Groan:- I don’t know what that smiley is doing there, but I can’t remove it. It’s none of my doing.
UPDATE3:-Please read this response-post, and _in particular_ the comment posted thereupon by an informed member of the blogateriat.
UPDATE2:- Here’s Sean Gabb’s thoughts earlier this year on holocaust denial, a hot subject.
Earlier comment from Blogmaster just after main post filed:-
(1) A direct link from the young Conservatives, who were kind enough to report the event charitably, is here.
(2) This post by Sean is not for the faint-hearted: that is to say, those who may quail when the real assaults finally come. The prognosis for liberty in the UK is not currently good, and may not get better.
I have just read this on another forum, and would have published it unilaterally had not Sean Gabb done so already. You will find, on reading down, that the floor-response to Sean’s address was not as positive as a rational person would have hoped from today’s Tories, in Britain, embattled as they seem not to realise – or else prefer not to know, and pretend that all will be well if only they take power.
I think we can expect that, on ZanuNewLieborg being thrown out, as they will be, but not decisively (as we fear) then the British Conservative Party will remain a less certain but still definite enemy of individual liberty. this was not always the case as Sean points out. But it is now.
Free Life Commentary,
A Personal View from
The Director of the Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 181
16th February 2009
Linking url: http://www.seangabb.co.uk/flcomm/flc181.htm
Text of a Speech to Conservative Future,
Given in The Old Star Public House, Westminster,
Monday the 16th February 2009
by Sean Gabb
I’d like to begin by praising your courage in having me here tonight to speak to you. I am the Director of an organisation that tried hard during the 1980s to take over the youth movement of the Conservative Party. The Libertarian Alliance provided a home and other support for Marc-Henri Glendenning, David Hoile and Douglas Smith, among others, when it looked as if libertarians might do the same to the Conservative Party as the Trotskyites nearly did to the Labour Party. Sadly, our efforts failed. Since then, the Conservative Party has become more watchful of people like us. It has also, I must say, made itself progressively less worth trying to take over.
I did say that I would come here and be rude to you. But that would be a poor thanks for your hospitality. Besides, while your party leadership has consistently ignored my advice during the past twelve years – and has, in consequence, been out of office during this time – there is no point in dwelling on what might have been. We are where we are, and I think it would be useful for me very briefly to outline my advice to a future Conservative Government.
Now, this is not advice to the Government that looks set to be formed within the next year or so my David Cameron. I may be wrong. It is possible that Mr Cameron is a much cleverer and more Machiavellian man that I have ever thought him, and that he plans to make radical changes once in office. But I do not think he is. I think what little he is promising to do is the very most that he will do. In any event, he is doing nothing to acquire the mandate without which radical change would lack legitimacy. And so this is advice that I offer to some future government of conservatives, rather than to any prospective Conservative Government. It may even be a government formed by the people in this room.
My first piece of advice is to understand the nature of your enemy. If you come into government, you will be in at least the same position as Ramsay MacDonald, when he formed the first Labour Government in the 1920s. He faced an Establishment that was broadly conservative. The administration, the media, the universities, big business – all were hostile to what it was believed he wanted to do. The first Labour Governments were in office, but not fully in power, as they were not accepted by the people with whom and through whom they had to rule the country. To a lesser degree, Clement Attlee and Harold Wilson faced the same constraints. A future Conservative Government will find much the same.
Over the past few generations, a new Establishment or ruling class has emerged in this country. It is a loose coalition of politicians, bureaucrats, educators, media people and associated business interests. These are people who derive income and status from an enlarged and activist state. They have been turning this country into a soft-totalitarian police state. They are not always friendly to a Labour Government. But their natural political home is the Labour Party. They will accept a Conservative Government on sufferance – but only so long as it works within a system that robs ordinary people of their wealth and their freedom. They will never consent to what should be the Conservative strategy of bringing about an irreversible transfer of power from the State back into the hands or ordinary people.
A Cameron Government, as I have said, seems willing to try coexistence with the Establishment. The Thatcher Government set out to fight and defeat an earlier and less confident version of the Establishment – but only on those fronts where its policies were most resisted. It won numerous battles, but, we can now see, it lost the war. For example, I well remember the battle over abolition of the Greater London Council. This appeared at the time a success. But I am not aware of one bureaucrat who lost his job at the GLC who was not at once re-employed by one of the London Boroughs or by some other agency of the State. And we know that Ken Livingstone was eventually restored to power in London.
If you want to win the battle for this country, you need to take advice from the Marxists. These are people whose ends were evil where not impossible. But they were experts in the means to their ends. They knew more than we have ever thought about the seizure and retention of power. I therefore say this to you. If you ever do come to power, and if you want to bring about the irreversible transfer of power to ordinary people, you should take to heart what Marx said in 1871, after the failure of the Paris Commune: �the next attempt of the French Revolution will be no longer, as before, to transfer the bureaucratic-military machine from one hand to another, but to smash it, and this is the precondition for every real people�s revolution�.�
The meaning of this is that you should not try to work with the Establishment. You should not try to jolly it along. You should not try fighting it on narrow fronts. You must regard it as the enemy, and you must smash it.
On the first day of your government, you should close down the BBC. You should take it off air. You should disclaim its copyrights. You should throw all its staff into the street. You should not try to privatise the BBC. This would simply be to transfer the voice of your enemy from the public to the private sector, where it might be more effective in its opposition. You must shut it down – and shut it down at once. You should do the same with much of the administration. The Foreign Office, much of the Home Office, the Commission for Racial Equality, anything to do with health and safety and planning and child protection – I mean much of the public sector – these should be shut down. If at the end of your first month in power, you have not shut down half of the State, you are failing. If you have shut down half the State, you have made a step in the right direction, and are ready for still further cuts.
Let me emphasise that the purpose of these cuts would not be to save money for the taxpayers or lift an immense weight of bureaucracy from their backs – though they would do this. The purpose is to destroy the Establishment before it can destroy you. You must tear up the web of power and personal connections that make these people effective as an opposition to radical change. If you do this, you will face no more clamour than if you moved slowly and half-heartedly. Again, I remember to campaign against the Thatcher “cuts”. There were no cuts, except in the rate of growth of state spending. You would never have thought this from the the torrent of protests that rolled in from the Establishment and its clients. And so my advice is to go ahead and make real cuts – and be prepared to set the police on anyone who dares riot against you.
I fail to see how you would face any electoral problems with this approach. Most Conservative voters would welcome tax cuts and a return to freedom. As for those who lost their jobs, they do not, nor ever will, vote Conservative.
Following from this, however, I advise you to leave large areas of the welfare state alone. It is regrettable, but most people in this country do like the idea of healthcare free at the point of use, and of free education, and of pensions and unemployment benefit. These must go in the long term. But they must be retained in the short term to maintain electoral support. Their cost and methods of provision should be examined. But cutting welfare provision would be politically unwise in the early days of our revolution.
I have already spoken longer than I intended. But one more point is worth making. This is that we need to look again at our constitutional arrangements. The British Constitution has always been a fancy dress ball at which ordinary people were not really welcome, but which served to protect the life, liberty and property of ordinary people. Some parts of this fancy dress ball continue, but they no longer serve their old purpose. They are a fig leaf for an increasingly grim administrative despotism. I was, until recently, a committed monarchist. I now have to admit that the Queen has spent the past half century breaking her Coronation Oath at every opportunity. The only documents she has ever seemed reluctant to sign are personal cheques. Conservatives need to remember that our tradition extends not only through Edmund Burke to the Cavaliers, but also through Tom Paine to Oliver Cromwell. We live in an age where it is necessary to be radical to be conservative.
But I have now spoken quite long enough, and I am sure you have much to say in response. I therefore thank you again for your indulgence in having invited me and the politeness with which you have heard me.
[A combination of silence and faint applause]
Comment 1: You accuse the Conservatives of having ignored you for twelve years. From what you have just said, it is a good thing you were ignored. Under David Cameron’s leadership, we have a Conservative Party that is now positively desired by the people. Your advice is and would have been a recipe for permanent opposition.
Response: I disagree. There is no positive desire for a Conservative Government. If there were, the polls would be showing a consistent fifty point lead or something. What we have is a Labour Government that is so dreadful that I have trouble thinking what could be worse.
[In a private conversation before my speech, I said that the Labour Party had turned out to be about as bad in government as the Green Party or the British National Party or Sinn Fein.]
There are two ways of doing politics. One is to listen to focus groups and opinion polls, and offer the people what they claim to want. The other is to stand up and tell them what they ought to want, and to keep arguing until the people agree that they want it, or until it is shown not to be worth wanting. I think I know what sort of politicians will run the next Conservative Government. What sort of politicians do you want to be?
Comment 2 [from an Irishman]: What you are saying means that the country would be without protection against obvious evils. With no child protection services, children would be abused and murdered. Without planning controls, the countryside would soon be covered with concrete. Without planning controls, cities like Manchester would be far less attractive places.
I will also say, as an Irishman, that I am offended by your reference to Oliver Cromwell, who was a murderer and tyrant. You cannot approve of this man.
Response: You have been taken in by the Establishment’s propaganda. This is to insist that we live with vast structures of oppression, or that we must accept the evils they are alleged to curb. I say that that these structures do not curb any evils, but instead create evils of their own. We have, for example, seventy thousand social workers in this country. They appear to have done a consistently rotten job at protecting the few children who need protecting. instead, they are taking children away from grandparents to give to strangers, and are setting the police onto dissenting ministers who allow their children to climb onto the roof. None of this should be surprising. The Children Act and other laws have created a bureaucratic sausage machine that must somehow be filled. I say let it be destroyed along with all else that is evil in our system of government.
[What I might have said, but was too polite to say: As for Oliver Cromwell, he was one of the greatest Englishmen who ever lived. It is partly thanks to him that we have just had around three centuries of freedom and political stability. When you refer to his actions in Ireland, you are repeating Fenian propaganda. What he did in Ireland has been exaggerated by the enemies of England, and in any event was in keeping with the customs of war universally admitted in his own time. If you want to throw an offended fit every time an Englishman in London praises an English hero to other Englishmen, you should consider moving to Dublin where all the letter boxes have been painted a reassuring green, and your own national sensitivities never need be offended again.]
Comment 3: All you speak about is winning and the destruction of enemies. Yet you are willing to consider keeping the welfare state. You are nothing but an unprincipled trouble maker. Thank God the Conservative Party no longer has any place for people like you.
Response: If we were facing the sort of Labour Government we had under Clement Attlee and Harold Wilson, you would be right. However, we have an Establishment that has already given us the beginnings of a totalitarian police state. Today, for example, the authorities will start collecting details of every telephone call, text and e-mail sent in this country. Children are about to have their details stuffed into a giant database that will enable them to be monitored by the authorities until they are adults – and probably through their entire lives. We live in a country were privacy is being abolished. Speech is increasingly unfree. The police are out of control. Everything is getting rapidly worse, and it is easy to see the end state that is desired, or total control.
If a government of radical conservatives ever does take power, it will have one attempt at saving this country. That means radical and focussed actions from day one. Anything less than this, and it will fail. I am suggesting a revolution – but this is really a counter-revolution against what has already been proceeding for at least one generation. If we are to beat the heirs of Marx, we must learn from Marx himself.
Comment 4: You are wasting our time with all this radical preaching. People do not want to hear about how they are oppressed by the Establishment, and how this must be destroyed. What they want to hear is that taxes are too high, that the money is being wasted, and that there are ways to protect essential public services with lower taxes. That is why the Taxpayers’ Alliance has been so much more prominent than the Libertarian Alliance. We must have nothing to do with the ranting lunatics of the Libertarian Alliance.
Response: You may have a desire for electoral success that I do not share. But I am the better politician. All debate is perceived as taking place on a spectrum that has a centre and two extremes. If the Libertarian Alliance did not exist, the relevant spectrum would simply reconfigure itself with the Taxpayers’ Alliance at one extreme, and the centre would be still less attractive than it now is. Since most people consciously take centrist positions, it is in your interest – regardless of whether I am right – to say what I do. It makes you and your friends moderate in relation to me.
[At this point, some unfortunate woman began screeching that I was a fascist, and the debate came to an end.]
[I normally like to comment on these events once I have described them. I think, however, the above stands by itself.]
NB—Sean Gabb’s book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back, can be downloaded for free from http://tinyurl.com/34e2o3
Sean, at some point you’re just going to have to accept that libertarianism and conservatism are two entirely different things; that conservatives are as guilty as “socialists” for our state of decay, and that the Conservative Party, as with the other main parties, is just one cartel who desire a corporate state which can be used to benefit themselves.
These are just facts. They want to pay lower taxes themselves, but not in the name of general liberty. They want less interference from the state in their own lives, but want that transferred to greater interference in the lives of others. We all know Bastiat’s state in which “everyone plunders everyone”. Well, conservatives are just as keen plunderers as anyone else and, like all other plunderers, merely seek to use power to reduce plunder of themselves by others and increase their plunder.
I have no idea why you insist on talking about being a conservative. Culture War is a great book, but entirely marred by the initial declaration that this is about conservatives getting Britain back. It isn’t. The transfer of plunder from one group to another is useless to us.
Let’s be marxist- I, like I suspect you, understand that while marxist solutions are shit, their analysis isn’t half bad and miles ahead of anybody else’s. Well, in marxist terms, libertarians are campaigning for every class to reject their class interests and rise above their class consciousness. Take myself- I am a poor man. I can most prosper by allying myself with other paupers to campaign for greater plunder from the wealthy to myself. By being a libertarian, I am rejecting that; I am rejecting my own class interest. I am not a socialist. I am not a conservative. I am a person that recognises that the longer term interests of everybody is best served by rejecting their short term interest in plunder.
This is a very hard idea to sell. But we sure as shit aren’t going to get anywhere calling it “conservatism”. It is the least conservative philosophy there is.
You may be right. But I do still think conservatism can be rescued and made into a nice envelope for libertarianism.
Ian B’s analysis is sharp. Marxists always knew, and yet know, from where they come and what they need to do.
I have often been dubbed, independently, and in several different ways meaning the same thing – “a Marxist turned upside down”. I think Sean is too.
I have always hoped that Sean might be right about the Tories. But I fear he will turn out to be not.
[…] An pretty accurate transcript of the speech, plus q&a, has been made available by Dr. Gabb – see the Libertarian Alliance blog. […]
[…] in all the CF members who commented did themselves no favours for themselves or the Conservative Party. It seems that Cameron’s […]
I’ve come to realise over time why the BBC and many other public sectors ought to be abolished or I dare say, reformed, and I’m glad you take the view, as you’ve stated, about the NHS and the welfare system.
Firstly, there’s no reason whatsoever for anyone, of any political position, to be against a person buying unemployment insurance, or healthcare programs or insurance, or subscribing to a program or ’round table’ for education .
Secondly, the most damaging thing for any political movement – and this has been best demonstrated by the political Right in Britain – is when that movement is seen to be openly sabotaging ordinary people when they try to work together for a common aim or provision. As you say in Culture War, Sean, people like welfare. And they certainly do. It would be much better if it were possible to opt in or out of government administered healthcare, which would mean that the NHS would become much more efficient, because it would need to compete with other providers, as it sort of does now.
Overall, I suggest abolishing the Jobcentre, implementing a negative income tax for the unemployed and for jobs which are economically vital but monetarily low-remittance which should prevent stagnation and remove the need for cheap foreign labour, and running the whole thing through the Inland Revenue. The only possible crime then would be tax evasion.
All education, Primary, Secondary, Further and Higher, would be administered on a voucher system. And first-level healthcare (emergency service, vital surgery and treatment etcetera) would be guaranteed. People would need to take out programs or buy insurance for non-vital things such as GP visits.
Harsh medicine, but it’d do the trick I think, and get the country square to reality. I think you made an excellent case there Dr Gabb. I’m not a typical Conservative, and judging by their reaction I’ve no intention of becoming one. As for their comments about the LA, well, it’s folks like us that win all the medals. .-)
Q: What does Sean Gabb have in common with Ali G?
A: They both have “balls the size of oranges.”
Q: What does Sean Gabb have in common with Ali G?
A: They both have “balls the size of oranges.”
[…] the Libertarian Alliance is the text of Dr. Sean Gabb’s speech to Conservative Future. It bears reading, as do the […]
I have always hoped that Sean might be right about the Tories. But I fear he will turn out to be not.
I fear not. I’ve been studying a lot of the history of our national descent into madness of late, and I cannot find any evidence of a grand libertarian Tory past. Thatcher’s Hayekisms were approved of and tolerated by most of the Tories of her day because they were turned upon their class enemy but also in the process laid the foundation of our current “soft” police state. To be honest, my assessment of the difference between progressives and conservatives is that there isn’t one, beyond the Proggies preferring a slightly greater use of carrots compared to the Tory preference for sticks. If you analyse what the average conservative wants, they want a return to the first progressive age of the late 19th/early 20th century which was more stick orientated. They want a Reithian BBC, not the abolition of it, for instance.
Now I’m not saying all people who call themselves conservatives are like that. I’m saying that there are people calling themselves conservatives who are more libertarians (and there are people calling themselves “of the left” who are more libertarians too) and libertarians are neither socialists nor conservatives. There are principles from the past which we want back- property rights, individual rights, restraint of government, but they date to a time before that to which conservatives hark.
But more than that, libertarianism is a vision for the future. Not a utopian society to be constructed by force as with socialism, but simply a better world in which people are free. People never really have been free, though they have been freer.
We are radicals. We’re never going to attract the young radicals we need by calling ourselves “conservatives”.
 Sorry, my marxism record is stuck.
 We ought to stop with the “soft” thing; it seems to be getting harder and harder.
 As opposed to proletarian communists.
From the many bits and pieces of information I gather on the western side of the Atlantic it seem like the British people have turned into sheep. What a shame. I recall the story of the frog slowly boiled to death because he doesn’t recognize the water in the pot is slowly getting hotter until too late. Not that we have much room to talk but will someone grow some stones, please?
“Vice President Cheney, Mr. Chief Justice, President Carter, President Bush, President Clinton, reverend clergy, distinguished guests, fellow citizens:
On this day, prescribed by law and marked by ceremony, we celebrate the durable wisdom of our Constitution, and recall the deep commitments that unite our country. I am grateful for the honor of this hour, mindful of the consequential times in which we live, and determined to fulfill the oath that I have sworn and you have witnessed.
At this second gathering, our duties are defined not by the words I use, but by the history we have seen together. For a half century, America defended our own freedom by standing watch on distant borders. After the shipwreck of communism came years of relative quiet, years of repose, years of sabbatical – and then there came a day of fire.
We have seen our vulnerability – and we have seen its deepest source. For as long as whole regions of the world simmer in resentment and tyranny – prone to ideologies that feed hatred and excuse murder – violence will gather, and multiply in destructive power, and cross the most defended borders, and raise a mortal threat. There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom.
We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.
America’s vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth. Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our Nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation’s security, and the calling of our time.
So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.
This is not primarily the task of arms, though we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary. Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen, and defended by citizens, and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities. And when the soul of a nation finally speaks, the institutions that arise may reflect customs and traditions very different from our own. America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling. Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way.
The great objective of ending tyranny is the concentrated work of generations. The difficulty of the task is no excuse for avoiding it. America’s influence is not unlimited, but fortunately for the oppressed, America’s influence is considerable, and we will use it confidently in freedom’s cause.
My most solemn duty is to protect this nation and its people against further attacks and emerging threats. Some have unwisely chosen to test America’s resolve, and have found it firm.
We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right. America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude, or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies.
We will encourage reform in other governments by making clear that success in our relations will require the decent treatment of their own people. America’s belief in human dignity will guide our policies, yet rights must be more than the grudging concessions of dictators; they are secured by free dissent and the participation of the governed. In the long run, there is no justice without freedom, and there can be no human rights without human liberty.
Some, I know, have questioned the global appeal of liberty – though this time in history, four decades defined by the swiftest advance of freedom ever seen, is an odd time for doubt. Americans, of all people, should never be surprised by the power of our ideals. Eventually, the call of freedom comes to every mind and every soul. We do not accept the existence of permanent tyranny because we do not accept the possibility of permanent slavery. Liberty will come to those who love it.
Today, America speaks anew to the peoples of the world:
All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.
Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are: the future leaders of your free country.
The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.”
The leaders of governments with long habits of control need to know: To serve your people you must learn to trust them. Start on this journey of progress and justice, and America will walk at your side.
And all the allies of the United States can know: we honor your friendship, we rely on your counsel, and we depend on your help. Division among free nations is a primary goal of freedom’s enemies. The concerted effort of free nations to promote democracy is a prelude to our enemies’ defeat.
Today, I also speak anew to my fellow citizens:
From all of you, I have asked patience in the hard task of securing America, which you have granted in good measure. Our country has accepted obligations that are difficult to fulfill, and would be dishonorable to abandon. Yet because we have acted in the great liberating tradition of this nation, tens of millions have achieved their freedom. And as hope kindles hope, millions more will find it. By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well – a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world.
A few Americans have accepted the hardest duties in this cause – in the quiet work of intelligence and diplomacy … the idealistic work of helping raise up free governments … the dangerous and necessary work of fighting our enemies. Some have shown their devotion to our country in deaths that honored their whole lives – and we will always honor their names and their sacrifice.
All Americans have witnessed this idealism, and some for the first time. I ask our youngest citizens to believe the evidence of your eyes. You have seen duty and allegiance in the determined faces of our soldiers. You have seen that life is fragile, and evil is real, and courage triumphs. Make the choice to serve in a cause larger than your wants, larger than yourself – and in your days you will add not just to the wealth of our country, but to its character.
America has need of idealism and courage, because we have essential work at home – the unfinished work of American freedom. In a world moving toward liberty, we are determined to show the meaning and promise of liberty.
In America’s ideal of freedom, citizens find the dignity and security of economic independence, instead of laboring on the edge of subsistence. This is the broader definition of liberty that motivated the Homestead Act, the Social Security Act, and the G.I. Bill of Rights. And now we will extend this vision by reforming great institutions to serve the needs of our time. To give every American a stake in the promise and future of our country, we will bring the highest standards to our schools, and build an ownership society. We will widen the ownership of homes and businesses, retirement savings and health insurance – preparing our people for the challenges of life in a free society. By making every citizen an agent of his or her own destiny, we will give our fellow Americans greater freedom from want and fear, and make our society more prosperous and just and equal.
In America’s ideal of freedom, the public interest depends on private character – on integrity, and tolerance toward others, and the rule of conscience in our own lives. Self-government relies, in the end, on the governing of the self. That edifice of character is built in families, supported by communities with standards, and sustained in our national life by the truths of Sinai, the Sermon on the Mount, the words of the Koran, and the varied faiths of our people. Americans move forward in every generation by reaffirming all that is good and true that came before – ideals of justice and conduct that are the same yesterday, today, and forever.
In America’s ideal of freedom, the exercise of rights is ennobled by service, and mercy, and a heart for the weak. Liberty for all does not mean independence from one another. Our nation relies on men and women who look after a neighbor and surround the lost with love. Americans, at our best, value the life we see in one another, and must always remember that even the unwanted have worth. And our country must abandon all the habits of racism, because we cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry at the same time.
From the perspective of a single day, including this day of dedication, the issues and questions before our country are many. From the viewpoint of centuries, the questions that come to us are narrowed and few. Did our generation advance the cause of freedom? And did our character bring credit to that cause?
These questions that judge us also unite us, because Americans of every party and background, Americans by choice and by birth, are bound to one another in the cause of freedom. We have known divisions, which must be healed to move forward in great purposes – and I will strive in good faith to heal them. Yet those divisions do not define America. We felt the unity and fellowship of our nation when freedom came under attack, and our response came like a single hand over a single heart. And we can feel that same unity and pride whenever America acts for good, and the victims of disaster are given hope, and the unjust encounter justice, and the captives are set free.
We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom. Not because history runs on the wheels of inevitability; it is human choices that move events. Not because we consider ourselves a chosen nation; God moves and chooses as He wills. We have confidence because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul. When our Founders declared a new order of the ages; when soldiers died in wave upon wave for a union based on liberty; when citizens marched in peaceful outrage under the banner “Freedom Now” – they were acting on an ancient hope that is meant to be fulfilled. History has an ebb and flow of justice, but history also has a visible direction, set by liberty and the Author of Liberty.
When the Declaration of Independence was first read in public and the Liberty Bell was sounded in celebration, a witness said, “It rang as if it meant something.” In our time it means something still. America, in this young century, proclaims liberty throughout all the world, and to all the inhabitants thereof. Renewed in our strength – tested, but not weary – we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom.
May God bless you, and may He watch over the United States of America.”
This text is a work of an employee of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, created during the course of the person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, this text is in the public domain.
Unfortunately, we in the States are watching Obama acting quickly to expand the State in his first few days in office, almost as if he had read your speech and turned it on its ear. With the full support of his party and its total control of our government he has no effective opposition, and any number of those who should oppose him tremble at the sight of the opinion polls. As a private citizen who has long advocated the course of action you have recommended to the apparently unresponsive and moribund Tories, I despair.
Never despair. Luck changes.
How the mighty have fallen! What a crock load of sh.t. No wonder Britain has gone to the pack. Spineless bastards like yourself would be better served standing up and fighting against those in society hell bent on bringing the country to its knees. Thank Christ our family scuppered out of the UK in the 1950’s. After all who wants to live in Soviet Britain? Sad bastards the lot of you. No wonder she lost the title Empire. Looks like she has also lost the Great in Britain. Pathetic sods!
So what are you trying to say? That I’m spineless? That we are to be despised because we haven’t run away from our country?
Can any one possibly doubt that Sean is right about the BBC? What free society provides the state a broadcast outlet and forces its citizens to pay for its output? The license fee is outrageous and is something I always point out when some BBC presenter asks me about American imperialism. But Gabb should have been bolder: end tenure for professors and civil servants. Decoupling income from responsibility always leads to trouble.
@ William Frazer: An interesting judgement from someone that provides no right of reply. I think “spineless” best describes those that would hide in the shadows rather than stand up and be counted. Better to be heard and be wrong, than live as a mushroom and be shat on. Just my opinion you understand, some people are just happy to be mushrooms.
I don’t agree with everything Sean Gabb has said, but I would defend his right to say it and encourage further debate. One thing I strongly agree with, is the fact that most people are far more Libertarian than they themselves realise. Listen to the average guy in the pub and he will talk like a Libertarian and then tell you that he is a Labour or Conservative supporter.
Fraser speaks for no one among American conservatives/libertarians. Most of us who are engaged in observance of the horrible state of your affairs are shocked at what we find, yes, but we’re more concerned at how close a parallel we are now running, if only a few meager years behind. We vote to uphold religious liberty and reject enforced-by-the-state homosexual normalization; federal judges overrule us with duplicitous lies and inventions. We vote to stop ballots from being issued in a dozen different languages for illegal aliens to vote for Democrats; phony race-mongering groups like Acorn fill their rolls and steal elections with the aid of said politicized judges. On and on it goes here in America as well, just not as noticed as it is in Britain. I think you gave a GREAT speech. Any true “conservatism” now, by definition, must be revolutionary in character to stem these tides. It would be disastrous for your Right to put a disingenuous Europhile like Cameron in power in the next year; better to vote for Farage’s ukip, and hope that the NuLab fascists squeak through again, which is the only thing that will FORCE the Tories to stop clinging to your perverted left-wing “center”, or will collapse them so ukip or another party can emerge. In many ways, it’s harder for us as the electoral college reinforces the two party system, and Hamiltonian statist neoconservative utopians are now firmly in control not just of the GOP, but of the “official”, accepted conservative movement. (National Review, FoxNews, etc.) As a republican who rejects “one man, one vote” simplicity, I approve of the EC, but it makes it harder when either party is out of touch with populist sentiment coming from the progressive Left OR the conservative/libertarian Right in the grassroots. Godspeed and good luck.
On reflection, I think that first comment of mine is certainly one for the ‘Honouring Milton Freidman’ archives. I actually feel like a bit of a git for suggesting that GP access be removed anyway.
They won’t like at all what Sean has said, but that’s by-the-by. He told it like it is. It will sink in though, after time.
Mr Fraser: I think that comment is just a case of having a pop at the first person you find who might actually give a damn. It’s okay laddie, we’ve got all the books, we can fix you.
Oh, and just to hightlight a particular point regarding the negative income tax – pay everyone who earns less that £12,000 per year £60 per week, whether they’re employed or not. Does anyone really believe there would be any labour shortages or unemployment problems after that?
Moreover, any poverty!
Dr Gabb, you forgot to reiterate your sage advice that on the closure of such excrescences as the DCMS and DEFRA, all the paperwork, hard drives etc. should be seized and destroyed so as to eradicate the institutional memory of such organisations and thus make it a much more difficult task to reintroduce them. If Cameron and his mob mean what they say about abolishing ID cards, that must be part of the action taken in their abolition. Similarly, all of the intrusive and malign databases must not merely be shut down but actively and physically destroyed (e.g. by smelting the hard drives and backup tapes, including those containing the implementation and design of the system, not merely its contents.)
Let’s suppose that such a slimmed-down state might come into existence. What safeguards will be in place to prevent it ever again becoming the kind we have now?
Moreover, in amelioration of the vast total of “offences” that shall of course be deleted from the Statute Book, we ought to create a new one:-
“Selling, or conspiring to sell, objects or services of potential value to any person or agency that intends deliberately or otherwise to increase the size of, or the scope of tasks of, the State.”
“Selling, or conspiring to sell, objects or services of potential value to any person or agency that intends deliberately or otherwise to increase the size of, or the scope of tasks of, the State.”
Like Brian Micklethwaite’s “Why I support the Contras”, or his “Imperialism for Sale” leaflet, or many other LA publications extolling the black farce of “anti-terrorism”, or “Thatcherism”, or “Lorrenorder”, or versions of Anarchism which inevitably result in the destruction of countries, and/or the Rule of Law, and/or the private ownership, possession and use of nuclear weapons?
Pinochet’s cheerleaders? Some NeoConservatisms??
Racial Nationalism? (now known as “National Self-Determination???
More turkeys asking for an early Xmas…
You guys will serve hard time! (smiles)
I was getting at the arse-licking, brown-nosing buggers who fall over themselves to sell things llike:-
Software for doing things that states like to do to their own citizens.
Atom bombs don’t count, for they are for doing things to enemy states who don’t view our emergent liberalism quite as positively as our subjects do.
Oh and “state-wheely-bins”.
If nuclear weapons are made available on the free market (which cannot be prevented within a free market anarchism — there is no mechanism there to prohibit that anymore) then any individuals with enough money can buy them, and deploy them, and fire them at will.
At targets of their choice.
Who can SUE them for it???
PS: Roll on ABM Systems…
[…] on, just go to something more important that we’ve written: we just first wanted to think with you all about how weird some people are! Possibly related […]
“I am the Director of an organisation that tried hard during the 1980s to take over the youth movement of the Conservative Party. The Libertarian Alliance provided a home and other support for Marc-Henri Glendenning, David Hoile and Douglas Smith, among others, when it looked as if libertarians might do the same to the Conservative Party as the Trotskyites nearly did to the Labour Party. Sadly, our efforts failed.”
You do realize, that most Trotskyists were out to _destroy_ the Labour Party, so as to eliminate meliorism?
Are you saying that the LA really wanted to destroy the Tory Party, as the Trotskyists did for “Old Labour”?
Shome mishtake, shurely? (smiles)
PS: Have you read Frank Meyer on Fusionism? Conservatism+Libertarianism.
All this proves is that the so-called ‘conservatives’ are nothing of the sort and are a waste of space.
They are as much the ‘Establishment’ as any Fabian.
‘How the mighty have fallen! What a crock load of sh.t. No wonder Britain has gone to the pack. Spineless bastards like yourself would be better served standing up and fighting against those in society hell bent on bringing the country to its knees. Thank Christ our family scuppered out of the UK in the 1950’s. After all who wants to live in Soviet Britain? Sad bastards the lot of you. No wonder she lost the title Empire. Looks like she has also lost the Great in Britain. Pathetic sods!’
Do you really think anybody here wants to live in a Soviet Britain? I want to live in a Britain culturally more reminiscent of the Britain that we had before the disaster that was the 20th Century.
3 months ago, myself and a dozen of my friends were rounded up and bundled into police cars and vans and then detained in cells while our houses were turned over and our families intimidated by the police. One of our number was tortured for his DNA as he refused to surrender it to the state on principle. Our crime? We were distibuting opposition party literature in Liverpool city centre.
We could have been looking at a collective tariff of approaching 100 years upon conviction for this heinous crime against New Labour, but the authorities decided not to prosecute on this occasion. No doubt they were mindful of the fact that the right to a jury trial (as long as it lasts!) prevents the government from eradicating common sense from the courtroom completely, try as it might. Incidentally, not one of us was the least bit deterred from what we see as our obligations as patriots.
I’m sure there are at least several people on here who do not have any time for my party. I don’t think that is particularly important. What is important is that there exists a relatively small and disparate but growing genuine opposition to the present government, some politically affiliated, some not, who are fighting back. In my view, the Libertarian Alliance is an important part of that continuum. Its supporters are fighting the government in a manner of their own choosing. If the Libertarian Alliance was the target of the ‘coward’ label, then I disagree. The cowards are those who see what is happening but do nothing about it.
I agree with practically everything that Sean has said in his speech, the sentiments behind it and the practical considerations which envelop them. I’m not surprised that it didn’t go down too well with today’s worse than useless Conservative Party.
Where I part company with Sean and most, if not all, on here is that while most of us would agree with the abolition of multiculturalism and the restrictions on freedoms of speech, association and contract which are integral to it, I also wish to see it’s demographic underpinning addressed.
when it looked as if libertarians might do the same to the Conservative Party as the Trotskyites nearly did to the Labour Party. Sadly, our efforts failed.”
You do realize, that most Trotskyists were out to _destroy_ the Labour Party, so as to eliminate meliorism?
And in retrospect, the tragedy is that the Trotskyists didn’t succeed, and the further tragedy is that Thatcherism ended up destroying the wrong half of the Left- the communists instead of the progressives. It was the so-called moderate left, the progressives, who were the greater enemy all along.
Had the communists triumphed on the left (and even better, the libertarians triumphed on the right), we’d have won. The battle would be over. Communism rapidly fails and falls; and it’s unlikely that communism would ever have gained power in Britain anyway. The greater danger by far is the one that consumes us now; the creeping, suffocating parasitism of progressivism. If the Trots had finished off the Fabians, the Trots would then have been easily put to rout.
Instead, Thatcher squashed the Trots, and cleared the way for the Fabians to rule the Left unopposed.
[…] Sean Gabb: Speech to Conservative Future Comment from Blogmaster:- (1) A direct link from the young Conservatives, who were kind enough to report the event […] […]
You do realize that what you’re saying is that you don’t want meliorism of any kind; but you’ll go for a civil war between triumphalist Marxist-Leninists and a Neo-Fascist “Right”? NEITHER of these groups had any time for libertarian ideas, other than something to “bash” their imagined enemies with. I was invited by Canterbury FCS to give a talk on libertarian ideas. When I arrived, I found that they’d titled the talk: “Why I support Pinochet.”
The Trotskyites were there in force; and threw eggs and bags of flour at me. I dodged them. All missed. I commented that their aim was as poor as their political judgement.
I reminded FCS AND the Marxists that Pinochet was hand-picked by Allende to replace Chile’s murdered military leader.
Both the Marxist Left AND the Nationalist “Right” wanted liberal democracy to fail in Chile. And they got their wish.
Read Ariel Dorfman’s “Death and the Maiden.” See the movie with Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kungsley and Stuart Wilson.
Think on these things…
And stop thinking like a Dark Lord of the Sith… Or the P2 Lodge in Italy who used covert military provocateurs in an attempt to destroy liberal democracy in Spain.
The idea that polarization into two irreconcileable opposites in conflict with escalating violence will lead to a free society is absurd, and borders on the mad.
Except insofar as the polar opposite madmen get rid of each other, leaving the rest of us doing the hard work of building an ever more fully free society.
Tony, first of all, besides all else, I worked on the West End premier of Death And The Maiden and watched it numerous times (and frankly don’t rate it as much of a piece of theatre, honestly). But thanks for the patronisation, there.
I did not anywhere recommend soem kind of war between Trots and Fascists. I said that, in retrospect, Thatcher assisted the progressive left who now rule and destroy us, by defeating their main enemy for them. It was an unintended consequence, but that is all that she achieved. She laid the basis of the New Labour state.
But I was no fan of Thatcher anyway. She was an authoritarian martinet and, as you say, no libertarian. If a real libertarian had come to power at the moment she did… well, things might be rather better than they are.
But let’s be clear here, nobody is currently building an ever more fully free society at the moment. Freedom is in a state of complete failure across the western world at the moment, and the 20th century was a virtually consistent story of its collapse. Let us not delude ourselves here. Incrementalism works for growers of government, but not its dismantlers. Things have never been so bad. New thinking is needed, and needed urgently.
Having been introduced to libertarianism via Ayn Rand, F. Hayek, and then mises.org and lewrockwell.com, it came as a surprise to discover there ARE British libertarians. Amazing speech (HT to samizdata, and even more revealing comments: did anyone present, apart from the speaker, actually know what libertarianism means? I’ve just re-read Hayek’s Why I am not a conservative (which greatly helps clarify the definitions) and Rothbard’s Left and Right: The Prospects for Liberty (a fascinating historical look at the amazing meanders that terms like “left, right, conservative, socialist” have taken over the years).
Let’s be clear, here: are you saying that an increasingly Neo-Fascist “Thatcherite” State with a penchant for Absolute Powers would have served us better by destroying the more liberal Social Democrats in the Labour Party, leaving the Totskyites with their usual “preferred enemy”?? “The Last Stand of the Bourgeoisie”?? How could that possibly have served the cause of liberty? Do you think they would have brought out the GOOD points in each other’s coalitions?
I’m not ‘patronizing’ you: I specifically mentioned Ariel Dorfman’s text; and the movie of “Death and the Maiden”, both of which were brilliant. You do realize that “Miranda” is a reference to the US “Miranda” rights of the accused? Paulina Salas is trying to _torture_ compliance and a confession out of Roberto Miranda, who is understandably (guilty or innocent) unwilling to incriminate himself.
You are utterly wrong in saying that “nobody is currently building an ever more fully free society at the moment. Freedom is in a state of complete failure across the western world at the moment…” Very many people are, and many people are in fact becoming more free in areas that matter to them. Many more people are now aware of the (ever-present) threats to freedom now, with (ferinstance) the results we’ve just seen in the United States and elsewhere.
I’m really not much interested in catering to the soi-disant “freedoms” demanded by Crony-Capitalists and their lackeys, apologists and lickspittles, the “New Elitists.”
Incrementalism and bold strokes are _both_ needed in building real and lasting freedoms. I certainly work with both, as do many others. I see the antonym to “libertarian” as “authoritarian.”
“Private” or “public…”
PS: I focus upon the objective contents of individual peoples’ ACTIONS, not their STATUS.
“Your comment is awaiting moderation.”
No it isn’t. I’ve posted it elsewhere, already.
As I’ve said before, I don’t accept anyone’s right to “moderate” my freedom of speech on my own property. Any such attempts will be greeted with an Application for a Judicial Declaration, followed by injunctions and other measures as necessary.
I and my associates defend our rights vigorously, as should be well understood by now. You don’t believe it? Just watch.
Another American wishing you luck. Sure is difficult “working” with an opposition movement that no longer knows what or why it believes anymore. Of course, the more I read of history, the more I tend to agree with Ian that we’re fighting for something that never existed save for in our nostalgic minds. Unfortunately I tend to think that even a true, blue Libertarian revolution would only degenerate into something similar in kind to the French Revolution. Perhaps I’ve lost faith in my people, which is ironic, since it’s my job to defend them.
Would anyone like to post the ten freedoms they feel most deprived of, as of right now?
And yet, I’d still take them over any other out there. With you Brits the second choice.
Which either reflects my remaining sentimentality or the ghastliness of all other available options.
I don’t moderate your stuff. you just put too many unsupported webaddresses in for poor old wordpress not to think it’s spam!
As Kira would say: “Sowwy!!!” (Smiles)
[…] February, 2009 · No Comments …amd a good plug for Sean Gabb’s speech to Conservative Future, from these good people over […]
[…] April, 2007 · 112 Comments UPDATE: Here’s Sean Gabb’s speech to Conservative-Future, in London, Monday 16th February 2009. It was a proper stormer, and really upset the […]
[…] I take the liberty of using this comment (freely available on the thread for this post) as a new post:- […]
The smiley is probably there because you’ve typed colon, hyphen, letter “P”. Is there a space after the hyphen?
This has turned out to be a corker. I reckon we ought to get Sean to deliver a kind of ‘Friday Khutbah’ once a week. Swivel ’em and turn bang ’em square to rights!
[…] Sean Gabb: Speech to Conservative Future « The Libertarian Alliance: BLOG // 20 February, 2009 at 8:32 pm […]
I agree. Could be the Friday Fatwah.
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