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The rise of libertarianism is threatening our way of life

The rise of the Libertarian movement in Australia, and other capitalist democracies, poses a far greater threat to our way of life than the isolated acts of terrorism that cause so much fear and hatred.

Libertarians are more dangerous because they are insidiously campaigning to undermine the very fabric of our society. For them, governments should get out of the way. Let the free market reign. Low taxes. No rules. Every man for himself, or “individual liberty” as they like to put it.

This overwhelmingly privileged crowd are focused on what they can get out of society rather than what they can contribute.

They also share an overconfident smugness, a certainty that they are right without having to actually examine the consequences of their laissez-faire approach on those who don’t enjoy their elevated status.

Look at David Leyonhjelm, Tim Wilson, James Patterson, Tom Switzer, Judith Sloane, Henry Ergas, Simon Breheny and Chris Berg for example. They tell us how it is, or how it should be, with such unquestioning self-belief that one starts to wonder if they may be right.

They play on Australians’ aversion to authority, using terms like “nanny state”. The government can’t make you wear a bike helmet or build a pool fence, they say, and they have no right to stop you from smoking or owning a gun.

There are an increasing number of organisations in Australia devoted to spreading this philosophy – the Liberal Democrats, the Institute of Public Affairs, the Centre for Independent Studies, the Australian Libertarian Society, and the Australian Taxpayers Alliance to name a few.

Libertarians spit out the word ‘socialism’ like it is a terrible plot to steal from the rich. They are much more concerned about property rights than human rights and see no role for government in providing services and hence no need to collect taxes.

The free market will take care of it all and if no-one wants to run a bus service that caters to only a few, then they should just buy a car. If no-one wants to operate a vocational college in regional areas, then they should buy a unit in the city for their kids to complete their training. Why should we give an aged pension to people who didn’t take advantage of John Howard’s generous offer to stash a million dollars in superannuation tax free?

Libertarians are also implacably opposed to governments doing anything to address climate change as shown by an email from the IPA’s Ian Plimer in 2014 asking for donations to continue their war on climate science.

Today, you and I are winning. Kevin Rudd’s ETS is gone. Julia Gillard’s carbon tax is about to be repealed. None of this would have happened without the Institute of Public Affairs and its members. But more needs to be done. Australia is still suffering under bad policies (like the renewable energy target) based on bad science.

They also reject any obligation or need for foreign aid, altruistically suggesting that we lift people out of poverty by selling them coal.

As American author Michael Lind points out:

If libertarianism was a good idea, wouldn’t at least one country have tried it? Wouldn’t there be at least one country, out of nearly two hundred, with minimal government, free trade, open borders, decriminalized drugs, no welfare state and no public education system?

In Australia, we could add universal healthcare and subsidised medicines as things that would be thrown on the scrap heap if the libertarians had their way.

Laissez-faire capitalism does not necessarily produce the best or most efficient outcome, nor does its policy of deregulation prevent the abuse of natural resources or encourage ethical behaviour from companies. It does nothing to protect the environment or the vulnerable in our society.

If you don’t give a toss about any future except your own, if all you care about is using the system for personal gain (looking at you Tim Wilson), if you think poverty is the result of laziness and that the environment can look after itself, then libertarianism probably sounds good.

But what a heartless, ravaged world it would be.


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  1. townsvilleblog

    Yes try getting an Australian television show on Australian TV, no trouble getting a yank show, any time of the day or night. We we sliding away from our Australian identity to become just another State of the United States of Australia. An absolute disgrace.

  2. George Swalwell

    Well said, Kaye Lee! She clearly articulates the menace of ”me first”
    attitudes and policies to enrich the individually aggressive folk with
    no conscience.
    America had the”Robber Barons” in the 19th century – we watch with
    dread the growing number of practitioners here of rampant selfishness.

    This social neo-Darwinism – ”the survival of the fittest” indeed – will surely
    lead to collapse of a fair, just, compassionate and caring society. Then
    again, these people follow Margaret Thatcher’s motto, ”There is no
    such thing as ‘society’, just individuals looking after their own interests”.

  3. helvityni

    townsvilleblog, ABC used to have good Australian TV shows, now they are scrimping and saving, and cutting down on shows as the Coalition keeps an eye on their spending and programming…now it’s endless repeats…even at the Prime Time…

    Those American shows must be on the commercial Stations as ABC still has some British stuff…SBS also has plenty of US shows, but I have to say ,I have enjoyed watching Homeland…

  4. townsvilleblog

    George, are you referring to North America, or South America?

  5. townsvilleblog

    helvitni, yes ABC do still have some Australian and English shows, so does 72 but if you flick through the channels you can find yank shows by the number. Australian TV we are being treated like we are yanks, not Australians, and there is no outcry, so me thinks our famous apathy is allowing them to do exactly what they like.

  6. townsvilleblog

    helvitni, I always forget to go to SBS unfortunately because they have some great shows, I watch SBS when I can’t sleep through the nights, but never remember through the day, thanks for the reminder, much appreciated.

  7. Meg

    Did anyone see the new SBS drama “Safe Harbour”? It is a brave and bold depiction of how we are neglecting our moral duty to bring all of our refugees safely to our shores. Even those with practices and beliefs a bit different to our own privileged white lifestyles. Move over racist bigots – our brown angels are coming.

  8. Kaye Lee

    No Meg, I didn’t but I read the blurb you linked to and will definitely catch up on what sounds like a very interesting show. Thanks for the heads up.

  9. helvityni

    townswilleblog, after discovering The Bridge (Danish/Swedish) on SBS,I started checking their TV programs…

    Kaye Lee, when I see Judith Sloane on the Drum, I have to switch the TV off, Downer’s daughter gets the same treatment… Got to know James Patterson, Chris Bergh et other IPA folk on the ABC’s Unleashed, not impressed…

  10. Matters Not

    Libertarianism is a great personal philosophy but only in a world where there is no other. Even then, it has its weaknesses because while the other may limit our freedoms in various ways – the presence of the other expands our freedoms exponentially.

    Sex is but one example. Without the other there would only be wankers. Which sums up many of today’s libertarians who can’t think beyond themselves.

  11. Matters Not

    Re good TV programs – apart from the ones mentioned above – try Berlin Station on SBS.

  12. Meg

    After our revolution, TV will be a wonderful form of education of the masses – and with webcam technology, the benevolent government can ensure that no-one dozes off during programming. The Japanese have developed an experimental system that detects fatigue in drivers by monitoring their eyelid behaviour. This has been around for some years, so subsequent advances in technology will mean this will be easily made, and easily deployed. It could even be so that monitoring is by AI rather than human observers.

  13. Vikingduk

    Yep, and I think these same screw you attitudes show up in the amount of rubbish left behind after the picnic/day at the beach. Always know to expect more shit left behind in peak tourist times. Also the number of motorists who don’t use their indicators, the joggers who don’t seem to realise these paths/Boardwalks are for all to use and our dogs. The greed and screw you I’m all right attitude grows by the moment.

    And with the examples shown by our politicians, business leaders, multi nationals, etc, what else can we expect? If I decided to liberate some libertarians possessions, would they expect a nanny state police force to help? Or are the police out as well?

    I wonder if these libertarians have really considered the possible consequences of their desires?

  14. Vikingduk

    And on the tv front, do yourselves a favour and download SBS on demand ap and then binge Norwegian, Danish or Swedish made shows.

  15. diannaart

    Libertarians are also happy to confuse liberalism with their cult of the self – for example, in quote by American, Michael Lind:

    If libertarianism was a good idea, wouldn’t at least one country have tried it? Wouldn’t there be at least one country, out of nearly two hundred, with minimal government, free trade, open borders, decriminalized drugs, no welfare state and no public education system?

    While I stand to be corrected, I would posit the USA has made a very big attempt at Libertarianism – and not just since 2016 – Trump could not have happened without a framework for him to climb.

    Also “decriminalisation of drugs” that’s not so much about the libertarian ‘value’ of freedom to choose, it is more in line with those who believe the “war on drugs” is about making money for the very few while exploiting the vulnerable. Not so much about caring for the damage drugs can do.

    Bicycle helmets are no more nanny-state than having safe roads to drive on – the cost of accidents being greater to our collective well-being than the right to narcissism.

    Libertarians like to appear liberal to sugar coat an ideology so intrinsically devoted to the self that if revealed, causes the majority of people to recoil in revulsion.

    Nor should we be surprised that many an authoritarian is, at heart a libertarian – “do as I tell you, not as I do.”

  16. Meg

    “Libertarians” like Leyonhjelm are a micro-minority. The true fascists are the suburban LNP-voting tradies who jealously guard their lifestyles, right down to the toxic brand of beer that they guzzle when they aren’t ripping off hapless homeowners. They even complain when nature sends a warning about the destruction they wreak on this planet via a volcano interfering with their selfish (as usual) holiday plans to Bali.

  17. Andrew Chambers

    They work in secrecy through multiple institutions and pressure groups financed by the proceeds from their victories in gaining tax cuts, bounty from the relaxation of pollution and exploration controls. A nasty gang of rich, dominantly, men. (ref. Dark Money. Jane Mayer)
    They want nothing less than the destruction of all social assistance and welfare, no taxes, the enforcement of land rights (through now vast and rapidly expanding private security forces and heavily armoured police.) and the right to produce whatever they want using whatever resources at a price they’ve determined, free to pollute and enjoy a life of wealth and indulgence few of us could conceive.
    We could rise up but face almost certain defeat at the hands of our police and military forces.
    Or we take back our Democracy at the ballot box.
    Does it ever strike you as strange that just about any squeak of a scientific breakthrough warrants those special 5 minute reports in the news or some magazine style coverage in lifestyle shows over the weekend yet never do you hear about what’s going on in Direct Democracy developments and all the incredible work going into one of the worlds biggest software developments?
    Be informed, because you’re not, deliberately.

  18. amacwardle

    They are a confused lot, the Libertarians. They will never debate their views publicly with anyone who disagrees and happy to use the ‘commons’ of the ABC to promote their views. If they were honest they would only use the commercial networks. H They are happy to take taxpayer dollars, as MPs and as Human Rights commissioners (Tim Wilson).

  19. paul walter

    It originates through bods like Murdoch and the Koch brothers and is not Libertarianism in the sense we know it, eg Civil Libertarianism, so much as much as an alibi concocted over centuries, then honed by modern Americans like Robert Nozick to justify misappropriation of other people’s property and supremacy of property rights above all else, once it belongs to hard-assed tycoons. It all goes back to the likes of Hobbes and Locke justifying self-will in colonial times to valorise class dominance and/or theft; also defacto enslavement of indigenous people and property and in colonialist times, although in Locke’s case there is sophistication in the writing that sometimes requires decoding.

    Prof John Quiggin has an occasional shot them, of the sort offered here:


    Combined with the bellicosity of American Exceptionalism, White supremacism and Evangelical Xtianity and rightist Zionism, it makes for a potent brew that is at the core of the militarised USA’s flight from Reason overt the last couple of generations.

  20. diannaart

    Paul Walter

    Well said. Just another form of imperialism – whether it is state or private or a combination, there will always be a small percentage of people wanting power over the majority. Given that most people simply want to be left to live in peace, this simple ideal continues to be exploited by those who consider themselves as entitled and deserving.

    Anyone who objects is considered less a rebel than a competitor for power.

  21. paul walter

    Thanks, diannaart.

    Yes, Christine, “heartless” is the definitional word.

  22. johno

    @ Meg, spot on.

  23. Glenn Barry

    Paul Walter, great summary, I was also wondering if this phenomenon was just a rehashing of colonialism and imperialism – greed driven behaviours pursued with impunity and complete absence of consequence.

    I wonder how enthusiastic the proponents would be if they were to become victims of the unmitigated predatory behaviour they so adore…would they be as brave if there were no-one between them and someone looking threateningly down the barrel of a gun

  24. Cubism

    Nice article. Singapore is often touted as an example of the success of a libertarian philosophy but a closer examination reveals state control of nearly everything and dimunition of civil rights. ‘Libertarianism’ is the trojan horse of authoritarianism. And it’s clearly where the L-NP want to take us.

  25. stephengb2014

    These so called Libertarians are really working toward a return feudalism.

    As is the Neoliberal economics of the LNP. Meanwhile there are enough neoliberals in the ALP to be of concern.

    S G B

  26. margcal

    Kaye Lee, has there been any study done on the wealth of MPs when they first enter parliament and how wealthy they are when they leave (including pensions, etc)?
    That could be instructive.
    Obviously, Malcolm would be worse off – buying a Prime Ministership costs a little bit. But I’d be interested in the numbers for those who have their snouts in the trough.
    (I’d add Josh Frydenberg to your list – or maybe he’ll pull some money out of a hat and buy the Prime Ministership for himself in due course.)

  27. Kaye Lee


    Malcolm made back what he donated in just two years as PM with an annual salary of $527,852 plus millions in expenses. He doesn’t have to pay for anything.

    For comparison: Justin Trudeau, Canada, $333,000, Angela Merkel, Germany, $322,000

    I also heard today that we are about to get a new Chief of the Defence Force who will take home a salary of well over $800,000.

    For comparison:

    In Britain, head of armed forces Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach has an annual salary of between 255,000 and 259,000 pounds ($468,000–$475,000) before tax, according to data published by the UK Ministry of Defence.

    General Joseph Dunford, the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is paid just over $245,000, topped up with a personal allowance of $5,172, according to The Times newspaper.

    None of which answers your question.

  28. margcal

    No. 🙂 But the comparisons are interesting 🙁 Thank you!

    And I fear the figures I’d really like to know won’t be available for quite some time …. would love to know just how much Tim Wilson will suck from the public teat before he’s finished. He must have done very nicely, thank you, from being Brandis’s pet. i.e. net worth at the start and end of that ‘job’, after the money spent on the lavish travel and other perks paid for during his time in post have been taken out.

  29. Jai Ritter

    Thank you Kaye Lee! I’ve had a few “conversations” over the years with people who call themselves libertarians and they just come across as self absorbed selfish arseholes who would blame a homeless person for being homeless.

    These people are just straight up arseholes.

  30. Matters Not


    has there been any study done on the wealth of MPs when they first enter parliament and how wealthy they are when they leave

    I suspect that by going down the salary, allowances and expenses track, one might miss the much bigger picture.

    Take the Gary Cohn story as an example of what might be considered. Cohn was Trump’s Chief economic advisor who masterminded Trump’s recent taxation reforms and guided them through the Congress. His conflict of interest was monumental but not seriously reported in the MSM. Cohn was there to achieve a particular outcome which benefitted himself and his corporate mates. He wasn’t there for salary, allowances and expenses (the chickenfeed) but for much bigger stakes.

    View this short video for a more detailed explanation: (and do so before reading further.)

    Anyone who follows politics in Australia knows that Turnbull is effectively a Tax Resident of the Cayman Islands. His future growth in wealth depends, in part at least, on how much his corporate investments are NOT taxed in Australia.

    That’s what needs to be investigated. That’s where the really big dollars might be found and certainly not in the chickenfeed.

  31. LOVO

    Jai, re: your last sentence @ 9.18….click on the link and you will get confirmation in spades. But don’t bother commenting…’they’ don’t get that their illogical fringe dwellers, ‘they’ think their mainstream…ya’all. ….but having said that, it can be a ‘fun’ read….though I do shake my head often 😯

  32. Jakob Shanks

    Being libertarian doesn’t make you heartless. If I the government didn’t steal so much of my money to pay redundant public servents, inflated politician wages and entitlements and an unsustainable welfare bill, I could use that money to help the people I care for that fall through centerlinks cracks.

    Being libertarian isn’t about being selfish, its about being responsible for yourself and your loved ones, and not being a burden on your society. Libertarians are not trying to take everything from they can at the expense of the community. They’re building a more socially resonsible society by placing responsibility back on every individual.

    By abdicating responsibility and giving it to the government we don’t solve climate change or any other issue you’re concerned with, we merely give ourselves an entity to blame when things go wrong.

    Which is the same as saying the devil is the cause of every bad thing to ever happen.

  33. LOVO

    Jakob seems noice, entities aside…. (shakesheadsmiley) 😎
    “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” J. K. Galbraith
    ….but, libertarians ain’t conservative. ..chortle. .snork

  34. Kaye Lee

    So Jakob,

    Are you going to build your own hospital and your own school and your own roads and railways and airports?

    “By abdicating responsibility and giving it to the government we don’t solve climate change”

    Well certainly not with THIS government. I agree we must all reduce our personal carbon footprint but, even if I install solar panels and energy efficient appliances and walk or catch public transport rather than drive, I cannot provide the energy for industry so the government has to come up with a plan that will transition the nation’s power to clean energy. The government has to build the infrastructure for us to move to electric cars. The government is responsible for building codes etc.

    How wonderful for you that you have a lot of money but I very much doubt you have enough to take over all of the services that the government already provides you with.

    Do you use Medicare and the PBS? How do you think they are funded?

    What about the people who don’t have rich relatives like you?

    I could go on but you get my drift…or maybe not.

  35. margcal

    Matters Not, I agree with you entirely. The salary and perks are only the beginning – but a better first step on the ladder than most of us get. I didn’t spell out clearly enough that what they acquire beyond the exorbitant pay and expenses is very much a matter for investigation – from bribery, to backhanders, to insider trading and beyond.

  36. US Libertarian

    Michael Lind may be hard pressed to find a libertarian nation, but he need look no further than our Bill of Rights for an example. The first ten amendments to the US Constitution are a shining example of what many libertarians believe.

    Those first ten lay out We the people’s rules for our government. Not their rules for us. In those ten amendments you’ll find freedom of speech, press, religion and the right to assembly. The second is the individual’s right to arm and protect themselves. The third prevents the government from quartering military in our homes. The fourth protects us against unlawful searches and seizures. The fifth projects us against self incrimination. I could go on but, I have a point to make.

    Everything we started with has slowly been whittled down by what I see as an unjust, bloated and over reaching government. They limit these essential basic freedoms in the name of safety, security and common good. We are fast losing all.

    Also, to the comments about our stance on drugs, it has far more to do with the fact that the government has no right to tell me or anyone else what they can put into their body.

    To the comment about police and being robbed… Average response time in my rural area is 20 minutes. I’ll hold on to my gun for my own defense and self preservation.

    There are a lot of misnomer’s and misunderstanding of not only what libertarians believe, but why they believe it. Try having a conversation with one of us sometime. You might be surprised to find that you agree more that not.

  37. Jimmy Mahaney

    Libertarians are so selfish. They think they can care for their neighbors better than I can.

  38. TerjeP

    Kaye – you may as well ask if us libertarians are going to bake our own bread and knit our own socks. Well you could if you want to. But I suspect that most people would be happy to specialise and trade. If you think communities can not build schools and hospitals without government control then you have not studied much history.

    And yes libertarians do believe in community. Less government means more gets done in the private sector and through civil society.

    You appear captive to the statist mentality that imagines people can not come together to achieve meaningful things without the whip of government at their back. It is a sad view of humanity that the statist holds. And your view of libertarians is just a reflection of your shallow view of humanity.

    I personally think there is a role for government in dealing with violent criminals. But only because in some extreme instances force becomes necessary to protect the innocent from predators. I just don’t accept that coersion is necessary in general for human endeavours like the construction and operation of schools and hospitals. And certainly not for universities.

    You have painted a false phantom image of libertarians. It’s not healthy. Try harder.

  39. Glenn Barry

    I’m happy for the Libertarians to have their way, somewhere in a remote location where there are no roads, electricity, water, sewage, telecommunications, access to public transport, or any other public infrastructure whatsoever – then they can organise a voluntary donation from all of their compatriots and build everything from scratch.

    All I hear are ill informed mouth pieces advocating for unchecked corporate greed being able to take with complete impunity – no differently than the imperialists roamed the planet for centuries raping, pillaging and plundering wth complete impunity.

    These damned libertarians cannot even manage a single novel idea amongst them.

  40. Glenn Barry

    Terjep, would you cite the private American medical and university systems as successes of private enterprise and your libertarian ideals?

  41. Kaye Lee

    US Libertarian,

    Your “right to bear arms”, far from keeping you safe, has made you one of the most violent countries in the world where even your own children are scared to go to school. No thanks.

    Your healthcare system is so prohibitively expensive that poor people die because they cannot afford treatment and medicine. Our system is infinitely preferable to yours.

    You say the government has no right to tell you what you can put in your body. Do you know how many police, doctors and nurses in emergency get attacked by people exercising their “right” to use ice or excessive amounts of alcohol? What about people who are made ill by exposure to passive smoke from people exercising their right to inhale carcinogens? What about children who are coerced into drug use by pushers? What about the hospital beds taken up by drug users?


    The private sector exists to make a profit. The public sector exists to provide infrastructure, health and education services for all. Our private schools and private hospitals are unaffordable for many in the population. Our private schools do not have to cater for children with special needs.

    And thanks for another silly term….”statist”. Does that go with “warmist”?

    You say I have painted a false picture. Can you tell me what in the article is incorrect?

  42. TerjeP

    Glenn – the US health system is not an example of free markers in action. In fact the US is generally not the best example of libertarian policy on any issue. Except perhaps a few civil liberties. Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Hong Kong are all rated higher on “economic freedom” by those that make such comparisons.

  43. TerjeP

    Kaye – Wikipedia tells me that the word “statist” has been in use since 1850. It’s not some newly invented word.

  44. Kaye Lee

    So it’s been a silly term for a long time?

  45. TerjeP

    Much of the Australian health care sector is provided by the private sector. Dentists, GPs, pathology, medical centres, physio etc. The state does patient funding (Medicare) and hospitals (but increasingly outsourced).

    Libertarians would privatise the hospitals. State governments seem to be licensing them to private operators instead. Similar direction.

    My own view on Medicare is that initially we should keep it but require people to repay their medical costs like with HECS. Unless they opt to pay for medical costs directly or choose to get insurance. Some annual caps on costs that can be debted to their HECS account during a transition period would make sense.

  46. Glenn Barry

    TerjeP, do you actually mean to use the Australian private medical and health insurance system as examples of economic freedom?

    The Australian private health insurance system is an atrocious example of privatisation – it is the epitome of crony capitalism – subsidised by public monies, pricing increases, year after year, far in excess of CPI increases and seriously declining patronage. They are also feeding back to their shareholders at well above mean share market returns.

    What of the US university system – that is possibly one of the worst education systems benefiting economic privilege and leading to an elitist society that I have ever observed.

    Just where do libertarians stand on the issue of equality in sciety, and most importantly what are libertarian methods for achieving it?

  47. Kaye Lee


    I am very surprised to hear that the LDP accepted the $1 million in election funding from the Australian Electoral Commission after the 2013 election where Leyonhjelm got in on the donkey vote and voters confusion about names. What’s even more surprising is what you wanted to use it for.

    “LDP party member and candidate Terje Petersen suggested the $50,000 should be used for a “massive piss up somewhere and invite everyone to come and enjoy a ‘free beer'”.–~D/cm90YXRlPWF1dG87dz05NjA7YXBwaWQ9eXZpZGVv/

    A piss-up at the taxpayers’ expense? How very unlibertarian of you.

  48. Glenn Barry

    Kaye Lee, at least we know what TerjeP’s priorities are regarding the spending of public monies – couldn’t have him waste it in the areas of hospitals or education.

    I call “credibility annihilated”

  49. Glenn Barry

    Terjep, unfortunately for you I just read this –

    You have no credibility whatsoever – I suggest relocating to the US – they have their medical system already privatised to fulfil your wishes.

    You do realise that the majority of Australians DO NO WANT a US style medical system?

    Your suggestions in the above post are as ridiculous as they are unworkable and likely to plunge entire sections of the community into debt servitude – you have all the hallmarks of privilege with no self awareness whatsoever

  50. Kaye Lee

    The ‘Menzies Research Centre’ gets about a quarter of a million in government funding every year.

    As for Menzies House….

    “Tim Andrews was the co-founder of Menzies House, and is the Executive Director of the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance. He served as President of the Australian Liberal Students’ Federation and Vice President (Policy) of the NSW Young Liberals from 2006-2008. Tim has several years experience working in Washington DC for Americans for Tax Reform, the Cato Insitute, and as a Koch Associate. Tim is also on the Board of the Australian Libertarian Society, and serves on the Board of Management for the HR Nicholls Society.”

    Lots of board positions….not much about gathering communities together to build schools and hospitals. Their biggest campaign seems to be about legalising vaping.

  51. Pingback: The rise of libertarianism is threatening our way of life – » The Australian Independent Media Network | Plant Health Solutions

  52. TerjeP (say taya)

    Glenn – thanks for linking to some of my earlier written work. Appreciated.

    “Menzies House” is not “Menzies Research Centre”. Different entities. Not sure what it matters anyway. I’m writing here on this site with comments. Doesn’t mean this site represents me or I agree with the other comments here. I’ve written articles for the ABC also but it does not mean I agree with everything else written there or how the place is run or funded.

    Kaye – People, Parties, Charities, Companies etc are generally free to spend government funding that they receive as they see fit. That does not mean such public funding should be given in the first place. If the government sends me a cheque and I choose to spend it on beer then what does the latter have to do with anything?

    The LDP opposes public funding of political parties. That does not mean it has to refuse public funding if public funding is the law. Just as I won’t refuse treatment in a public hospital or avoid driving on public roads or swear off public schools or refuse to eat food that is grown with a public subsidy. If you think this is hypocrisy that is your issue not mine.

  53. TerjeP (say taya)

    Glenn – Australians may not want a private medical system. But so what? In a democracy people are free to argue the case for change. They are free to stand for public office. Are you suggesting that there should be some rule that prohibits libertarians from arguing their case for change? I doubt that sort of censorship is what most Australians want.

  54. Kaye Lee

    That’s the problem with libertarians Terje. They will happily put their hands out for handouts whilst decrying the use of public money to protect our vulnerable and provide equal opportunity and services for all. Your comment suggests your principles are easily thrown away if there are some public bucks coming your way. Had you decided to donate that money to bettering the community you may have received some kudos.

    And I just love the way you throw up the censorship red herring as you freely comment here. Not only that, we have linked to some of your previous writings so people can make up their own mind.

    I wonder if you could explain to me who would fund shelters and refuges under a libertarian government. Would a private company altruistically run such services at their own expense?

  55. diannaart

    Where is this idea among libertarians the government is a complete and separate entity from corporate interests? And, therefore, needs restraining?

    Our current and increasing divide between extreme wealth and th rest of us is specifically because government has been co-opted by the corporate/private sector – not your small business who have god reason to contribute to community, but multi-national enterprises who have everything to gain by limiting government services for people by privatisation?

    Someone, in the replies above, suggested that health expenses provided by government should be repaid by a type of HECS scheme, which would keep many people in permanent debt. I am on DSP and loathing every second of having MY independence so utterly neutered by illness, how would I go about paying for my medical expenses without a program guaranteed by government policy? Hope someone would help out and not expect me to repay – because I will never have the money.

    However, the point that is missed by libertarians is simple cause and effect – what we do has impact on other people and our environment, government is a method by which we can mitigate much of our own destructive behaviour (in an ideal world) and redistributes services and help where it is needed. It is pie in the sky stuff to expect there will be enough altruistic people to take up the services a government provides.

    In our real world, we currently have a parliament wishing to cut taxes even further for the most powerful and wealthy among us. The claim being that higher profits will somehow result in higher wages, more employment and fluffy bunnies. This does not happen, my evidence being the slow strangulation of wage increases and the demise of permanent full-time work over the past 30 or more years – from industries that are declaring increasing profits year after year.

    At one time we were helpless children utterly dependent upon others and that is how we wind up in our later years dependent on the good will of others.

    If the government has betrayed its moral responsibilities (and it has) it is because of libertarian, laissez-faire economics that benefit only a minority.

  56. Kaye Lee

    ^^^^ What she said.

    The government must defend us against unscrupulous merchants and employers, and the extreme class structure that results from their exploitation.

  57. TerjeP (say taya)

    “must defend us against unscrupulous merchants and employers” — if you go back and look at my comments I specifically said that there should be protections against outright predators. The traditional means of protection against unscrupulous employers was a part of civil society called the trade union. One more civil society institution that has been largely displaced by the state. Few people join unions any more. The growth of the state has been the death of civic institutions in general. Unions, churches, charities, welfare societies have all been slowly and incrementally decimated. Even those that survive like surf life saving are now at risk of being slowly displaced by government.

  58. Kaye Lee

    Terje, you never mentioned predatory businesses. Your comment was about protection from violent criminals.

    “I personally think there is a role for government in dealing with violent criminals. But only because in some extreme instances force becomes necessary to protect the innocent from predators.”

    I agree with you about the deliberate undermining of unions but that has been at the behest of industries who want to undermine workplace entitlements and a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work and a share in the wealth that their labour produces by way of wage rises.

    But I completely disagree about the government undermining churches. Look at the school chaplains program. Look at the public funding for religious schools. Look at how John Howard handed over responsibility for aged care etc to the churches who make significant profit on which they pay no tax.

    Churches are dying because people have evolved past praying to some god for good crops.

    As for surf-lifesaving, are you suggesting that beachgoers pay for patrols or that drowning victims should pay for being rescued? What do you mean “displaced by government”? They wouldn’t exist without government funding.

  59. TerjeP (say taya)

    For most of our history surf life saving was paid for and provided by volunteers. Mostly it still is. Government has only inserted itself into the mix in more recent years. It is just one example of civil society. A valuable remnant of what once was. There are other examples.

  60. TerjeP (say taya)

    Political Parties also used to be run by volunteers with deep roots in the community. Party membership is generally dwindling. Primarily because public funding means major political parties don’t need their members. The LDP cuts against the trend but the trend across the major parties is downward. And it means major parties are becoming more disconnected. Which is reflected in how people now vote (25% don’t put the majors first).

    Statism kills community.

  61. Kaye Lee

    “For most of our history surf life saving was paid for and provided by volunteers. Mostly it still is.”

    Yes about mainly volunteers providing the service but your link says nothing about government funding. Can you provide a link to your assertion that it is paid for by volunteers? Yes, they do fundraising and get donations but the government has been involved from almost the beginning.

    According to the association themselves…

    “As these clubs grew in size and numbers, the need for a united front to raise funds and seek assistance from local and state government resulted in the New South Wales Surf Bathing Association being formed on 18 October 1907.”

  62. TerjeP (say taya)

    “Churches are dying because people have evolved past praying to some god for good crops.” — yeah fine. I’m an athiest. But if you think Churches were just about God then you’re missing a big part of the puzzle. They used to be, and still are somewhat, community organisations that helped the poor and supported people in moments of crisis.

    Your indication that governments are funding churches and religious services hardly sits in opposition to my point. In fact it makes my point. Government is taking over. Organisations that used to look to their members and the community to get things done are now organs of the state. Paid and bought. Some conservatives think this is a good idea. They are wrong. Just as those on the left that think government should take over the job of trade unions are also misguided.

  63. Kaye Lee

    Please stop with the silly term. It means nothing and makes you sound like a Young Liberal.

    I agree there is disillusionment with the major parties, and for some good reasons. Labor’s inability to explain the urgent need for carbon pricing for economic reasons, and their abandonment of Julia Gillard, set us back a long way. Kevin Rudd’s knee-jerk race to the bottom on asylum seekers was despicable. Their championing of public education is also being eroded by pandering to the religious and independent schools.

    But this government is atrocious because of their leaning towards libertarianism. The idea that company tax cuts will lead to higher wages has been proven a fallacy time and time again. If companies make higher profits they pay higher dividends, they buy back shares, and they give their CEO an obscene amount of money – often a bonus for cutting costs.

    Did you see any businesses arguing for wage rises above CPI at the Fair Work Commission even though higher wages would lead to higher consumption, more demand, more jobs and higher profits? No. Did you see any businesses arguing that penalty rates should be kept because they go to the lowest paid workers? No. Do you see businesses arguing the case that security of employment leads to better productivity? No.

    The 2014 budget was a wonderful example of small government. How was that received by the public?

    What does “government should take over the job of trade unions” mean? Workers no longer have the right to withdraw their labour. That is part the unions fault, the Accord made them sort of lazy and made people less likely to join, and part the governments fault for the people they appoint to the FWC and their political/industrial leanings.

  64. TerjeP (say taya)

    “That’s the problem with libertarians Terje. They will happily put their hands out for handouts whilst decrying the use of public money to protect our vulnerable and provide equal opportunity and services for all.” — Senator Leyonhjelm has called again and again for welfare to be only for the vulnerable. He has called for an end to middle class welfare. He has asked for caps to be in place so people on $300K+ don’t get handouts. In practice every libertarian I know of in the political sphere quarantines funding for the vulnerable when they talk of spending cuts. Not because they wouldn’t cut this but because it is among the last things they would cut. You need to first restore to the community it’s capacity to care for it’s own. Transition issues matter.

  65. TerjeP (say taya)

    “But this government is atrocious because of their leaning towards libertarianism.” — no evidence of that. They have opposed nearly every policy reform proposed by Senator Leyonhjelm.

    “The 2014 budget was a wonderful example of small government.” — now you are not even trying to be serious.

  66. TerjeP (say taya)

    “Did you see any businesses arguing for wage rises above CPI at the Fair Work Commission even though higher wages would lead to higher consumption, more demand, more jobs and higher profits?”

    Libertarians favour free markets. Businesses should talk to unions and employees not some commission.

  67. Ken

    This is a fascinating work. Is it simply a satirical look at the common and confused view of outsiders towards a minority group framed in the hectic and insular narrative of modern politics,or is it a never ending cascade of mirrors endlessly creating parody through juxtaposition of absurdities, or something more? Anyway it was delightfully amusing and a well needed distraction. Thank you.

  68. diannaart

    “Free Markets”

    There is no such thing – unless human beings are as programmable as robots and nothing ever changes; there are no variations in anything to disrupt the supply chain, no limitations of raw ingredients for manufacture – you know everything is completely predictable and everyone behaves as expected.


    You said yourself, predators exist – they don’t just exist they thrive in unregulated systems.

    Expecting humans to always behave honourably as a truly free market is nonsense.

    Have you not read the latest insult to ‘honourable’ behaviour?

    Liberal MPs Bernie Finn and Craig Ondarchie were given a pairing on Good Friday for religious reasons while the government’s Country Fire Authority bill was debated in a marathon sitting, which started on Thursday about 7pm.

    But the pair walked back into the Legislative Council at the 11th hour to vote down the legislation.

    The pairing agreement meant two Labor MPs – Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford and Small Business Minister Philip Dalidakis – had already abstained from the vote.

    The bill was defeated 19-18.

    Oh, you will claim, this is why we need small government – what we need is good governance by and for the people – small government does not automatically lead to honourable government. What happened on Good Friday means there is now no way for politicians to genuinely take time out if they cannot attend legislative meetings.

    As for the demise of unions, have you been living under a rock or are you deliberately being facetious?

    There has been a concerted campaign by conservative governments and private enterprise to reduce the power and influence of unions. There is plenty of evidence of the cutting back on unions right to strike, enter work places, obstacles to collecting union fees… Unions upset the ideology of infinite profit.

    Workers demand safe working conditions and equitable payment for their toil – all of which cuts into profits.

    Humans need guidelines – being a very liberal sort of person myself, I have always considered rules more as guidelines – however, even though I have lived an interesting and varied life, I try to do no harm, I respect the laws which work towards the protection of as many people as possible. If my illness is a result of my behaviour it is because I tried very hard to keep going, to keep on, in spite of a number of uncontrollable circumstances – what happened to me can happen to any one – no matter how smart, fit or capable – bad stuff can happen.

    We need each other, humans always have. Libertarianism is code for greed and only for the very few.

  69. Glenn Barry

    For the LDP to increase it’s membership that would require two more members as David Leyonhjelm and our new found friend, Terje Petersen likely constitute the current membership – talk about a ridiculous sub minority of a sub minority of a minority chanting that they know the path to liberation.

    In marketing speak, all we are witnessing here from you Terje is a pathetic attempt to relabel and re-brand good old, been there since time immemorial, GREED.

    Your prattling on about free markets is a garbage re-labelling of crony capitalism, nothing more

  70. Kaye Lee

    If everyone always made sensible decisions, if everyone including businesses and organisations always acted honorably, if we all recognised our obligations and responsibilities to fulfil our part of the social contract, then maybe we could have small government but, as we have seen, businesses particularly will get away with whatever they can. Corporations have no ethical obligations when profit is king. Individuals will make poor choices and whilst you might say tough luck for them, abandoning them has greater social cost than helping them.

  71. diannaart

    Kaye Lee

    I looked at the LDP website. Be very afraid…

    There is nothing thoughtful there.

    Just a thinly veiled presentation implying social and community care is too expensive to justify.

    Along with a tepid proviso the “genuine” cases of hardship will be provided for – without any explanation what they mean by “genuine”, nor how a libertarian safety-net (oxymoron?) would work – presumably without messy red-tape – apart from private for profit organisations wanting carte blanche and many religious organisations which would prefer even less accountability than they have now.

    As Glenn Barry noted these “libertarians” are just a very tiny yet conversely noisy group who have the need for greed.

  72. paul walter

    Terje, you old nuisance, what are you up to here?

    Been years since you’ve been to Quiggin.

    Do you think the power relations make for a fair playing field when an individual worker talks to a boss about a wage increase?

    More likely, out the door?

    So I’m a bit cynical. Think on as to why.

  73. practicality

    Before we can say Libertarianism threatens our way of life or our values, first define our way of life, and our values.
    I will argue that our society is an extension of the one that settled this country in 1788 and from where most of the original immigrants came from – Britain, which provided our language, laws, and a long tradition based on Judeao-Christian values, including a potent work ethic. Post WW2 immigration meshed well with that.
    And is our way of life not pretty well captured by observing a family day at the beach, a backyard barby, or a regional country sporting fixture? By a country Australia Day gathering, or ANZAC Day, By the readers of the Telegraph, or the Sun, or the Herald or the Age, the Guardian or by a dinner party round table discussion by inner city dwelling academics?
    The ideas endorsed by the latter, are not endorsed by the former, it must be said, you only have to listen at the pub, or any working class BBQ to realise that.
    The Liberal Democrats, One Nation, Bob Katter, et al, I will venture exist mostly as a counterweight to what many – probably the majority – of ordinary Australians see as the excesses in policy and influence of the left, particularly the radical left.
    They don’t sign up to all the ideas of the new right, but neither do they accept the ideas, which too often become policy, then regulation or law, of the fringe left, which they often view as silly, impractical social engineering or worse, and way out of step with the silent majorities values and wishes.

  74. LOVO

    “…probably the majority – of ordinary Australians ” and ” out of step with the silent majorities values and wishes.” Mate, your minorities and you are not mainstream….most Aussies don’t think like that….you and your list of mates don’t speak for the majority.
    Your a fringe dweller….akin to conspiracy theorists, Chem-trailers and Climate Science deniers.
    One wonders what has caused you not to know that ??
    Anyhoo, good luck out there on the edges….don’t fall off 😉…….your welcome.

  75. Kaye Lee

    Is this the silent majority that held up their Ditch the Witch and Bob Brown’s bitch signs? Is this the silent majority that go to Reclaim Australia rallies? Or the silent majority that insisted we vote on who people can love? Is this the silent majority that delivered us the moronic Pauline Hanson and her comical sidekicks?

    Then there are those who just care about their franking credits.

    The majority of people I know care about others and not just the people in their own circle. They care about climate change. They care about wars and oppression. They care about poverty, inequality and homelessness. They care about universal healthcare and public education. They don’t whinge about paying taxes to help keep our system running.

    I know which barbecue I would rather attend.

  76. Glenn Barry

    Practicality, if you want to venture into that past then you NEED to acknowledge the imperialist behaviour that epitomised it – it was the invasion and drug pushing on China, it was atrocities the world over in the name of the Monarchy, it was slavery, It was the East India Company – the last two in that list probably the greatest examples of free market capitalism that ever existed – take over entire continents including their inhabitants, consider them chattel and make all the money you can off of them. Same for slavery, people with prices attached – the free market perfected, unless of course you were the poor unfortunate in irons.

    Gerneralised question for the libertarians haunting this article, do you have a list of honour bound capitalists – who already do, or will at the first opportunity give large portions of their salary and bonuses on any year to their workers?
    These bosses – content in the knowledge that they themselves have enough and want that others should within their sphere should also be elevated by the wealth of the company.

    It’s a fiction, and it’s not even a good one, those driven by greed will somehow act completely contrary to their only driving force.

    Has anyone noticed that Bill Gates the so-called philanthropist is still pegging incredibly close to being the richest man in the world…

  77. John Humphreys

    Lol, it’s cute when non-libertarians first start to learn about new ideas. First you’re shocked, then confused, then scared, then you start shrieking like teenage girls.

    If course, you never bother to actually understand what you are criticising. That would require thinking. Too hard for this crowd. But at least you keep us entertained.

  78. Kaye Lee

    How terribly patronising of you John. But then that is what libertarians do best.

    There have been many questions asked in this thread, all of which have been studiously ignored by you libertarians.

    Perhaps you could “entertain” us with the answers to a few of them. Considering you are the founder the Liberal Democratic Party, the Australian Libertarian Society, and the Human Capital Project, one would have thought you may have used the opportunity to point out the value of your ideas, but it seems all you’ve got is a sneering smugness.

  79. Matters Not

    first start to learn about new ideas

    Please – new ideas? Both ignorance and arrogance on public display.

  80. Dale

    John, your philosophy is so impressive, we`ll just let you organize everything, by the way, love the Avatar…

  81. practicality

    The silent majority usually don’t do rallies – that is why they are the silent majority – its the noisy minorities that do such things.

    And Glenn, lets remember Wilberforce et al and the English abolitionists were the ones who campaigned – successfully – to end the slave trade starting in the 1700s – they led the world on that.
    Lets also remember that someone was going to settle Australia as well. We are so fortunate that it was Britain and not say, Spain, France, or China – have a look at the history of the countries that experienced them (Tibet anyone?).

    Some here link Libertarians only with greed and selfishness. Is not socialism based on envy? Socialism only works while there are other people’s money and possessions to take, when that runs out, socialism fails, and all there is to share then is misery (except for the ruling elite – they don’t care to share the misery it seems). Current example – Venezuela. But socialism has failed everywhere that has tried it.

    The message I’m getting from this is that the Libertarians and the right don’t so much threaten the Australian way of life so much as they threaten the way the left wishes to REDEFINE our way of life and values. THAT is what scares them.

  82. Kaye Lee

    No socialism is not based on envy. Socialism seeks to give equal opportunity to all. It seeks to provide the basic necessities for all. It recognises that a society benefits from assisting people to achieve their potential and from helping them when times are tough.

    Do you really think that Medicare, the PBS, public hospitals, the public school system, the NDIS, the aged pension, single parents payments and Newstart are based on envy???

    “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members” – Mahatma Gandhi

  83. Rossleigh

    Gee, precticality, I thought capitalism was based on envy. If we didn’t have to keep up with the Joneses, we could sell our houses and move to Nimbin and…
    Oh wait that’s not capitalism. It’d be socialism and we’d be envious of the Joneses who have their own show on 2GB and their own cubicle…

  84. Rossleigh

    Besides that. I want to know what you have against the slave trade. Surely if people want to be slaves, they should be allowed to without interference from people like that lefty Wilberforce.
    I’m with the Libertarians on this one.

  85. Rossleigh

    The cat ate the cheese and waited at the mousehole with baited breath…

  86. Rossleigh

    I may be too subtle for those whose spelling is suspect…
    Then again, even people with great spelling may have no idea what I meant by that.
    (Ok, it’s about trapping “practicality” between a rock and a hard place. If he’s glad that slavery has been abolished, he’s not a libertarian. If he thinks we should be allowed trade slaves, how come the slaves don’t have the same freedoms. I know, I know, most things in life are about balancing the contradictions. Admitting that they exist is the first step to working out a better way!)

  87. Rossleigh

    As for the spelling, there’s a difference between “bated breathe” and “baited breathe”.
    It’s probably the only pun that doesn’t deserve the accusation of a dad joke…

  88. Glenn Barry

    Practicality, that argument, that there were far worse in the colonial sphere, so just as well it was the English is as hollow an argument as I could hope to encounter – it requires no refutation whatsoever. It’s up there with yeah I beat my wife, but I don’t hit her in the face to leave visible bruises, so it’s OK.

    The fact that there is someone worse is in no way, shape or form an argument which renders previously unacceptable behaviour miraculously acceptable.

    History is littered with atrocities where the pursuit of money was given priority above all else, forces acting with complete impunity – these incidents span all of written history.

    Wilberforce wasn’t a free market capitalist – so what was your point exactly? That there was one man with a conscience and sufficient gumption to halt atrocities being perpetrated upon innocent peoples, who took steps to unmitigated financial exploitation of every living things within men’s grasps.

    I’d say Wilberforce is a case in point AGAINST your arguments for free market, regulation free pursuit of money at all costs and exploitation of everything.

    Anybody advocating the unmitigated and unrestricted pursuit of money at everything and everyone else’s potential consequence IS THE GREATEST threat that this planet and everything else on it faces – that attitude is what is taking us to the brink of extinction.

    Practicality – I have seen no worthwhile values whatsoever amongst the libertarian drivel

  89. Matters Not

    practicality – I think you ought to stick to your day job whatever that may be. As a Historian you haven’t yet begun the journey. Even the accepted use of the apostrophe seems a bridge too far.

    As for political philosophy – no evident signs of promise. Let us recognise that. Or maybe it’s better to be instructive and say – let’s be instructive.

  90. Art Lowe

    lol, you globalists types sure love your slavery. so much that you fear liberty itself or having people be free… wow, i guess the status quo parties must be really worried when people start to see how much your religion or cuts rob voters of taxes, liberty, and allow political correctness to take over their lives, while living in fear. Your world only wants to criminalize people nothing more and punish anyone who thinks outside that status quo box.. it truly is people like you, that really harm everyone’s rights and freedoms .. as long as you keep the globalist running the world your happy, but give others chooses you freak out…people are now seeing they have a real choice and freedom to support real liberty issues, instead of the same old broken ones you love and pray too, as your utopia socialist world is bankrupt

  91. DarkOne

    Hey Australia. Nevermind freedom. Just shutup and get your damn vaccines.

  92. Julie

    I can only deduce that you are either devoid of rational thinking or that you are wilfully mis-understanding Libertarianism. You fail to comprehend what it is and yet purposefully portray it as some extremist right wing group, even going so far as to say it is “a worse threat than terrorist attacks”! I find this both dangerous and illogical in equal measure. What you are conveniently forgetting is that in the UK up until 1914, the country was run according to laissez-fare economic principals and it worked very well. I suggest you also research Switzerland and its economics. Finally, it most definitely is not a ‘me first’ philosophy.

  93. Alex

    Zero arguments provided, a verbal vomit of someone who understands very little about the concepts and loves to speak about things they know nothing about.

    If it’s gaining in popularity, it might be because it makes sense.

    Take the time to learn about it and educate yourselves.

    As for “no country has tried it yet” libertarianism, like any political philosophy, is a continuum. And yes, countries closer to. Libertarian ideals ARE doing better.

  94. Howard MacKinnon

    The author has no imagination and no concept of the power of free markets. Taxation is theft. Disengage the state.

  95. Kaye Lee

    You libertarians are great on righteous indignation but really short on actually providing arguments to back up what you say. You have the opportunity to make your case and what do you do? Spit out terms likes statist and globalist and socialist.

    Let’s start with healthcare. Do you really think America’s health system is preferable to ours?

    Or how about climate change? How do you suggest we tackle that?

    You also might explain why Finland and Norway consistently rate as having the best standard of living despite having one of the highest income tax rates

    And you may be right Howard. I do prefer facts to imagination and slogans.

  96. Rossleigh

    No, Kaye Lee, they’ve won me.
    “Taxation is theft.” If you want a road, build it yourself. I guess that they only travel on private roads and never use public transport.
    Mm, perhaps they should get out more…

  97. Glenn Barry

    Julie – The UK up until 1914 was doing really well because they were in countries all over the world as an imperial power basically stealing whatever they could get hold of – those laissez-faire principles you speak of resulted in atrocities the world over – East India Company.

    Let’s not forget King Leopold and the Congo – there was a definite absence of regulation and consequent government interference going on there.

    How does the libertarian manifesto differ from the unrestrained pursuit of wealth which occurred under the imperialists, the East India Company, the Dutch East India Company, the Belgians in the Congo or the rampant multi-national corporate tax avoidance occurring now.

    Switzerland has done just wonderfully with all of the gold and money that they had in the bank vaults from both the victims and perpetrators of WWII. Are you also ignoring the fact that they are a tax haven with disproportionate amounts funding from foreign sources as a result?
    Don’t forget their problem with being the country with the highest level of household debt in the world.

    Alex – which countries are closer to libertarian ideals and consequently doing better, and what are the particular benefits in those countries?

    Again I’ll pitch my question to the libertarians – do you have a list of honour bound capitalists that will share everything that is in excess to their own needs.

    Where are the examples of successfully implemented libertarianism?

  98. Kaye Lee


    One out of every six premature deaths in 2015, about 9 million, was due to toxic exposure
    The financial cost of pollution-related death, sickness and welfare is $5.9 trillion annually or about 6.2% of global GDP

    Yeah, I’d say lack of regulation regarding pollution is a far greater danger than terrorism

    Perhaps you can convince me otherwise?

  99. paul walter

    Thanks, Rossleigh

  100. johno

    Countries like Finland, Denmark and Norway share a very high HAPPINESS index despite high taxes.

  101. Kaye Lee


    “If it’s gaining in popularity, it might be because it makes sense.”

    In the 2013 Senate election, the LDP got 523,831 votes. In 2016 they got 298,915 votes.

    What conclusion should we draw from that?

  102. helvityni

    johno, I read an article about the Swedish Government’s plan to become a cashless society like Denmark. Someone interviewed about the possibility did not like the idea, and said: We have had NICE Governments for the last hundred years, why change it and make some people unhappy…

    I wish I could say the same about Oz leadership….it would be NICE…

  103. diannaart

    Excellent riposte Glenn Barry.

    I would add, in spite of the wealth brought in by British imperialism – circa 1914, the majority of people did not benefit, there was a distinct underclass who had no hope of improving their lot and the lot of women? To be chattels to wealthy men or maids (if they were lucky) and not a lot has changed…

    Also, not a single, self-professed libertarian has run a single counter-argument to any of those presented here, which are clear and articulated as to why libertarianism is not equitable and does not lead to societies where all have equal opportunities.

    Not a one.

    Just insults or descent into arguing semantics.

    Several arguments have been presented:

    Kaye Lee

    Let’s start with healthcare. Do you really think America’s health system is preferable to ours?
    Or how about climate change? How do you suggest we tackle that?
    Finland and Norway consistently rate as having the best standard of living despite having one of the highest income tax rates.
    Did you see any businesses arguing for wage rises above CPI at the Fair Work Commission even though higher wages would lead to higher consumption, more demand, more jobs and higher profits? No.
    Did you see any businesses arguing that penalty rates should be kept because they go to the lowest paid workers? No.
    Do you see businesses arguing the case that security of employment leads to better productivity? No.

    (Awesome, Kaye Lee) and not one argument explaining how libertarianism would deal with these issues.

    Yours Truly

    There has been a concerted campaign by conservative governments and private enterprise to reduce the power and influence of unions. There is plenty of evidence of the cutting back on unions right to strike, enter work places, obstacles to collecting union fees… Unions upset the ideology of infinite profit.

    …sound of crickets on the issue of collusion between government and big business…

  104. Kaye Lee

    Crickets chirping indeed diannaart…

    They have used the “you’re too dumb to understand” approach which means, to me, that they have a whole lot of ideology and slogans but no evidence or thought to back up the parroted mantra.

  105. johno

    Helvityni, If I see danes in longboats sailing up the port river to invade, take over and introduce good social security and high taxes, I will welcome the new rulers.

  106. totaram

    Kaye Lee: I disagree that libertarianism hasn’t been tried. Thin Somalia some years ago ( I believe the gubmint there has more sway now)
    If any one can do anything they like, it’s warlords all the way.

  107. Paul Desmond Parker

    I don’t consider myself libertarian, I would never submit to any label that encompassed such a large group. However, I believe it will (yes, it’s inevitable) be a step in the right direction for Australia. There is fortunately still a strong core of Australian values in Australia, and it is re-emerging with the new disdain that is arising in the west for political correctness.

    Libertarians are hard working and conscientious people. They have confidence in the philosophy because they experience themselves as generous, hard working, and valuable contributors to society.

    The people who cast moral aspersions in their direction, reveal themselves all too clearly to have none of these qualities, and a raft of unsavory additions to boot.

  108. martyn riley

    “Entrepreneurship is the use of self-interest in the service of others; politics is the use of others in the service of self-interest.”

  109. Mitchell

    The biggest thing missing from this article with Libertarianism is Volunteerism, by accumulating wealth you can support yourself and use your wealth to help others.

    How can you help others if you cannot help yourself, by working hard and being responsible you can help others to do the same, charitable work for funding money for the sick etc and more involvment of individuals into there community.

    There are Libertarians who donate money and volunteer with Charities etc.

    Doctors, Lawyers, Trades Men etc.

  110. Kaye Lee

    Nice theory Mitchell. Sadly, particularly in Australia, philanthropy is not uppermost in the minds of many of the rich except for tax-minimisation purposes.

    “The most recent tax figures show that of those earning more than A$1 million per year, 37% did not claim a single dollar of tax-deductible charitable giving.

    Australian budget papers show the tax benefits PAFs received between 2001 and 2009 totalled $935.468 million. This is more than double the amount they returned to the community in grants ($461.77 million).”

  111. Tommy

    What a disgusting hit piece.

    You misrepresent us and our values the entire way through and what saddens me the most is that you make no attempt to try and portray us objectively, not show any understanding of why we believe what we believe.

    You’re in the comments arguing with us but in this day and age wouldn’t it be nice if we actually went back to talking and examining alternatives? Don’t try to drag us in to this left vs right cat fight going on in the west, we don’t deserve that even if you think we are responsible for some neo-liberal conspiracy to undermine society.

    I do have a question though:

    Why us? We are small and growing but why not focus on the vastly larger alt-right going on in Australia and what did we liberty loving peaceful folk that want society to go back to getting along do to draw such vicious attack?

    For anyone curious what we actually believe there’s plenty of articles, websites, videos, philosophy and economic books written by classical liberals and Libertarians on the questions of individual human rights and freedom.

  112. Tommy

    If I may summarize in broad terms what we believe.

    We believe in a core of self-ownership, which extends out to personal responsibility and property.
    You own and are responsible for yourself, your actions and the effects of those actions. Therefore I believe that human interaction should be voluntary and free from violence and coercion. Ie. the difference between sex and rape is consent, we’re just applying these kind of concepts to larger society.

    Yes we believe in free markets, which means things like scrapping the private vs public monopoly debate and pursuing demonopolization.

    I believe that whether some humans are moral or some are evil, decentralizing power is extremely important because a small group of influential connected people should not have the right to dictate and control the lives of millions. This doesn’t mean we favour corporate tyranny over government tyranny, because Libertarians are anti-corporatism, due to it being state created and propped up through state collusion.

    There’s a lot more to it than that but we take the basic ideas of non-aggressive human interaction, self-defense, self-ownership, property rights and they lead us to the conclusion that the government should have less of a role in controlling our lives both personal and in the economy, that we as a society can solve problems without resorting to violence as a default, but as a last resort.

    If anyone is genuinely interested in the ideas or curious why we hold them, hit some of us up on the Australian Libertarian Forum or the LDP page and I’d be more than happy to expand on the ideas and walk you through them. These hit pieces offer you no understanding of why we exist and why people agree with us.

  113. Tommy

    Kaye Lee, you brought up an interesting point of philanthropy and charity.

    Do you by chance have any experience or opinion of how charity and particularly Mutual Aid/Friendly Societies were regulated out of existence to make way for the government to control the sphere of helping the poor, and what society was like prior?

    I found it really fascinating that something like Mutual Aid Societies in Australia were larger than Unions and Charities put together at one point, had some really amazing results and yet are completely ignored and forgotten.

    Most people don’t even know what they were, or how we came to this point of mostly gutted charities being the only community based groups alongside the welfare state. Don’t get me wrong I understand why the welfare state exists but people bashing philanthropy and charity have only to look at its history to see why there’s no longer an incentive to pursue solutions in the public (private).

  114. Kaye Lee


    I would be interested to know what I have written in the article that you believe to be incorrect or where I have misrepresented libertarian beliefs.

  115. Tommy

    It’s going to have to be two comments because I find myself ranting as I go through the whole article and my post is going to be so large that the core point will be missed but I’ll post it here and then post the rant:

    The article is a large mix of misrepresentation, with some falsehoods sprinkled in but most importantly, there’s no addressing what we believe and why we believe it. No mention of why we want the things you mentioned because of things like, alternative solutions, or wanting voluntary interaction, or protecting individual human rights, or our beliefs that stem from self-ownership and non-aggression and so on.

    Anyway I apologize in advance for the large post incoming which I know no one will read, though I would hope you’d at least skim through it and have a think, depending on what your intentions are of course.

  116. Tommy

    “undermine very fabric of our society”
    To me we’re trying to re-empower people with the core fabric of society. Ie. our society has a culture of free speech, voluntary interaction and being against the initiation of force (we all agree assault, theft, murder, rape and slavery are immoral) but okay this is your opinion and not an attempt to map out our beliefs so fair enough.

    “Let the free market reign”
    ie. let the people reign through decentralization but not much issue here.

    “Every man for himself”
    This is where it starts to get ridiculous. Individualism and individual human rights means; respecting peoples control over their own life and their ability to pursue their wants and needs in life without sacrificing them for “the collective” or dicating how they should live. This doesn’t mean every man for himself. On the contrary the vast majority of Classical Liberal and Libertarian thought focuses on what fosters voluntary cooperation, be it the need for family and community to help eachother, be it creative energies that innovate to improve our lives, be it things like communal solutions to problems like charity and mutual aid societies. Especially how the markets & trade fosters cooperation between people that have different culture and speak different languages. How universal human rights allow differing people to live peacefully.

    “This overwhelmingly privileged crowd are focused on what they can get out of society rather than what they can contribute.”
    I would argue our intentions are two fold and not in anyway what you describe. Libertarians I interact with including myself tend to focus on being left alone by society to start with, and then how we can through voluntary means tackle complex social problems. We don’t want tax payer dollars, or to use the government to get things out of society, we don’t want what government provides without paying tax and we don’t want tax payers to give money to corporations or to fund things we live. Even the very basic discussion around working and being a productive member of society is prevalant, how we would solve issues in alternative ways and a focus on self-responsibility and cooperation that leads into a healthy society.

    What we can get out of society and not wanting to contribute is definitely the opposite of our intentions, even if you disagree with the results of what we propose.

    “They also share an overconfident smugness, a certainty that they are right”
    I’ve noticed every group in politics have a certain overconfidence but what I like about this “team” is how humble they are in self-reflection which leads to:

    “without having to actually examine the consequences of their laissez-faire approach”
    Literally all Libertarians do all day now is argue with eachother about better ways to do things and the consequences of this approach vs that approach. You say overconfidence and a failure to examine consequences, that’s literally all we do. Question our solutions, question your solutions and examine the consequences of both.

    You’ve never seen Libertarians debate “could the market handle policing” or “can the market deal with the free rider problem?”, “what about natural monopolies?”, “what about government monopolies and economies of scale?”. I don’t see the left nor the right ever question themselves in whether their intentions match their outcomes and whether it’s okay to force their one opinion as a blanket solution for all of us?

    “They tell us how it is, or how it should be, with such unquestioning self-belief that one starts to wonder if they may be right.”
    Not really a misrepresentation but if our public figures don’t communicate with certainty no one will buy what we’re selling so to speak, people seem to respond to confidence hence look at bloody Trump and Pauline/Clive Palmer. But again all we do is question things, it’s why we exist.

    “They play on Australians’ aversion to authority, using terms like “nanny state”. The government can’t make you wear a bike helmet or build a pool fence, they say, and they have no right to stop you from smoking or owning a gun.”
    Very accurate thank you for this, we think there’s better ways to handle these issues and the track record of government in these areas has been a disaster which resulted in “the nanny state” everyone seems to hate.

    “There are an increasing number of organisations in Australia”
    No worries here, the left have Fabian Marxists and main stream news channels, the conservatives have their groups and their news channels, we have our think tanks too.

    “Libertarians spit out the word ‘socialism’ like it is a terrible plot to steal from the rich.”
    Terrible plot to steal from all of us, think Bastiat’s writing on universalized plunder. We don’t care about the rich or the corporations we want to abolish.

    “They are much more concerned about property rights than human rights”
    To us property rights are an extention of the most fundamental human right of self-ownership, from which all other rights extend. To say we don’t care about human rights when it’s legit our sole focus is so messed up.

    “and see no role for government in providing services and hence no need to collect taxes.”
    Minarchist to Anarchist spectrum dictates this isn’t accurate. More of a half-truth. But yes in as many areas as possible we would prefer to try as many alternatives as possible concurrently.

    “The free market will take care of it all”
    Mistranslated from we will take care of what we can, the market is merely a representation of the people themselves, acting and interacting. I feel misrepresented again here but technically you’re half right again, free market is synonymous with the people but it won’t take care of everything I don’t think humanity can but we should be allowed to try.

    “and if no-one wants to run a bus service that caters to only a few, then they should just buy a car.”
    Not my or anyone elses place to say, we don’t tell people what to do but rather what not to do. Particularly not to use violence to solve complex social problems and control peoples decisions, that we can solve the issue of how a few people can get access to transport without pointing a gun at people and saying “oi, you have to pay for a bus service to those people” like um…no alternatives there? No other way to do it?

    “If no-one wants to operate a vocational college in regional areas, then they should buy a unit in the city for their kids to complete their training.”
    Again we aren’t dictators for how people should live. The core belief that’s missing here is that society, the people and the market are synonymous, an evolving organism, sort of like the amazon rainforest and its ecosystems. Government control and centralization is to us like someone trying to garden the Amazon, to pick and choose which plants should be plucked or planted, ignoring the disastrous unintended effects this can have on the ecosystems that are perfectly capable of forming on their own. No one has the knowledge to control millions of people properly, so we shouldn’t try. Our view of history was that society didn’t fail at problems and then look to the government as a last resort, but connected people with power defaulted to centralization and ignored any other solutions, because it’s easy to line your pockets when you collude with the state.

    “Libertarians are also implacably opposed to governments doing anything to address climate change”
    Accurate, but why no mentioned that we want alternative solutions? (that are currently restricted by the state, the old meme of government breaking your legs and saying ‘see! you need our crutches!’) I don’t trust the government with my taxes, why would I trust such a corrupt beast with the very environment we need to live?

    “They also reject any obligation or need for foreign aid, altruistically suggesting that we lift people out of poverty by selling them coal.”
    Half-truth, thinly veiled but whatever you can say what you want about our solutions to world poverty and our criticisms of current programs.

    “If libertarianism was a good idea, wouldn’t at least one country have tried it?”
    Incentives of power don’t work that way. Freedom in various ways was tried in varying degree in the 19th century and also of course in the US and Asia and so on. Even today special economic zones are all the rage in Africa, South America and Asia. However the incentive for people to centralize, to take power are strong so with the advent of WW1, WW2 and the Great Depression people used crisis to change course to a more centralized and controlled society.

    What really messed the Liberty movement up was a concerted attack by both Marxists and Facists to discredit Liberalism. It was effective, but why would I stop trying to spread the ideas just because Marx, Hegel, Evola, Hitler, Lenin, Spengler etc attacked them? Those people were and are despicable and their vision for society disgusts me, as do their solutions.

    “Wouldn’t there be at least one country, out of nearly two hundred, with minimal government, free trade, open borders, decriminalized drugs, no welfare state and no public education system?”
    If you examine the history of government, you’ll find that for most of human history power over others has been attractive. To centralize and extend power has been all the rage, hell look at the origin of the first monarchies and the states that grew out of them. But as I pointed out policies of freedom have been tried in places to varying degrees and it worked wonderously well; we became prosperous, we ended slavery, women got to do what they want, people were allowed to speak, to practice their religion in peace, to criticize the system, to interact with eachother. What kind of terrible argument would it be to say hundreds of years ago “why abolish slavery? don’t you think if it were such a good idea it would be tried already?!” That’s not how the evolution of society and progress works.

    “In Australia, we could add universal healthcare and subsidised medicines as things that would be thrown on the scrap heap if the libertarians had their way.”
    No issue here, the more I look deeper into how those systems work the more I wish we could open that area up to alternatives before it’s too late and people are left without.

    “It does nothing to protect the environment or the vulnerable in our society.” You know that’s not true because our solutions and arguments for these areas are extensive, all over the internet and written literature. Just one example I posted earlier about Friendly Society organizations, even if you don’t agree with the ideas don’t deny they exist.

    “If you don’t give a toss about any future except your own, if all you care about is using the system for personal gain”
    We look every day at the tragedy of people being arrested for free speech, jailed for victimless crimes, having their social mobility regulated out of existence, effective solutions and treatments blocked by people in power and you say we don’t care?

    “if you think poverty is the result of laziness and that the environment can look after itself, then libertarianism probably sounds good.”
    Misrepresented again, poverty is the result of many things and particularly poverty is the default state naked humans are born into. One of our primary focuses is the history and ideas of how humanity ascends from poverty. We can look after the environment, the government and corporations cannot.

    Anyway, I apologize for the ridiculously long post, as I said there’s a large mix of misrepresentation with down right sophistry. A lot of half-truths, misrepresentation and areas downright ignored or not included to give an objective perspective.

    I get that it’s a hit piece, I get that you don’t like us, or agree with us but I would like to ask again, why us? Why are we your focus and not the alt-right? Why do we deserve these misrepresentations to try and keep people away from looking at our beliefs and arguments?

  117. Kaye Lee

    I don’t know what a “hit piece” means and, never having met you, I have no idea whether I would like you, let alone “us”, or not but that’s kind of irrelevant. I have written thousands of articles about many different things. Libertarianism is certainly not my focus so please don’t feel specially singled out.

    More importantly….

    Every argument I hear put forward in supposed defence of free speech is a poorly disguised cover for bigotry, discrimination and a lack of respect.

    I note you completely avoided the questions about providing services to regional and remote communities.

    So you want to scrap universal healthcare and subsidised medicines. Let the poor people die? Is that the plan?

    It’s a lovely idea that there’s no need for welfare or foreign aid (to the countries who provided the slaves and whose resources were pillaged to make us rich) and that we we would all look after each other with Friendly Societies. Except it doesn’t seem to be working when 42 people hold as much wealth as the 3.7 billion who make up the poorest half of the world’s population.

    You want less regulation. Pop over to the Fair Work Commission and see the number of prosecutions of employers for ripping off their employees. Listen in on the RC into the banks to see how the market behaves. Have a look at the aftermath of mining around the world. See what’s happening in the Murray-Darling. Check out the car pollution in Beijing.

    I would be very interested to hear your solution to climate change. Because you certainly wouldn’t want to ignore something that is going to infringe on other people’s property rights in such a catastrophic way.

    I apologise for the stereotyping as smug and privileged but did any of you go to public schools? Have any of you ever been homeless (by that I don’t mean you don’t own your own home – I mean you have nowhere to sleep) or tried to live on a single parent or aged pension? Are any of you living with a disability? Are any of you Indigenous? Do you think all people who are unemployed are that way by choice?

    Having Leyonhjelm as a public voice doesn’t help your reputation.

  118. diannaart

    Having Leyonhjelm as a public voice doesn’t help your reputation.

    I was just going to say that.

    Will Tommy try to excuse Leyonhjelm?

  119. Godwin

    insighful Post’s diannaart “glad you are feeling better”

  120. Keith


    On a completely different post elsewhere I asked where has libertarianism been successful; almost needless to say the response made no sense.

    Can you provide an answer which gives some credence to libertarianism? I haven’t spent much time researching libertarianism but at present think of it as being almost nihilistic, Leyonhjelm for me confirms my negative thoughts, as does the IPA. The IPA is an odious Agency which provides no better views on governance than do anarchists, the person whom I asked to define libertarianism really liked the IPA.

    On Q&A last night I heard a comment which makes sense … “Liberarianism is a stones throw from stupidity”.

    Climate science is generally disregarded by libertarians; which to me makes the comment quoted from Q&A confirmed.

    But please provide information so we can better understand. No fairy floss about theory, but real examples of where it has been successful.

  121. Gra Gra


    I don’t know what a “hit piece” means and, never having met you, I have no idea whether I would like you, let alone “us”, or not but that’s kind of irrelevant. I have written thousands of articles about many different things. Libertarianism is certainly not my focus so please don’t feel specially singled out.

    Not sure about “us” comment kemo sabe

  122. Kaye Lee

    Tommy said ” I get that you don’t like us.”

  123. paul walter

    I hadn’t realised how bad this Leyjonhelm thing was until I saw the Media Watch on Fox TV and Bolt and the repulsive Rowan Dean last night and realised what a contrived, vicious set up it was to really subceptionally crucify SHY.

    Freedom of speech is great, but libel and slander are despicable.

  124. Tommy

    Can I just start with something really odd to me, I pointed out where we’re being misrepresented Libertarian and your response seems to be:

    “regional and remote communities.”
    “Let the poor people die?”
    “employers for ripping off their employees”
    “climate change”
    “Have any of you ever been homeless”
    “Do you think all people who are unemployed are that way by choice?”

    That is a very strange response. I was hoping for at least some acknowledgement that we aren’t evil neo-liberal paid shills trying to work for Hitler/the Devil and actually have ideas that, even though you don’t agree with them, are thought out. Maybe even a little “oh you want to improve society, I just don’t think your policies will lead to that” instead of “let the poor people die? is that it?!”…lol

    I don’t mind responding to these questions but I don’t think this will be mutually in good faith. I don’t like your article because it paints us as evil with a lot of buzzwords and it misrepresents a school of thought. I’m sure I would love some of your other articles and might read a few but if they’re all like this, and if all your responses are like this….then is there much point for anyone not left-wing to read them except to be insulted by them? Which is cool, everyone has their style.

    I’m more than happy to give my perspective on a lot of these issues you guys are throwing at me, but still i’s a little dissapointing. Since the left/right divide has heated so much in recent years I can’t find a single area where people actually want to have a discussion, they just want to claim how evil the other team is and we don’t get anywhere. I’m sure you guys know Libertarian opinions about Socialism and Facism?

  125. Gra Gra

    Sorry Kaye Bert upset me a bit on Sunday night so I am bit off this week.

  126. Keith


    You say that there is no one area to discuss … what about climate change?

    My first question is how well does opinion stand up against data provided by instrumentation?
    Where do the laws of thermodynamics stand against libertarian views?
    What about consilience, where several seemingly unrelated disciplines display display climate change?
    Experimentation into how CO2 takes up radiated warmth were already being completed in the 1850s … Eunice Foote, can libertarians disprove those experiments which now have become more sophisticated?

    That is just a fragmentary beginning.

    I do go to contrarian sites when references are provided.

  127. Kaye Lee


    You are missing an opportunity to explain how you would address climate change or the health system or service provision to country areas or unethical unsustainable behaviour by business.

    Do you defend Senator Leyonhjelm’s behaviour as an example of free speech? Do you agree with the IPA that the ABC should not be allowed to go to Nauru because you don’t like their reporting?

    Don’t waste time and words saying please like us. Convince of us how you would address the issues we are raising.

    You are deflecting.

  128. Keith


    It appears that you are not able to provide positive examples in relation to climate change, or the matters raised by Kaye in our last posts.

    In relation to contrarians, libertarians, fundamental religious people and neo-liberals they are the groups which generally take a negative view to the science of climate change … there are a number of studies.

    In relation to consilience, George Monbiot has written about the loss of biodiversity in the UK, it applies to other countries as well. Though, it is something very difficult to completely quantify, we know it is happening. George Monbiot has a hyperlink in his article about dead zones occurring in marine areas, worth reading.

    Late last year an article in relation to archeology further shows consilience … thawing permafrost at a rapid rate, a very interesting article.

    In Alaska’s Thawing Permafrost, Humanity’s ‘Library Is on Fire’

    Due to permafrost thawing, archeologists were able to work on an old Inuit home.
    The body of a young girl buried hundreds of years ago was found when part of a Bluff eroded due to permafrost thawing.

    It gets a bit hard for contrarians when disciplines not associated with climate science, provide consilience.

    Fish normally needing warmer habitats have been moving down to Tasmania for a number of years … yellow tail king fish and snapper being examples of consilience.

    Thom Karl stirred up contrarians with his study showing the nonsense of the “hiatus”, a colleague was critical which contrarians jumped on. Except, the colleague later stated the study was accurate but there were administrative problems. Thom Karl’s research knocked out the contrarian datum point of 1998, which caused much fuss.

    Climate scientists say that 30 years is the minimum time that is useful in making predictions, the much later Reuters article lends support to the Thom Karl research:

    Then we have meta studies which have 100s of references and run into 100s of pages:


    “In addition to warming, many other aspects of global climate are changing, primarily in response to human activities. Thousands of studies conducted by researchers around the world have documented changes in surface, atmospheric, and oceanic temperatures; melting glaciers; diminishing snow cover; shrinking sea ice; rising sea levels; ocean acidification; and increasing atmospheric water vapor.”

    Just a very small fragment of the references I have saved in relation to climate change.

    I await your response.

  129. Keith

    No reply from Tommy as expected.

    A quote from Leyonhjelm from a very conservative site:

    “When I became the first overt libertarian to be elected to the Australian Senate in 2013, I thought I would use my maiden speech to try and sum up my world view. In this speech, I outlined why I believe the role of governments should be limited to the protection of life, liberty and private property. I tried to highlight the importance of personal responsibility, the dangers of creeping government interference, and the fundamental right to be left alone so long as we’re not harming anyone else.”

    Leyohjelm’s recent disgusting commentary makes a mockery of what he wrote on Online Opinion, 4 June 2018.

  130. diannaart


    Not surprised Tommy decided to dodge the question of Leyonhjelm’s behaviour.

    … “and the fundamental right to be left alone so long as we’re not harming anyone else” …

    Seems to me those who demand free speech for themselves, lack a faculty which alerts them to when they are causing harm, or that they are utter self-centred hypocrites.

    I remain in awe at how “libertarians” and the religious right manage to flock together. Perhaps self-proclaimed libertarians aren’t as anti-authoritarian as they claim and the uber-religious are more cynically devoted to increasing power for themselves.

  131. Braden

    It saddens me that people prefer the state to use the threat of violence to fund its endeavors over freedom to choose where your money is spent.

  132. Practicality

    Thank you for the replies, seems my comments had an impact.
    If the main argument you have with my post is complaining about punctuation and apostrophes……
    I’m not a ‘hard’ libertarian, but I believe tending that way, rather than tending the ‘other way’ – towards socialism – will lead a country towards a free-er and more prosperous, indeed happier society. Even the lower end of a capitalist society does better than the median of a socialist one – eg Venezuela or the Iron Curtain countries vs any other capitalist country.
    I know enough of history to see that generally,those countries, societies and cultures that embrace free trade, free markets, and capitalism have done well.
    In contrast, those that embrace socialism, marxism, do badly. Venezuela is just the latest example, but there are plenty of others – eastern europe 1945-89 being another.
    If you keep on repeating an experiment and get the same result, the issue isn’t the implementation, but the theory itself.
    Libertarianism is not a danger to our way of life. But marxism, socialism? They truly are ARE a threat to our standards of living, way of life, and freedoms.

  133. Practicality

    An interesting contrast. Post WW2 West Germany vs the DDR – East Germany.
    One lifted its citizens out of the ruins of a war to become the most prosperous country in europe.
    The other wallowed in relative poverty overseen by the secret police.
    One gave it’s citizens, and via trade, the world, Porsches and VWs, the other, Trabants.
    And when they got a chance, in 1989, which system do the people of the DDR choose, embrace?

  134. Marlow Mosier

    1) “If it’s bad for you to do a certain thing, is it okay for you to try to get someone else to do the same thing for you?”

    Is it OK for your neighbor to demand you give up your money, and use violent force if necessary to obtain it, when he will use those funds for what he considers is a “good cause”? Likewise, is it OK for you to do the same to your neighbor? If it isn’t OK for anyone to forcibly take other’s property then no one has the right to do so. If no one has such a right to take other’s property how then can they delegate such a non-existent right to others to do the taking for them? In even briefer form, “Can people delegate rights they don’t have?” Doesn’t logic tell us “No”? Which leads to the next question:

    2) “Can people, by voting, give to politicians the right to do things which none of the voters have the right to do themselves?”

    If no, how do those in “government” acquire the right to do anything which normal people have no right to do. If you believe voters can delegate rights they don’t have, are any limits? And if so, what are they? For example, would it be righteous and legitimate for the state to commit violent oppression, as long as the people voted for that to happen? I’ve read Hitler was voted into power. If he then followed existing procedures to create his oppressive policies – pursuant to popular will – were his policies legitimate?

    3) “Do you believe that right and wrong apply the same to everyone?”

    If yes, and you condemn murderous and oppressive Nazi or Communist and US policies for that matter, then do you not hold that morality is the same for everyone – so that “law-makers” and “law enforcers” are not justified in doing things that would be wrong if done by anyone else? And if there are any limits on that, or do you believe any action that has been “legislated” is automatically righteous? Which leads to the next question:

    4) “Is there any way in which people can change an immoral act into a moral act, without changing the act itself?”

    There are different ways this can be phrased. Another way would be, “If something bad is legalized, does it become good?” And you could also add, “If something good is outlawed, does it become bad?” I say “No” to each of these formulations. Which raises the next question:

    5) “Is it ever good to break the law?”

    Isn’t it obvious certain laws cry out to be broken? The Fugitive Slave Act in the US comes to mind. But if such laws reflected majority rule at the time was its enactment and enforcement OK? Which raises the next question:

    6) “Does the majority have the right to do whatever it wants to a minority, as long as it uses voting and the political process?”

    If not, what are the limits? In what cases does the majority have the right to use “government” to force its will on the minority? And if the majority doesn’t always have that right, does that mean that democracy isn’t always—or isn’t ever—legitimate?

    7) “Do you believe that it’s okay for government to force you to fund things that you’re opposed to?”

    If so, are there any limits? Or do the politicians have the right to make you fund whatever they want, including things you find offensive and immoral? If you do not think you should be forced to fund things you oppose, do you think it’s okay for you to vote for government to force others to fund things that they oppose? Which raises my last question:

    8) “Should you disobey a law that conflicts with your own moral conscience?”

    When, if ever, is disobedience is morally justified, and who decides when it is morally justified. If you admit that you decide, doesn’t that mean your own judgment “outranks” the law. If so—if there is any situation in which you would put your own conscience above “the law”—does that mean you have the right to pick and choose which laws you are obligated to obey. And how can you believe in political “authority” at all, if you personally, and everyone else, has the right to decide when you are obligated to obey, and when you aren’t?

    5) “Is there any way in which people can change an immoral act into a moral act, without changing the act itself?”

    6) “Is it ever good to break the law?”

    7) “Does the majority have the right to do whatever it wants to a minority, as long as it uses voting and the political process?”

    8) “Do you believe that it’s okay for government to force you to fund things that you’re opposed to?”

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