Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The ambivalent calling of libertarians

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Having recommended readers either:
1. Vote for a libertarian party
2. Decide not to vote
3. Vote for anyone but the two major parties

I return to the conclusion that you are really between a rock and a hard place. Maybe you should all simply set up your own political party. God knows there are plenty of other cowboys doing in the same - in Qld no less. I decided to pay a call to the Liberal Democratic Party, which professes to be a libertarian party. What you realise with such parties is that they are defined by negative values. There is a perfectly good philosophical base to libertarianism values, but these guys will have nothing to do with ideas....as I will demonstrate in this following discussion. They ended up burying their heads in the sand...which I guess is more polite than what the main parties would do to me. They would of course smear me, and if I became a significant threat maybe my carcass would wash up on a beach somewhere....like Harold Holt's. Anyway, back to the conversation. I tried to be positive...but I always seem to end up being disappointed.

My initial inquiry - as 'shouganai1'

Hi guys, I am a libertarian...with a philosophical base...something like Ayn Rand. Any thoughts to putting some meat on your policy so I can decide if I'm interested. Might be interested in participating. Gave you a qualified plug on my website. [Now its qualified]. Not much on voting myself because its sanctioning coercion, which is what democracy does. Do you want to wait for the majority to decide you are worthy of personal autonomy? It might be your greatest obstacle to getting support. I think that is where a Libertarian club has greater longevity than a party which rears its head every 4 years, and then is forgotten.
Anyway. Great that you are trying something!


The Liberal Democrats have been set up as a moderate libertarian party. We aim to be more A.C.T. then LbertariaNZ... Our minimum goal is to be more pro-freedom on any given issue then any other party in Australia. The party is deliberately moderate, because we do plan to get people elected. Many members hold libertarian positions stronger then those of the party.

We think we will do something worthwhile for liberty if we get senators elected. We won't be bringing about the dawn of Libertopia in my lifetime, but then again, neither will anyone else. Within a compulsory preferential voting system (Lib-Dems support voluntary voting, of course) the cost to more radical Libertarians of supporting us is quite low.


I think that 'extreme' libertarian position would be less intimidating to you if you stopped labelling it as 'moderate' vs 'extreme' perspective because those terms serve no one. 'Is the policy consonant with the facts of reality or not' ought to the the standard. If it is, then its defensible. I do however recognise that the electorate is far removed from the libertarian view. That is why the current political system (which you have to work with) is not the best forum to educate....so yep, if you want to hold minority positions in a system which sponsors and sanctions coercion....you are in the right place. But please don't disparage libertarianism as extreme...even if 'extremely factual'. You can only set the argument back.


Tim's right, Shouganai i understand where your coming from, as I'm an admirer Ayn Rand myself but she is extreme and thats why she's such an acclaimed academic. She is the absolute epitome of individualism just as Hitler and Stalin were the epitome of totalitarianism. She had flaws just like anybody else. There is always a balance to be had and I sincerely believe that the LDP has or has very nearly struck that balance right :)


Jes, your response does not address my points, and are self-refuting. If you are an admirer of Ayn Rand, is it because she is an extremists, or because she has coherent arguments on certain issues for which you are sympathetic. I think you are forming into the trap of your opponents by using terms like 'extremist' which is a smear, not a principle or defensible position. It is used by unthinking people to defend compromises. Let me illustrate. I invite you to raise a 'balanced' perspective to any public policy matter, and I will debunk it.

Actually Rand was not an academic, nor liked much by them generally. She was a novelist who studied philosophy. Perhaps because academics tend to be supported by undiscerning public funding. I am quite sure she had flaws, which is why I did not depict myself as a carbon copy of her. Her flaws are not the issue...I raised a conceptual argument, so personal attributes are irrelevant.

Are you guys trying to redefine libertarianism or something. Most libertarians are for small government. Are you backing away from that? Rand to me is simply libertarianism with a philosophical base to justify her arguments. She is like you argue on your website a moral libertarian who "believes that free markets and individual freedom should be preferred because they are more moral political systems".

In fact your argument here is not strictly correct. The next section fails to justify the legitimacy of self-defense, so you need to say 'initiation of force' is repudiated. You need to be strictly correct if you want to overcome strong cynicism.


To a large chunk of those who even know we exist, the Liberal Democratic Party is seen as pushing a dangerously radical agenda. Anything more will just make us a joke in the political marketplace. We're here to win seats and push a freedom agenda. If someone has a different plan to advance the libertarian cause in Australia, I'll probably support it. If someone wants to start a more radical party, I'll certainly join it, though I'll keep running for the Lib-Dems.

When I say that many of our members hold stronger libertarian views then the party, I include myself. The party founder was an anarcho-capitalist. But your only quick route to a libertarian society will be sea-steading. Failing that, a moderate libertarian party is all the people might possibly swallow at this point in time.

Personally I couldn't care less if I fail to dot the t's and cross the i's when I set out my libertarian argument. I have a right to be free, so does everyone else, and that is all the system I need to construct to support my world-view. People arguing A-is-A just turns me off, and I always skip the ending monologue when I read Atlas Shrugged. But if it works for you, that is great. I just think we need to spend less time fighting our fellow-travelers and more focusing on the statists.


Tim, you are trying to achieve something great. The fact that you think its blatantly self-evident, makes you impatient to argue the point. You acknowledge that your views are a digression from the electorate, so that ought to impart on you some knowledge - that "I have a great deal to learn or the public does". Clearly, I think you are closer to the truth, but your sole concern is politics. Thus you are dismissing the whole philosophical base for your arguments and the electorates. If you do a little temper tantrum here, you will not understand the reasons why you and the public believe what you do. The reasons are more fundamental than politics. Pursue this discussion and you will get it. Rest assured I am 50-years advanced than Rand, and I'm less long-winded.

I addressed your fears about radicalising your policies above....in my initial post I questioned why your policies are not more concrete bound, and thus more realistic. I wonder how you intend to win over Australians without an education. How many frustrated libertarians do you think are out there? Are you intending to coerce liberals into becoming libertarians? The sea change needed comes back to my point about education, and differentiating yourself from the other parties, which alienate minorities. Don't alienate. Education is a very powerful basis for engaging and retaining patronage.

Your last paragraph sounds like a self-righteous child. You don't care to understand the nature of your values. Then you cannot care about any concerns or objections that the electorate can have. It conveys a lack of respect for reason and objectivity. This ultimately leads to statism. You have the same underlying flaws as the statists, your contradiction is just at a different level, so you are just an affirmation of statism.

The issue is not whether you think you ought to be free...the issue is whether you can convince the majority of Australians who think you have no entitlement to be so, or think you already are. That is an intellectual debate you cannot avoid. Here we are in a recession caused by govt intervention, and people want more intervention, or are indifferent to it, and you want to dispense with ideas. Don't you think you're on the statists side at this more fundamental level?

I can understand why you might skip the 'intellectual core' of Atlas Shrugged if you repudiate rational arguments for action. I might add that I did not stop at Ayn Rand 25 years ago when I first read her books. I read most of what she published, then I studied taped lecture courses by her colleagues Nathaniel Branden and Leonard Peikoff, and then I started analysing markets, alternative philosophies, studying law, politics and science to apply those ideas. Some of her ideas did not stand, but her core contribution 'her theory of values' is unique and special.

'A is A' turns you off because you can't relate it to your purpose or your knowledge. You would be fighting your members less if you had a set of ideas which united you, or more importantly a respect for facts which transcended your differences. If you had such a respect for objectivity, your intellectual base would grow stronger. The alternative is to adopt the coercive value system of your contemporaries. Its a shame, because you guys have this great forum. Love how it integrates with Facebook and Gmail, etc. Nice!

shouganai1 - no response to my last email

Hmm...this is interesting...A political party which buries its head in the sand. I thought political parties are supposed to be in the business of conflict resolution. Some honesty and courage please. Is there no one in the party who can respond to this thread?

Want to know more about the Liberal Democratic Party, you can go to www.ldp.org.au. Hard to believe such a small group of people can be so arrogant so soon. At least you can say they are not in it for the money or the power....it must be for the naivety.

Andrew Sheldon

ConvinceMe.Net - Anyone up for a debate?