked what is the point of Libertarians?
The debate that followed attracted the most number of comments on Barnsley Bill at the time.
Since I am planning a series of articles looking at other political parties, the purpose of them, I thought I would pick up from where we left off.
You will see that I noted that Libertarians do have growing power, even if it might not seem it.
This has been confirmed by recent events in Britain, as well as New Zealand.
In March, I noted that they have the power to think the unthinkable, and come up with market-based solutions that the more mainstream parties are too afraid of.
While the mainstream has moved towards the wishy-washy centre, it is good to see there are still those willing to stand up for capitalism, something of greater value when the Russian accuse America of socialism and the Chinese also note parallels to Marxism.
In New Zealand, even ACT has found itself moving leftwards, with its leaders not quite as vocal as they might have been when John Key cancelled those taxcuts, the centrepiece of National’s election campaign.
It was libertarians like Peter Creswell that took the lead, pointing out some uncomfortable truths for National over the issue. I too slammed National over this, perhaps confirming an earlier description of myself as becoming ‘Libertarian lite.’
While Peter Cresswell and Liberty Scott have cornered the market for Libertarian blogs, becoming a clearly defined opposition to KEYnesianism; in the UK we see a whole raft of such blogs. Old Holborn has become increasingly popular, but it is Guido Fawkes that has made waves with his various exposes.
His power is best highlighted by the contempt the Guardianistas like Michael White and Polly Toynbee have for him, especially when Guido, aka Paul Staines, causes yet another huge embarassment for Gordon Brown and his Liarbour government.
While the Libertarian Party in Britain is tiny and made no impact at all in the recent UK local body and European elections. The more established kiwi version is also making little impact, but in both cases we need to see how they are shaping the debate.
And shaping the debate they are, with the libertarian blogs picking up tales and uncomfortable facts about UK Liarbour, with stories making the mainstream media and thus shaping wider public opinion, even if it does not come stamped with a Libertarian label.
They helped whip up the fury of anger against the Brown-led government over issues like MPs expenses, which led to Liarbour UK suffering its worst defeats in history, and the election of MPs from more ‘fringe’ parties like the anti-EUSSR UK Independence Party and the British National Party.
Furthermore, polls, for example, show clear majorities for a future Tory government to cut public spending, something the Tory Party themselves with are way too wary about.
We see the same with National in New Zealand, perhaps encouraged by a National Party right wing torn between being loyal to a centrist leader like John Key and articulating what they actually want.
Of course, there is a trade off between what rightist or leftist politicians actually believe and what they say to get elected. Being too ideologically pure can condemn you to opposition, so you will achieve nothing. Only in power might you achieve something.
So, yes, what is the point of Libertarians?
As stated before, to think the unthinkable, it is to articulate a different vision to the mainstream, to be unreconstructed defenders and cheerleaders for capitalism. And by helping shape the debate, they just might well give the mainstream parties some balls to do the work they truly believe in but are often too scared! And as yet, they can truly articulate this because they are not tainted by the chains of office and it is likely to be some time, before they are, if ever!

36 comments:

TANSTAAFL said...

Greetings from Bludgeon & Skewer,

We often hear that same question as we continue our quest for fair ballot access here in the great state of Georgia, USA. Our response is that 127,000 Georgians voted Libertarian in the US Senate race in 2008 and over 1,000,000 Georgians voted for our candidate John Monds in a state wide race for Public Service Commission that same year. Here in the USA, we are constantly barraged with commentary from the right and left that we are wasting our votes, that our candidates can't possibly win and that we are enabling the democrats to beat the republicans or that we are enabling the republicans to beat the democrats.

I'd say that in itself is a form of power. Libertarians are the only national party in the USA that is not tainted by corruption, scandal or just plain old stupidity. Granted, if we are successful here in Georgia or nationally in the 2010 cycle, we'll get the opportunity to see how long our Libertarian stalwarts can withstand the lure of money and influence at the State house or up at Washington.

If you'd like some more info on how we are working for change in Georgia, head over to the Bludgeon&Skewer website for a recounting of the effort so far.

JC said...

Libertarianism can be described a fairly bewildering number of ways.. to the point that one could say that everyone has a streak of it in their makeup.

But when you isolate it, pull it out and make it stand alone.. it can look quite odd.. hence its not very popular as a political party but but we can all recognise and approve of some aspects of it.

One of its best applications here was its quick recognition of the Foreshore and Seabed legislation not in terms of another Maori resource grab and racist legislation.. but an issue of property rights.
Suddenly we can see the F&S in its proper light, one we can mostly understand, agree with and feel the need to do something about. The Libs have given us a way forward on a vital and contentious issue that was denied us for the past few years.

JC

Hayden said...

The Libs are cocksuckers. They're too principled and forgetting that to change things, you need to first get inside the circle and work from there rather than barking from the outside.

Redbaiter said...

The NZ Libertarians are just another front for Progressivism. Another bunch of left wing stooges posing as liberals, when the truth is that you have to jump through more hoops than an Exclusive Brethren to be admitted to their pathetic little clique of poseurs.

Once popular for its down to earth small government approach, the NZ Libertarian Party has been taken over by would be elitists who have transported the party far from where it can connect with NZ's middle class as it once did.

Now, one has to have read every book written by Ayn Rand (so tedious), and have a Rand quote at the ready for any possible political argument, have a deep understanding of Objectivism, (the deeper the better so that you can groan on ponderously at every opportunity in a competition to prove who is the most intellectual believer) and sneer condescendingly at Conservatives and Christians.

The Libertarians once had a future. Not now. With their support steadily dropping election after election from 8000 votes to 1000 votes and with about 30 votes recently in Mt Albert, they're totally irrelevant.

Their current leader tries to excuse this embarrasment by pointing to the fact that the vote was down overall in MT Albert, however this can not in any way excuse the Libs failure to perform. They just did not garner the support they should have. They're not ever going to get that support.

While they give priority to homosexual and drug use issues, they have nothing in common with NZ's hard working middle class, with families struggling to keep their heads above water financially and their kids from the predations of drug pushers and state school indoctrinators pushing "Progressive" doctrine down kid's throats.

They send faxes advocating drug liberalisation to a radio show host with two kids vulnerable to the drug culture.

They push the concept of "liberty" underpinned by quotes from Rand when they need to push tax freedom in common language.

They push for party pills to be made legal when they should be urging for a reduction in car registration and petrol tax.

They seek the support of pseudo liberals and poseurs, drug users, homosexual activists and ivory tower academics instead of the support of panel beaters, mechanics, builders and bricklayers.

They preach the idiotic doctrine that there is no difference between left and right, when most people understand that the politics is a war between the takers and those who want to be left alone, and the takers are all leftists.

Ignorant of history, they deny that the true and original Libertarians were those who established the American Republic, and that every deteriortation in freedom that has occurred since that event has been because the left have expanded their power base at the expense of Conservatism.

The NZ Libs are only going to be relevant if they find some way to connect with voters on terms the voters are comfortable with. No way is that going to happen under the current leadership. Out of touch and isolated, surrounded by

group think snot nosed morons like this

they're only becoming less and less interesting.

I have advocated for fresh leadership. The problem with that is the current group have been so authoritarian in limiting discussion and ideas within the group there is probably nobody left with any new strategy or any fresh ideas.

Conservatism is the new wave. Libertarians could have been. Their elitist academic ivory tower group think approach has instead left them marginalised.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Red, you know I think you might be right!

PC said...

Thanks for that Fairfacts. As you'd expect, I agree with much of what you say. :-)

Hayden, you said however that libertarians forget however "that to change things, you need to first get inside the circle and work from there rather than barking from the outside."

That's certainly one way to create change, but not the only one.

If politics is the art of the possible, then reflect that the art of political change is enlarging the area of actions that are politically possible.

Look at four examples of what I mean by that, two good, two bad.

1) The influence of the Greens is not so much because they're inside government, but because they have activists everywhere "barking from the outside." The political ground for bullshit ideas like "sustainability" was made politically possible by all this barking: the capture by green activists of the education curriculum, and as a consuence of the media, the chatterati and thence the debate. This is just an example in microcosm of the the long march of the left" through the culture. It was this long march that allows the ideas of a left-wing party attracting barely seven percent of the vote to so easily capture the political debate, and is the reason that party is still so interested in education (witness, for example, their whinging when the Enviroschools programme was pulled.)

2) At present, all the mainstream political parties are running scared of privatisation. Labour use it as a fright word; National pretend the idea doesn't exist; and even ACT now issue press releases promising that no asset sales will be undertaken as a result of the super city.
It doesn't matter how many people "inside the circle" favour privatisation -- and there are a few -- but until there's enough people like us "barking from the outside" then more privatisation will never be politically possible again. Start barking.

[continued in the next post]

PC said...

[continued from previous comment above]

3) As JC says so well above, once you understand that the principle underpinning the likes of the Foreshore and Seabed arguments is one of property rights -- and you notice that it is libertarians who have been pointing this out -- that "suddenly we can see the F&S in its proper light, one we can mostly understand, agree with and feel the need to do something about" -- you might begin to understand why "barking from the outside" is more effective when the barking is b ased on principle rather than just politicking.

4) Ask yourself where the "One law for all" argument came from, with which Don Brash briefly looked liked reversing National's decline? That was another example of how libertarians barking from the outside changed the debate for the better. Little did libertarians Helen Hughes, Warwick Malone and Tim Wikiriwhi know that when they began their petition in 2002 for ‘One Law for All,’ with little political support for their position, that within two years their grass roots campaign had unleashed enormous but previously unnoticed public support for the idea. Turned out that was an idea whose time had come. Turned out it was almost enough to change a government. And you saw it first in a Libz campaign.

* * * *

So like I say above, If politics is the art of the possible, then reflect that the art of political change is enlarging the area of actions that are politically possible. And the only means by which to do that is to keep barking from the outside by every means possible, including those that Fairfacts describes in his post.

And since it's July 4th, let me end this LONG comment by quoting two of history's most successful "libertarian" political activists, two of her founding fathers, who agreed years after the American Revolution celebrated today that it was the "barking from the outside" that constituted the real revolution: "What do we mean by the Revolution? The war? That was no part of the Revolution; it was only an effect and consequence of it. The Revolution was in the minds of the people, and this was effected from 1760 to 1775, in the course of fifteen years before a drop of blood was shed at Lexington."(John Adams writing to Thomas Jefferson)

In other words, it was a revolution inside people's heads. That's where real political change really starts. And like Mrs Marsh used to say, "It does get in." :-)

Oswald Bastable said...

I have posted a bit on the direction Libertarianz need to think strongly about, should they wish to move ahead.

http://oswaldbastable.blogspot.com/2009/07/great-stuff-but-too-strong-for-most.html

Heine said...

I have found that the Libz I have dealt with in the past have all been top people. If I ever (if that is possible) flirt with the left then I would get a kick up the ass. It helped mould my political beliefs into what they are today. I'll be honest, I am not one to sit back reading political philosophy - I'm a doer. But I have no problem with them at all.

The Nats are the enemy. :) That bloody party has conceeded to Labour and have no testicles left. What happened to the National Party of Jenny Shipley and Ruth Richardson? Two women who had bigger balls than the current Nation front and back benches.

If they don't start implementing right wing policy like Labour did left wing policy then you may as well give up now.

Redbaiter said...

"I have found that the Libz I have dealt with in the past have all been top people."

Has anyone ever suggested other wise.?? This is not about whether the Libz are good or bad people. This is about strategy and making a real difference rather than withering on the vine.

"If I ever (if that is possible) flirt with the left then I would get a kick up the ass."

Sorry. That is not right. The Libz (and you Clint from what I have observed), embrace many of the ideas of the Progressives in the mistaken idea that to do so enhances freedom.

I reckon there would be few people in NZ who would like to see a small government party sell its message and gain popularity as much as I do. When the Libz came along, I so wanted them to grow into a real political force.

They're not growing. They're shrinking, and it bothers me to see a good chance, the chance that eventuated from Perigo's initial work, slipping away.

I guess tho my wishes for the party to grow and become more influential and popular are contrary to the aims of the current Libertarians, who seem content to be a small elite group believing that they exercise influence in the political ideas forum.

Perhaps there is some sense in that. Maybe I'm just too impatient. If so, that impatience is increased by observing that there is no improvement in liberty in NZ, and in fact we're rapidly sliding in the opposite direction.

If the Lib's strategy is to get ideas about freedom out there, then somewhere, its breaking down badly.

Sus said...

Thanks FM. I was alerted to this thread from Red over at Not PC.

Jeez, Red. This has become almost personal for you, such is your animosity. You know darn well that I (for one) have refuted all those claims; *all* of them in past.

(Except the bit about communications on drug legalisation which I do consistently, it being an issue of personal freedom - nothing more, nothing less). But if you're not prepared to accept my word, well, there's nothing more I can say to you. I don't appreciate being considered a liar.

JC: I only use six word to sum up libertarianism when asked about it.

Personal freedom
Personal responsibility
Limited government

And then I ask the person where they see a problem with that.

That gets them thinking! And in my experience it both simplifies and clarifies a lot (for them).

Cheers.

Redbaiter said...

"I don't appreciate being considered a liar."


Oh for fuck's sake. What piffling detail do you want to divert the discussion to now.

Angus said...

The first thing the Libz need to do is acknowledge the fact that they've devolved into a political basket case these days.

I usually read the posts at NotPC, but not the comments threads too often - too much cliquey ideological fellatio going on.

Redbaiter said...

I usually read the posts at NotPC, but not the comments threads too often - too much cliquey ideological fellatio going on.

Yeah, well expressed. Mr. Cresswell's posts are great, shame about the rabble.

Anonymous said...

Red you have made some good points. You have also been saying the same thing for years.
Isn’t it about time you got off your butt and used your talents. Rather than bitch from the side line.

No Minister has summed up the libz spot on.
what is the point of Libertarians?
As stated before, to think the unthinkable, it is to articulate a different vision to the mainstream, to be unreconstructed defenders and cheerleaders for capitalism. And by helping shape the debate, they just might well give the mainstream parties some balls to do the work they truly believe in but are often too scared! And as yet, they can truly articulate this because they are not tainted by the chains of office and it is likely to be some time, before they are, if ever!”

Knockers are too quick to condemn a party on the results of an election. Democracy is more than about who is elected. It’s the right to stand, The right to suggest different ideas.

Ruth said...

Red - do you think the gradual loss of libertarian support has anything to do with the rise of blogging/ internet?

There seems to be a correlation.

IMO people like LGM who hide behind certain blogger's skirts and insult anyone who has the temerity to disagree with them are part of the problem.

In my experience most people have at least *some* sympathy with lib. views. It's just that they are put off by most libertarians being so damned rude and intolerant of new ideas and differing opinions.

And not just on 'Not PC'. Other sites such as 'SOLO' are worse.

Redbaiter said...

"Red - do you think the gradual loss of libertarian support has anything to do with the rise of blogging/ internet?"

Maybe. There are sure more public outlets for expression of anti-big government views. Before the internet, you'd struggle to get any kind of opinion founded in an anti-left wing world view published in the newspapers. The Libertarians could have been more popular because they were one of only a very few rallying points.

As for the idiots who comment on Not PC, I'm sure you would agree it is unfair to project their views as representative of the Libertarian leadership.

That said, it does seem to me that there is a decidedly left wing/ Progressive bent amongst the Libs, and I find that a complete turnoff.

It demonstrates an ignorance of the importance of the traditional society that was cemented together by family and religion and largely by that means, able to hold back big government.

They do not want to go there, but seek a new path where Progressive ideas that have enabled big government to increase its powers are somehow intertwined with traditional ideas about liberty. Like mixing oil and water. They'll never get the society they want because what they gain on one hand they will lose on the other. In terms of political support, what sympathy they might get from one sector they lose from another.


Traditional Conservative views, family values and mild religion is the mix that held government at bay for so long, and it is only since these concepts were attacked and almost destroyed by the Progressives that government has increased its power so much.

The Libertarians are as many have said here, internally confused, but also to me, they're probably just too left wing.

Almost every time I engage with them, of if I read the comments section of Not PC, I am appalled to find that many of them use the exact language and strategies of the committed leftists that I encounter elsewhere.

They have the same intolerance, the same tendency to demonise, to attempt ridicule and marginilisation as a means of closing down dissent. The same narrowness of political perspective.

As Mr. Cresswell says, they're an ideas party. Well, OK, but a big ideas party is always going to be far more effective than a small one. With their dwindling support, I wonder at what stage Mr. Cresswell might begin to think they're too small to be any real use at all.

Depends what you really want I guess.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Of course they are irrelevant. They can't even get enough members to a demo to hold up both poles on a two pole banner.

I'm not sure which is more commendable, pissing in the wind or farting against thunder but one thing is for sure. If you want to be useful instead of uselessly noisy, join a major party and bring your political ideals to bear where you can actually achieve more than an enraged dung beetle looking for an orifice into which it might lay its eggs.

Redbaiter said...

Adolf, have you seen the video of Michelle Bachman on Crusader Rabbit?

Mrs Bachman is one of my heroines, and you know what, most of those whining ignorant little Progressive creeps posting on Not PC would spit on her if she ever tried to join the Libertarian Party.

Yet there she is, as a Republican, getting those great pro-freedom ideas out there to a wider audience than the Libs could ever hope to reach. Beautiful.

Ruth said...

As for the idiots who comment on Not PC, I'm sure you would agree it is unfair to project their views as representative of the Libertarian leadership

No I wouldn't say it was not representative Red. You are judged by the company you keep and that *is* the problem.

The same people have been at the helm of the party (ie in the clique) for well over a decade. They have failed.

And as supporters of capitalism and survival of the fittest they should step down.

Psycho Milt said...

Traditional Conservative views, family values and mild religion is the mix that held government at bay for so long, and it is only since these concepts were attacked and almost destroyed by the Progressives that government has increased its power so much.

In other words, you're a conservative, not a libertarian. Does it not occur to you that this might account for your disagreements with libertarians? ie, that you're actually not one yourself? I find plenty to disagree with in libertarianism too, but then I'm not spending large amounts of other people's comments threads deluding myself that I am one.

Redbaiter said...

"but then I'm not spending large amounts of other people's comments threads deluding myself that I am one."

Go away Milt, you're a lefty and a taker, and you'll never comprehend the concepts being discussed here.

Psycho Milt said...

Was that concepts or conceits? I can't tell. One thing I can tell you though, is that no-one understands internecine conflict like a lefty - believe me, you're arguing with people of a different creed here.

Redbaiter said...

Milt, plenty of people describe themselves as Conservative Libertarians. For example Ron Paul and P J O'Rourke. You don't know SFA as usual.

Psycho Milt said...

How many of those people live in NZ, RB? Maybe you didn't notice, but this isn't the USA - that may irk the hell out of you, but it remains a fact. Live in the country you live in, ffs.

Richard McGrath said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard McGrath said...

[Spelling and grammatical errors corrected from original post!]

RB - sounds as though you are an economic libertarian but a social authoritarian. Have you ever taken the "world's smallest political quiz"? Ten questions to see where you stand on the political map. Available online.

Libz do happen to agree with the left on issues such as freedom of speech, military conscription, laws regarding sex between consenting adults, drug laws and national ID cards.

We agree with the right on issues such corporate welfare, free trade, privatising welfare and superannuation, and cutting taxes and govt spending.

Our common thread is maximum freedom with minimum government, and we apply that across the board, even with issues that are potentially unpopular.

The libertarian movement in NZ aims to get ideas out into the public consciousness. I welcome your forthright views on how the Libertarianz Party has marketed its ideas over the last few years.

I think the comment from someone that our party's fortunes have declined at the ballot box since the loss of Perigo's radio show is valid, despite what you may think. Look at Bill and Ben, for instance. Can anyone tell me what their underlying priciples are? The fact that they got airtime on their own TV show is what got them votes. But their political legacy five years from now will be zilch.

The Libertarianz Party has made a much bigger and longer lasting impact, on the politicians themselves. Most MPs know about Libz and our ideas. Unfortunately it appears the man on the street doesn't.

Perhaps, as you suggest RB, we will have to dumb down our rhetoric to reach the masses - less philosophy, more policy. The KISS principle.

RB - don't confuse Objectivists such as SOLO with the Libertarianz Party, though there is a lot of overlap. Lots of Libz have become supporters and members without knowing much, or anything, about Objectivism. We are not Christian- bashers, in fact at least one prominent member, Tim Wikiriwhi, is a theist. I am not, but I will still listen to and read what Tim has to say.

Libz is a freedom-orientated political party. We want more freedom in all spheres and for all peaceful NZers, even those whose ideas we don't personally support. Thus, despite being an atheist, I believe that Christian and other religions should be allowed to exist, as long as they don't infringe on the freedom of others.

To Sus's very nice six-word summation of libertarianism, I would add one more word: tolerance.

RB, I thank you for your comments. Why not make it constructive criticism by taking up PC's offer? We will give you a chance to speak your mind in person. And don't worry - Libz people believe in free speech and tolerance for the views of others!

Redbaiter said...

"And don't worry - Libz people believe in free speech and tolerance for the views of others!"

Maybe you do Mr. McGrath, but the comments of your members on Not PC suggest there's more than a few who don't.

As for the quiz, I'm glad you brought that up, because its actually IMHO, quite key to the Libertarian's broader problems.

I tried to make the point above that you adopt a certain posture on social issues because you believe those postures add to freedom.

I say many of the positions you take because you think they assist freedom actually do more in the long run to limit our freedoms.

Likewise, many of the questions in the quiz are predicated on ideas that wrongly connect yes (or no) answers to freedom.

The quiz kind of epitomizes the Libertarian's reliance on doctrine, and their tendency for shutting down debate on issues that really need deeper discussion.

The quiz is in actuality based on the presumption that many Progressive ideas naturally produce an increase in Liberty, when history has shown that they can do the opposite.

The quiz should be junked on the basis it is poorly produced and really just pseudo science, the kind of thing Scientologists might employ.

Similarly, Libertarians (especially the leaders) should relax their doctrinal views, accept that present stances on social issues need to be more flexible, and focus on issues that are of more interest to the man in the street.

Something has to be done to reverse the decline in membership- for liberty's sake.

If you cannot bring about that reverse Mr. McGrath, you perhaps need to consider the possibility that the reasons for the decline might rest with wrong ideas among the present leadership, and that somebody with more flexibility and a fresh approach might manage the party more effectively.

..and thanks for your courteous response.

PC said...

Redbaiter, You are arguing -- and have been for some time -- that leaving people free to live their lives as they see fit is somehow destructive to freedom.

That "in the long run [that] limits our freedoms."

That we are deluding ourselves when we think that freedom of speech, and opposition to military conscription, to laws regarding sex between consenting adults, to drug laws and to national ID cards "produces an increase in Liberty, when history has shown that they can do the opposite."

So you are arguing, in essence, that freedom produces slavery.

Please explain, because that sounds like bullshit to me.

Redbaiter said...

I've actually answered the query above in as brief a way as possible-

Quote

Traditional Conservative views, family values and mild religion is the mix that held government at bay for so long, and it is only since these concepts were attacked and almost destroyed by the Progressives that government has increased its power so much.

Unquote

Mr Cresswell, in the movie "The Eye of The Tiger" set in England in the second world war, there is a shot of a helmetless Donald Sutherland riding a motorcycle down a public road with a shotgun slung across his back.

I think this is a reasonably fair depiction of life in those times. Liberty was not too much under threat. (if you leave Hitler aside) There were no Libertarians, but life and liberty was pretty much OK.

The question then is what since then has allowed government to get so big, so intrusive and so controlling.

The UK is now a basket case totalitarian wasteland. What has given those who would enforce this state upon us all, the FOOTHOLD they needed to conquer the greater landmass and achieve what they have?

PC said...

Red, you said "Traditional Conservative views, family values and mild religion is the mix that held government at bay for so long, and it is only since these concepts were attacked and almost destroyed by the Progressives that government has increased its power so much." I can only say in reply that your purported fusion of capitalism and religion and "tradition" is not merely wrong, it's fatal.

Your arguments for capitalism amount to the argument from faith—the argument from tradition—and the argument from depravity. None are valid defences of capitalism, and the last requires freedom's defender to begin by spitting in their own face. Rather than holding the statists at bay, these are the arguments that have invited them in.

Simply put, the reason "those concepts were [so easily] attacked" is because as concepts they are entirely without a sound foundation.

If you tell people that the argument for capitalism rests on tradition, then you invite your opponents to set those traditions. And so they have -- and generation by generation, in a ratchet-effect for collectivism, the "new traditions" only lead to more serfdom.

If you tell people that the argument for capitalism rests on man's depravity -- that people must not be allowed to live as they choose, but only as you dictate -- then you put freedom on the side of your adversaries, or put yourself in the Orwellian position (as I said above) of arguing that freedom is slavery. Nothing could be more destructive to freedom.

And if you tell people that the foundation of capitalism is religious faith, you imply that reason and science are on the side of the collectivists. Nothing could be, and has been, more fatal to capitalism than to grant to its opponents the mantle of reason while standing instead on the mouldering ground of mysticism and fictional men in the sky -- and the argument (as I explain above) that to uphold freedom one must endorse slavery.

On these arguments and much more, I heartily recommend reading and digesting an article by Brad Thompson on THE DECLINE AND FALL OF AMERICAN CONSERVATISM, killed not be the strength of its adversaries but by the contradictions of its own creaky foundations.

[PS: If you'd prefer to read Thompson's article in the six-part summary that appeared AT NOT PC, you can find an index here at the foot of this post.]

Redbaiter said...

Mr Cresswell, leaving aside that you appear to quite honestly misunderstand and misquote a few of my points, and that cannot really be addressed here, would you please just answer the simple question below.

The quality of Liberty in broad terms remained pretty constant for a long long long time. If you drew a graph, statism might gain a few points from the 1800s up to the fifties, but suddenly in the late fifties and onwards, the graph rockets upwards, accelerates at an even greater rate through the seventies and eighties and suddenly in the new century, the tipping point is reached, and freedom is gone.

I suggest the course of that graph would pretty much correspond to a graph measuring the deline in social stability.

For 150 years the traditional family was OK, then it was gone.

For 150 years freedom was OK, then in the last twenty, its gone.

This social stability did not decline because of Conservatism, but because Conservatism became under attack from a new force and was not defended strongly enough.

This suggests to me that the simple way to return to freedom is to return to true Conservatism and defend it strongly against those recent forces, and this is why it baffles me that you so strongly insist on excluding that course of action so completely from your party's strategies.

Oh yeah, the question. Its-

"Given the predicted outcome of these changes is a Marxist totalitarian state, and taking the time line into account, what do you put the ACCELERATION in our loss of freedoms down to?"

(Thanks for your suggestions on reading. I'll take them up.)

Redbaiter said...

Errr, the "fifties" I refer to are the 1950s.

PC said...

Red, the answer to your question is contained in your answer: ". . . because Conservatism became under attack from a new force and was not defended strongly enough."

Which is precisely the point I made in the post above, and why Ayn Rand could say in her 1960 Obituary to Conservatism that "Today’s “conservatives” are futile, impotent and, culturally, dead. They have nothing to offer and can achieve nothing. They can only help to destroy intellectual standards, to disintegrate thought, to discredit capitalism, and to accelerate this country’s uncontested collapse into despair and dictatorship." And so they have.

Simply put, the reason Conservatism was so easily attacked is because (as I said above) Conservatism itself lacks a sound foundation. All it needed was a good push -- which is what they've had. With the mantle of reason on their side, which the conservatives had proudly discarded, the bad ideas of collectivism easily knocked over the tottering intellectual remnant of conservatism, and will continue that process just as long as conservatives continue to favour faith over reason, and "tradition" over innovation.

After the collapse of their dream in the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collectivists manifestly have no right to claim either reason or "progress" on their side. It is only the intellectual default of conservatism that allows them to get away with the fraud.

The fact is, that capitalism needs now is not a return to "traditional Conservative views, family values and mild religion," because (even if one were to accept that they represent freedom, which I don't) as a bulwark of freedom they have palpably failed.

You can't fight bad ideas except with better ideas. The values you suggest are the underpinning of conservatism represent not ideas so much as the lack of them.

What capitalism needs is not the stale bromides of "faith" and "tradition," but a new intellectual revolution in favour of "a separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church." Which is to say, in favour of the values that do underpin freedom and capitalism: i.e., reason, individualism, and individual rights.

That's the "revolution inside people's heads" that's needed, and that we Libz have taken up.

Redbaiter said...

I guess time will tell.

I assert that it will be a rejuvenated Conservatism that brings us a return to liberty (through politicians like Michele Bachman as instanced on Crusader Rabbit's video for a convenient example) and while that happens, the Libs will still be trying to work out why they only got 33 votes in Mt Albert.

You see Mr Cresswell, you cannot start any "revolution in people's heads" when they have no heads. (You, IIRC, are even found bemoaning this fact on Not PC.)

People under Progressivism are just too dumb to grasp your message.

FAIRFACTS MEDIA said...

Cheers everyone. Too much to go into detail but hopefully the Libz have gained sufficient advice to help them make the right side of the political pile somewhat bigger.