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Libertarian Alliance Bulletin and Conference Report

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  • Dr Sean Gabb
    To Yahoo Group: Libertarian Debaters Dear All, Here is the Director s Bulletin for the 9th November 2008. You can see the hypertext version at
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 9, 2008
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      To Yahoo Group: Libertarian Debaters

      Dear All,

      Here is the Director's Bulletin for the 9th November 2008. You can see
      the hypertext version at

      Libertarian Alliance Conference
      Chris R. Tame Memorial Prize 2008 - £1,000 Won!
      Helen Evans
      Norman Barry RIP
      Sean Gabb in The Times
      Other Media Appearances
      Barack Obama
      Books Received
      Attendance at UKIP Function
      Speaking Engagements
      Negative Scanner Wanted


      I have done rather less during the past few months than usual for the
      Libertarian Alliance. My time has been taken up instead with finishing
      one novel and working on another, and with playing nursery rhymes to my
      daughter in many different keys.

      But the Libertarian Alliance as a whole has remained very active. We have
      just held our most successful conference ever, and we continue to put our
      case in the media and wherever else we are invited.

      Libertarian Alliance Conference

      Our conference of two weekends ago, at the National Liberal Club in
      London, was our most successful ever. It is unfair to single out any
      particular speakers at the expense of the others. However, our three most
      prominent speakers were Aubrey de Gray, David Friedman and Hans-Hermann
      Hoppe. These all gave excellent speeches.

      When advertising our conferences, I have always urged people to book
      early to ensure a place. Usually, we get between 80 and 90 people, and
      there is always room to let people come along on the day - even if
      dinners are less easy to arrange at short notice. This year, however, we
      reached the Monday before the beginning of the conference, and had 112
      people on our list. The Liberal Club's fire regulations limit for our
      usual room was 120. Over the next few days, another 20 people tried to
      book with us. When I removed the PayPal buttons from the brochure page on
      our website, people began to telephone us and tried begging for places.
      In the event, we had 120 people at the conference, and 113 booked in for

      One of these, I am pleased to say, was Teresa Gorman, who was one of our
      most consistent friends in the Parliamentary Conservative Party during
      the 1980s and 1990s. Though now in semi-retirement, Teresa looks good and
      remains on good form.

      It is not certain we shall be so crowded next year. Even so, I do
      recommend early booking.

      As ever, we made a full video record of the speeches. Because I am busy
      doing other things, because it takes time to process video, and because
      my desktop computer is unaccountably very slow, it took me a fortnight to
      get the video files uploaded to the Internet. But they are now available.
      You can see our video record at


      These files have been radically downsampled for Google. However, if you
      want better quality copies on DVD, you can use the PayPal buttons at the
      bottom of the record page. This year, we are happy to take payment in
      pounds, in dollars and in euros.

      Chris R. Tame Memorial Prize 2008 - £1,000 Won!

      The subject for this year's essay as "Can a Libertarian Society be
      Described as 'Tesco minus the State'?" I am disappointed that no one came
      forward to give a robust defence of corporations on libertarian grounds.
      I did promise impartial judging. However, I received a number of very
      fine entries, all of which will be published by the Libertarian Alliance.
      After much deliberation, I decided that the best entry was from Keith
      Preston in America. His was a very impressive entry, and we shall be
      delighted to publish this as a Libertarian Alliance pamphlet. For the
      moment, it can be seen on our blog:


      Next year, I am hoping for several thousand pounds of sponsorship, so
      that we can offer a first prize of £1000, but also several dozen second
      and third prizes for lesser amounts.

      Helen Evans

      We were all naturally concerned when Helen Evans, our Events Coordinator,
      fell dangerously ill just before the conference. However, she is now out
      of danger and well on the road to recovery. Our thoughts are with her,
      with her husband Tim and with their daughter Petica.

      Norman Barry RIP

      For those who have not heard already, I must announce the death, on the
      21st October 2008, of Norman Barry. I first met him in 1986, and he was
      one of my external examiners some years afterward. A most distinguished
      scholar, he was victim in his final years to multiple sclerosis.

      According to the announcement on the University of Buckingham website,

      "It is with great sadness that the University has learned of the death
      this morning of Professor Norman Barry. As one of the foremost exponents
      of classical liberal theory in the United Kingdom, Norman established the
      foundation around which the study of politics developed at the
      University. His work as a scholar of Friedrich von Hayek, as a social and
      political theorist and as a writer in business ethics contributed greatly
      to the academic reputation of the University after his arrival in 1982.
      He received the 'Liberty in Theory' Lifetime Award from the Libertarian
      Alliance (LA) in 2005. Our condolences go to his colleagues, friends and

      "A graduate of the University of Exeter, Professor Barry lectured in
      Politics at Queen's University of Belfast and at Birmingham Polytechnic
      (now the University of Central England) before being appointed as a
      Reader in Politics at the University of Buckingham in 1982. His books
      include Hayek's Social and Economic Philosophy (1979), An Introduction to
      Modern Political Theory (1981), The Morality of Business Enterprise
      (1991), Classical Liberalism in an Age of Post-Communism (1996) and
      Business Ethics (1998). He was awarded a Chair in Social and Political
      Theory at Buckingham in 1984. He was also a visiting scholar at the
      Centre for Social Philosophy and Policy, Bowling Green State University,
      Ohio, and at the Liberty Fund, Indianapolis. He was a member of the
      Advisory Council of the Institute of Economic Affairs, London; the
      Institute for the Study of Civil Society, London; and the David Hume
      Institute, Edinburgh."

      The full announcement is here:

      You can also see an interview with Professor Barry from 1991. This is in
      our Botsford Archive at:

      Sean Gabb in The Times

      I think I did send this out. If not, I should have done. On Friday the
      24th October 2008, The Times carried an article by me in favour of
      disestablishing the Church of England. Here is the article:

      Here is a longer article I wrote a few years back, in which I argue
      against disestablishment:

      I have changed my mind about the Church and about several other issues on
      which I was once a strong conservative.

      Other Media Appearances

      I have been much in demand by the BBC these past few months. I regret,
      however, that I have been far too disorganised to record any of these. My
      most recent was the night before the American election on Radio 5, where
      I denounced most politicians as motivated by money, kinky sex, or the
      sheer joy of messing up the lives of others. I scandalised some Labour
      politicians and politics lecturer, who had come on in the belief that he
      would be worshiping at the shrine of St Barack the Redeemer. His
      embittered annoyance, and his attempt to turn the listeners against me
      with his revelation that the Libertarian Alliance believes in legalising
      all drugs and even incest between consenting adults, made for an
      entertaining broadcast. Sadly, I failed to record any of this. I will try
      to do better in future.

      Barack Obama

      I did think of betting money on the election of Mr McCain as American
      President. However, the more I looked at him on the television, the more
      I realised he was one of those figures, half comic, half sinister, who
      are thrown up at the end of every ancien regime. I guessed that millions
      of Americans would vote for him through clenched teeth, bearing in mind
      it was him or a black man. But I decided in the end he was not worth the
      risk of losing £20.

      So Mr Obama it is. He will contrive, if very differently, to be even
      worse for America than Mr Bush has been. On the other hand, he will
      probably be less inclined than Mr McCain would have been to blow the
      world up. And if he is a closet Moslem, that is certainly less alarming
      than the acknowledged Christianity of Mrs Palin.

      Oh - and, since he is half-Kenyan and was born before 1963, he will be
      the first American President in many years whose father was a British
      citizen. I am sure this fact will not be overlooked by Lyndon Larouche
      and his many followers in America. Perhaps the Empire is striking back!

      My comments on his election can be read here:

      Those who want to understand the true nature of the evil he means to
      America, should read my book Cultural Revolution, Culture War. You can
      get copies here:
      95410322X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1226250079&sr=8-2 >

      I am running out of copies, but want to sell all of these before I set to
      work on another edition. If you buy now, you may be able to give copies
      to your loved ones for Christmas/Hannukah/Diwali/Kwanzaa. You are too
      late for Eid.

      Books Received

      At the Libertarian Alliance conference, David Friedman gave me a copy of
      his novel Harald. This is a fantasy set in world loosely based on the
      early middle ages, and is a very good read. I wish he had brought more
      copies so he could have sold and signed them. I think it is important for
      libertarians to write about more than how to privatise the Bulgarian
      motorways. David has always been a diverse writer, and his novel is a
      significant move into fiction.

      You can buy your copies of this at:

      I have also been sent a copy of The Plan: Twelve Months to Renew Britain
      by Douglas Carswell and Dan Hannan. This is a remarkable attempt by two
      Conservative politicians to give their party some actual policies. Of
      their two main prescriptions, one is excellent, the other on the verge of
      terrifying. The first is to devolve to every county and city in England
      all the powers of the Scottish Assembly. This would at once undo the
      massive centralisation of power England has suffered during the past
      hundred years. The second is to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998 and to
      subject the judiciary to the restored legislative sovereignty of
      Parliament. Giving power with no hope of appeal to 625 of the most
      ignorant and corrupt people in the United Kingdom is not the way to make
      the country a better place.

      I will review this book at some length in the next few weeks. you can buy
      copies here:

      Attendance at UKIP Function

      On the 17th October 2008, I was invited to a closed meeting of the UK
      Independence Party on HMS Belfast. This was addressed very ably by Nigel
      Farage, who spoke about his party's strategy for doing well at the next
      elections to the European Parliament. Though I do not feel able to say
      more about what was a closed meeting, I was very impressed by all I saw
      and heard. Regardless of the strained relations for much of this year
      between UKIP and the Libertarian Alliance, it has been my settled
      intention to continue voting for UKIP. I am now glad to report that
      relations are no longer strained.

      Speaking Engagements

      While on holiday in Slovakia, I was invited by the Oxford Union to speak
      on the 6th November. I accepted the offer and put it into my diary. I
      heard nothing back about confirmation of the acceptance, but put the
      matter out of mind. Once back in England, I sent several e-mails and a
      letter to the Oxford Union, asking for confirmation. When I received no
      reply, and when I was told by a friend who lives in Oxford, that the 6th
      November had been given to someone else. I removed the engagement from my
      diary and thought no more of it. No doubt, there was a time, when
      organisations like the Oxford Union were run by people of integrity, or
      at least of competence. This seems no longer to be the case.

      However, I have accepted an engagement to speak to the Shelley Society at
      Eton College. This will be around the middle of the present month. I may
      record the event, but will only make my own speech available on the

      Negative Scanner Wanted

      I have several thousand negatives from the Chris R. Tame collection of
      photographs. I want to have these scanned in for upload to the Internet.
      Is there anyone out there able and willing to lend me a good negative

      Sean Gabb
      Director, The Libertarian Alliance
      Tel: 07956 472 199


      FREE download of my book - Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How
      Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back
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