Wednesday, 22 February 2006

Some thoughts on the Austrian Irving case

My views regarding David Irving mimmick those surrounding Abu Hamza. Even though it was an Austrian case within Austrian jurisdiction, I don't believe he should have been convicted for his "crime".

Claiming the Holocaust never occured is understandably offensive to some. It's probably even an illogical opinion, since there is plenty of evidence of the Holocaust's existence. Nevertheless, it shouldn't be a crime to claim the Holocaust never existed. Such an act doesn't initiate force against the person or property. As always, one who expresses unpopular opinions can be challenged, rebuked, ignored or shunned.

Wednesday, 15 February 2006

Smoking ban

MP's voted for a ban in p
ublic places in England yesterday. The ban will come into effect in 2007.

I don't smoke, nonetheless I'm opposed to this ban. I think the market can handle any dilemma that arises here.

Evidently, there is a demand for non-smoking establishments. There would also be demand for establishments in which smoking is permitted. If such a demand exists, then someone will cater for it.

Even now, restaurants have smoking and non-smoking areas. Did government institute this? No. It was simply the market responding to demand from their customers. If companies in a capitalist society don't respond to customer demand, they lose money and face the threat of their business facing bankruptcy.

Pubs, restaurants and clubs aren't even "public" places. They are private entities and as such should be free to set their own rules. Private property rights should be paramount here.

The smoking ban in New York City hasn't worked and is very unpopular with New Yorkers.

Thursday, 9 February 2006

Stefan Molyneux - Libertarianism and "oppression"

I listen to Stefan Molyneux's podcasts (see links on the right) almost everyday of the week. An issue he raised in a recent podcast seemed intriguing.

Molyneux stated that one cannot be a libertarian if they possess no experience of being oppressed by authority, since libertarians generally desire to limit or eradicate the authority of the state. I find such a statement, quite frankly, to be shocking.

Molyneux often cites incidents in his youth which made him sceptical of the power of authority. It was developing these views which lead to his libertarianism. I'm not sure if I agree with Molyneux's reasoning here. Is there a specific psychological make up which leads to libertarian beliefs? I've never really studied psychology but I've never heard of any evidence which denotes that political beliefs are based on innate or idiosyncratic mental tendencies.

I can broadly understand the rationale behind Molyneux's claim. Yes, the state is oppressive, forceful and coercive. Any libertarian could tell you that. Nonetheless, I believe the reasons for people becoming libertarian are as varied as there are libertarians.

Some libertarians would use natural rights to justify their libertarianism. Granted, natural rights don't exist (I see no evidence of their existence), nevertheless I can see that protecting rights to life. liberty and property (or estate as Locke called it) are central tenets of libertarian belief. Other libertarians (including myself) would use utlititarianism to justify libertarianism. I personally feel that man would be happier with greater freedom, since seeking the freedom to live our life is part of human nature.

Some libertarians may simply like libertarianism because they think it's "cool". Others, like the presenters of Free Talk Live (see links on the right) felt they were "lied to" in their youth regarding the nature of government and view government as an oppressive evil. It's wrong for Molyneux to state that the only path to libertarianism is via experiencing oppression at the hands of some authority figure.

Abu Hamza

Abu Hamza was convicted of inciting hatred a few days ago. Islam and issues of free speech/expression have clearly been hot news topics of late.

As a libertarian, I don't believe in many limitations to one's right to speak freely. Freedom of expression, in itself, doesn't infringe on rights to the person or property. All in all, I think it's a mistake to imprison Hamza.

Freedom of expression surely is a hallmark of a free society. The Libertarian Alliance (see links on the right) have produced a press release which condemns the conviction of Hamza.

Monday, 6 February 2006

Top ten myths about libertarianism

Stefan Molyneux, a Canadian libertarian writer and podcaster, has produced a podcast which seeks to refute popular myths about libertarianism.

Molyneux's podcasts are highly informative and truly thought provoking.

It's very interesting and you can listen to it here.

Incompetent British police

I'm a great fan of the TV show "The Simpsons". The police chief of Springfield (the town the Simpsons live in) is called Chief Wiggum and is consistently portrayed as being incompetent and corrupt. It seems we have lots of Chief Wiggums in the UK currently.

When radical Muslims were protesting outside the Danish embassy in London a few days ago, they carried plaques that could be considered to incite hatred or murder. Yet nothing has been done to stop these people.

I don't like the police at all. I think many police officers are corrupt and seldom care about helping others or protecting people. In my mind, many police officers join the service because they crave power and authority over others. I think most people fear the police, more so than trust them.

I've started to warm to the possibility of privatised police. I feel the profit motive and the presence of competition would produce a more effective and efficient police force.

Thursday, 2 February 2006

BNP free speech trial victory

Nick Griffin and Mark Collett have been cleared of inciting racial hatred. The Crown Prosecution Service have asked for a re-trial, since some charges are outstanding.

I'm no fan of the BNP at all. I believe they are a racist party, despite their claims to the contrary.
Nonetheless, I do feel justice has been served here. As a libertarian, I don't believe in many limits to freedom of expression.

I would favour some laws outlawing defamation, largely from a moral perspective. I don't think it's just for people to defame each other, since defamation can detrimentally effect one's home and work life.

As for racial hatred laws, I think they should be outlawed within a libertarian society. My view on free speech is that people who express obnoxious or objectionable views can be shunned and ostracised by the community. People can also use their rights to freedom of expression to discredit and combat such objectionable views.

Freedom of expression also doesn't violate rights to the person and property. This is why I favour few laws curbing freedom of expression.