Address to the Liberal Democrats Council
The full title of this speech is Libertarianism’s enormous challenge and responsibility in Australia. It’s a very long title but the sub-title is even longer: Don’t be overwhelmed by all the bad news because the good news has never been better.
So, there is only one challenge for you on which to focus. That is to ride that great wave that goes all the way from the bad news to the upcoming good news. However first, a poem.
My festive poem for 2017 is officially launched here tonight. It is a sensitive nature poem called, Nature’s Start-Ups (you can read it in full here). The call for action to ‘get up off your knees’ reminds me of the Ayn Rand quote: “They will only do to you, what you let them do.”
If you (or we) allow our choice of transport to be interfered with, in this way, we deserve the very narrow regulated choices left for us.
Your challenge, as the Liberal Democrats, is to always be on the side of expanded choices, on the side of the consumers who are sick of being told that all their decisions in life must be made by others. Or, as Milton Friedman put it: “The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.”
I think that the major parties’ efforts to reduce and interfere with our choices is a supreme insult and you will strike a chord, with Australia’s high percentage of disenchanted voters, if you can sell the benefits of smaller government, doing fewer things, but doing those few things well.
It is very exciting to have the Liberal Democrats, as a party of principle, added to our political choices and what a great role model is your David Leyonhjelm and your, very own, Aaron Stonehouse.
Watching your progress brings back so many happy memories when a band of about ten of us started our own political party back in 1974; The Workers Party (which in a way morphed into the Progress Party).
We were the second Libertarian Party in the world to be formed. We had our own platform and policies that marked us as completely different to the bland Labor/Liberal choices on offer, at that time.
I won’t go into great details here, as I have written extensively with a full chapter in my book Heroic Misadventures, which is available as a free e-book, available here (see page 121).
We enjoyed an informative and entertaining reunion in Sydney in 2012 where we reflected on the lasting influence we had on Australian politics. Many of our team went on to become influential players in many fields. Many of our policies were adopted by the other parties. Some of these included the concept of victimless crime and how it can be used to explain why so many useless regulations should be immediately axed; sunset clauses, where new legislation always has an expiry date built into it and the concept of Free Trade Zones which have proved economically invigorating to so many centers around the world.
So that brings us up to the present time which I will describe in exactly two minutes.
- Politics in Australia is completely broken.
- Faith and confidence in politics and, for that matter, corporate capitalism (because of the rise of crony capitalism) is at an all-time low.
- Government is out of control, with a belief that the solution to too much debt is yet more debt.
- Student loan debt is currently $52 billion and that is still shown as an asset on our national accounts (if politicians were corporate directors they would be in jail with that misrepresentation of assets).
- Australia is currently spending $1 billion building Islamic schools in Indonesia. The Indonesians are offended that we are meddling with their culture in that way.
If you need more details and convincing just read Paul Murray’s opinion piece in the December 2, 2017 edition of The West Australian; Our Political Leaders Flunk Leadership Test.
Enough of the bad news…
What about the good news that I promised you?
How are you, as the Liberal Democrats, so much better placed to lift the tone of Australia’s political debate than our Libertarian Workers Party was back in the 1970s?
We didn’t have the internet. We didn’t have the vast libraries of books and economic guidelines that are now at our fingertips at the click of a keypad.
This ammunition, so easily available, for us now to demolish all the clichés and myths of socialism.
Yes we are up against the clever Socialist Marxists who last century changed democracy in Australia by infiltrating the universities and indoctrinating the students and now these same students are the media, the politicians and the judiciary.
If you doubt that this is true, just try questioning the status quo amongst ‘polite social circles’ and watch for their reaction when they feel that their social and arts entitlements may be threatened. However, now it is your turn to expose, with ridicule and good humor, just exactly where that mob has taken us.
This is a one in a century golden opportunity to prick their unsustainable balloon. That is not a difficult task but it needs to be executed with energy, intellect and humor.
There is a lot to be learned from the strategies of the left. They ooze brotherly love and work so well together.
Whilst those of us on the Libertarian/Classical Liberal/Conservative side waste our energy fighting each other over minute policy details. Our side does not have the equivalent of a Don Watson (ALP speech writer and journalist), whose clever prose can convince the unwashed that everything bad, that has ever happened to Australia, is out fault.
Very clever but wrong.
We must learn ‘never apologize for the success of the free-market’. Free-markets and entrepreneurship have proved to be an effective antidote to poverty and far more effective than the failed efforts of government to government ‘regular aid’ programs.
Another piece of good news
With the internet, encryption and globalization, it is so much easier now, than it was in the 1970s, to survive economically against the continued attacks on your earnings.
Now, as you know, like so many things in Australia, it is illegal for me to give advice. (So please ignore this bit.) Back in 1982 a good friend, Harry Browne told me:
“I’m often asked, what is the best country?”
He explained that there really were three questions that we should ask, not one.
- What is the best country in which to live?
- In which to work?
- In which to invest?
Only momentarily will it be the same country for all of the three answers. So, if you can organize your affairs according to the three countries that you come up with you will prosper and be able to afford to excel at your own passions.
If you don’t take proper steps you will spend the rest of your lives ‘paying things off’.
Another belated link you might enjoy is Richard Rahn’s Washington Times article, The End of Government Monopoly Money
What can you do
How do we stop the rot and restore Australia to its, rightful position of a, land of opportunity? For a start we all must educate ourselves so that we can explain to the slow-learners in Federal and State politics some simple facts.
They don’t appear to grasp the fact that if you reduce the after-tax reward for something you get less of it, and if you increase the subsidy of something, you get more of it. Today in Australia, we are taxing work, we’re taxing savings, investment, thrift, productivity, effort, success and risk and we’re subsidizing all these other things like non-work, unemployment, debt, borrowing, consumption, leisure, idleness and mediocrity and we’re getting so much more of the latter than we’re getting of the former.
There is no mystery in all of this and if we explain this to the voters they will start asking the right questions of their politicians. It all sounds really simple but unless enough of us are aware, of the problem, this crippling effect of government intervention will continue. So that is your task. Creating and riding the wave from rock-bottom politics to once again seeing Australia as a land of opportunity.
I wish you well in your endeavors. Australia’s future is in your hands.