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Terence Kealey talks science funding with the Oxford Libertarians

There is a certain kind of libertarian-stroke-free-marketeer intellectual whom I hold in particular esteem. I’m talking about the specialist consensus breaker. I gave a talk to the Oxford Libertarian Society last year in which I mentioned two of my favourite intellectuals of this sort. I talked about James Tooley, who says: education for the poor doesn’t have to state funded and it’s better if it’s not. And I talked about Peter Bauer, who said: government to government foreign aid does more harm than good. I could also have mentioned another such consensus breaker: Terence Kealey.

Happily, my failure to inform the Oxford Libertarian Society of Terence Kealey’s existence and stature did not do any lasting damage, because by some means or another they still managed to hear about him. Better yet, they invited him to talk to them about the consensus he has been busy breaking, the consensus that says that science is a public good which has to be government funded. Kealey says: not so. As with education for the poor, it’s better for science if the government doesn’t fund it. And even better yet, the Oxford Libertarians filmed Kealey’s talk.

The talk was given on May 22nd, and the video of it was posted on the Oxford Libertarian Society blog on the 23rd, so sorry for only just noticing it and mentioning it here. But this is not one of those arguments where a couple of weeks will make any difference. I’ve only watched about a third of it so far, but am confident about recommending all of it. The talk I gave to the OLS is here.

See also this recent Kealey book and this earlier one, both of which I have read all of and much enjoyed.

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2 comments to Terence Kealey talks science funding with the Oxford Libertarians

  • Paul Marks

    Dr Tooley does indeed make a good case – for example showing how even “slum dwellers” in India have funded good schools themselves, offering much better education than the government schools.

    Sadly the government of India has learnt nothing from this – and seeks to further expand the government school (and government welfare) system, borrowing vast sums of money (and undermining the future of the economy) to do so.

    As for the communities of the poor in the cities – their homes are being destroyed (by force) by the government, in order to make way for high rise (and expensive) flats and offices.

    One of the upsetting things about getting older is that one finds that people do not learn from experience.

    The same failed polices are tried again and again – and, indeed, expanded.

    Politicians talk of “change” and “reform” – but they mean more of the same. For example, Barack Obama who has in the last six months committed the United States to borrow more money that it has borrowed in the last 30 years (i.e. T. Bills are junk bonds without the high interest rates offered by junk bonds), and whose idea of health “reform” is for the American government to take control of the half of medical care that is does not already have total control of.

    Perhaps one day people like the Oxford Libertarians will be able to get the message of liberty to most people – for if most people reject statism the politicians will be forced back.

  • Paul Marks

    I should have pointed out how much I admire the late Lord Peter Bauer and Dr Kealey.