Some Critical Comments Roderick T. Long's “Why Libertarians Believe There Is Only One Right” By J. C. Lester
I first ought to say that I agree with what I take to be the spirit of Professor Long's fundamental thesis—apart from the various qualifications that follow. But as agreement is intellectually barren, I have only elaborated on our differences. These are primarily differences that I have with almost all other libertarian theorists. However, I have yet to succeed in making many of them even notice the existence of these three main ideas:
1) An objective, pre-propertarian theory of interpersonal liberty as ‘the absence of imposed costs.'
2) Critical-rationalist libertarianism.
3) Causal and conceptual compatibilism concerning liberty/deontologism and welfare/consequentialism.”
David McDonagh Reviews the Reviewer By David McDonagh :-
A Reply to Herman Daly’s criticism of Julian Simon’s The Ultimate Resource.
Simon's book, The Ultimate Resource (1981) holds that we can never really know if we are running out of economic resources. This is because we cannot know what future uses we will be able to make of technical resources, for we cannot tell how future discovery or invention will greatly increase the new economic uses made of the same technical or geographical resources, or what new raw materials we will bring into a future economic use that we do not yet consider to be economic resources at all today
Paper Money Collapse by Detlev Schlichter. John Wiley, 2011, $39.95.
“Since 1971 the decline in the purchasing power of the pound and the dollar – two of the oldest currencies in the world – has been the sharpest in their long history. Debt levels have risen sharply and the financial industry has greatly expanded.”
The Myth of the Closed Mind : Understanding Why and How People Are Rational by Ray Scott Percival. Open Court: $34 97.
This book rightly repudiates the idea of irrationality, as did a few forerunners like The Myth of Irrationality (1993) John McCrone and The Passions (1976) Robert C. Solomon, to cite but two earlier books that suggested a similar thesis. However, this latest book is more cogent and consistent than those two earlier books.
"John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) was not really sympathetic to the idea of revolution but he certainly wanted a new beginning in economics, if not in society. Economics, as he found it, exasperated him exceedingly. So did businessmen. Many classical liberals are exasperated by businessmen too, for the statists are right to say that “the market is a good servant but a poor master”. But a free people do not want a master!"
Libertarianism: An Extremely Short Introduction By J C Lester'
The words ‘liberty’ and ‘freedom’ are not usually distinguished in any systematic or significant way. They simply have different roots in the English language. ‘Liberty’ has its origins in the Latin ‘libertas’. ‘Freedom’ comes from the Old English ‘freodom’."
The Great Illusion - Now (Part 2) By Stephen Berry:-
In Part 1 of this review I gave an exposition of Norman Angell's views on
foreign policy and the problem of war. Originally written in 1908 (The Great Illusion -
Now is the 1939 reprint), Angell's book demonstrated that in the case of war even the
victors lost economically. He showed that they would not be able to enlarge their trade by
war or even compel the vanquished to defray the costs of war by indemnities. In short, the widespread belief that
one great nation could use force over another to gain immense material advantage was
The year 2008 sees the centenary of one of
the most important books of the 20th century. In 1908 Norman Angell published The
Great Illusion , still the best exposition of the classical liberal case against war.
A Few Observations on the Passing of Augusto Pinochet By Stephen Berry:- Augusto Pinochet
and Salvador Allende
"In the last few months of the year of our Lord 2006, Latin Americans were asking themselves: Who will go first - Pinochet or Castro? The death of General Augusto Pinochet on 10th December provided the answer to that question but leaves many more unanswered."
Top 50 books of all time : by Old Hickory:- "I have limited the selection to the books I have read. I keep to the norm of not recommending to others books I have yet to read. Clearly, books I have not read by now suggests a judgement of some sort."
The Sacred Element by David Ramsay Steele:-
"Listen children, this story is more than just true. It's true many times over, for the very same sequence of events has happened thousands of times on different worlds."
Life, Liberty, and the Treadmill by David Ramsay Steele:-
"I can remember the day I learned to ride a bike. I must have been about eight. In those days, at least in that part of England, there were no such things as training wheels and the smallest bicycles had twenty-four-inch wheels. I just kept pushing, wobbling, and gliding along, and suddenly, I could do it!"
Baghdad – and Busted!: by Stephen Berry:- In 1812, Napoleon invaded Russia, defeated the Russian army, arrived in Moscow and found that he didn't know what to do. Confronted by the Russian Winter and a hostile population, he packed his bags and went home. In 2003, the U.S. invaded Iraq, defeated the Iraqi army (such as it was), arrived in Baghdad and now don't know what to do. Confronted by a hostile population and facing a bitter guerrilla war, the US cannot yet pluck up the courage to leave, but leave they surely will..
Baghdad or Bust! by Stephen Berry:- :- "And I believe we really do have to go back to the Second Boer War before we reach a British government engaged in a more unjust war than the present imposition of naked force on Iraq. Despite the clear opposition of world opinion in general, and countries which have been traditionally supportive of the West in particular, it has been determined that the present Iraqi regime should be toppled. Why has this happened?"
Escape from Leviathan: Liberty, Welfare and Anarchy Reconciled: The Groundbreaking New Book from LA Member Dr J. C. Lester:- :-
Escape from Leviathan is a notably ambitious reconstruction of radical libertarian thinking from the ground up. Even those, like myself, who are unpersuaded by its reformulation of classical liberalism will benefit from reading Lester's book.' - John Gray, Professor of European Thought, London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London. ...
When this philosophy student eventually encountered the writings of Ayn Rand, circa 1977, he was immune to her, how should it be put, banalysis of the central problems of philosophy and her Mr Toad like dismissal of those gentlemen up at Oxford'. Indeed, I felt rather embarrassed on her behalf. Rather as one feels when watching someone in a karaoke bar putting on a great show and never hitting a note in the middle. With Mises the experience was quite different. Admittedly, his claims for the apodeictic certainty' and empirical content of a priori reasoning in economics seemed so much to run full tilt into the arguments of Hume that even with the aid of Kantian philosophy, neo and otherwise he seemed certain only to choke on what he had bitten off. Nevertheless, the house that von Mises built struck me as an imposing one with or without its so-called foundations. I even had a suspicion that what Mises regarded as truths synthetic, empiric and a priori would prove more palatable to philosophers and others if taken to be analytic, tautological and, in all practice, indispensable."
Old Hickory's Diary Commercial Art Music:- by Jonathan Le Cocq:-
"Is a commercial environment good for music? In one sense the answer seems to be manifestly yes, given the vast quantities of music produced and sold in live and especially recorded performances. But this refers above all to contemporary popular music, sometimes explicitly called commercial music because of its marketability. What of jazz and especially classical or art' music? Here the same terminology implies that there is something non-commercial about such music, perhaps because it cannot flourish (survive, even?) in a commercial environment, or perhaps just because it does not bear the imprint of market processes in its product."
The Economics of Education: A book review by Stephen Berry:-
Policy makers of the right and left may differ over many things, but of one thing they are certain. Education and here more seems to mean better will be the key to success in the knowledge-based economies of the future. As a report to the British Parliament recently put it, Learning is the key to prosperity. Investment in human capital will be the foundation of success in the twenty-first century. And there is scarce a dissenter to this in the Western World. Whether we look at Europe, North America, Australasia or Japan, the trend in recent decades is inexorably in the same direction. Expenditure on education is increasing, the number of teachers growing relentlessly and in many countries, the percentage of students who enjoy the benefits of college education exceeds 50 per cent within their particular age group.
Civil Society and Civil Liberties: Two Statist views reviewedby J C Lester
"I fill Ernest Gellner with disgust: disgust at my views and disgust at his inability to say exactly what is wrong with them (or so he once remarked in his social philosophy seminar). Gellner fills me with frustration. He is always penetrating, witty and erudite (except when using "egotism" for "egoism"), but I cannot see how his ideas of social anthropology can be a substitute for real philosophy and economics. His new book is no exception."
What's Wrong with "What's Wrong with Libertarianism": A reply to Jeffrey Friedman
by J C Lester Jeffrey Friedman's editorship of Critical Review has allowed him, publishing in that same periodical, to become one of the most prolific critics of contemporary libertarianism. Many people that take a scholarly interest in libertarianism undoubtedly read him, and presumably he persuades some of them to his anti-libertarian views. He is certainly worth answering. Though others have replied to him before, I think I have a sufficiently different response to make it worth adding my own. I shall reply to one article that encapsulates his main criticisms.
From 1912 to 1914, Mussolini was the Che Guevara of his day, a living saint of leftism. Handsome, courageous, charismatic, an erudite Marxist, a riveting speaker and writer, a dedicated class warrior to the core, he was the peerless duce of the Italian Left. He looked like the head of any future Italian socialist government, elected or revolutionary.
The Rise and Fall of the British Welfare State
by Stephen Berry:-
In The Times newspaper (October 18th, 2000) Professor Michael Joy, consultant cardiologist at St Peter's hospital, Chertsey, wrote to complain that he could not admit very ill patients from his Accident Department due to the unavailability of beds in the main hospital. He said, If nothing is done, I guarantee within the next weeks there will be a mighty crash. Everybody in the Health Service is totally demoralised. I have never seen morale at such a low level in my 35 year career. ...
We have to imagine something like Ferdinand Lasalle writing Jack London's novels, but even this does not come near the prodigious firstname.lastname@example.org and strange prodigiousness of Rand's accomplishments ...
In the 1970s, the UK state ran a series of television adverts on the theme that "heroin screws you up". The message was that if you messed around with this dangerous drug, you would be at death's door within a few years, if not within a few months. I was rather pleased that I had never felt the slightest temptation to indulge in taking heroin as I repeatedly saw the adverts warning us all against it.
Why Libertarians Should Be Concerned with the History of Political Thought By Gene Callahan:- "If prominent proponents of libertarianism appear to be ignorant of the great themes of Western political theory, then its opponents can plausibly dismiss libertarianism as another naïve attempt to deal with the complexity of political life with a set of simplistic slogans."
Jan Lester replies to critics of his book "ESCAPE FROM LEVIATHAN"
"As a critical rationalist, I welcome criticism. A serious response can help to elucidate matters even when that criticism mainly comprises superficial misreadings, misquotations, unsubstantiated assertions, ill-tempered ad hominems and elementary linguistic confusion that together amount to a professional disgrace. Thus I am happy to reply to Professor Machan's review of Escape from Leviathan."
War Games By Stephen Berry:- The opening ceremony of the Berlin Olympics But many people can still be heard to proclaim with a bull-headed obstinacy that international sport should be encouraged as a source of goodwill between nations, a means by which individuals from different countries can come to know and like each other. Unfortunately, there are simply too many examples of international sport producing ill-will and all but sparking international incidents.
Book Review: The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History reviewed by Jeffrey Rogers Hummel:- Thomas E. Woods, Jr.'s, Politically Incorrect Guide to American History not only became a New York Times bestseller but also raised an amazing amount of furor, to a certain extent among the left leaning, who are the book's bête noire and would be expected to take offense, but especially in conservative and libertarian circles, among the book's presumed friends
Goodbye to All That: by Stephen Berry:- " Dutch voter in traditional costume votes 'No'." The week beginning 29th May, 2005 proved to be the most momentous in European history since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. On that Sunday, the French, always seen as one of the staunchest supporters of the European Union (EU), voted ‘Non’ in a referendum to reject the new EU constitution. Barely had the bemused Eurocrats in Brussels prepared their explanations for this Gallic aberration when, on the following Wednesday, the Dutch too rejected the constitution with an even more decisive ‘Nee’
Would Henry Kissinger be convicted of war crimes on the basis of this book? The history of war crimes trials shows us that if his enemies were judge and jury and in war crimes trials this usually is the case the answer would be a resounding yes! But I will be a little more discriminating ...
The Anatomy of the state by Professor Murray N Rothbard:- It is not by chance that the bloodiest century in world history has coincided with a revival of the belief in state power. The Libertarian Alliance believes that a general appreciation of the predatory nature of state power is the surest method of countering this trend and continuing the work begun by the great anti-statists of the 17th-19th centuries. It is to this end that we republish Murray Rothbard's classic analysis of the state.
Libertarian controls by J C Lester:- It is often argued by libertarian types that there should be No Controls on this or that. The argument usually combines two factors: the supposed evidence that the controls are disastrous; and the supposed axiomatic fact that the repeal of state legislation must be more libertarian (though the latter point seems to oblige more-libertarian-than-thou types to stick to their guns' whatever the consequences). My chief contentions here are that many No Controllers are conceptually confused and that this confusion often causes them to argue for alarming and unlibertarian policies: policies that defend not liberty but licence, that is, having the power to infringe the liberty of others.
We have decided to publish a column of Film Reviews. Some films reviewed will have an avowedly Libertarian content. Some films will be selected merely because they are interesting. The reviews will be of films both old and new. We hope you will find them all entertaining ...
The Pure Joy of Heroin by J C Lester:-
The media's latest spate of heroin-bashing started, as far as I can tell, with a piece in Time Out (March 1984). What is remarkable about this report is that the evidence for the supposed harmful effects of the drug is almost entirely absent - there were no deaths or even' accidents on the South London estates investigated ...
No Representation Without Taxation! by J C Lester:-
The other day I saw some old film footage of Suffragettes marching with a banner that read, "Taxation Without Representation Is Tyranny". I seem to remember that some American colonials also once expressed similar views (whatever happened to them?). Most people would now regard that point as a fair one. I am no great fan of democracy, preferring liberty, but even I can agree that people who are taxed but not allowed to vote are likely to be more than averagely oppressed by those who can vote.
The Great Educational Expansion: A Response to Grant M. Nülle: by Stephen Berry:- It's no good allowing governments to set absurd targets and then getting worked up about the extent to which the targets should be privately or publicly financed. The idea that the government should set targets for citizens and the citizens should then jump to attention should be something which is deeply inimical to all believers in liberty...
Churchill:The End of Glory byStephen Berry:- It is a platitude in the UK today that World War Two was the greatest and most noble triumph in British History. This review of John Charmely's controversial biography of Winston Churchill critically questions this view of WW2 and much else about Churchill's career. From being the world's greatest military power in 1900, Britain by 1950 had sunk to the status of a debtor nation on the verge of losing dominion over palm and pine. Were these 50 years really the glorious epoch which the Churchillians would have us believe ...
Nozick's Flawless Libertarianism?: Review of On Nozick: by Edward Feser:- By J C Lester:
This is an excellent though largely uncritical introduction to, and defence of, Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State and Utopia (New York: Basic Books, 1974). It is also quite a good introduction to libertarianism ...
My Orwell Right or Wrong: A book review by David Ramsay Steele:-
"Why Orwell Matters is an advocate's defense of Orwell as a good and great man. The evidence adduced is that Orwell held the same opinions as Hitchens. Hitchens does allow that Orwell sometimes got things wrong, but in these cases Hitchens always enters pleas in mitigation. Hitchens's efforts to minimize the importance of Orwell's objectionable views, or in some cases his inability to see them, paint a misleading picture of Orwell's thinking."
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears
a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far
Escape from Leviathan: Libertarianism without Justificationism [Paperback] - J C Lester (Author) Amazon Review Extract: This is a ground-breaking work that is also an excellent introduction to libertarianism and social thought. www.amazon.co.ukReplies to reviews of EFL
The Libertarian Alliance has decided to create a web
archive containing issues of its magazine FREE LIFE which made its appearance in the late
1970s. Over the years, FREE LIFE contained a large number of articles on Libertarianism
which were both entertaining and instructive.
Meetings & Podcasts
We meet now on the second Monday of the month, at 7pm. Admission Freesee latest podcasts on our Meetings page Meetings Schedule and past talks in document
and podcast format.
The Alternative Bookshop Which specialises in, but does
not limit itself to, books on Liberty and Freedom ... Book reviews, links, bestsellers,
rareties, second-hand, best price on books, find rare books. The Alternative Bookshop
Alliance Forum is a discussion group for those interested in Liberty in general, the role of the state
and related issues Join our Discussion
It is not my duty to make this country the knight-errant of the human race