The Dog’s Bollocks

Truth is like a dog’s bollocks – pretty obvious if you care to look.

Civil vs economic libertarians

With political bloggers of all persuasions having a field day analysing the unfolding events involved in the detention, charging and release of Dr. Mohamed Haneef, it strikes me as odd that, unless I  blinked and missed it, none of the usual libertarian commentators have been inspired to post on the matter in over a month.

While having only limited appreciation of the distinctions between consequentialism and rights theory, I have always assumed that libertarianism has at its core the liberty of individuals to act free from undue force and intimidation – upheld only by minimal governmental intervention based on principles of equality under law, justice and due process without excessively interfering in the lives of its citizens.

The Howard government is intending to give unprecedented powers of police surveillance without warrant or judicial oversight more usually associated with secret stasi-style police states and authoritarian regimes. Yet, still no comment from the Oz libertarians. Unsurprising in some ways as they universally support the Coalition rather than Labor, yet these latest transgressions on individual liberty go unremarked.

Would anyone care to disabuse me of the notion that Oz libertarians are more concerned with the liberty of the wealthy to take advantage of the poor? Are they simply free market ideologues in libertarian clothing? Economic libertarians, rather than civil libertarians?

Filed under: Australian values, Economics, Ideology, Law, Media, Politics

6 Responses

  1. mG says:

    its a fair point, though i think this (apparent) silence has more to do with anti-‘leftist rather than pro-coalition sentiments.

    At times i’ve seen libertarians express qualified support for Labor and or Kevin Rudd.

  2. slim says:

    It’s a sad compromise when you put opposing your ‘enemies’ before your principles. A bit like the War on Terror(R) really – we have to destroy our freedom in order to save it. Makes you wonder how much freedom really is revered? At times like these it seems that it is really only lip-service.

  3. I can’t speak for the others, but I don’t post unless I have some information or a perspective I think is un- or under-represented. In the Haneef case, the MSM was doing a good job to which I could add nothing. I said a few things on a Club Troppo thread, but overall on this issue the blogosphere added no value to the MSM.

  4. Dave Bath says:

    The ALP has either not objected to, or been extremely quiet about civil rights issues, despite how far the legislation and administrative practice have diminished personal freedoms.

    So, if there is no real difference on personal freedoms, perhaps the libertarians are correct to focus on the minor economic policy differences between the two.

  5. slim says:

    You are a generous man, David.

    Because neither party is concerned with civil liberty, we, the libertarians, will side with the party that promises the most opportunity for personal economic advantage. More Libertine than Libertarian, I would think.

  6. […] but Bush”), and got mileage out of portraying John Howard as the kind of guy that might steal your civil liberties. In fact, Rudd wrote a long-winded piece in Australia’s The Monthly (”Howard’s […]

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The Dog’s Bollocks

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