Thursday, 1 December 2005

New Hampshire

Free Talk Live's (see links) radio presenters are members of the Free State Project, in which 20,000 people liberty-minded people will move to New Hampshire to create a libertarian society.

Will it work? Well naturally I hope so, since it would provide a viable example of libertarianism in progress. Will I move there? Heh, I don't really know at present. There's too much in my life at the moment to simply move and start afresh in the USA.

The Free State Project has to be championed, in the sense that it's an evident example of libertarians seeking to implement libertarian principles. There's a lot that the British libertarian movement can learn from libertarian movements overseas. There are several reasons why I believe this.

The Libertarian Alliance (see links) is generally the "hub" for libertarians in the UK. It's purpose is to spread libertarian ideas and influence the highest levels of government. This is fine in itself, but I don't think it goes far enough. Will government necessarily listen or be receptive to libetarian ideas? IMO, the government and the political establishment in the UK revel in the status quo and for that reason would be reluctant to give it up. Libertarians in general don't believe in a minimum wage. If the Libertarian Alliance lobbied for its abolition, would government listen? The Labour Party is, in part, funded by the unions. Would the unions welcome an abolition in the minimum wage? Heck would they! Naturally they are looking out for their members and would feel an elimination of the minimum wage would hurt their members. There are many other areas in which the government has an interest in maintaining the status quo. Press statements from the Libertarian Alliance wouldn't change this.

There is also a lack of vision within the British libertarian movement. As I stated, American libertarians should be commended for attempting to seek a libertarian society in New Hampshire. New Zealand libertarians eventually seek the creation of "New Freeland", which shall be a libertarian country with its own libertarian constitution, that will replace the current state of New Zealand. What plans do British libertarians have? None, as far as I am aware. If anything the Libertarian Alliance who should be taking a more proactive stance in seeking to implement libertarian values in the UK, especially since they are the "driving force" of libertarianism in the UK.
Also, it has to be asked, what IS a political ideology? A political ideology is a set of principles and values stating how people should be governed and how power is distributed within society. It's no use accepting the values of a political idelogy, when you possess no desire to insitute it! That is the PURPOSE of a political ideology. British libertarians should ask themselves why they became libertarians, if they don't want to create a libertarian society in the UK. Having political views means that you hold opinions of how society should be structured and governed; it means having a vision of how the world should be. I'm not stating that we should have a "Free County Project" (or some such) in the UK. However, the Libertarian Alliance should seriously re-examine its approach to the implementation of libertarianism in the United Kingdom.

The Libertarian Alliance has been in existence for virtually all of my lifetime (I'm 26). HOW has it "influenced" ideas at the highest level? Since 1979, there have been three British Prime Ministers. Neither Thatcher, Major or Tony Blair have directly sought to implement any libertarian-based principle. Thatcher wasn't inspired to free-market economics because she was a libertarian nor was she influenced by any libertarian think-tank. New Labour values have no resemblance to libertarian principles at all. Libertarianism in the United Kingdom still remains a fringe ideology. It's only the most politically aware people in this country who would have heard of libertarianism. In that sense, major political figures would not be "influenced" by libertarianism more so than they would be libertarian socialism, Marxism or fascism, which are all fringe beliefs in this country. If it takes 100 years to influence the political class, would it be worth the trouble?

Don't get me wrong, the Libertarian Alliance does some good work. But it's methods are nowhere near intensive enough. In my opinion, we DO need a libertarian political party in this country. It will
spread the message of libertarianism to the average Joe. As stated before, libertarianism remains a fringe ideology in Britain at present. People would investigate what libertarianism was, or at least hold some curiousity to our values if a libertarian political party ran.

I would also:

1) - Host political radio in Britain. The USA has numerous political talk shows on its airwaves. To state that British people are too apathetic about politics to care is not wholly relevant. I'd wager that Americans aren't very enthusiastic about politics either, yet political talk radio is quite popular in the States. If some libertarian shows could be established in the UK, it would better disperse the libertarian message.

2) - Create pressure groups which literally lobbied politicians in liberty-oriented issues. If libertarians in the UK are to "influence" the political class, then we should do so directly.

3) - Seek the creation of a libertarian nation-state to replace the United Kingdom. All British libertarians should work towards this ideal. It would also be a symbol to others that British libertarians have serious intentions.

I don't know Dr. Tame, Dr. Gabb, etc. I'm sure they are probably nice people, committed libertarians and have the best interest of the UK libertarian movement at heart. However, the current approach isn't working. The political class favour the current system because it SUITS THEM. They won't change because they gain too much from it. Energy would be better spent influencing the grass roots and people at large. I see no evidence that the current methods of persuasion are working. If they will ever work, I'm not sure.