Does Libertarianism dominate the Party?

Continuing the discussion from Glaring policy omission: Immigration numbers:


I’d forgotten about that. You certainly know how to hold a grudge!

It was in the thread proposing renaming the Party:

Followed by:

Which is why I foregave the Libertarian undertones and joined.

The tension seems to be between libertarianism and equity. Members who emphasise the former appear to dominate at the moment, which is losing those whose priority is the latter.

For perspective, some extracts from the Renaming thread:

“Does Libertarianism dominate the Party?”
In short, “No.”

The consensus that seemed to emerge from the name debate was that we congregate around a set of beliefs that could be characterised as libertarian-left.

The quotes you have cited without context all related to problems with the public perception of “libertarian” as the right wing “every man for himself” flavor of libertarian. Essentially, all the labels in politics are broken, so even using the word “libertarian” with a modifier doesn’t help with public perception, and maybe even with your own.

Libertarian-left is different. It means we care about social issues, and in fact take them as our primary motivation, but seek to resolve them in ways that are minimally authoritarian.


Perhaps you need to define exactly what you mean by “Libertarian”.

Or maybe find a less compromised term that fits.

For context, click on the blue text.

The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

Well, they’re not unless one’s sole definition of libertarian is libertarian right and the fact is that even that has been further twisted by those who claim to be libertarian when in reality they’re just fascists without the ability to enforce their preferred brand of fascism.

This isn’t exactly news. You’ll find over time that some people really want people to understand and keep trying to argue in favour of that name or pointing out the differences between the libertarian left (or as I’ve been known to quip in the past: libertarian with a heart) and libertarian right.

Others, however, generally drift away from it in one of two main ways:

  1. They’re either silenced by the anti-libertarian views which are so reactionary they refuse to even engage with the ideas which underpin the various theories or values; or
  2. They stop giving a fuck about the (other) L-word and just pick the closest less tarnished euphemism or parallel theory which is close enough for general discussion. Like anarchist … or Discordian … or pirate.

It doesn’t stop those people adhering to the values they originally developed to reach that point in the first place. The shouty anger of the opposition that the word dares to exist at all may not sit comfortably with many, but no doubt they continue to work towards the things that drove them to political involvement in the first place.

Now, out of curiosity, why do you think that libertarian and equity is mutually exclusive and perhaps you can clarify what you mean by both of those terms at the same time?

Because from my reading of what you’ve said so far, you appear to be defining libertarian as crypto-fascist and equity could be a number of things, but seems to be leaning towards a synonym for either or both of socialism or “the progressive agenda” (which is pretty murky and ill defined at best). I’m also fairly sure that’s not what you mean by it, but your intentions are a bit of a cipher at the moment.



I admire David’s passion but wish, just wish, I understood what he really means because he is not making himself clear to me at all. Either define or scrap both “libertarian” and “equity” from your arguments and start again, please, so as I can decide whether I really agree or must give up on you altogether…


What makes you think I think anything of the sort?

If I didn’t think the two could coexist, would I have done that? It’s a question of balance.

It seems to me that dedicated Libertarians have become more aggressive - perhaps even belligerent. That’s altered the emphasis of the Party, making it less of a fit for my values.

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Well, this quote indicates it fairly strongly:

For there to be tension between the two there must be an implied opposition from your interpretation of what those two actually are.

Rather than, for instance, a philosophy based on personal liberty which applies equitably to everyone. Which, by the way, is why I frequently cite many (though not all) on the libertarian right as being more akin to crypto-fascists since while they love to lay claim to their own liberties, they rarely do so for those who are not like themselves or not like they perceive themselves to being.

A good example of crypto-fascists draping themselves in libertarian regalia would be the Tea Party in the USA (aka teabaggers), whereas a good example of the libertarian right that’s actually libertarian and from the same continent would be the Cato Institute.

My own philosophical journey this way is arguably libertarian left, but with enough crossing back and forth that it’s not always so clearly demarcated and I don’t think it needs to be. There are certainly more … chaotic elements shot through it all and certainly some Erisian influences too. Mind you, this is over the course of well over a quarter of a century, probably closer to three decades or so now, in the formulation and evolution of my personal philosophy and ethics.

Has that in turn influenced the Party? Hell yes! Case in point: I weighed in extensively on this part of the Party platform shortly after joining the Party.

Has it influenced the course of my professional activity? Hell yes! Case in point: my job is basically to help create the tools which anyone can use (for free — can’t get more equitable than that) to ensure their own digital privacy and freedom of communication.

Do I consider both of these consistent with both my interpretation of what libertarian is? Yep.

Do I consider either of them inconsistent with equality or equitable outcomes for anyone? Nope.

Not in and of themselves, at any rate. Is there still inequality in the world? Well, yes, obviously there is, but that is why there is still work to do and that is why the world still needs things like the tools referenced above.

For balance to be achieved the one must offset the other, thus implying that the two are in opposition rather than being in synthesis.

You’re assuming they are inherently oppositional, I disagree. My view of libertarian values not only implicitly infers equity, but requires it.

If you want to find that thing which is inherently oppositional to liberty, it is authority. If you want to find the inherent opposition to libertarian, it is authoritarian.

Have you ever thought to ask why some might react that way? Could it possibly be feeling offended at the presumption that their deeply held beliefs are, in fact, the opposite and being constantly ridiculed and written off is the cause of that antagonism?

Your own assumptions, for instance, have already reached the point where you believe that it is better for people to:

Instead of defining themselves and their own beliefs as they see fit or as is most appropriate for their values. To put it another way, that speech should be free except for some … and then you’re shocked when offence is taken at that concept.

The irony would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic.


Must there?

Not a case of offsetting, but of priority. When I joined, it seemed to me that equity (“fairness”, if you prefer) was rated more highly. Aggressive Libertarianism has altered the Party, IMO.

Yeh, I don’t take Libertarianism seriously. To me, it’s more deeply flawed that Communism. I guess that shows, which could offend.

Use whatever terms you like. As I pointed out (and many of the reactions substantiate) the term “Libertarian” is deeply compromised. Using it is probably not going to be in your best interests.

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Thinking back to the time I joined PPAU, I don’t remember terms like “Libertarian” or even “liberty”. That probably explains reactions to the proposed new name. Some of us felt blindsided.

It seems the Party is drifting towards extremes, not explicit on the web site:-

We are a political movement based around the core tenets of:

  • freedom of information and culture
  • civil and digital liberties
  • privacy and anonymity
  • government transparency
  • participatory democracy

There’s also a rather toxic Right-wing developing.

I’ve therefore resigned.

All those items you listed above are libertarian ideals. Hard to miss I thought.

Citing verifiable facts does not make me right wing.
Choosing to ignore them just makes you ignorant.
Evidence based policy is another core PPAU value.



I am more than half-inclined to vote this topic be closed and all agree to (try to) never go down this path again?

I very much feel that getting hung up on emotive and ambiguous words is pointlessly counter-productive and if it ever happens again lets encourage the participants to restate their positions in entirety in entirely new language?


It might serve us well to be more explicit in our website, that PPAU is left-libertarian in its stance, and attempt some broad explanation of what that means, with worked examples.


With apologies if this diagram was introduced even earlier than this but I feel the four-quadrant diagram definitely needs to be front-and-centre in any such explanation.

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Yeah, maybe even link people to the quiz so they can see how they align.
Could be fun.


OP has also (publicly) decided to rescind his membership, so it’s unlikely he’ll provide further contribution.

If anyone thinks this is worth continuing, message me with proposed rationale.

Otherwise, any other issue with how the party functions should be brought to the attention of the Dispute Resolution Committee. It’s what they’re there for.

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