Agincourt and WW1: different enemies for different reasons. If libertarianism is not about defending what these old men think they fought for, then it is nothing.

David Davis

I have been garotted, in the last 48 hours or so, for writing about why it’s important to think about past battles of the English against large enemies who wanted us all dead for the wrong reasons, and what the impications are and were for the survival of libery for individuals.

All tyrants want the English dead. It ought not to be surprosing at all, at all at all. And their reasons are, naturally, wrong, for we are right. But without English liberalism there will be no libertarianism.

Here’s one of the very last articles that you will  ever read, about what my old man used to call “The Poor Old Chaps”. File it for historical purposes. It’s nearly Remembrance Sunday, and as these guys pass out of our lives and into memory, make a little note of them. Libertarian conferences are all very well and nice, but I don’t think we’d have been having any at all (at all at all) if things had been different by the end of the Third World War*** in 1991.

***First = 1752-1759

***second = 1793-1815

***third = 1899-1991


  1. Agincourt was part of an invasion of France, nothing to do with protecting England from invasion.

    Perhaps my understanding of Henry V is different from yours, but he was a bigoted religious zealot (and good Roman Catholic). His intention was to conquer France.

    Now exactly where was the relevance of this rampaging expedition to free markets? Or individual liberty?

    For the record, the French side had the private army (Genoese crossbows), the English on the other hand were all vassals of what was then the most centralized monarchy in Europe.

    So English nationalist propaganda apart, I see nothing in the Battle of Agincourt of relevance to the Libertarian Alliance blog.

  2. Speaking of war crimes. It is well documented that many French wounded knights were butchered on the battle field of Agincourt, in clear violation of the then established rules of war, which favoured the exchange of prisoners and ransom.

    I gather Henry V himself was not too happy with this, but, unlike the war propaganda movie with Lawrence Olivier or the Tudor propagandist William Shakespeare’s play, the man had little control over his Abu Graib thugs. Plus ça change…

  3. You wrote:
    “All tyrants want the English dead”

    I don’t think that William the Conqueror, King Steven, Roger Mortimer, Oliver Cromwell, to say nothing of Genghis Khan, Murad II, Peter the Great, Catherine the Great or Mao Xe Dong, could honestly be said to have wanted “the English dead” in particular.

    Remember, the kings of France at the time of the invasions by Edward III, the Black Prince, Henry V, could not credibly be termed “tyrants.” They had rather less power over France (even the bits they “controlled”) than any British government since the 1880s.

  4. Yes of course they were, Antoine. You are Ned of Slaidburn, your dales-archers have just suffered 18% casualties in the French charge. You are suffering from dysentery yourself, your shoes rotted off your feet a week ago in the horse-shitted mud, and you are pissed off. It is 1415.

    There are 44 of you left, out of about 80. Your baggage and loot has just looked as if it was about to be hoofed off by the French, but they were stopped. There are 467 prone, disabled french knights and chappies out there, on their backs and tums, in the mud, helpless. You have about 7 minutes to get their armour off then to auction it on Mediebay. Some of them are complaining to you that you are a scumbag varmint, for daring to despoil them.

    You are armed.

    What do you do?

  5. OK Antoine,

    Pleae write a post, as long as you want (you can write anything you want here anyway) about why I am wrong about the relevance of the French historians’ revisionist attack on the way people in a liberal polity see history, and why what they do is not yet another attack on the historiography that binds what’s left of a liberal civilisation together.

  6. What is the relevance of soldiers fighting in the First and Second World War (the real ones [1914-1918, 1939-1945], not the dates you made up) to Agincourt?

    Are you suggesting that the global libertarian movement should somehow associate itself with every expeditionary war the British sent armies and navies to fight?

    Would this include the Opium Wars, both Boer Wars and the Zulu War, the conquest of India, fighting to stop the USA from becoming independent, and the Third Anglo-Dutch War ?

    Even the Whigs wouldn’t have supported ALL of these?

    “My country right or wrong” is not exactly the slogan I associate with the LA.

  7. Look, old chap,

    You’re on record as saying you don’t read this bolg, ‘coz you find it embarrassing:- I quote you:-

    I don’t read this blog, because I find it an embarrassment. I don’t write for it as much as I’d like either for the same reason.

    The header only carries pictures of dead people, most of whom weren’t Libertarians.

    Most of the writing on this blog would be great, if trying to talk down at teenagers badly was a good idea.

    The skimpy ladies are idiotic (get a life, failing that, go to Zoo, Nuts or FHM). It reminds me of the 1980s overgrown adolescents’ game of counting female nipples in copies of Sunday Sport.

    And this prose: OMG!

    This fairly pleasant-looking young woman seems to have brought several hundred hits to the bolg, merely by tamely repeating “I’m saving the planet” mantras on Sky news. Astounding really, since we are just a think-tank, and we don’t even agree with her with the people who have told her what to say.

    And, she’s even from Bromley. Just down the road really. Marilyn Monroe, you are nowhere, stop hanging out with the corrupt, grasping, self-centred Kennedys, and get a life.

    As this is a family blog, read by women and children too, ladies don’t take off their bras in front of people they don’t know:-

    Apart from the insane reference to Marilyn Monroe, the bit that gets me is the claim that “this is a family blog”. What kind of family? You would have had to beat me near death to read anything as bad as this blog when I was child. How many women read this blog?

    Now Antoine,
    If you “don’t read it”, then what’s your problem? There is an “off”, which is to say “don’t click on” button. I don’t know, I just type. You have, what? I don’t know what but probably several bolgs. You write freely on samizdata, which is a great bolg. I have offered to, for it is a fine bolg, but nobody replied, so I presume they don’t want me anyway, which is fine as I am already too busy for them now.

    We here can sink or swim for all you lot care. If you think this bolg can be better, and if you think people out there will care about what you say, and if you do actually care about what will motivate peoplt to think about libertarianism and what it ought to mean in the history and life of a nation, which I doubt, then contribute to it some more.

  8. Dave:

    In 1066, indigenous Anglo-Saxon culture was overthrown by the Norman invasion. All four factions were led by Vikings. Earlier forays attacked our Celtic Heritage (itself of Germanic origin).

    One of the great powers of Tolkien’s writing is that it brings back to us our Norse, Celtic and Anglo-Saxon heritage. And our Greek influences…

    I have little interest in the French upstarts who invaded our land, nor in the outlandish conflicts their rulers dragged us into. The Anglosphere is not the “Normansphere.”

    While there are many libertarian French philosophers and writers, nothing compares to the works of the Glory that was Greece. And our heritage of Anglo-Saxon and Celtic and Norse culture.

    All of this “Agincourt” stuff has about as much relevance to me as AC Milan and Manchester United.

    Which is to say: none.

    Nations are the teams mankind is divided into to play the game of War. The best way to win is to refuse to play if at all possible. Every war is a competition in incompetence, commanded by half-wits and paid for by the blood and treasure of people who had nothing to gain from it.

    If people want to go off and fight each other in distraction from the battles against REAL evils like coercion and ‘punishment’, let them do so on their own time and their own nickel.

    [ FX: “Go tell the Spartans…” ]



Leave a Reply