Leave Me Out of It!

Debates between libertarians and those who advocate any kind of statist intervention frequently take the form of “X should happen vs. should not happen”. For example a budding libertarian might argue “the post office should be privatised!” whereas his opponent may cry “the post office should be state owned!”

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Lifeboat Situations: Freedom in Times of Emergency

From time to time, the fundamental right of each of us to our individual liberty is challenged by the notion that such a right shouldn’t necessarily apply in emergencies. In the regular, fair weather of societal relations, it is easy enough for us to agree that we should, for instance, have no right to physically injure or steal from other people. But what if an emergency could be resolved only by a breach of the non-aggression principle (NAP)? What if that situation was so desperate that the only way to avoid almost certain loss of life (or severe bodily harm) was to violate the property rights of another person?

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Out-Innovating the State: Entrepreneurship and the Fight for Liberty

A key question for libertarian activists is the extent to which the circumvention of unjust laws imposed by the state can serve as part of a political strategy. A prominent, if somewhat extreme example from recent times is Ross Ulbricht, who went as far as actually breaking a whole plethora of narcotics laws by operating the darknet (i.e. black market) site “Silk Road”. As a result, he was convicted, in February 2015, of a whole raft of offences, including conspiracy to traffic narcotics.

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One Law for All

One of the obfuscating features of sociological commentary – whether it takes place in academic tomes or in popular magazines – is the tendency to describe the subject matter in terms of vast, overreaching abstractions. For instance, “the market” does X, “the government” does Y, “companies” do Z, and so on. Such categorisations are not, of course, unimportant; the use of shorthand is often needed as a clear identification of particular groups of individuals, each of whom share a common feature relevant to the discussion. However, the fact that every group is, indeed, nothing more than a group of individuals is precisely what is forgotten if the use of these abstractions is taken too far.

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Free Choices or Forced Choices?

The “nanny state” is one of the most irritating traits of statism affecting people’s daily lives directly, and one that has been growing ever more matronly over the past generation or so. In fact, if you think it is bad today, The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (which, apparently, presents a “united front” of the medical profession) was complaining nearly ten years ago that doctors were seeing the consequences of unhealthy diets. Needless to say they recommended whole raft of interventionist measures to curb this apparent problem:

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Spying and Security

It almost goes without saying that the spying and security state has metastasised over the past twenty years or so, and is only likely to get worse as states look to exploit digital technology to further their regimentation and control of society.

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Politicians and Entrepreneurs

When perusing much public discourse concerning those in government and those who, say, are businessmen and entrepreneurs, one of the more striking aspects is how their economic roles and motivations are viewed as the complete opposite for what they really are.

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Libertarians – Fighting for the Truth

In the battle of ideas, Austro-Libertarianism – either in spite or because of its logical consistency – is lumbered with several burdens that are not always shared with opposing philosophies. Some of these – such as the fact that libertarianism is not a complete moral philosophy and can look, at best, cold and emotionless, or, at worst, a recipe for rampant selfishness and egotism – we have examined elsewhere. Let us explore a few more of them and suggest reasons for how they can be overcome, or at least mitigated as much as possible.

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How Land Comes to be Owned

Some years ago, I decided to cease any participation in online discussion forums. While such engagement was far from fruitless, it can very quickly become a net burden if, like me, one lacks the willpower to prevent all of the waking (and many non-waking) hours from being consumed by back-and-forth arguments on every single little detail of Austro-libertarian theory that happens to arise. Far more productive, I tell myself, to spend the time I have available reading and writing original material for outlets such as Free Life.

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