Woolwich Terrorist Attack


Today we experienced something many of us had either never experienced or forgotten. What better resembled a scene from a horrific war-zone, violent video game or a horror film was replicated on the streets of Woolwich in South-East London. For me personally, the emotion was not like something I have experienced before, having not really understood the 2005 bombings (having been 12 at the time). My first thought after seeing the video of the man brandishing his knives with his bloodied hands was, ‘Now I know how Americans feel about 9/11’. Of course, this is a huge understatement of the tragedy of 9/11 and I realise the two events are not comparable in terms of sheer quantity of violence and destruction wrought.

What is comparable however, is the feeling and reaction the attack has provoked. Initially, I find that there is a sense of disbelief, confusion, and desperation. Why here? Why us? Why has this place we call home been turned into a war-zone? How has this abhorrent horror come to visit our streets? Secondly, often because people fail to answer these questions, the same voices turn to anger, hatred and revenge. Today I felt the strength of the arguments that play on these emotions. Today I thought I could feel the power of the voices that want blood paid for blood lost. We all had the slightest insight of what it must have been like to be George Bush on 9/12/2001. And it scared me.

What scared me is how long it took me to remember that murder, even as revenge, is never justified. What scared me is how long it took me to remember that to sacrifice freedom for security is to lose both. What scared me most is that for a while I forgot that human beings are good creatures. For a while, I lost my principles along with my faith in humanity. This is what horror does to people.

As readers might know from my previous articles, I approach libertarianism not just from a political or economic point of view, but also from a spiritual background. Anger incites anger, hate incites hate, and violence incites violence. Gandhi could not have put it better when he said, ‘An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind’. I believe that if you choose to hate someone, you are inciting more hatred in the world; you spread the hate to more people. In society, almost everyone plays into this game. The worst part is the game never ends; once you enter the game of hatred it only causes more and more hatred. The only way to stop this vicious disease is to refuse to enter into the game. There are few people that can live in a world where hatred and anger are rife, and turn away from them. However, I believe if anyone can, its libertarians.

Libertarians understand that the best, most favourable condition for humans to live in is freedom. As such, we recognize that we should not interfere with one another; we should not violate one’s right to be left alone. We should apply the same principles of non-interference that we have in economics and politics, to morality. I will attempt to show that if libertarians are consistent with our ideology, we should be the first to reject hate, anger and all violence. We do not think that we can correct the economy, or a business, by interfering with its practices. Rather, we think the free market naturally separates the good from the bad; through the selective discrimination of the free market we are left with only good, healthy businesses and a vibrant economy. The same principle applies in foreign policy; rather than interfering with a country (by applying sanctions and military intervention) we believe that it is more effective to show another country what the benefits of freedom and liberty are. By leading by example, we think we can improve the happiness and prosperity of the world as people embrace the ideology of liberty. These same principles applied to morality teach us that we cannot expect to correct character by violent intervention. We have to have faith in humanity and believe that if we apply a free market to morality, society would weed out the bad morals. We have to lead by example, by practicing rejecting the negative emotions of hatred and anger. I think this will be come to be shown as the next frontier for the ideology of libertarianism; the embrace of a spiritual pacifism, the acceptance of non-violence and the rejection of negative emotion.

I want to demonstrate the ‘hate-inciting-hate’ effect that I am talking about. Libertarians often warn about blowback; the unintended consequences of military campaigns. We recognize that the laws of cause and effect apply to war as much as they do to anything else. I believe today’s ruthless attack is just another example of this effect. Today’s event appears to have been motivated by radical Islam, with preaches that Muslims should attack Westerners since Westerners occupy their land in the Middle East. The actual facts of the issue (who’s land it is for example) are irrelevant to my point, it is the perception I am focused on. Westerners occupy or patrol much of the Middle East because of 9/11. 9/11 was, as Bin Laden said repeatedly, done because the West had been meddling in the affairs of Muslim Middle Eastern states for about 50 years, ever since the creation of Israel, the overthrow of the democracy in Iran, the installation of the Shah, and the numerous dictators supported across the region. The creation of Israel and the West’s desire to control came for the most part directly from the impact of the Second World War. This in turn was caused, at least in part, from the aftermath of the First World War. None of these actions justify the next, but they are important in understanding the reasons they happened. If we ignore the reasons, we will never understand and we can never hope of stopping them. The violence goes back and back; and it will never end unless we have the courage to reject it. I suggest this be the libertarian approach, and indeed the worlds approach, to the kind of tragic events we have seen today.

Flowers left at the scene

RIP Woolwich Soldier x

Should we be glad that at least the UK would never react in the same way as the US government did in the aftermath of the Boston Bombings

The End Of Obama?

Obama 2

President Obama is not one new to criticism. Everything from his politics to the color of his skin to his parentage has attracted much anger from the public. Generally, the criticisms of Obama that gain the most attention are from the stereotypical radicals who believe that Obama is a secret Muslim who has a hidden Marxist/socialist agenda. Let me just say that there are two things I find incredibly absurd about this. First, the amount of attention the media gives these people and second, the idea in itself.

It is really a shame that so much of the “criticism” of the President comes from prejudice and radical partisanship; people who would do anything to attack the other side to make themselves seen in a better light. I know that the cornerstone of politics is sucker punches and backstabbing but basic policy analysis needs more attention, especially from these “hard news” programs. (MSNBC, CNN, New York Times, and Fox all have biases in case you were thinking that it was only Fox. The former few are just more clever at hiding it.)

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Security vs. Freedom

'Top Secret'

Yet another scandal emerged this week in Washington. Barack Obama’s administration were accused of hacking into emails and phone calls of the Associated Press in order to check that no ‘confidential’ information got into public hands. On Thursday, Obama himself said that he would make ‘no apologies’ for the actions of the administration, citing his duty as commander-in-chief to protect national secrets and guard against the nation’s enemies. Continue reading

The Tax Problem

You Don't Own All Your Labor

Written By: Derek Campbell

A couple of newspaper items in The Times earlier in the week caught my attention. In one the boss of Sainsbury’s, Justin King suggested that the tax system in the UK was unfair and penalised businesses like his whilst favouring online retailers like Amazon. At the same time there has been an outcry about the way firms like Amazon have used tax loopholes and seemingly avoided paying an appropriate amount of tax. Continue reading

Independence Day in America: “We’ll meet them at the bridge.”

Thousands people with loaded pistols on their hips and rifles slung across their backs stare across the Potomac River, standing ready on the border of Washington D.C. On the other side of the Arlington Memorial Bridge, the air is stale and tense. The scene is so quiet that the sound of police lights spinning are clearly heard.  Formed in equal force is the D.C. Metro Police, armed with loaded pistols and rifles of their own. Clad in riot gear, tear gas canisters, rubber bullets and blast shields, the front line of the police block aid sends an ominous signal to the potential intruders. If you cross into the District of Columbia openly carrying loaded weapons, you will face violent resistance at the hands of The State. Not wavered and not a word said, a single step initiates one of the most daring demonstrations of Second Amendment Rights in recent times.

Photo of the Facebook Event for the Armed Protest

This will be the likely scene on July 4, 2013 as thousands of protesters plan to march across the Arlington Memorial Bridge from Virginia to D.C., openly carrying firearms, in support of Second Amendment Rights. Open carry of firearms is legal in Virginia but Washington D.C. is a very different story. Even though a 2008 Supreme Court case determined it unconstitutional, open carry is still illegal in D.C. Also, private ownership of firearms, even for home defense, is nearly impossible to obtain.

It will be a day that will never be forgotten if Adam Kokesh has anything to say about it. “We will march with rifles loaded & slung across our backs to put the government on notice that we will not be intimidated & cower in submission to tyranny.” Kokesh is quoted as saying on the Facebook Event page where supporters can RSVP to the event. As an avid Libertarian Podcaster and War Protester with a large internet following, Adam is no stranger to controversy. Back in 2011, Kokesh was body slammed and arrested by U.S Parks Police at the Jefferson Memorial for dancing, earning the video of the incident over 1 million views on YouTube.

Kokesh Body Slammed and Choked at Jefferson Memorial

When the Chief of Police of D.C. Metro, Cathy Lanier, was asked about the event and how her police department would react, she chuckled and stated “There’s a very good chance we’ll meet them on the D.C. side of the bridge. There’s a difference between civil disobedience, which I think this is being portrayed as, as civil disobedience, and actual violation of the law.” Kokesh, like many other Libertarians that support the protest, rebut by claiming it is the D.C. Metro Police that will be in violation of the law. By not allowing free and law abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment Rights in their own nation’s capital, the D.C. Police will violate the U.S. Constitution and the Supreme Court decision.

This comes on the heels of announcements by the Pew Research Center and the Bureau of Justice Statistics that many Americans, whether cognitively or not, believe gun crime is higher than it actually is. This will not come to a shock to many gun rights activists who have screamed the stats to anyone that would listen, but the studies noted the number of gun killings dropped 39% and gun crimes that weren’t fatal fell by 69% between 1993 and 2011. It is very coincidental that these studies are released only after major gun control legislation is defeated in Congress. This is a blatant example of the power of the mainstream media to hype up certain events and create a false reality.

Adam Kokesh on the Alex Jones Show May 6th

There are mixed emotions about the protest in the Libertarian community, but no one can deny it is a bold move. On the May 6th episode of the Alex Jones Show, Lew Rockwell warned that the protest could go terribly wrong. Alex Jones also warned of a provocateur event that would demonize the protest and pervert its meaning, but went on to applaud the protest saying “This is the stuff that history is made of!” On the same day’s radio broadcast, Kokesh defended the protest. “Putting the government in a lose-lose situation is a huge victory for Liberty.” He goes on to explain that no matter the outcome, whether they are arrested, blocked from entering D.C., or have violence initiated upon them, it will only highlight the fact that free individuals are not welcome in the capital of the United States of America.

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Interview: Stephan Kinsella


Stephan Kinsella is a patent attorney, a long-time libertarian theorist and lecturer in the Austrian-anarchist-Rothbardian tradition. Kinsella is also Director of the Cente for the Study of Innovative Freedom (C4SIF.org), Founding and Executive Editor of Libertarian Papers), blogger at The Libertarian Standard and has a podcast, Kinsella on Liberty. The topics discussed in this interview include Ayn Rand, Argumentation Ethics, Religion, Intellectual Property and Bullying.

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Libertarians shouldn’t support UKIP, but they will.

UKIP libertarianism

The significance of last week’s English council election results cannot be downplayed. A shift in the power structure of British politics, perhaps not. But the start of a political movement that has the potential to force very real change, quite possibly. The Prime Minister’s embarrassing backtrack on inflammatory remarks were enough to suggest that he certainly felt the force of the UKIP assault. There is an immense amount of political manoeuvring to be had over the next 2 years before the general election; the Conservatives could attempt to regain ground on the right by offering harder immigration proposals, they could stick it out and instead go after Ed Miliband’s weak leadership. Or the momentum that UKIP currently have could evaporate and we’ll be left wondering what we all got in a fuss about. As such it is very hard to make predictions about how libertarians might vote in 2015. It might however, be useful to consider how libertarians should respond to UKIP, in the here and now.

UKIP describe themselves as a libertarian party. Would any libertarians reading this consider a national health service, restrictions on travel, greater police presence, and intervention in the free market as things that libertarians can support? A national health service is a lynchpin of socialism; it puts lives directly into the hands of the state. The freedom to travel is a fairly fundamental right; can we endorse the state controlling our movement? As for intervention in the free market, if one understands anything about Austrian Economics, on which libertarian philosophy depends, then one must agree that no economic intervention is good economic intervention. UKIP claims on its website manifesto that they’ll ‘fight proposals like unwanted housing developments, unwanted out-of-town supermarkets and inappropriate energy schemes’. The beauty of the free market is that it figures out societies’ desires by itself; better than any government agency could. Clearly UKIP missed this lesson from Ludwig Von Mises, elementary though it is. My point here is not that UKIP are unreasonable for standing for these things, but that they are clearly not a libertarian party, and should not be thought of as being so.

As we see from the financial crisis of 2008, people love to blame the free market. “Damn those filthy rich bankers and how the free market let them make risky loans. And damn them for forcing us to bail them out!” In reality of course, if we had a free market the crisis would not have happened since bankers could not have made such risky loans. And, of course, in a free market no-one would be forced to bail anyone else out. What we learn from this is that people really don’t understand freedom and how it works. UKIP offers a ‘more libertarian’ option, but when UKIP’s meddling in the economy fails, once again the free market will be blamed and bigger government will be called for again as the solution. The only way to avoid falling into this trap is to take the position that UKIP and all that it stands for is not what libertarians want; they do not represent the libertarian position. The tendency of all governments to grow over time is obvious, and UKIP, with their nationalist tendencies and poor economic understanding, would be highly susceptible to this effect.

A huge problem I personally have with voting for UKIP is a moral one. Libertarians put great value in people having choice, but equal importance on people taking individual responsibility for the decisions they make. In voting for a party, I would take responsibility for giving them my mandate for power. In UKIP’s case, I would be giving my mandate for them to implement everything they stand for. This kind of compromise is not something that morally I feel I can do. Historically, we respect and admire those people that stood up for their principles and did not compromise even when it was inconvenient, and even when it was utterly irrelevant. I disagree with income taxation because I believe it is theft, so how would it be right for me to support theft? It wouldn’t. Would Gandhi have endorsed violence, if is fulfilled his aims? Would Martin Luther King Jr have killed a white man, to increase his political power and support? Would Jesus have stolen from honest people, in order to feed others? The answers are obvious. This is why I personally could never vote for a watered-down version of freedom; I do not think that morally one can argue against theft and at the same time support its use. So to those that say that say UKIP is our best compromise, I would say that there is no compromise to be had between right and wrong.

Nigel Farage (centre) with Ron Paul (left) and Peter Schiff (right)

There are, however, political realities to be faced. Less than 5% of the UK will both understand libertarianism and support it. And few of those individuals will have the principles, patience and moral conviction not to be tempted into voting for ‘the best option’. I do not doubt that these libertarians will have noble aims of correcting the party from the inside, or that they think that practically this is the best we will be offered, but I would challenge them on the basis that even looking at it from a purely practical point of view, they will not get what they desire through UKIP. The current system is far too entrenched for a freedom movement to work from within. The party itself is far more likely to be hijacked by nationalists, racists, and bigots than by true libertarians. I fear that UKIP’s success will actually be to the detriment of the freedom movement by inaccurately representing liberty and its benefits.

The most effective, moral approach that libertarians can take is to teach the public. The political parties of the day will change their positions endlessly, but they will do so based on public opinion. By targeting parties as instruments of political change, we tackle the symptom rather than the disease. Once the disease is cured, and people understand the blessings of liberty, the various political entities will evolve to reflect it.

Recall Of MPs

Written By: Derek Campbell

One of the items that libertarians might want to look out for in the Queen’s speech, is draft legislation which will allow constituents to recall their MPs. At the moment, once an MP is elected there is very little that can force an MP to stand down.The reason that libertarians will probably find this particularly interesting is that in all probability there will be a substantial number of MPs who will vehemently oppose this legislation. Indeed it looks remarkably as if the turkeys are being asked to vote for Christmas. How effectively they can be whipped remains to be seen.

For those who wish to elect a representative to parliament and then leave them to get on with the job, it may seem that recall legislation is somewhat unnecessary. They might argue that the current system works well and anyhow, do we really want our MPs hampered by looking over their shoulder to the electorate all of the time? And in theory at least, there is much to be said for this approach. In a party system, candidates stand on a party platform and the manifesto sets out the main policy positions. If something crops up mid term, the discretion of the MP should be allowed.

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