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

Two new libertarian blogs

One of the most welcome commenters in my part of the blogosphere, including here of course, is Mark Holland. So it was a great pleasure to learn, some few weeks ago, that he now has his own blog, called Blognor Regis, which is the name of a famous English seaside town plus an L. Take a look. What can you lose?

It definitely is a libertarian blog, let there be no doubt about that. When he mentions car tax, for instance, he says there ought not to be any. But when I went looking for further items of libertarian holy writ that has not yet sunk into the archives I found almost nothing else that was really hard core. He does not hit you over the head every day with his libertarianism, in other words.

Nor does Richard Garner’s new blog, which I heard about by reading Blognor Regis, but that is because Richard seems to post less frequently than Mark Holland does. Otherwise, Richard Garner’s Thoroughly Enthralling Weblog could hardly be more different. This is a blog with long quotes (scroll down to “EDUCATION (HEALTH CARE, FOOD, ADEQUATE HOUSING… ADD GOOD OR SERVICE AS YOU FEEL APPROPRIATE – IS A PRIVILEGE, NOT A RIGHT” – January 25 – blogger archiving …) from hard core libertarian luminaries, world famous and not so world famous. Hairs are split. Doctrinal purities are distilled still more. Libertarian colours are nailed to the mast and carried into battle. Peace movement people (“PEACE AND THE STATE” – also Jan 25), for instance, are politely and patiently told why, if they believe some of their more benign slogans, they ought to follow the logic of them a little further and be libertarians rather than statists.

This is the kind of thing I used to do but – and I intend no disrespect here – have now lost the taste for. Like playing international rugby or going out on all night drinking sprees, debating the ins and outs of libertarianism and libertarian doctrine, against anti-libertarians and with fellow libertarians is, I feel, a young man’s game, and yes I think I do mean man. And as I enter my old woman phase of life, I find myself less inclined towards it, in writing at any rate. (I just did a spot on Radio Humberside about the merits of privately owned public space, and I suddenly sounded to myself about a quarter of a century younger. I sounded, that is to say, like Richard Garner.)

In pre-Internet days, both of these gentlemen would either would have become regular contributors to the Libertarian Alliance or to something like it, or they would have been frustrated at not being able to do that because it was too much of a bother, what with them having to worry about whether someone like me would like their stuff enough to publish it. Now they can just blog. Beautiful. For both, I am sure that this is a huge liberation.

Such blogs as these may or may not immediately set the world alight, but they, and other blogs like them, are part of an immensely important process, and a huge step forward for the libertarian movement.

There are two important things about libertarian publishing, one of which is very widely understood by libertarians, and the other of which often has to be explained to libertarians in tortuous detail. The obvious bit is the number of people who read the stuff. You want that to be as big as possible, of course you do.

But the unobvious bit is, if anything, far more important, and concerns the political and philosophical assumptions that are the basis of your publication, the things that you and your readers take as givens that do not have to be argued for every time you mention them in passing in a piece about something else (like how to do them, how to phrase them, or about car rallying). Running publications which have the assumptions built into their intellectual architecture that we want built into them is at least as important as building up mere circulation, and especially so if circulation is built by surrendering on key political and philosophical assumptions.

One thing is for sure. We libertarians will not command many ocean liners if we are not in the habit of launching dinghies and ferry boats and tramp steamers.

This is why I am so delighted when I see new libertarian blogs setting sail. They may not now be carrying many passengers, and perhaps they never will. But the value of pushing an ocean liner a tenth of a degree away from the bad direction it is travelling in (by getting a letter or article published in a mainstream media organ) is often exaggerated, and the value of sailing a much smaller craft in precisely the right direction tends to be underestimated. (I would not have spent two decades slogging away for the Libertarian Alliance if I believed otherwise.)

So, congratulations and very best wishes to – and another pair of links to – Blognor Regis and Richard Garner’s Thoroughly Enthralling Weblog. To revert to the maritime metaphor one last time, God bless them and all who sale in them.

6 comments to Two new libertarian blogs

  • Good grief! Many thanks Brian for the huge plug and kind words of support. I hope no one is dissapointed now!

    Thanks again and God bless the good ship Samizdata and all who sail on her.

  • Good idea, Brian — but I can ask you to comment on my blog: Liberty Dad – a World Without Dictators ?
    tomgrey.motime.com (Link)

    It is unique (I think), in being primarily a lot of comments I leave on other sites. Hopefully with enough comment intro for context — but nobody’s ever said they didn’t understand. (Well, my sister did, once.)

    Too bad I didn’t push my Tax Loan (Link)proposal more for the Brits on the education fee changes.

    (My old Liberty Father, thank you on your blogroll, now fails. I’ve told Perry…)

  • Hey, I only just found this post whilst doing a google search. And I thought I checked out Samizdata quite often. Doh.

    Thanks Brian – being compared to yourself is very flattering.

  • If ur interested, check out my nascent libertarian blog.

  • Hello,

    This is great. More power to ya.

    Click tha URL

  • rtruxel

    Conservative – One who thinks people should provide for their own welfare, but society should tell people what to think and how to live.

    Liberal – One who thinks society should provide for people, but allow people to live as they please.

    Libertarian – One who understands that you cannot have your cake and eat it to.