Director's Bulletin, 7th June 2011
Libertarian Alliance Director's Bulletin
Tuesday 7th June 2011
by Sean Gabb
Right here, at the beginning, I’d like to thank all our donors and subscribers. We have a total budget that might not buy tea and biscuits at most other policy institutes. At the same time, no one can deny that we do the job, and that we have an often astonishing reach into the British and global media. Of course, we do need money. There is an irreducible minimum below which we can’t drop without my having to fork out my own money. And, now that we are finally paying our writers, that irreducible minimum has just gone up.
Oh, I’ll confess it now – this may really be a report of all that we've been up to this month; but it's a begging letter. The wolf may not be snuffling round the door. But we’d like some extra cash. We want it for the following reasons among others:
- We want to pay our writers more than £50
- We want to publish now and again in hard copy
- We want to publish hard copy books of Libertarian Alliance material
- We want to publish more in general
- We want to spend more time on cultivating the print and broadcast media
- We’d like the time to do proper searches to see how often we are mentioned in the media
- We’d like to be able to put in for a few expenses – petrol, coffee, etc
- We want to sort out the endless snags on our new website
- Ideally, we’d like a dedicated server
I don’t for a moment imagine we’ll rake in enough from this appeal to pay ourselves or anyone else a salary of any kind to do the above. However, though committed to giving our time for free until we fall dead, it is nice to know that there’s money in the bank – that the new and bigger hard disk can go on expenses, that you can buy the occasional mailing list, that you don’t need to worry about the maildrop forwarding bills and Internet server bills, that you can buy access to the big media databases. There’s a big difference between working for free for an utterly hole-in-the-wall operation, and working for free for an organisation with a bit of cash. All else aside, it’s an answer to those sour looks we might all get from the loved ones at 2am.
At the foot of this message, you’ll find a couple of PayPal buttons. If these are a touch vulgar, I do urge you at least to consider clicking on one of them. It can be a morally rewarding experience.
However, it’s one thing to say what you’d like to do, and another to do it. How many organisations are there that take in much and do very little? My answer is to refer you at moderate length to what we are already doing. Do read all that stretches between here and the PayPal buttons. You will be forced to agree that organisations with a hundred times our budget aren’t usually as active or successful as we’ve been in just the few weeks since my last bulletin.
1. The Proposed Regulation of Child Clothing
The British State is considering whether to make a law regulating what clothes children can wear. You can read about this here. In the past three days, I have argued against it in six different media appearances. Some of these can be heard here. My BBC Radio 5 appearance of last Saturday evening, where I reached out to an audience of about a million, and spoke against the famous, if now elderly, trouble-maker Esther Rantzen, can be heard here: I come in at about 15:00.
I wrote up my side of the debate yesterday in this article. Though shortened, it will appear in hard copy later today in the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette and in The Nottingham Evening Post. It may already have appeared in several other newspapers throughout the world, but I shall not know about this for several days.
I am not saying that the Libertarian Alliance has done anything to stop this absurd and sinister law. But we have at least made our opposition clear and plain to millions of people. And we have been the only organisation willing so far to take an open stand on the matter. We would like to do more of this. It is easy and fun to do – but hard to justify when there is much else to do in our personal lives.
2. Other Articles
I had an article on the twisting of English law published in The Seoul Times on the 3rd June 2011. This may have been published in many other newspapers throughout the world, but my ability to monitor our success remains limited.
I also have reason to believe that this article was published in about a dozen newspapers, but have not been able to discover which ones: How to Deal with Public Debts - A Modest Proposal, 3rd June 2011, by Sean Gabb
Last month, I was deeply honoured to be asked for an introduction to L. Neil Smith’s latest book of essays. The book is Down with Power. You can read it here, and you can see my introduction here and here (comments enabled).
3. Newspaper Coverage
I do know that there is much more coverage of the Libertarian Alliance, and even reprinting of our articles, than I normally pick up. For example, I’ve just done one of my very occasional searches of the media. I find that my semi-humorous article on the Royal Wedding was quoted at length in The Guardian. Hugh Muir said on the 3rd May 2011:
Four days since the day of days, the Windsor nuptials are still a talking point. Who was there, who wasn't, and who grabbed the attention?...
Over at the Libertarian Alliance, they have fought hard not to be swept up in the patriotic tide. Generally, they have succeeded. "On behalf of those officers of the Libertarian Alliance who do not yet regard the monarchy with the contempt it richly deserves - which may or may not for the moment include me - I wish to congratulate William Mountbatten-Windsor and Catherine Middleton," wrote head honcho Sean Gabb in a pre-emptory posting. "Although thoughts of an 'elected' president incline me to projectile vomiting, my own regard for the monarchy has been sorely tested over the past three or four decades."
"It does not concern me if Her Present Majesty is not a woman of great intellectual distinction - after all, our last monarch who did not at least border on the subnormal was James I, and he was a Scotchman without potty training." But she has, says Dr Gabb, allowed the country to go to the dogs, intervening when she shouldn't have done, and sitting on her hands when she should have intervened, especially to stymie the EU and New Labour. "I have never seen evidence that she has lifted a finger to defend the rights of her English subjects. In my view, that abolishes my duty of allegiance to her or any of her likely successors." So that's it, Kate and Wills. You're on your own.
Again, I did pick up that the Libertarian Alliance was mentioned on the front page of The Daily Telegraph in April this year. But I have only just discovered that we were also mentioned or quoted at length last April by:
- Britain responsible for many of world's problems, including Kashmir: Cameron, Asian News International (ANI), April 6, 2011
- PM BLAMES BRITISH EMPIRE FOR 'MANY OF THE WORLD'S PROBLEMS', DAILY MAIL (London), April 6, 2011
- Cameron: Blame us for world's problems, The Express, April 6, 2011
- Britain responsible for many of world's problems, including Kashmir: Cameron
- Hindustan Times, April 6, 2011
- SORRY CAMERON TOLD IN PAKISTAN HE'S 'OBNOXIOUS'; CLIMB-DOWN PM IS BARRACKED, The Mirror, April 6, 2011
- CAM BLUNDERS INTO PAKISTAN TERROR BUST-UP; ROUGH RIDE FOR 'OBNOXIOUS' PM, The Mirror, April 6, 2011
Even excluding mentions on blogs and in on-line journals – which are too many to list – we do seem to be getting our message out.
4. Libertarian Alliance Main Publications
In the past few weeks, we have published the following long or longish essays:
- Tactical Notes 032, How Radical Is Too Radical? Anarchism as a Practical Guide to Advancing Liberty (2011), Isaac M. Morehouse and Christopher J. Nelson
- Legal Notes 52, Transnational Law: An Essay in Definition with a Polemic Addendum (2011), by Allen Porter Mendenhall
We have several other essays in the pipeline, and I will announce these as and when.
5. The Sixth Property and Freedom Society Conference in Bodrum
This was not a Libertarian Alliance event. But I attended and spoke at this in my capacity as Director of the Libertarian Alliance. Also, the filming and publishing of all speeches is shared between the Property and Freedom Society and the Libertarian Alliance. Here is a list of currently published speeches:
Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Welcome and Introductions
Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Politics, Money and Banking. Everything You Need to Know in 30 Minutes
Mateusz Machaj, How and How Not to Criticize the Central Bank
Philipp Bagus, The FED and the ECB: Banksterism Compared
Doug French, Going Broke: The Ethics of Default
Thomas DiLorenzo, The Fallacies of “Happiness Research”
Nikolay Gertchev, Psychology Ain’t Economics. New Fads in Economics
Stephan Kinsella,Correcting Some Common Libertarian Misconceptions
John Derbyshire, Understanding China and the Chinese
John O’Sullivan, Understanding Europe and its Bureaucrats
Norman Stone, Understanding Turkey and the Turks
Mustafa Akyol, Drawing Borders in the Middle East: Ottoman Provinces v Western State Creations
Roman Skaskiw,“Fighting for Freedom” in the Middle East. A Combat Soldier’s Report
Sean Gabb,The Case Against the American War of Independence
Paul Gottfried, How the Left Conquered the Right
Anthony Daniels (Theodore Dalrymple), The Mirage of “Equal Opportunity”
Nicola Iannello, Of Producers and Parasites
Yuri Maltsev, Of Customs and Condoms. Moving from One Empire to Another
There are three more video files to be edited and uploaded. I will tell you when this has been done.
6. Richard Blake – Sword of Damascus
This novel comes out on the 9th June 2011. It is being published by one of the largest publishing companies in the world, and is drenched in libertarianism. I know that some people sneer at Richard Blake. I even think some people are jealous of him. But how many other explicitly libertarian novels get published in this country by mainstream houses? I do think it would be a fine idea for you to buy many copies of Sword of Damascus and give them as presents to your friends and loved ones. Go here and read the first chapter for free.
Mr Blake’s Teror v Konštantínopole will be out later this month in Slovakia. A version in Complex Chinese will come out in the autumn, but search me what it will be called.
I am just finishing one long novel. Once this is out of the way, I will begin on what I think will be a very interesting science fiction novel. I doubt this will be ready before Christmas, though.
But you can still buy copies of my Churchill Memorandum. Clicking on the link gives you the first chapter, a set of very favourable reviews, and ordering details. I have just mentioned Christmas!
7. The Libertarian Alliance Blog
Of course, everyone has a blog nowadays. What makes ours different – and worth following – is that we are very broadminded in what we publish, and wholly committed to tolerating hostile comment. I can think of a few people who post comments on our blog who seem to dislike me to the point where they have been eaten up with hate and envy. Never once, however, have their comments been deleted.
I do think there is a virtue in tolerance. Freedom of speech may be grounded in property rights, and a man has every right to exclude from his property everyone who disagrees with him. At the same time, it takes more than a strict insistence on property rights for people to breathe the air of free discussion. You really do need to leave people sitting on your chairs and drinking your wine, even after they have said something rude about you or your friends.
I will give no names, but one formerly notable blog is now reduced to a shadow of what it was by the behaviour of its owner. For years now, he has been excluding everyone who disagreed with him or upset him, and banning any mention of whole classes of subject. Whenever told he was behaving oppressively, his reply was a standard whine about how he owned the blog and could decide who posted there. Well, the last time I looked, he was down to three or four yes men to wrote on his blog, and perhaps not that many more readers.
The Libertarian Alliance will not repeat this mistake. For examples of lively discussions, see here, here and here – the comments are more entertaining than the main posting. Why, we might even claim Cherie Blair among our writers!
8. Other Matters
I have already offered my semi-complete run of Private Eye between 1979 and 2005. But the person who did sort of offer to buy this has gone cold on the idea. So I’ll repeat the offer. E-mail me with your offer.
So here are the PayPal buttons. Do consider giving generously.
Of course, if you don't want to fuss about with PayPal buttons, you could always write a cheque, in the currency of your choice, to "The Libertarian Alliance" and post it to:
The Libertarian Alliance
2 Lansdowne Row
London W1J 6HL