Contact Details: Dr Sean Gabb
07956 472 199, sean@...
Monday 11th March 2013
Various to report.
Some Critical Comments on Roderick T. Long’s “Why Libertarians Believe There Is Only One Right”
J. C. Lester, Philosophical Notes No. 86
This article explains various imprecisions and clear errors concerning libertarianism in Roderick T. Long’s essay.1Contra Long, I argue as follows.Non-aggression is not the fundamental libertarian right—liberty is.There are non-libertarian rights, but they don’t override liberty.Assumptions are inevitable because justifications are impossible.Rights should not be “defined” but, rather, morally and metaphysically theorized.Moral and legal permissibility need to be clearly distinguished.Long has unwittingly adopted libertarian, normative conceptions of “aggression” and “force”.It is possible to accept the right to liberty on no grounds whatsoever, and also conjecture that liberty/deontologism and welfare/consequentialism are systematically compatible for conceptual and causal reasons.Long’s rejection of positive rights is privileging and not conceptual.Property needs to be derived from an explicit, non-normative, theory of libertarian liberty.Long’s overall account is “mysterious” and “one-sided.” Continue reading → <http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/some-critical-comments-on-roderick-t-longs-why-libertarians-believe-there-is-only-o-ne-rightj-c-lester/
The Lessons of History
by Sean Gabb
(First Published 22nd March 2003)
Whatever the more nihilistic historians may claim, history does reveal certain regularities in our behaviour. One of these is that, whenever large numbers of intelligent people agree that it can only get better, the world takes a turn decidedly for the worse. The poets of the Augustan age saw that the present was better than the past, and thought the good times would continue. Instead, the Roman world got Tiberius, Caligula, Nero and Domitian. When Constantine became a Christian, Eusebius insisted this would herald an age of peace and justice. Within a century, Augustine was having to write at immense length to show how this had only apparently not happened. The Enlightenment is famous for its optimism, and we all know it ended with the Terror and a quarter century of bloodletting across Europe. The Victorian belief in progress was knocked on the head at the Somme and Passchendael, and quietly expired in the extermination camps and the Gulag. Continue reading → <http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/the-lessons-of-history/#more-19143
Jury Nullification: A Barrister Writes
by Howard Gray
Juries have a duty to try the case according to the law: this is trite. The judge is the tribunal of law, and the jury is the tribunal of fact: that is the simple rule of how criminal law works, and also just as trite. Judges in England are allowed broad scope to direct juries on the law and often put forward their views of the facts usually pre-seasoned with the exhortation that it is “up to you ladies and gentlemen of the jury” about any particular point they deem in need of comment.
That being said, there is a plethora of rules that they must use to put to a jury about particular points of law and about the standard of proof that must always be there in their directions. For example the “you must be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt” and “satisfied so that you are sure”, then they go on to give examples. There are the Turnbull directions on corroboration of witness testimony and so on. Each factual element that has a contentious nature must be directed upon in the judge’s homily to the jury at the end of the trial. Failure to adequately direct a jury can result in the verdict being set aside on appeal. Jurors needn’t be too worried that justice will be denied; appeals are often successful. Continue reading → <http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2013/03/06/jury-nullification-a-barrister-writes/#more-19129
Let Us Have Gay Marriage – But not Yet!
by Sean Gabb
(Unedited Version of Article
Published in TakiMag <http://takimag.com/article/let_us_have_gay_marriage_but_not_yet_sean_gabb/print#axzz2MTSFDRfc
>, February 2013)
Bearing in mind its nature, I think anyone who writes about the gay marriage Bill, now before Parliament, has more than a usual obligation to be honest about his underlying beliefs. Mine are easily stated. I have never shared or understood the moral prejudice against homosexual acts. Even as a boy, I thought the legal penalties were unjust. A quarter of a century ago, I wrote an essay in which, among much else, I called for gay marriage to be allowed. I have a long and consistent, and open, record on gay issues. Continue reading → <http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/let-us-have-gay-marriage-but-not-yet-by-sean-gabb/#more-19125
Flexischooling: Letter Sent to My MP
by Sean Gabb
I am writing as your constituent, and as the parent of a child at a school in your constituency, to complain about the Government’s change in the policy over flexischooling. This is the practice of letting children receive part of their education in school and part at home.
The change in policy is summarised thus on the DfES wesbite: Continue reading → <http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/flexischooling/#more-19122
Should There be a Minimum Price for Alcohol?
by Sean Gabb
Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance, speaking on BBC Radio 5 <http://www.bbc.co.uk/5live/
>on the 1st March 2013.
The background to this discussion was a report <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21621144
>from the Alcohol Health Alliance, calling for a minimum price of 50p per unit for alcohol, and various restrictions on the advertising and sale of alcohol.
Sean argues these points: Continue reading → <http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/should-there-be-a-minimum-price-for-alcohol-by-sean-gabb/#more-19107
by D.J. Webb
I think there is an important point to be made about jury trials. Of course, the recent collapse of the jury trial of Vicky Price is partly down to the stupidity of the jurors and the removal of the property franchise for serving on a jury — and well-to-do people should never be able to evade their duty in serving on a jury simply because they feel they have other things to do with their time. Continue reading → <http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/jury-nullification/#more-19102
Should David Cameron Apologise for Amritsar?
By Sean Gabb
On Wednesday the 20th February 2013, I was asked by the BBC <http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qqvqs
> to comment on David Cameron’s “apology <http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/poll/2013/feb/20/amritsar-massacre-cameron-apology
>” to the Indians for the events at Amritsar in April 1919. A few hours later, I found myself on air with Keith Vaz MP, who was a Minister in the Blair Government. Without transcribing my words from the recording, here is what I said:
“I do not expect the Prime Minister to apologise for what happened at Amritsar. No more do I expect the Indians to apologise for the Black Hole of Calcutta, or for the bestial atrocities committed by the sepoys against British woman and children during the Mutiny.
“However, while there are doubtless Indians who get a thrill from watching the grandchildren of the white sahib grovel in the dust, this apology or semi-apology is really about British politics. Whether Conservative or Liberal or Labour, we are ruled by a cartel of cultural Marxists. Part of what they are about involves rewriting British history as a catalogue of shame. That alone explains why our leaders keep going about the world, apologising to every group of foreigners who may think they have a grudge against us. I am proud of my country and of its history. I want no part of this.”
To put it mildly, this is not an opinion heard very often on the BBC. But I was then asked about the principle of historic apologies. Instead of discussing the principle more than in passing, I took the opportunity to say this: Continue reading → <http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/should-david-cameron-apologise-for-amritsar-by-sean-gabb/#more-19066
Football Attendance and Family Allowance
A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a comment on the BBC football page in which it was pointed out that a train trip from Manchester to London, to watch the Arsenal vs. Man City game would cost 50 pounds, plus 62 pounds for the ticket and 20 pounds for food, for a total of 132 pounds. On Wednesday, 87,000 spectators watched the England vs. Brazil game at Wembley. Every week the Premier League stadiums are filled to the brim with crowds ranging from about 30,000 to 80,000, depending on the size of the stadium. In addition, when television cameras focus on the crowds, they seem pretty much middle-class to me. Continue reading → <http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/football-attendance-and-family-allowance/#more-18999
Is Libertarianism "Unfair"?
by D.J. Webb
I have umm’d and aah’d for a long time over how to approach this issue, because it often seems that libertarianism is an ideological reflex of personal interests. For example, Allister Heath at City AM, generally fairly free-market in his approach, called recently for tax reform, but a “reform” that would retain taxes on income and profits and avoid imposing any levies on the occupation of land. On this very LA blog, many people otherwise libertarian in their general views have seemed vituperatively to oppose shifting taxation from income and profits onto property. Such people are often vocal in decrying any attempt to talk about the “fairness” of the free market, while happy to accept state intervention to skew economic opportunities in the interests of those who already have wealth and property. It is likely that most people who are “free-market” in their view of economics are simply expressing their own interests in the economy. Continue reading → <http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2013/02/10/is-libertarianism-unfair/#more-18986
Speech to a Traditionalist Conservative Group
by Sean Gabb
> Flash Animation
On Friday the 1st February 2013, a debate took place at The Counting House <http://www.the-counting-house.com/
>, which is a pub at the junction of Gracechurch Street and Cornhill in the City of London. The question was How to be a Conservative in 21st Century Britain.
Sean Gabb spoke for the Libertarian Alliance <http://www.libertarian.co.uk/
>. Sam Swerling spoke for the Swinton Circle <http://www.swintoncircle.org.uk/
>. Their speeches were followed by a lively question and answer session. Continue reading → <http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/sean-gabb-speech-to-a-traditionalist-conservative-group/#more-18940
One Sometimes Does not Know What to Do or Think
by David Davis
As I get older and older ( I have already outlived our old chum Chris Tame by almost seven years – and I never imagined that I would be talking about being er, sort of, er, old) the world seems to lurch from one cock-up to another, or one disaster to another. Most are government-mediated. It’s difficult, sometimes, to distinguish a “natural” disaster like an earthquake from a government-mediated one such as the “banking crisis”. Both kinds usually result in lost and wasted resources: the poorer the country, the more the UN wastes in hotels, escort girls. “feasibility-studies” and jet-flights: and the bigger the bank, the more the Treasury wastes in Continue reading → <http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/one-sometimes-does-not-know-what-to-do-or-think/#more-18932
Sean Gabb on Drinking and Driving:
A Police Officer Writes
Note: I have removed the officer’s name, but this e-mail is reproduced here on the LA Blog exactly as received. I think he is inaccurate in several of his factual claims, especially since I know people who have been subject to random breath testing around the Christmas period. I have also encountered any number of police officers who struck me as either mad or high on drugs. However, since he has taken the trouble to write at such length, and so politely, I do require that those who wish to respond should do so in a calm and factual manner. The officer will, I am sure, be following your comments. It would be useful if he were to go away with a better idea than he appears to have of the objections that we have to police powers and to the frequent use and misuse of these powers. SIG Continue reading → <http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/sean-gabb-on-drinking-and-driving-a-police-officer-writes/#more-18922
That Sheep May Safely Graze
by Sean Gabb
This evening, the 26th September 2006, the BBC will broadcast its latest Whistleblower programme. This investigates the sharp and often illegal practices of court bailiffs. They are accused of tricking debtors—and frequently third parties —out of thousands of pounds that are not owed.
According to a report in The Daily Mail, the bailiffs in one firm are accused of:
* Doubling or tripling a judgment debt, and then appearing generous by deducting £100—and keeping the whole excess for themselves;
* Telling the relatives of debtors that they would have their own possessions seized;
* Threatening debtors with violence;
* Breaking and entering the premises of debtors and of third parties.
So far as they are true—and I have not seen the programme in question—these accusations show patterns of behaviour of which I was not previously aware. Continue reading → <http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/abusive-bailiffs-old-but-possibly-relevant-thoughts/#more-18905
Should There be Laws against Drinking and Driving?
by Sean Gabb
> Flash Animation
Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance, speaking on BBC Radio 4 <http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/void(
0)/*370*/>on the 22nd January 2013.
The excuse for this discussion was a story about an Irish local authority that wishes to relax the drinking and driving laws <http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/void(
Sean argues these points: Continue reading → <http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/should-there-be-laws-against-drinking-and-driving/#more-18884
by Sean Gabb
This is an ex cathedra statement, not an invitation to debate. It is made in view of certain comments recently posted on this blog.
The problem with anti-semitic conspiracy theories is that they involve continuous selection. Therefore, you take the fact that Karl Marx was a socialist, and overlook that he was a racist and cultural conservative. You take the fact that Mahler was a musical revolutionary, and overlook that he was a German nationalist. You wholly overlook people like Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises, or Paul Gottfried and Meyer Schiller. You also overlook how many poisonous lefties there seem to be in Israel, calling for open borders and the demotion of Jewish symbols. Continue reading → <http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2013/01/19/anti-semitism/#more-18860
Who Wields the Royal Veto?
by D.J. Webb
An intriguing article on the Telegraph <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/theroyalfamily/9801835/Queen-and-Prince-Charles-using-power-of-veto-over-new-laws-Whitehall-documents-reveal.html
> website claims that the Royal family are regularly vetoing new laws, although the article appears sloppily written, and in particular the writer doesn’t appear to know the difference between the formal casting of a veto and the registering of some kind of objection to a law in advance. Continue reading → <http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/who-wields-the-royal-veto/#more-18838
Is Capitalism Just Fraud?
By David J. Webb
Located as I am in “rip-off Britain”, it is a worthy question indeed whether capitalism is, in the final analysis, just fraud. Businesses should try to sell their goods for the maximum price in the market—doesn’t that make it likely that the free market is just a conduit for deception? Libertarians are generally left with vague comments along the lines of caveat emptor that ignore the fact that good value and good service are hard to find in the market, whoever one buys from. So I think the question apposite and worth considering. Continue reading → <http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/is-capitalism-just-fraud/#more-18753
Iraq: I Wish I Had Been Wrong
by Sean Gabb
My normal reaction when I turn out to be right is a combination of surprise and patronising self-righteousness. Where this Iraqi business is concerned, I really wish I had been wrong. Since the American war aims were never fully explained, there is no official criterion for judging the outcome of the war. On any reasonable view, however, the war has been a disaster.
The Americans invaded Iraq on a false prospectus. There were no weapons of mass-destruction. There was no link to al Qa’eda, nor any reason to think an invasion would reduce the will and ability of other terrorist groups. They destroyed the country’s administration and much of its infrastructure, and have done little to replace this. They rule the county by armed force. They are censoring the media. They have imprisoned thousands without charge or trial. They have tortured many prisoners. Their military is degenerating by the day into an armed rabble, killing civilians apparently at random. Before invading, they spoke of injecting liberal and democratic values into the heart of the Middle East. Instead, they have simply made themselves hated without being feared. Continue reading → <http://libertarianalliance.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/article-on-the-iraq-war-from-11th-may-2004/#more-18728
Director, The Libertarian Alliance (Carbon Positive since 1979)
> Tel: 07956 472 199
Postal Address: Suite 35, 2 Lansdowne Row, London W1J 6HL, England
Wikipedia Entry <http://tinyurl.com/23jvoz
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