Well, ooer. I appear to have been enticed aboard the good ship Counting Cats- in fact, my last memory is of having a drink in a tavern, then a thump on the head, and now I awake, chained to this oar, and the large sweaty gentleman banging a drum tells me I am obligated to write something, so write something I must. I must admit it feels a trifle strange joining the crew of this notable blog, a tidge of a responsibility not to embarrass my shipmates (particularly by extending nautical analogies beyond their welcome). So, as I begin this voyage (get on with it- Ed) I thought I’d say where I’m coming from, rather than do something bloggish like comment angrily on Polly Toynbee’s latest defecation, or post a lolcat, or whatever.
I consider myself a libertarian (and now consider myself, at home and consider myself, one of the familleeee) and in particular a social libertarian, that is my primary focus is and always has been social and civil liberties. I came to libertarianism itself fairly late in life (I am 102, and am typing this from my bath chair in the Bide A While Home For The Elderly And Confused, Eastbourne), having spent much of my life thinking myself to be some form of leftie. In fact, I only really clocked that I wasn’t some form of leftie when I got an internet, and the chance to mix with lots of lefties, and realised I hated the bastards and everything they stand for. The Left have a knack of sweeping up social liberals such as myself into their voluminous, stale smelling skirts, and this is something I would like to play a small part in changing.
I am of the opinion that social liberties are a Good Thing. A very Good Thing indeed. That is, I am not one of those people who says “well, if we have a free society we can’t stop people drinking beer, we’ll just have to put up with it”. Rather, I am one of those people who thinks that beer, fags, sex, tasty food and porn are inherently a good thing, and a society in which they are not just not prohibited but actually celebrated is inherently a Good Society. Which in the current zeitgeist puts me in a minority of, well, one probably. The Left don’t agree with this, and the Right don’t agree with this either. I’d like to convince a few more libertarians to agree with it. We’ll see how that goes later, shall we?
Needless to say, you can’t have social liberties without civil liberties, and you can’t have either of those without economic liberty. A society with legal beer, ciggies and gay hobbit porn but whose citizens are constantly stopped and searched by the police and thrown in jail for having a penknife on their person is not a free society, and a society in which tax collection takes precedence over all other things and the government fixes prices isn’t a free society either. But since Libertarianism already has a very strong economic bias, I probably won’t write too much about economics- there are hundreds of other people doing that, and they probably have more qualifications than 25 yards swimming (I cheated) so that’s probably best left up to them. I’ll probably bang on in a more general sense about corporatism though, since a primary enemy of liberty in the modern world is the socialist/conservative corporatist state, with its myriad of bodies receiving funding and patronage and supplying lobbying, support and enabling narratives to government in return, something which for instance Fake Charities.org draws our attention to, but which libertarians must turn our venom on with as much ferocity as we can muster. IMHO.
I will also no doubt be standing on the poop deck (stop it- Ed) declaiming my “anglosocialist” narrative, which is my historical interpretation (and very much a work in progress) which emphasises that the curious state we live in- PC, the nanny state, the therapeutic state, whatever you choose to label it- is a very home grown form of tyranny rooted in anglosphere moral hegemony and not, as many people seem to believe, foreign socialist ideas invading us from outside (as for instance many American conservatives in particular seem to believe). I’ll expand on this idea properly in a future post, but, to take an example, there is a post today at Samizdata bemoaning the USA’s slide into this nanny state, and yet this is the USA, remember, which decades ago made beer entirely illegal, and which is the origin and enforcer of global drug prohibition, and from whose academia and bureaucracy a constant stream of statist research and propaganda pours. Clearly a better analysis of statist social authoritarianism than “it was the Gramscian marxists wot done it” is needed, in my view.
So that’s me. I would write more, but I have to get to the Counting Cats welcome party, which is apparently called the “Roger The Cabin Boy Party”, which is strange, as my name isn’t Roger.