The Austrian Way: Sod the left-right political spectrum, we stand way out here!

As we understand the left to right political spectrum, we don’t much like the various points on the sliding scale to be judged, bracketed and placed.

It all depends on your definitions, but in our perception of things we find those left of centre to sometimes be quite good at respecting freedoms in the personal and social sphere, but much less so in the economic sphere. Leftists love gay marriage and free love, but think merchants and entrepreneurs are a little grubby and selfish.

We find those right of centre to sometimes be less good at allowing liberty and freedoms in the personal and social realms, but better at granting them in the economic sphere. Home counties Telegraph readers can be all lovey with entrepreneurs and businessmen, but are less keen on allowing the relinquishing of certain social norms – try selling gay marriage in a Sussex golf club!

If pushed to choose a party affiliation in 1980 to modern day America, to cover the complexity of our needs, we’d likely have trotted out the tired preference come compromise of being ‘social Democrats, but economic Republicans’.

The reason for doing so is our preference at all times for liberty.

Consumed by the state

Today however, if we return our focus to the UK, liberty and freedom are in pretty short supply.

We have been overwhelmed by the state, central planners and cosy Westminster consensus views on how we should live and think.

The situation is awful and rotten wherever you look.

The state makes up more than 50% of the economy, central planned carbuncles blot the landscape (have you heard of the NHS?), we have institutions like a Ministry of Culture (how soviet does that sound?), the fraudulent media-bully of the BBC dominates the receptive senses with its liberal imperialist thinking and by never balancing our budgets we are visiting fiscal child abuse on our kids, their kids and maybe their kids, kids.

No party offers anything different because they’re part of the system and their power depends upon party strength, good funding and the denial of certain peoples’ liberties.

Why we love liberty

Whilst we like liberty for some quaint little moral and philosophical reasons we like it most for reasons of utility.

We love liberty most of all, because when we have as much of it as possible in as many areas of our lives we are all better off.

To get intellectual and snooty for a moment, we think John Stuart Mill’s justification of liberty is the best one going. (For anyone bored, download or read ‘On Liberty’ by the great man).

What we seek is: the freedom to start business in any sector (good luck trying to do that in a heavily regulated space like banking), the freedom to issue competing currencies to government ones without getting arse-raped by the heavies enforcing Nazi legal tender laws, the freedom to provide competing services to government ones, the freedom to try and disrupt any sector we think offers poor value to consumers, the freedom to worship who and how we want, the freedom to live where we want and how we want, the freedom to marry who we want, shag who we want, and generally the freedom to do most things how we want without harming the property of others.

Yes, we do think JS Mill’s ‘Harm Principle’ is a good governing principle here. Our actions shouldn’t be harming other peoples’ financial, intellectual, physical or bodily property.

Odd-job libertarians like us passionately believe that people know better than plans, systems and grand designs at all times what is best for them and that if we can allocate our time, energy, capital, love and emotions in directions we see fittest, we’ll all be happier, healthier and wealthier.

We agree with Douglas Carswell (a rare person in politics in that he has some properly radical ideas) that ‘the man in Whitehall does not know best’.

It is for these reasons that we think libertarians cannot be stuck on the right-wing end of the political spectrum. We’re just on the far end of the liberty scale, wherever that fits into the greater political mash-up.

Now, if some statist brute put the gun of compromise to our heads and said you can choose liberty in the economic sphere or social sphere only – which one is it punk? We’d choose economic liberty first.

We’ll tell you why next week.

6 comments on “The Austrian Way: Sod the left-right political spectrum, we stand way out here!

  1. right_writes
    July 27, 2013 at 6:39 am #

    The only two natural laws…

    1: Do No Harm…

    2: Cause No Loss…

    Everything else is down to the preening of musclemen and their various henchmen.

    • The Austrian Way
      July 27, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by right_writes. Great comment and well put.

      Are you seeing any rays of light and hope in Western politics for a return liberty minded principles?

      Apart from MPs Steve Baker, Dan Hannan and Douglas Carswell, I cannot see much in the UK. Apart from the Paul family in the States, it’s pretty dire there too.

      Can libertarian principles ever be appreciated by the Lumpenproletariat?

  2. Dan
    July 27, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    Gold club is a wonderful Freudian slip

    • The Austrian Way
      July 27, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

      Wonderful, but tidied up now, Dan! Thanks for the read and comment.

      Any particular area of your life you find most restricted by the state?

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