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Video of a Stephen Davies talk to the Essex University Liberty League about the history of the British libertarian movement

Today I received one of those collective emails with a big list of recipients at the top. It was from Tim Evans to the Essex University Liberty League, and copied to the rest of us, suggesting all the copyees as potential speakers to the Essex University Liberty League. I was pleased to be even suggested, because I was a very happy student at Essex University in the early 1970s. Fingers crossed, hint hint.

But much more importantly, following a little googling for the Essex University Liberty League, I found my way to this, which I had not noticed before and which is a video of a talk given by the noted libertarian historian Stephen Davies to … the Essex University Liberty League. Having both hugely enjoyed and been hugely impressed by the talk that Stephen Davies gave to the Liberty League Freedom Forum in London just under a fortnight ago, on the subject of healthcare, I cranked up this video about the history of British libertarianism and had a listen.

Brilliant. The time, nearly fifty minutes of it, just flew by. Davies really is a master communicating a large body of ideas and information, seemingly with effortless ease, in what is (given the sheer volume of all those ideas and all that information) an amazingly short period of time, although in other hands the same chunk of time would feel like an eternity.

Thank goodness cheap videoing arrived in time for Davies to be extensively captured on it, for two reasons. First, it would be very hard to take notes that would do justice to a Stephen Davies talk, and it would be impossible to remember it all. There is, every time, just too much good stuff there. You want to be able to hear it all again, with a pause button available. Second, I get the distinct impression that Davies knows a great deal more about the present and the past of the world, and of the people trying to make the world more liberty-loving, than he has so far managed to get down on paper. Indeed, I sense that Davies’s recent IEA job, stimulating Britain’s student libertarian network, is a calculated trade-off on his part, between one important job, namely that, and the other important thing that Davies ought to be doing, namely writing down many more of his brilliant thoughts and discoveries and opinions and historical wisdoms than he has so far managed to write down.

Although, now would be a good time to flag up a piece Davies wrote for the Libertarian Alliance entitled Libertarian Feminism in Britain, 1860-1910, which is about the kind of thing his talk is about. The point being that most feminists then were libertarians, in contrast to the collectivists that most feminists are now. So, Davies has written some of his wisdoms down, just not as much as he might have.

However, meanwhile, and as a natural consequence of all the student networking that he has lately been doing, Davies does often give a talk, and sometimes someone records it. Like I say, thank goodness for video. And congratulations to whoever did video this particular Davies talk to the Essex University libertarians. Richard Carey, who did the short blog posting where I found the video, does not say who did this. Presumably an Essex libertarian. As I say, kudos to whoever it was.

Sadly, the Stephen Davies talk to LLFF2013 about healthcare was not videoed.

6 comments to Video of a Stephen Davies talk to the Essex University Liberty League about the history of the British libertarian movement

  • Hugh Myers

    ‘great video. I think Dr. Davies’ contention that we’re in the midst of a realignment is compelling. Conservatives in the US who idealize the police are finding common cause with liberals who idealize the national government. Both feel threatened by a growing liberty movement in the US that draws from free market limited government conservatives and socially tolerant civil rights oriented liberals.

  • Paul Marks

    Conservatives in the U.S. are finding common cause with “liberals”. I see little evidence of this.

    “a growing liberty movement”.

    There is a “liberty movement” in the United States – but many (although not all) libertarians sneered at it. It is the Tea Party movement – perhaps if more libertartians had joined in (rather than looking down on people) it would be a growing movement.

    “socially tolerant civil rights”.

    Since at least the 1960s (in some States, such as New York, since the 1940s) “civil rights” has become joined to the “anti discrimination” doctrine (itself from Imperial Roman Law – with its “public accomidations” and “common carriers” and other private property denying wickedness).

    There is nothing libertarian about government anti discrimination doctrine (to discriminate is to CHOOSE – freedom of choice).

    And YES that includes whether or not private individuals and business organisations have to “recognise”, “gay marriage”.

  • Hugh Myers

    Conservatives in the US who idealize the police are finding common cause with liberals who idealize the national government.

    I think we just saw some of that during the debate over “drone usage” (more accurately the limits of the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments to the US Constitution,) the vote on universal background checks and we’re about to see it again when CISPA makes it to the floor of the US Senate.

    I see it locally from my vantage point working with two Libertarian Party affiliates in Southwest Florida USA. In our region Libertarians (small and large “l”), people calling themselves Tea Party and others have been working together on some issues for some time, most recently sponsoring resolutions supporting the 2d Amendment before two city councils and two county commissions; we’re 4-0. One of the Libertarian Party groups makes no demands upon its attendees except they be “liberty minded”, welcoming voters of all party affiliations; they’re not typical, by the way. That group has grown dramatically over the past year, attracting Republicans from among free market limited government conservatives, Democrats from among socially tolerant civil rights oriented liberals (latter day, not classical), and independents of all stripes. I take your point about stand offishness; look what happens when the doors open.

    My definition of “civil rights” differs from the one cited in your post. By civil rights I mean the full panoply of rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights to the US Constitution. I am aware that doesn’t jibe with common parlance, but I think it’s high time we reclaimed the notion of real civil rights from those who would hijack the term for base purposes.

  • Paul Marks

    I seem to remember a recent fillibuster by Rand Paul and others AGAINST libery destroying Federal measures (specifically on drone strikes – if they were used against U.S. citizens).

    Remember your first comment said “conservatives” – if it had said “RINOs” I would have had no dispute with you. For it is the “MODERATE” wing of the Republican party that is the problem.

    I am glad you are working with Tea Party people locally – good for you.

    And, of course, the term “police” can mean anything from the Chicago Police Department (basically an extenstion of the political Machine of the city – corrupt to the core) to a locally elected sheriff or even a volunteer (unpaid) officer.

    On Civil Rights I AGREE with you.

    But that is not the sense the term is used in Federal Law (at least not since 1964) or in many State laws even before then.

    A libertarian can have no friendship with “anti discrimination” doctrine, or with the rest of he Frankfurt School P.C. tidal wave.

    Odd (or perhaps not odd at all) that the Progressives (including the Marxists) have dug up the most degenerate stage of Roman Law (the late Empire with its “common carriers” and “public accomidations” – and general collapse of the distinction between state and civil society, i.e. private property) to further their agenda.

  • Paul Marks

    I think that Rand Paul has a real chance – his father never did.

    But it is for a bad reason.

    By the next election the crack-up will already have happened.

    The system will be discredited and the defenders of the system (both Dems and RINOs) will be finished.

    Which means that my life (and the lives of all people who have tried to PREVENT breakdown) will have been a waste of time. It will be a matter of surviving crack-up (which I will not – not here in Britain, no chance) and rebuilding civil society.

    Which people like Rand Paul have a good chance of doing – clearing up the terrible mess.

    As for my dear friends the “libertarian” left – they and their wonderful “social justice” (along with the more honest believers in the doctrine – the Communists and other such) will be burning in Hell.

    Which is a comforting thought.

    Keep safe Mr Myers – and keep your family safe.

    Hard times have been before (the academics at Auburn exchanged lessons on Ancient Greek for food back in the 1930s) and a land with the natural resources and population of the United States will recover.

    This I firmly believe – even if the political forms are radically different.

    After all even if the United States (as a polity) fails – there will be decent things (say a Republic of Texas – or good things out in the Dakotas).

    And the United States might just NOT fail.

    You may well be celebrating a President Rand Paul on January 20th 2017 – the first President in a very long time indeed to really understand and believe in the Consitution he is swearing to defend.