Why Libertarians are NOT Liberals

Modern-day Libertarians have emerged from right-wing* politics although they’ll often disguise what is, in reality, their ‘self-first’ agenda by defining it as a seemingly less selfish ‘my right to choose.’

The further right you go the more the ‘self-first’ agenda exposes itself for what it really is – ‘I can do whatever I want and no one has the right to stop me/challenge me.’

A Liberal on the other hand will say ‘I am an individual and my views should not be constrained by the state, however, I also accept that I take both responsibility for my actions and I will always try not to pursue individual liberty when it has negative effects on others, the environment, the natural world etc.’

So what would a typical Libertarian think? How about these examples? –

* I won’t be vaccinated, it’s my right to decide what goes into my body and it’s not my responsibility to protect others.
* I don’t go with climate change, it’s not happening and I won’t do things to stop what is not happening.
* I park my vehicle where I want, if pedestrians can’t get past it then that’s their lookout; nothing to do with me.

A Liberal on these same issues will respond to them:-

* I will be vaccinated as it’s my duty to protect my own health and that of others.
* On climate change, I follow the science and will do my bit to address it.
* I don’t park my vehicle where it will impede pedestrians and those with disabilities.

And then whilst thinking about such issues and debating them with my very progressive and Liberal daughter she said this – It’s a Bill Bryson quote from the Road to Little Dribbling book:-

Now lots of people are governed not so much by whether something is right or wrong as by whether they think anyone’s watching. Conscience only operates when there are witnesses”

To me, that thoughtful contribution says that those who tend to be Libertarians, but who don’t want to get caught being selfish, will tend not to be self-first if they are likely to be caught at it. That means, for example, they won’t drop litter if they think someone may see them but if they can get away with it, it’s OK.

* Libertarians were originally of the ‘left’ but in modern times the ‘right’ has taken the term on as its own. They have in effect corrupted what was once based firmly in progressive and radical Liberalism.

Labour and regionalism – They can’t trust their own troops!

Regions would get their own minister

The Labour party has announced that nine English regions would get their own Government minister if the party were to win next year’s election. The network of “regional ministers” would form part of Ed Miliband’s drive to devolve power and bridge the north-south divide. They would champion their areas and supervise plans to transfer £20bn to “city regions” over five years to be spent on job-creation, housing and transport. Ministers would be appointed for London; the South-east; South-west; West Midlands; North-east; North-west; Yorkshire and Humber; East Midlands and the Eastern region. Meanwhile, an editorial in the FT calls on Whitehall to give more power to the UK’s cities. The piece argues that Whitehall has too much power over local spending and that larger cities need to have greater control over important areas such as housing, skills and infrastructure.

Well here we have the Party of centralist control seemingly saying it wants to give power away, but it does not take long to realise that what they are really saying is that they will send a Minister to supervise, direct and control things! Another smoke and mirror policy announcement I fear from an ever desperate Mr Miliband seeking attention.

Of course the regions of England need power devolving to them, of course Westminster is too powerful – Liberals have been arguing this for generations. But you don’t decentralise by sending a boss from London to oversee what the ‘plebs’ are up to and keep them on the straight and narrow. Real decentralisation gives power away and trusts people to make decisions that affect them their families and their communities. You trust them to make mistakes as well!

Of course Mr Miliband’s problem is that he does not trust his own Labour troops in the regions of England; give them too much power and the next thing they will be promoting socialist ideals and doing left wing things.

This all highlights Labour’s fundamental problem; a right wing leadership (which at times pretends to be left wing) with a left wing activist and councillor base which most of the time is forced to do right wing things!

With thanks to the LGiU