Liberty Clip: November 24, 2012

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7 Responses to Liberty Clip: November 24, 2012

  1. Poor Old Rafe

    Thanks Sinc, the short list that I use lately is (1) the usual suite of freedoms, (2) rule of law including property rights (possibly a principle by itself) under (3) limited government and (4) a robust moral framework with principles like honesty, compassion, personal responsibility, civility, tolerance and community service.

    Another principle is to spend very little time on alternative lists of principles in favour of exploring and explaining the consequences, especially the medium term consequences, of the policies that flow from the princiles, in contrast with the results of socialist or conservative Big Government policies.

    See Hayek “Why I am not a conservative” [on line] for some leads on the failure of Big Government conservatism that was demonsrated by Malcolm Fraser.

    Also “Uniting the non-left“.

  2. Hmph. There’s no such thing as “freedom”. Just different types and degrees of restraint.
    I want to fly, be invisible, travel in time and live for ever, but will she let me?

  3. Samuel J

    What rubbish Honey. The restraints you mention (immortality) are physical constraints – nothing to do with the government. That’s basic economics: you are not satiated and unlimited wants with limited resources. It is quite another thing for the Government to tell you what you should and shouldn’t do. Freedom doesn’t mean that you can suddenly appear on Pluto – unless there is a technology that allows it.

  4. johno

    Not a bad list. Covers most of the things that most classic liberals would sign up to, but it rasied two questions for me.

    Civil society. The politically active left wing NGOs fit into the broad definition of civil society, yet they are generally not a force for classic liberalism goodness. Arguably this type of NGO wouldn’t have a role in a world of limited government. Most of these NGOs exist as a vehicle for particular groups to get government to impose their values on to the rest of us. If government was prevented from doing this, they wouldn’t be such a worry.

    Rule of law. The idea that there are some higher principles that governemnt should adhere to is fine in theory, but in practise, what are these principles that should constrain government and how are they to be enforced?

    This is a key issue to classic liberals and unless it can be answered in an Australian context, there is little hope for classic liberalism here in Australia.

  5. Oh Samuel I was joking.
    Here, now that I’ve actually watched the clip..
    Don’t get me wrong. I am so on the side of this guy, but these are easily punked arguments.
    1. Liberty. We are all at liberty to argue and vote for bigger governments
    2. Individualism. “Common good” is actually a straw man. Millions of individual men have sacrificed their own interests and done things they would otherwise not have done, for tits. Don’t imagine that ain’t political.
    3. Other people should not force individuals to do things they do not want to do? Until they are five. Or eighteen? Or twenty one?
    4. Rule of law. Fair Work Australia too?
    5. Civil society. Can’t really fault this. Very sorry to see this stupid bikie law.
    6. Spontaneous Order. Yes, we are watching one emerge in a vast population of welfare parasites gradually killing the wealth-producing host here and in the states. Sad to say I don’t think it was a Communist conspiracy. I think it just happens naturally over time.
    7. I think free markets is covered by “no harm to others” and “rule of law”. (Although he turns out to be a Commie himself when he starts listing the benefits like how many jobs the free market “creates”. It doesn’t matter if no jobs are created! Freedom is good for its own sake!)
    8. Tolerance. Also completely gratuitous. I cannot tolerate intolerance.
    9. Peace?!? He IS a Commie with his newspeak propaganda! We are at peace. Almost everyone is always at peace and chooses to be. Every organism, in the prosecution of its every personal, territorial, sexual, political and military goals, will, if presented with two ways of achieving it, choose the one that entails less disruption, bloodshed, killing etc. We are all inherently peace-like. The opposite assertion has been Commie propaganda since WWII.
    10. Limited government. Finally, he is a naïve utopian, trying to define what government should be, or how small it should be. As classical libertarians we should understand that it will be an endless struggle, and that all we can say is that government should be smaller than it is and smaller than our enemies try to make it, but who knows what it will look like after their and our best effort have met head on? There is never an “after”. It is endless. To imagine there could be one and to presume to know what things will look like then is to start chipping away at our liberties, yet again, spontaneously.

  6. Poor Old Rafe

    johno, to the extent that the NGOs are government funded they stop being part of the civil society of voluntary agencies, either because they are run by people with the same agenda as the government or because they will be obliged to implement govt policies and conform with various regulations re employmnent etc (so Catholic orgs may be penalized for favouring Catholics in employmnent or Catholic hospitals may be compelled to go abortions).

    Re the second issue, most social engineers look to legislation to support principles and so we get demands for a Bill of Rights on top of all the other stuff put in place for the grievance industry. It is not a simple answer but we have to ensure that the principles of the liberal order live in the hearts and minds of people so they are a living force in the community and people will just laugh when some idiot suggests that we will become more polite or civil or less discriminator if we ban certain kinds of speech or enforce nanny state codes of behaviour.

  7. DrBeauGan

    The problem starts with item one. I think it was Shaw who said something like ‘Freedom entails resonsibility, which is why most men hate it’. It goes to temperament. There are those who value a secure place in a hierarchy far more than their liberty. Typically a perspective shared by bureacrats, churchmen, military men and chickens. Until you reckon with this you will not understand why liberalism is dying.

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