We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Stephen Davies

A quick link from me today to a recent talk given by Dr Stephen Davies at the Oxford Libertarian Society. Excellent piece, well worth your time. He absolutely nails the silly idea, put about both by communitarians of the left and right, that individualism is the same as lack of interest in a strong civil society. Quite the reverse.

Here’s an interesting paper he wrote about crime and morality many years ago for the Libertarian Alliance. Also recommended. And he is giving the annual Chris R Tame memorial lecture for the Libertarian Alliance on 10 May in London. I’ll be there and hopefully, put up a review on what he has to say.

6 comments to Stephen Davies

  • I enjoyed the bit about being accused of inconsistency for favouring free markets and gay marriage. I think I may have had that exact conversation.

    Davies asks how many people would, given the choice, identify with individualism over collectivism. If labels are as important as he says, phrasing our arguments in those terms could be rather powerful. He’s onto something.

  • Ian B

    I like Stephen Davies a great deal. This talk about how we don’t live in western civilisation any more is very good too-

    http://mercatus.org/video/locating-ourselves-historically-why-we-are-not-living-western-civilization

    I think he’s onto quite a lot of somethings.

  • Someone is back from the cold…or heat:-)

  • Ian B

    I might be an imposter, Alisa ;-)

  • He absolutely nails the silly idea, put about both by communitarians of the left and right, that individualism is the same as lack of interest in a strong civil society. Quite the reverse.

    They continue to trot out this stuff – obviously it gets traction in certain quarters.

  • Paul Marks

    Actually it is the left who support “atomistic indivdualism” – from the Jacobins onwards (indeed before the Jacobins) the left only recognise individuals and the state.

    The only clubs (and so on) that there can be are political ones (such as the Jacobin club). The “personal is the political” to the left.

    The idea of voluntary cooperation with no state involvement (such as tax financing for the so called “independent sector”) is exactly what the left are AGAINST.

    As for “gay marriage”.

    If a church wants to conduct a “gay marrage” with one man (or more) being the husband and another man (or more) being the wife, that is up to them.

    It is nothing to do with the government – and such things should not be recorded list of “Births, Marriages and Deaths” (such state registration should not exist anyway).

    Of course there must be no “anti discrimination” regulations either. If a person or group (such as a company or a church) do not wish to “recognise” homosexual marriage (or HETROSEXUAL marriage) that is up to them.

    The above is freedom (and equality), but I do not think Ian Dale and Andrew Sullivan will be rushing to support it.