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If I say the name Hayek, do you associate it with spontaneous order, law versus legislation and tradition? Or do you associate it with social justice, markets and the Universal Basic Income?

Have you, the last year, read any of these works: Human Action, by Mises. An Inquiry into the Cause and Nature of the Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith. Individualism and Economic Order, by Hayek. The Calculus of Consent, by James Buchanan. Man, Economy & State, by Murray Rothbard? (Any works equivalent in size and importance for understanding classical liberalism is also allowed.) Or have you limited your reading to blogposts, and short articles?

If you have read contemporary academics: have you read their peer-reviewed literature in, for example, Critical Reviewor any of the many, many other peer reviewed academic outlets? Or again, have you limited yourself to blogposts?

If you are part of the latter, this blogpost is for you. If you are part of the former, this blogpost is probably also still for you. The purpose of this blogpost is to create a perspective on how to study classical liberalism, because I have the impression that, on the margin, some are confusing studying a body of intellectual thought with reading blogposts. Let us give you the quick and dirty summary: if the only thing you are doing is reading blogposts, even if they are from Bleeding Heart Libertarians or other high quality libertarian leaning websites, you are doing it wrong. One notable, online exception, would be George Smith’s essay collection at Libertarianism.org. George Smith takes great pains to explain the historical context of intellectual debates in a way that teaches people context, rather than ‘fad of the days’.

The reason why I am warning against blogposts is not because I want to devalue the work that these academics are doing, but it’s important to understand why they are doing this. They are not trying to rehash the core of classical liberalism (usually). They are focusing on the edges of the arguments, the controversies and the discussions. And in the blogosphere, they are doing this in a way they consider to be fun, and not necessarily in a way they think is publishable. (Although some definitely is.) Trying to learn classical liberalism through the online blogosphere is similar to trying to understand the Middle East by looking at a panel discussion. Yes, they’ll cover the current issues, but they’ll usually not have the time to give all the knowledge required to discuss why this current issue is a relevant addition.

Of course, it’s easy to have an essential grasp of spontaneous order. Per usual, just reading the wikipedia page would give you a good introduction. However, a part of being a good advocate of your ideas is to push yourself to know more and know better. SFL as such has only very limited programs to make yourself more knowledgeable as libertarians. (Although the online virtual reading groups and the Liberty Fund session in Vienna are important exceptions!)

None of this should be taken to understand that the current cutting edge stuff should be ignored, but the cutting edge stuff of academics is done in their academic, peer reviewed work, not on their blogposts. 
But it’s also important if you want to become a knowledgeable advocate of ideas, to also read Mises, Hayek, Rothbard, Narveson, Rand, Lomasky, Smith, Hume, Locke, Nozick, Machan and many, many others. Don’t ignore the classics assuming you can learn their insights from social media.

This is especially true if you want to modify your classical liberalism/libertarian label. Let me take one example. There are a lot of self-identified left-libertarians in SFL, people who study the works of Kevin Carson, Gary Chartier, Charles Johnson and Sheldon Richmann. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this; the intellectual diversity in SFL is one of the many reasons why I love this organization. But in order to understand and read these authors effectively, it’s important to understand the core of classical liberalism, to completely understand where and to what extend they diverge, criticize, build of and/or apply in an onorthodox way from the original core.

To quote Nathan Goodman, a self-identified Left-libertarian and Campus Coordinator in the USA, as a response to the question: can you study left-libertarianism when you are not studying classical liberalism?

Maybe, but doing so would almost certainly leave the student with a poor understanding of left-libertarianism, if we’re speaking in the C4SS/ALL sense. To properly understand Kevin Carson’s arguments against large hierarchical firms, one should understand Coase’s work on the firm and the work of Hayek and Mises on economic calculation. To properly understand left-libertarian arguments for the commons, one should understand Lockean/Rothbardian theories of just acquisition of property and probably also Ostrom’s work on governance of the commons. To understand left-libertarian arguments for why the state entrenches the power of privileged interests, it’s useful to understand public choice theory. Left-libertarianism in the C4SS sense is heavily informed by classical liberal insights that have been developed by classical liberals outside of left-libertarianism, and thus it probably can’t be fully understood without understanding classical liberalism.

This point is relevant for all modifiers to your classical liberal/libertarian label.

One last suggestion. As a young student, it’s normal to try and read the classics and grapple with their insights. It’s ok that when you are 18-23 (random age) you are blogging on Law, Legislation & Liberty of Hayek, Theory & History from Mises or The Ethics of Liberty of Rothbard. You are in that stage of life during which you are learning about the ideas. And learning doesn’t have to be difficult. You think reading Human Action is too difficult? Use the study guide to the book to help you! Do you think reading everything from Hayek is too difficult? Read very smart people who write about his work. If you want to inquire into the nature and cause of the wealth of intellectual classical liberalism, don’t let your sentiments get the best of you and find good secondary literature to help you with it.

You are – usually – not yet engaged in the production of new insights or the creation of cutting edge of social science or philosophy. Don’t feel the need that, as a student, you have to emulate the kind of topics and blogposts the actual academics are doing. They are at a different stage of your life. And if you think you can take a short cut, if you think you can blog as if you are already a learned and well-established professor while you are still trying to learn, you will probably not succeed compared to a route where you first learn to walk before you learn to run.

Lode Cossaer received master’s degrees in philosophy from the University of Antwerp and the Catholic University of Leuven and is currently working on a PhD proposal.

He teaches economics in Brussels, at a private business school. Cossaer was a political officer of the LVSV. He is an executive board member of European Students For Liberty and president of the Murray Rothbard in Belgium.

SFL has gotten some criticisms regarding the role of activism in the past. Is there any role for activism? If so, which one? This blogpost is to give my hypothesis for the role of activism. The reason why I am writing this is to offer a possibility, but I am opening the debate, rather than trying to close it, to answer the important question: why are we trying to do what we do?

As a Hayekian, I belief that both (1) ideas matter and that (2) activism is only of secondary importance. As Dan D’Amico says: the amount of liberty in a society was never a derivative from the amount of libertarians or the success of the libertarian movement in society. So therefore, ipso facto, it must be foolish to try to invest in activism, right? It is with this latter implication I tend to disagree – but again: opening the floor, rather than closing the debate.

It seems to me obvious that the most important branch – the root, so to say – of any political movement is the academic and intellectual backing that it has. No long term change is possible without an academic backing, that brings better arguments to the table, that can both provide intellectual legitimacy, as well as provide people across the board information on how to improve their lives and politics and even though we might not be able to convince all, they can at least learn from the academics who also happen to be libertarian. But for those people who don’t see themselves becoming academics – the so called activists – is there room for them? The answer seems to me: obviously, but let’s try to clarify what it is.

Let us take a look at a political movement that inspired most, if not all, of us in doing what we do: the slavery abolitionist movement. I am going to make the wild assumption that the abolitionists all had secondary goals besides slavery abolition, but that they managed to form a grand coalition around the intrinsically moral goal of slavery abolition. In short: they set aside their political differences to try to achieve a goal they could all agree on. Although there is some evidence that overtime slavery would have disappeared (as well as some evidence to the contrary) I’d be surprised if we can convincingly show that the abolitionist movement was completely useless in making this happen as fast as it did.

Most people are, what I would describe as, slightly xenophobic, security craving social democrats. There are people of the ‘nicer’ kinds – your typical liberal or social conservative – and of the meaner kind (fascists and the like). But in essence: most people are scared of the unknown, scared of changes they can’t control and have a strong desire that there are political measurements in place that take care of them. Most people are naive, incoherent about their political views and have the implicit hubris that they can control and oversee more politics than they can actually manage. In short: most people are not libertarians, and will never become libertarians.

Although it’s not logically impossible to turn everyone into good classical liberals or libertarians, it’s also very unlikely – and we’d be better of we accept this fact into our activism. Obviously, we still need to try to reach out, present the best possible arguments and try to convince as many people as possible, but mostly, we have to do this to assure the next generation of classical liberals who will continue the work, rather than some idea that eventually we’ll convince everyone to our way of thinking.

Combining the lesson I draw from the slavery abolitionists and from the empirical observation above, the role of the activism part of the liberty movement – including SFL – is our continuous effort to try to build grand coalitions with other political groups for goals we can all agree on. Today, those can be, among others, the war on drugs, foreign intervention in the sense of nation building, civil rights, freedom of speech, open immigration and, maybe, even global free trade. I don’t think we can convince the average political partisan that we need to abolish our countries welfare systems, or health care systems, or labor regulations and any of that. But maybe we can try to build grand coalitions around particular goals that we can convince them are worthwhile, without blowing up our bridges by arguing that we’ll only work toward a goal that benefits everyone if they accept libertarian anarchy.

This is, by the way, not an argument for unprincipledness, but an argument for principledness in choosing one’s battles. Would I – as an IP-abolitionist – abolish IP even though social security remains? Of course. I am not selling out on my ideals by doing so, I am achieving one of my goals. The effort of forming a grand coalition is not the same as selling out on other ideas. Selling out implies that one starts supporting ideas that one rejects in order to get something else: this is far from what I am advocating. I am only advocating that the role of activists is to pick and choose the battles they can win by forming coalitions.

What is funny about this, imo, is that someone wrote something very similar, namely Murray Rothbard in his Memo to the Volcker Fund. (I highly encourage everyone who wants to be an activist to read this. Rothbard is at his strategic best in this memo.)

(1) In the very act of agitating for repeal of the income tax, he is pushing people in the direction of repeal and perhaps eventually bringing about repeal—which, in itself, is a worthy, if limited, libertarian objective. In short, he is advancing the cause of libertarianism in the very act of advancing the cause of income tax repeal. Thus, everything he does for ORFIT, being consistent with the ultimate libertarian objective helps advance that objective, and does not betray it.

(2) In the course of this work, the hardcore libertarian should try to advance the knowledge of both the masses and his fellow ORFIT members, toward fuller libertarian ideals. In short, to “push” his colleagues and others toward the direction of hardcore libertarian thought itself. (In Communist- Leninist terms, this is called “recruiting for the Party,” or pushing colleagues at least some way along this road.) The hardcore man is working for his idea on two levels: in a “popular” or “united” front for limited libertarian goals, and to try to influence his colleagues as well as the masses in the direction of the total system. (This is the essence of the much-misunderstood Leninist theory of “infiltration.”)

Suppose there was a strong, self conscious libertarian movement that covers around 5 to 10% of the population. Although we’d never be able to convince the remaining 90/95%, if that libertarian part of the population does well, they could shift the debate into their direction, at least, maybe preventing the biggest problems that are caused by governments. Wouldn’t it be nice if more people started saying: ‘X is a libertarian, I think they are overall wrong with their general idea, but they do have a good point on government power and we should really try to limit that’, rather than dismiss everything we say merely because we are saying it? If the medium voter theorem is right, it follows that if we can change the margin of where the medium voter is, there is a possibility to improve society.

However, an important part of this is that SFL need not just a place of refugee for activist, but also, as Rothbard called it, “an open center for hardcore men” (and I will add: and women, of course).

I need not dwell here on the overriding importance of the intellectuals and scholars in forming a libertarian cadre. For the filiation of ideas and influence works as a pyramid, from the highest-level intellectuals to lower levels, from graduate school to college, from treatise authors to journalists, on down to the housewife and man in the street. In this pyramid, one scholar is worth a thousand housewives, in the matter of influence, import, etc.(…) But there needs to be, in addition, much greater concentration on nourishing a hardcore libertarian center. (…) I believe that a scholarly libertarian institute, on the postgraduate level, a counterpart to the Institute for Advanced Study, would be the ideal solution. The idea would be to gather together leading libertarian scholars, to have permanent and also temporary staffs (the latter via fellowships), etc.

If SFL truly are Hayekians – and it is clear that Rothbard learned a lot from Hayek – than we have to focus on both the activist side, as well as the academic side of things.

Additionally, I also believe in the possibility for unintended consequences that can follow from political activism. Is it possible that if we achieve a particular goal X – by building a grand coalition with non-libertarians – that we inadvertently create the possibility for the state to actually increase its power or limit freedom more? Yes, this is very likely. But the other way around is also possible, and I don’t have any numbers on the statistical likelihood of either one. Is it possible that by achieving a particular goal the unintended consequence is that we set in motion a set of institutional decision making procedures that actually limit or roll back the centralization of power?  This doesn’t seem impossible a priori; and thus it’s important to keep thinking critically what might be potential unintended consequences of certain goals that we try to focus on.
We will live never in a libertarian society, unless, perhaps, when we physically go and build it. But in the mean time, for those who want to make an impact now: (1) focus on outreach to create your successor and (2) try to build grand coalitions for goals you can achieve here and now. Politics responds to incentives and at least part of these incentives are determined by activists. It might not always matter in the (very) long run, but there are marginal gains of trade to be won by acting today in a smart and concentrated way.

Lode Cossaer received master’s degrees in philosophy from the University of Antwerp and the Catholic University of Leuven and is currently working on a PhD proposal.

He teaches economics in Brussels, at a private business school. Cossaer was a political officer of the LVSV. He is an executive board member of European Students For Liberty and president of the Murray Rothbard in Belgium.

Are you a student or recent graduate interested in gaining writing experience? Would you like to share your opinions and ideas on several issues regarding liberty with thousands of viewers? Now is your chance to do so. Apply to join European Students For Liberty’s blogging team of 15 highly motivated student writers. Prior blogging experience is not required.

The ESFL blog features a wide diversity of content including philosophical musings, campus activism and student organizing features, news coverage, pop culture commentary, interviews, and profiles of influential libertarian figures and works.  We seek to maintain a free and open dialogue and encourage people of all ideological stripes interested in liberty to apply.

If you are accepted to be on the blogging team, you will be expected to blog twice per month throughout the 2014-2015 school year. For one-time submissions and any other direct questions regarding the blogging team, please contact the Blog Content Manager, Nur Baysal at nbaysal@studentsforliberty.org. Apply by October 1st!

Proponents of a so-called post-privacy society often point how a decline of privacy is inevitable. From a purely descriptive angle, more and more information is being made available. Secret services operate in a more efficient way today because of technological advances and computer software with superior algorithms. Social media is another important factor. People are revealing an increasing amount of personal information about themselves on platforms like Facebook, voluntarily.

It’s not possible to make concrete forecasts here, but all factors indicate that the amount of personal information in the digital sphere will continue to increase. Whether there’s going to be a cut-off point is of no further importance right now. The process described above is actually taking place and this is the only relevant point in this regard. But this will probably not continue inevitably.

There is in fact a tendency among young people to only reveal certain information about themselves – and probably proportionally more of it, at least in this confined area. But the important thing is: They’re doing it in a selective way and this creates more bubbles of privacy. There are good reasons to believe that this development is actually strengthening privacy.

But there are also some people who endorse the development of post-privacy values due to normative reasons. Christian Heller is such a proponent and accordingly, he also tries to live without privacy. All of his appointments and schedules, daily routines (including his eating habits), his twitter account and other things are all published on his blog, accessible for everyone.

In his book about post privacy, he argues that privacy is an outdated concept. Basically developed by the bourgeois class during the Age of Enlightenment, the whole concept has often been used as a vehicle for enforcing oppressive social ideas like the patriarchal family structure. Thus, there is nothing inherently valuable about privacy and it also doesn’t serve a meaningful purpose today. Another argument goes as follows: Less privacy amounts to more transparency. This would make society better overall, since companies and governments, being part of this process, would reveal more information about themselves and their internal structures.
Privacy continues to decrease inevitably from a descriptive point of view, but proponents of this post privacy “movement” also endorse it normatively. Ultimately, it is said that we value privacy far less than we did in the future. And I think this is not true.

There is a lot of evidence that suggests that social media users care a great deal about their own personal privacy by using all possible mechanisms on Facebook or Twitter – for example, only revealing posts to certain people and not displaying personal information to people outside the friendlist.
After the public was informed about the spy activities by the NSA, most people were obviously indignant about it and opposed it heavily. Ever since Facebook changes its privacy policy from time to time, there are waves of boycott with people deleting their accounts. And shortly after WhatsApp became part of Facebook and even more security holes became known, a large number of people in my surrounding decided to switch to Threema.
These are not characteristics of a generation that becomes less privacy-conscious.
Our generation prefers to reveal personal information about themselves in a much more coordinated and structured way. This indicates that there probably is not a wish among young people to have less privacy. People are revealing data, but in a smart way because they don’t want everyone in the world to see it.
More transparency through post privacy is also a false hope. It may be the case that more activities of the government would become public – but on the other side, the government would have far more access to sensible data of regular citizens. And in the end, who has more power to violate personal liberties?

In short, privacy is not dead. There’s no general wish for data exibitionism. People choose to reveal information about themselves, but they do so wisely and in a restrictive manner. They don’t want the entire world to know their daily appointments, eating habits or personal issues.

Nur Baysal studies Social Sciences at the University of Cologne. She developed a general interest in classical liberal ideas two-and-a-half years ago. She’s the founder of Kölsche Libertarier und currently an executive board member of European Students For Liberty.

We’re very pleased to announce that Sons of Libertas will be our official and exclusive media partner for all the Regional conferences throughout Europe. Sons of Libertas have already been involved with European Students for Liberty – covering the Munich regional conference and the ESFLC in Berlin.

But besides covering regional conferences, Sons of Libertas are also known for interviewing several prominent figures in politics, economics and academia. Thanks to SoL, topics concerning the ideas of liberty are made available through a wider array – through videos and YouTube.

ESFL appreciates that our conferences will  be accompanied by SoL who will professionally shoot photos, film the lectures and interview the speakers afterwards.

 

Here’s some of their previous work for the ESFLC 2014:

 

We’re proud to announce the first ever European Students For Liberty Ukraine Summit, coming to Kiev on the weekend of November 29-30th, 2014.

 

This will be our first major event happening in the country, where we will hope to unite students, young people, and anyone interested in freedom to discuss peace, social and economic liberties, and the future of freedom in Ukraine.

 —

29-30 ноября 2014 года в Киеве пройдет конференция “ЕВРОПЕЙСКИЕ СТУДЕНТЫ за свободу” в Украине.

 

На форуме в качестве спикеров выступят вице-президент Atlas Network Том Палмер, автор грузинских реформ, бывший министр экономики Каха Бендукидзе и другие известные гости. Также слово будет предоставлено студентам университетов Украины.

 

All are welcome to join!

 

  • When : 29-30 November 2014
  • Where : Kiev, Ukraine
  • Program : Coming soon
  • Sponsor : The Atlas Network
  • Registration cost : Free!
  • Language : English, Ukrainian, and Russian
  • Dress Code : Business casual
  • Facebook: Event link

SPEAKERS

Tom G. Palmer is the executive vice president for international programs at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, and is responsible for establishing operating programs in 14 languages and managing programs for a worldwide network of think tanks.

Before joining Cato he was an H. B. Earhart Fellow at Hertford College, Oxford University, and a vice president of the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University. He frequently lectures in North America, Europe, Eurasia, Africa, Latin America, India, China and throughout Asia, and the Middle East on political science, public choice, civil society, and the moral, legal, and historical foundations of individual rights.

He has published reviews and articles on politics and morality in scholarly journals such as the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy,EthicsCritical Review, and Constitutional Political Economy, as well as in publications such as Slate, the Wall Street Journal, the New York TimesDie WeltCaixingAl Hayat, the Washington Post, and The Spectator of London. He is the author ofRealizing Freedom: Libertarian Theory, History, and Practice, published in 2009, and the editor of The Morality of Capitalism, published in 2011.

Palmer received his B.A. in liberal arts from St. Johns College in Annapolis, Maryland, his M.A. in philosophy from The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., and his doctorate in politics from Oxford.

Kakha Bendukidze is a Georgian statesman and businessman, and is a founder of Knowledge Fund, the founding organization of the Free University of Tbilisi and Agricultural University of Georgia.

After the Rose Revolution, he served as Georgian Minister of Economy (June–December 2004), Minister for Reform Coordination (December 2004 – January 2008) and Head of the Chancellery of Government of Georgia (February 2008 – February 2009).

Previously, he had served as Georgia’s economic development minister since 2004, state minister for reform co-ordination from 2004 to 2008 and head of the State Chancellery from 2008 to 2009.

Before embarking on his political career in the wake of the 2003 Rose Revolution, Mr. Bendukidze had been chief executive officer and chairman of OMZ, one of Russia’s largest heavy engineering companies, from 1996 to 2004. He had begun his career in the 1980s as a scientific researcher; in 1989 he co-founded the Bioprocess Corporation in Moscow and subsequently became chairman of the company. Mr. Bendukidze served as a Non-Executive Director at Aqua Bounty Technologies, Inc. from July 2012 until October 2012.

He graduated in biology and genetics from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi University and holds a postgraduate degree in molecular biology from Lomonosov Moscow State University.

More speakers will be announced soon…

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For more information, please contact conference director Viacheslav Dvornikov at vdvornikov@studentsforliberty.org or ESFL Program Manager Yaël Ossowski at yossowski@studentsforliberty.org.

Recently, a blogpost written two years ago by my friend Clint Townsend ‘Five mistakes libertarians should avoid‘ was wildly shared again. The problem many people had was with Clint’s statement that ‘The principle of foreign non-interventionism is not a precondition to being a libertarian.’ Clint goes on to argue that there is widespread disagreement and therefore that it’s not part of a litmus test. I hope this blogpost can clarify this issue a bit.

The key issue is – of course – that words matter. The dictionary definition broadly defines libertarianism as being pro liberty in all areas of life. However, if you use the Rothbardian definition and equate libertarianism wit the NAP (and thereby exclude all government action per se), ‘foreign intervention’ (usually a term associated with government policy) is a necessary implication. To turn this around, it also means that it is a precondition to be against foreign intervention if you want to qualify as a libertarian. (Or, at least, that you are not libertarian on that particular issue.) 

I personally don’t think that Rothbard’s definition is the best definition that truly captures the broad classical liberal/libertarian tradition. Hence, I have argued in the past for a different interpretation, that ‘libertarianism’, historically and currently, covers a tradition that is about “safe-guarding voluntary interaction, where the key mechanism to guard this is (broadly spoken) Lockean rights.” To expand on this

“The core question that libertarianism historically attempted to answer was: how can people with different views of the good life live together peacefully and cooperatively? This, to me, is the key emphasis on what libertarianism is (as well as why we are still, intellectually, cousins to modern day high liberalism (Rawls and all).”

I will add, immediately, that as president of the Belgian based Murray Rothbard Institute that I think Rothbard’s interpretation is, more or less, right. I think that in real life, libertarianism should aim for what Murray called ‘anarchy’ – a society where there is no monopoly on the use of force and or the deliberate creation of legislation, or, even different, competitive enterprises who provide law and security. This also means that I agree with Rothbard’s prudent and principled case against foreign non-intervention.

However, I think it’s – again, historically and currently – more accurate to say that Rothbardianism is a very important subdivision of libertarianism, rather than the core of it. When it comes to policies, I generally like Walter Block and Stephan Kinsella more than I like the proposals for Universal Basic Income from people like Zwolinski. (Which doesn’t mean I don’t want to have that discussion, but I just happen to think they are wrong.) One can think Rothbard is (broadly) correct in his conclusions, without thinking that one necessarily has to agree with Rothbard to be called a libertarian.

I hope by now it’s sort of clear from what angle that Clint’s statement came. If you take a broad view on what libertarianism is – and, again, I think this definition is more accurate, contra Rothbard – then it’s not necessary to be principled against foreign interventionism. (Just like it’s not necessary to be principled against ‘the government existing’.) However, there is another important aspect and that is, obviously, the prudential question.

Just because Objectivists are in favor of a minimal government, doesn’t mean that anything can be justified even if it falls within the case of a ‘minimal government’. Similarly, even if you think that in principle there is nothing wrong with intervening in other countries, it doesn’t follow that you think is prudent.

Let me be clear: I think the principled case in favor of (government) non-interventionism is true.I disagree – fundamentally, prudentially and principally – with those who advocate foreign intervention (even in very, very limited cases). However, it doesn’t necessary follow that they aren’t libertarians. I just think they are wrong for advocating it. And plausible even dangerously wrong in some cases.

I am also happy to report that most, if not all, SFL’ers share a deep skepticism about justifications for foreign interventionism by governments everywhere. This doesn’t mean that some SFL’ers aren’t more open to some kinds of interventionism, than others. But even there is a small difference, I’d argue.

I think – but feel free to disagree – that there is still an important difference between justifying government action for a cause that is not inherently evil relative to a cause that is. I am allowed to defend myself. If a police officer – I do understand the fictional nature of the argument, but let’s suppose – defends me (while being on tax money), this is not an inherently evil cause, but it’s supported with evil means (taxation). Similarly, some ‘foreign intervention’ goals – such as: overthrowing the North Korean regime, or even assassinating dictators – doesn’t seem inherently problematic (but it is highly problematic that is done by government), whilst advocating foreign genocide (as you, for example, sometimes hear on both sides of the Israel/Gaza discussion) is.

It is in the former category that some libertarians can be persuaded that foreign military intervention can be justified. ‘We have the army, so why not use it for good causes’. Again: I think this opinion is highly problematic, but I have no need to define these people out of the movement. I do want to convince them of the general error of their ways, and if they want to be persuaded, a good (prudent) case against this, is Chris Coyne’s After War: The Political Economy of Exporting Democracy.

One more note of caution. The ‘libertarian’ movement is not in danger because we – at SFL – refuse to define people out of the libertarian movement. Libertarian is only a word. Can we please stop focussing on how SFL defines libertarianism – we have had this debate, really – and start focussing on: why do people favor certain positions and explaining why (you think) they are wrong?

Lode Cossaer received master’s degrees in philosophy from the University of Antwerp and the Catholic University of Leuven and is currently working on a PhD proposal.

He teaches economics in Brussels, at a private business school. Cossaer was a political officer of the LVSV. He is an executive board member of European Students For Liberty and president of the Murray Rothbard in Belgium.

  • When : 6 December 2014
  • Where : Istanbul
  • Host : 3H Hareketi
  • Conference : 9h – 19h
  • Social : 22h
  • Program : Coming soon
  • Sponsor : Rising Tide Foundation
  • Registration cost : Free!
  • Language : English and Turkish
  • Dress Code : Business casual
  • Facebook: Event Link

KEYNOTE SPEAKER

MORE SPEAKERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED SOON…

Fill out my online form.

  • When : 29 November 2014
  • Where : Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung e.V.
  • Host : Münchner Libertarier
  • Conference : 9h – 19h
  • Social : 22h
  • Program : Coming soon
  • Sponsor : Rising Tide Foundation
  • Registration cost : Free!
  • Language : German and English
  • Dress Code : Business casual
  • Facebook: Event link

KEYNOTE SPEAKER

MORE SPEAKERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED SOON…

Fill out my online form.

  • When : 22 November 2014
  • Where : University of Belgrade
  • Host : Libek and Studenti za slobodu
  • Conference : 9h – 19h
  • Social : 22h
  • Program : Coming soon
  • Sponsor : Rising Tide Foundation
  • Registration cost : Free!
  • Language : English
  • Dress Code : Business casual
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KEYNOTE SPEAKER

Matt Kibbe is the President and CEO of FreedomWorks, a national grassroots organization that serves citizens in their fight for more individual freedom and less government control. An economist by training, Kibbe is a well-respected policy expert, bestselling author and political commentator, and a regular guest on CNN, Fox News, The Blaze TV and MSNBC.

He also serves as Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Austrian Economic Center in Vienna, Austria. Dubbed “the scribe” by the New York Daily News, Kibbe is author of Hostile Takeover: Resisting Centralized Government’s Stranglehold on America, (2012) and coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto (2010).

According to Slate Magazine, “Kibbe…looks like Billy Bob Thornton cleaned up for a Job interview,” and is prone to wonkish pronouncements regarding music, philosophy and beer.

Terry, his awesome wife of 27 years, takes no responsibility for his many mistakes or frequent embarrassments.

MORE SPEAKERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED SOON…

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