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Food for thought in London’s clubland

The week resumes after a highly enjoyable and stimulating annual Libertarian Alliance conference, which I attended along with one or two other members of the Samizdata crew, such as Brian Micklethwait. I may put together some more considered thoughts about some of the ideas and issues that arose over the past two days, but for now, let me join in congratulating Antoine Clarke – another occasional Samizdata writer – for picking up a deserved literary prize, and also Tim and Helen Evans and Sean Gabb, for putting this event together. What was encouraging was how we had delegates from all over the globe, with plenty of new, young faces.

One of the best sessions was the final one, in which we were treated to a survey of how the UK public actually thinks about banking and the credit crisis. The results, as Antoine himself suggested, might show that people are far less naive in believing fashionable nonsense about financial affairs than politicians assume. It would be nice to think that whenever some warmed-up Keynesian goes on about “quantitative easing”, the response from Joe Public is to roll the eyes.

The conference also featured a highly entertaining post-dinner speech by Paul Staines, aka Guido Fawkes. As Paul noted, it is galling that the word “freedom” is conspicuously absent from the rhetoric of any of the main party leaders in the UK. The same, for that matter, can be said of those in countries such as the US.

10 comments to Food for thought in London’s clubland

  • Dear Johnathan,

    I agree, it was a grand conference. Sadly my boy and I missed the first day mostly owing to travelling from the Arctic.

    Perhaps the single seminal thing libertarians ought to start thinking about is how to actually engineer the changes that we’ll need.

    I’d have liked to talk to you for longer on some things: the time will come, never mind! One of which is how we’d help the millions of robbed families and people currently classed by our Enemy Class as “the underclass”, and which we ought to say about what we ought to do, to help these people climb out of the cesspit.

    As you and Bella Gerens know, for I told her at the dinner, I would authorise the killing and eating of the people who have caused on purpose this disaster.

    She said she thought I was nasty: OK.

  • Apologies: I was feeling a bit angry just there. I’d still have the Enemy Class killed and eaten, but I’d moderate my other remarks.

  • I hold the belief that the enemy classes have created the underclass quite deliberately so that they have a group of people they can point at and say “But we’re doing it for them” and feel all good about themselves.

    The fact is that education (and I mean proper education, teching people how to think instead of how to regurgitate facts) is the only way to help them out of the cesspit. That and stop giving them a free ride.

    They have not been robbed in any kind of material sense, they have been robbed of any potential they might have had and their ability to make use of their talents (as I’m sure they must have some).

    We cannot lift them from the pit ourselves, we can only show them where the handholds are.

  • I hold the belief that the enemy classes have created the underclass quite deliberately

    This assumes a level of intelligence of their class that I am not willing to concede.

    On the other hand, once they have done this, I am willing to concede that they are happy to go along with the situation as long as in their eyes it supports their view of the world. Once again though, they will find a rationalisation that allows them to pretend that they are not doing what they actually are.

  • Jez B

    my idea of ‘clubland’ is different to yours.

    but i’m sure pete tong would be a firm supporter of the libertarian alliance.

  • I share David Davis’ opinion that it is an altogether deliberate act. I’m not so sure about the killing and eating though. I simply cannot believe that the Enemy Class are as stupid as they would appear, having fought tooth and nail to rise to their exalted positions.

    The public sector prodnoses and stickybeaks perhaps, but not those running the show.

  • Laird

    The “killing” part is fine, but is the “eating” part really necessary, too? I’d have to be awfully hungry.

  • no, i’m pretty sure they wouldn’t taste very nice!

  • James Waterton

    Yes, I’m sure there’s a rollicking debate over banking, the credit crisis and quantitative easing going on here

  • Paul Marks

    I am told that there were many young Liberal Democrat party members at the conference.

    It would be nice if the Lib Dem party returned to the principles of Gladstone, Russel and Palmerston (for all these men’s personal dislike of each other, they shared certain common principles – although in the case of Palmerston and Gladstone the source of these priciples (principles they shared with many conservatives – which made the switching of party of Palmerston and Gladstone no great change in their view of limited government).

    The present leadership of the Lib Dems is statist – but that could change. After all the leadership of the German FDP was statist a few years ago – and now it is free market.

    One thing to watch – will the younger Lib Dems get over their dislike of certain rich businessmen, and understand that what matters is principle (not whether you like a paticular person).

    I wrote what I thought (although Samizdata did not – it never appeared here) was an important post on the danger to free speech in the European Union (one vote in the E.U. Parliament comming down to single vote).

    Personal dislike of the Italian Prime Minister was being used as an excuse for a demand for “investigations” leading to E.U. “ownership rules” for the media (i.e. the elimination of nonleftist broadcasters and so on).

    Virtually every “Liberal” in the E.U. Parliament voted for this idea – thus lining up with the Communists and so on.

    It will be an important test for these young Lib Dems. “Do you go along with this or not”.

    If people will only support liberty when the (pretented) target of statism is attractive (not corrupt or snobbish, or whatever) then they are of no use. But we shall have to see.

    Of course the above all links in with the campaign to destroy dissent in the United States – everything from the “War on Fox News”, to Mark Lloyd’s plans for radio, to the movements (such as the Marxist and hand-of-Obama group “Free Press”) really behind “new neutrality” (i.e. using the excuse of the internet mess in the United States to get more control for government – especially in the longer term), points that I hope I made.