Tuesday 22 March 2005

Replying to Stuart

There's a nice post on Independence today:
Freedom & Whisky is probably the largest and best-established political blog in Scotland. It began in April 2002 and I notice that one of its first posts was regarding the SNP's proposed cut in corporation tax, a story that F&W and many other blogs have been covering again last week.

I discovered F&W just under a year ago via a link in the Adam Smith Institute Blog, and was quite pleased to find some well-written, up-to-date, genuinely Scottish content on the web. Most Scottish stuff on the internet was cringe-inducing tat. However, it is way too right-wing for my tastes. David Farrer and his chums call themselves "libertarians", but don't get me started on that topic or I'll bore the pants off you.

Stuart and I have had our disagreements over the past year or so but have maintained a cordial relationship both on our blogs and by e-mail. At the risk of Stuart "boring your pants off" I feel obliged to respond to his use of the term "right wing". It's not just Stuart of course. The legacy media seems incapable of using the word libertarian without the prefix "right wing" - it really is most peculiar. I suggest that you have a look at this quiz. You won't be surprised to learn that I turn out to be a libertarian, like these people. But aren't libertarians right wing?


You have a better choice than just left or right. The libertarian way gives you more choices, in politics, in business, your personal life, in every way. Libertarians advocate a high degree of both personal and economic liberty. Today's liberals like personal liberty but want government to control your economic affairs. Conservatives reverse that, advocating more economic freedom but wanting to clamp down on your private life.

Libertarian positions on the issues are not "left" or "right" or a combination of the two. Libertarians believe that, on every issue, you have the right to decide for yourself what's best for you and to act on that belief so long as you respect the right of other people to do the same and deal with them peacefully and honestly.

"Actually, true conservatives tend to be libertarian on economic issues, and true liberals tend to be libertarian on social issues," says Sharon Harris, president of the Advocates for Self-Government.

("Liberal" is being used in the American sense; in Europe we use the more robust term "socialist".)

Legacy journalists focus entirely on the economic beliefs of libertarians but evade or are ignorant of our social beliefs, which would often be described as "left wing". How come almost every UK libertarian blog is linked to the anti - ID card campaign? I don't deny that some who comment on this blog are right wing (in the conventional sense) and others are left wing. Some confuse me totally like this gentleman whose website tells us that he:

believe(s) in small government, low taxes,
but at the same time supports:
redistribution of wealth.
In addition, he claims to be a
"free-market socialist".
And some find libertarianism difficult to grasp!

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Trackback message 
Title: Tory Trouble 
Excerpt: ... Libertarians are heavily over-represented in the blogosphere, as are all groups who lack a voice in the mainstream media. For example, in Scotland, from the "libertarian right" we have Bill Cameron, a former Tory activist who 
Blog name: Independence

21 May 2005, 13:43:28 GMT+01:00
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David B. Wildgoose
As a libertarian, I am fond of pointing out that the origin of "left" and "right" in politics dates to the French National Assembly in the aftermath of the 1789 Revolution. 
The further to the "right" you sat, the more royalist you were. 
Libertarians sat on the extreme LEFT.

23 March 2005, 08:24:52 GMT
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Stuart Dickson
Apparently : 
"Ceartas (Pronounced Kier-tis) is a Gaelic word for equity, fairness, and right." 

22 March 2005, 19:02:21 GMT
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Stuart Dickson
I think that you will find that Ceartas (AKA Mr. Hootsmon) had/has a satirical bent: 

22 March 2005, 18:58:49 GMT
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To be fair to Stuart he is a chump who has difficulty with any form of abstract thought. What is more he has a "social democratic" axe to grind and like a teenage girl who says "huh?" to every question he wilfully misunderstands any contrary opinion. Not that he is above whoring his "social democratic" principles when he believes there are votes in it for the SNP.

22 March 2005, 18:37:15 GMT
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Chris A
To be fair to him, libertarianism is still a fringe political ideology in the UK (it's only really in the US that the mainstream may have knowledge of it). Certainly the average Joe in Britain wouldn't know much about libertarian belief.

22 March 2005, 18:00:20 GMT