Nationals and Shooters Party snipe at each other

The Shooters Party and National Party in NSW have been taking pot-shots at each other as a result of comments by Nationals leader Andrew Stoner about the safety of hunting in state forests.
The following exchange of emails makes interesting reading. Also interesting is the anti-Liberal/National comment by Robert Borsak which he makes in the context of Labor’s hunting policy in Victoria.  Borsak is Vice-Chairman of the Shooters Party. 


—- Original Message —–

From: Robert Borsak

Sent: Thursday, November 16, 2006 12:48 PM

Subject: FW: Notice of Motion 15/11/06 NSW Parliament- FYI (Andrew Stoner)


243. Mr STONER to move

That this House:

1. Notes the Governments approval of access to State Forests in the Nambucca, Bellinger and Orara Valleys for hunters with rifles, crossbows and dogs.

2. Notes the use of these forests by individuals such as trail bike riders and community groups including the Nambucca Natural horsemanship Club, and the presence in the forests of brumbies.

3. Calls on the Government to guarantee the safety of people and horses in State Forests.

(Notice given 15 November 2006)

From: Robert Borsak




Sent: Thursday, November 16, 2006 1:37 PM

Subject: FW: Vic Labor Hunting & 4WD policy


Good stuff, NSW could take a few leaves from these pages. NSW Labor has a long way to go. Lib/Nats, well forget them!



From: Adrian Piccoli []
Sent: Wednesday, 22 November 2006 6:36 PM
Cc: Robert Brown
Subject: Andrew Stoners comments on ABC

I see that you are circulating an email critical of Andrew Stoners comments about hunting in state forets. From the ABC report upon which you rely I cant really see what was wrong with his comments. He makes the point that the safety of other users of public land needs to be protected. If you dont agree with that notion then it suggests that you dont think they need to be protected, a proposition which I am sure you are not suggesting.

I am probably the biggest supported of shooters in the whole Parliament after Robert Brown but I, as does Andrew, also see the risk posed to licenced shooters in state forests if someone is injured or killed. If that happens then the Game Council will be finished and any ideas of expanding it to National Parks will be finished as well. It is in the Game Councils best interests to have public safety as their absolute primary objective which is the point that Andrew was making.

I am sorry that you felt compelled to bag the NAtionals to all the recipients of your email due to what I regard as a misinterpretation, accidental or otherwise, of Andrews comments. If you want Labor re-elected then your strategy will go a long way to achieving that. But if Labor are re-elected then you can be assured there will be no changes to the law and no changes to the way the Registry is run both of which are issues that are causing your members grief.

Adrian Piccoli MP

Member for Murrumbidgee

Nats Spokesman on Firearms






Thanks for your email, don’t know where you get the idea that I am anti Nationals, anti Mr Stoner, or indeed yourself by implication. You might care to ask John Williams about my views.

This is the second time I have seen this type of back flip from a sitting National Party member. The first was recently when Russell Turner, who initially publicly supported the concept of hunting in state forests, when pressured by local anti gun and anti hunting elements publicaly changed his stance. You know this to be the case Adrian.

I have no brief for the Labor Party any more than for the Nationals or the Liberals. What I am about is seeing that proper debate occurs and hunters can form their own judgements.

Hunters want to be treated objectively as any other law abiding responsible users of public land. Does the National Party seek guarantees for all other forms of outdoor activities undertaken on public land?

Mr Stoners comments were in my view not designed to do what you suggest, but to primarily attack the Labor Party by (probably unknowingly) using Green propaganda designed to bring the Hunters in SF’s into disrepute, and get a local resident group off his back. A more thoughtful reasoned response would have been better received by all concerned. Hunters and shooters are sick of being cheaply and easily vilified, the Greens do enough of that as it is. It is made worse when one considers that Mr Stoner is the Leader of Nationals in NSW.

Hunters & shooters are well organised and communicate extensively over a wide network of interested parties. If you are interested I would be happy to discuss policy with you, as regards hunting & shooting.

As for safety, it is of primary concern to me & all hunters in the forests & to the Game Council. I don’t agree that this was the primary point of what Mr Stoner was saying.

His quote didn’t come to me from the ABC, but from Hansard.


Robert Borsak

0419 977 097


22 Responses to Nationals and Shooters Party snipe at each other

  1. Robert Borsak says:

    Thought this maybe of more interest since you like selective eediting of emails that appear to have come from me, this one is mine! This post shows what a great job the Game Council is doing for shooters & hunters, thanks to John Tingle ands Robert Brown.

    Hunters, a few ruminations in the run up to Xmas, on my experiences in State Forest hunting, in its first year, (by all means not exhaustive),
    I have hunted 5 state Forests this year. Had a couple of good hunts, getting many deer, large number of pigs, few foxes etc. I found that I had to get out into the forest when I first arrive and scout it thoroughly, and still don’t always get it right though. (I am putting time in this summer more walking around looking at new country & Forests so that when the deer season opens again on the 1st March next, I’ll know where to start. Summer scouting trips are not time wasted, you can still shoot a few pigs, whilst walking around using your eyes. Of course, assuming the forests aren’t closed due to fire restrictions).

    Once I get the lay of the land it pays then to get out on shanks pony and hunt. Up at Nundle SF last June as I came into camp with two fallow bucks in the trailer, two other hunters, unknown to me, came in to see how we had done. They couldn’t believe that I had two bucks, on the ground, they said that they had been driving around for two days & not seen a thing, yes driving around!

    As I said you have to hunt around, get out & walk, watch the wind, etc, of course only in those areas where there is sign. A scouting trip will pay dividends.

    All this said, there are going to be good forests, average forests & plain useless when it comes to hunting, only time will tell. You also have to remember that as these places are hunted, the animals are becoming harder to hunt, we have to hone our skills of observation & generally as hunters get better at what we do. The Game Council runs a couple of hunting clinics each year where for example, seminars are given on how to hunt Sambar, wild dogs, ducks (on licence) etc, including butchering & trophy care demo’s. Keep an eye out for these, the last one this year was held at Bondi SF, with over 80 hunters learning the info on what it takes to hunt Sambar from Errol Mason.

    From the Hunt Returns that are coming in (there is no reason to believe that they are not fair dinkum), for the 4 months to end October, 12,824 animals have been sighted & 2,035 (16%) of all kinds, have been killed. Not a great success rate.

    There are another 40 forests coming on stream as we speak, that will take the tally to over 180, though we may potentially lose some more to National Parks in the run up to the election, as the Govt. trades off for Green preferences. If we can make a success of this program, there is no reason why we can’t expect to get into National Parks as well!

    Also, I have been told that the Game Council, is close to launching an online mapping system that will allow you to down load topo maps of all the State Forests, on line, free of charge. You will also be able to download coordinates etc into your GPS if you are that way inclined. Internet connect speed of course will be an issue, but the facility will be there! Not sure when it will come in line, but saw a demo yesterday from the Dept of Lands boys, using the State Forest overlays, looks good.

    Remember Safety First at all times & don’t waste the summer months!

  2. Stoner’s motion was absurd. How can the government ‘guarantee the safety’ of anyone, let alone ‘people and horses in state forests’?

    Piccoli’s response doesn’t address the substance of Stoner’s remarks, it paraphrases them. As to Adrian being the ‘biggest supporter of shooters after Robert Brown’, what about Andrew Fraser?

    Mr Stoner should have apologised for such an elementary mistake. And it’s none of Mr Piccoli’s business. But really, what’s happening here is something I’ve seen both online and up close for overy twenty years- Libertarianism, in practise. Adversarial, contrarian, and impossible to work with, as part of a team. We found that out on Free Republic ten years ago. The theory sounds good, but in real life the only thing Randites and Libertarians do well is alienate people. Take a look at this website. ‘It’s not enough to disrupt the Shooter’s Party efforts, so let’s set Bob Smith, Rob Brown and Andrew Stoner against each other. Let’s magnify minor differences and see if we can somehow benefit ourselves.’ That’s the way Libertarians operate and that’s why they are never able to accomplish anything politically. Even the great Ron Paul would acknowledge that fraternal strife is the trade mark of Libertarianism. That’s why Libertarians are constantly shifting allegiances and moving from group to group. I say that as one who once had Libertarian leanings myself and was welcomed into their online forums. I left not through any falling out or contretemps, but due to an eventual realisation that nothing can be accomplished with those whose essential selfishness allows no flexibility in working with others. And what can be accomplished in politics, if one cannot work with others?

  3. David Leyonhjelm says:

    “the only thing Randites and Libertarians do well is alienate people”

    Fascinating opinion.

    The alternative to libertarianism is government control of some kind. Perhaps of the left, such as socialism, or of the the right, such as nazism or statism.

    Government control is the reason we have oppressive gun laws, high taxation, overbearing bureaucracy and the nanny state in general. Perhaps you approve of these.

    As for fraternal strife, are you casting the first stone?

  4. The theory sounds good David, but in practise it never works out.

    Let me give you a ‘for instance’? Ayn was a committed atheist and anti-Christian who (perhaps due to her multiple adulterous affairs) had a chip on her shoulder, about the Church’s view on morality. For me as a Christian that was a jarring and discordant note in her writings- even more now, as my faith has deepened. As you would know -since you move in those circles- disdain/dislike for Christians is a trademark of Libertarians, particularly online, where personalities are emboldened by anonimity. The tolerance which Libertarianism will extend to drug users, immigrants, homosexuals and the like is withheld, from Christians. Yet I ask you- who has accomplished more for conservative values, than Christians? Who has dissed Big Government more, or done more for personal freedom (and here I am thinking of the Eastern Bloc) than President Reagan, for example? Even with Howard’s shortcomings and stupid antigun fixation I shudder to think where we would be had the Keating/Crean/Ferguson troika had another two terms, of government. Howard, with all his faults, is a committed Christian who’s not afraid to speak out on moral issues. With Libertarians there are no moral issues, rather, ‘if it feels good, do it.’ And I note that it is Christians who are getting things done in State politics now, with David Clarke’s team revamping the NSW (Wet Lettuce Leaf) Liberals and Family First getting more than 50% of the Greens’ vote in Victoria, last Saturday.

    But really, I wasn’t alluding to the big picture, with that original post. I am talking about Australia, NSW, and even yourself. To accomplish anything politically you have to work in concert with others. Imposing your will on others and insisting it’s my way or the highway is not going to get gunowners or small government advocates to where we want to be. There’s nothing wrong with adversarial or confrontational personalities, there’s plenty of them on our side. ***But that fire should be directed towards the enemy.*** Putting up a forum like this in order to give pro shooting groups or individuals a spray is just plain wrong. The people deserving of a spray are the greenies, Democrats and gun grabbers, not Brown and Borsak. I remember when I first contacted you, after the quite brilliant piece you published in the IPA Review all those years ago. I ask you David- who has accomplished more in those intervening ten years, for gunowners? You? Or the people being criticised, on this website? The answer’s obvious. And yet you still have enormous talent and energy, and a huge contribution to make. It’s never going to happen with a tiny splinter party David. It’s time for you to take a good hard look at yourself and admit that if you genuinely want to accomplish something for others- gunowners, or whomever- you are going to have to make some changes in the way you deal with people. All the best, Andrew

  5. David Leyonhjelm says:

    “The tolerance which Libertarianism will extend to drug users, immigrants, homosexuals and the like is withheld, from Christians.”

    Libertarianism views religion as a matter of personal choice, not to be either imposed or restricted by the government or anyone else. I think that qualifies as tolerance.

    “who has accomplished more for conservative values, than Christians”

    Conservatism is defined as satisfaction with the status quo ie resistance to change. It is not based on principle or ideology. I doubt most Christians would claim that as an achievement.

    “Who has dissed Big Government more … than President Reagan”

    Ronald Reagan (like Margaret Thatcher) was inspired by Milton Freidman, an avowed libertarian. It was Reagan’s economic policies that brought down the Soviet Union, not his Christianity. Neither Reagan nor Thatcher were conservatives.

    “Imposing your will on others and insisting it’s my way or the highway is not going to get gunowners or small government advocates to where we want to be.”

    Precisely why the Shooters Party is an abject failure. That’s its approach. I certainly have my own views, but I never impose them on others.

    “I ask you David- who has accomplished more in those intervening ten years, for gunowners? You? Or the people being criticised, on this website?”

    Just provide one piece of evidence to substantiate that statement. Even a small one. And apart from an occasional media stunt, what have you done that qualifies you to pass such a judgement?

    “And yet you still have enormous talent and energy, and a huge contribution to make.”

    If only I did it your way. Or you did it mine. That’s called unity, isn’t it?
    But that would require you to agree with me, or vice versa. Betcha you can’t do it.

  6. Reagan was not inspired by ‘Freidman’ (sic) to overthrow the Sovs. Let me know if I should pop Dinesh D’Souza’s Reagan bio, in the mail? Friedman was a monetarist. Reagan preferred Arthur Laffer’s supply side theory. I note there’s no references to Reagan in the index of Friedman’s ‘Free To Choose.’

    “……,just provide one piece of evidence to substantiate that statement….”

    The R-License program. Name anything you’ve done for hunters and shooters that remotely touches that achievement.

    “….if only I did it your way…..”

    Not at all. Do it anyone’s way, as long as something of benefit is accomplished. I’m just a spear carrier, willing to follow instructions from those who have the fraternity’s best interests at heart. I don’t let ego get in the way, much less self-advancement.

  7. Cowboy Joe says:

    Correct Andrew, Reagan and Supply Side were known far and wide as being synonymous terms.

    He also showed how a powerful phase could focus energies ie Evil Empire

  8. David Leyonhjelm says:

    So you think you know Friedman?

    The following is from Wikipedia. (I deliberately chose a source you could check for yourself).

    “Friedman is considered to be one of the most influential economists of the 20th century.[2] In his 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom, he advocated minimizing the role of government in a free market as a means of creating political and social freedom. In his television series Free to Choose, which aired on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in 1980, Friedman explained how the free market works, emphasizes that its principles have shown to solve social and political problems that other systems have been failed to adequately address.

    In statistics, he devised the Friedman test. His political philosophy, which Friedman himself considered more classically liberal, stressing the advantages of the marketplace and the disadvantages of government intervention shaped the outlook of American conservatives and libertarians and had a major impact on the economic policy of the Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan administrations in the United States and in many other countries after 1980.

    Friedman was the leading proponent of the monetarist school of economic thought. He maintained that there is a close and stable link between inflation and the money supply, mainly that the phenomenon of inflation is to be regulated by controlling the amount of money poured into the national economy by the Federal Reserve Bank; he rejected the use of fiscal policy as a tool of demand management; and he held that the government’s role in the guidance of the economy should be severely restricted.

    Friedman also supported various libertarian policies such as decriminalization of drugs and prostitution. In addition, he headed the Nixon administration committee that researched the possibility of a move towards a paid/volunteer armed force, and played a big role in the abolition of the draft that took place in the 1970s in the U.S. He would later state that his role in eliminating the draft was his proudest accomplishment.[12] He served as a member of President Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board in 1981.”

    There is much more.

    The R-licence program is an achievement? How, exactly? In any case, who can claim it? Wasn’t it the initiative of Bob Carr and Pam Allen? And name anything YOU’VE done that remotely matches it.

    “I’m just a spear carrier, willing to follow instructions from those who have the fraternity’s best interests at heart.”

    You are a spear carrier who learns his lines anyway. I guess that goes with taking the king’s shilling, or perhaps it’s the price of being a bruvver in the fraternity.
    “I don’t let ego get in the way, much less self-advancement.”
    Your ego certainly shines through here. Self advancement????

  9. Right. So after a Google session you can’t find anything to support your original claim that ‘Reagan was inspired by Milton Friedman’? Here’s some facts for you, David:

    ‘….Reagan’s economic theory brought political problems, because from the outset of his administration, the monetarists and the supply siders began to fight over whose philosophy should be emphasized. It was a veritable slugfest, with lots of well-known economists taking part- Alan Greenspan, Arthur Burns, Martin Anderson, and Paul Craig Roberts- and the ever-voluble Jack Kemp weighing in, from the outside. By and large the two groups rejected Friedman and Mundell’s compatibility theory…..’

    Friedman, ‘rejected.’ Just a guess but be as he was supposedly a Libertarian, perhaps he was unable to work with others, towards a common goal? You gotta admit, that fits the profile.

    ‘The R-license program was an achievement? How, exactly?’

    By getting hunters on to public land in NSW. That’s quite an extraordinary statement for you to make, and I think indicative, of how out of touch you are with the shooting community. Check to see how well the R-license program has been received and how enthusiastic mainstream hunters are, about it.

    ‘…and name anything YOU’VE done that remotely matches it….’

    Nothing. Nothing at all. All credit is due to Borsak and Brown. The difference between you and me is, I’m prepared to give credit where it’s due. Just by the way, I originally addressed that question to you. Your inability to respond speaks volumes about your lack of accomplishment.

    Which brings us to my main point. You do have the energy and intelligence to accomplish something worthwhile. But you are going to have to change your attitude and learn to work with others. You’ve wasted ten years and have accomplished stuff all, while Borsak and Brown have big runs on the board and the support of the shooting fraternity. You are the one who is going to have to change. Unless that happens, you’ll leave the LDP just the way you’ve left so many other groups, in a huff, and blaming everyone but yourself. Take a good look at yourself, and your record, and acknowledge it’s not working. Once you do that I reckon there’s every chance you’ll be able to contribute something of value. Cheers, A

  10. David Leyonhjelm says:

    Dear dear. What a supercilious spear carrier you are. No achievements of your own but plenty of “advice” for me.

    First though, did Milton inspire Ronnie? I wasn’t there, so I can’t say first hand. But others are sure he did and I believe them rather than you. (And yes, this time I did a Google search. Your library is deficient so I commend it to you.) Here’s a small sample.,0,2561441.story?coll=chi-newsopinionvoice-hed

    Next, your assertion that libertarians are all Rand enthusiasts. That betrays ignorance. Rand’s philosophy is known as objectivism. It’s not the same as libertarianism, although there is overlap. Wikipedia has a discussion of the difference. Look it up or do a Google. I know a few libertarians who also believe in objectivism, but plenty who don’t. Anyway, most people who simply believe in reason are objectivists to some extent.

    You also assert that libertarians cannot work together. I guess that depends. By definition libertarians support individualism, not collectivism. Thus socialists could be expected to subjugate their personal views to the common good more than libertarians. Perhaps that’s what you meant.

    Now, messrs Brown and Borsak. I am well aware (probably more than you) that Brown negotiated the detail of the Game & Feral Animal Control Act. The Act is full of detail flaws, which Brown himself now acknowledges. And if it is so screamingly popular, as you claim, how come there are only two thousand R licences sold, with half of them Victorian duck shooters?

    I have no reservations about hunting on public land. What I object to is the creation of a bureaucratic and coercive monster to oversee it, which has to be paid for. It’s like the little shop of horrors – Brown is intent on making game licenses compulsory or a genuine reason purely to feed the monster. It’s so unnecessary.

    As far as I know, Borsak has done diddly squat. At least, nothing positive.

    Why do you seek to question my accomplishments, when you admit you have none yourself? I don’t think you are even a member of the shooters party. You have never established a party branch, acted as a branch delegate or coordinated election activities for the party. You are a complete loner who won’t work with others. Using your criteria, that probably makes you far more libertarian than me.

    You should at least regard my running of the election campaign in 2003 that got Tingle re-elected as an accomplishment. Your mate Brown now holds that seat.

    And I haven’t “left” any groups. More wrong facts. Try writing your own script, Andrew I’m sure you’ll do a better job.

  11. *’…did Milton inspire Ronnie….’

    Friedman was a monetarist. Reagan was a supply sider. End of story.

    ‘*….your assertion that Libertarians are all Rand enthusiasts…..’

    I never made that assertion.

    *’….you also assert that Libertarians cannot work together…..’

    No. I say, they can’t work in concert with others. I’ve seen that proven all over the place. What you’re doing is nothing new, David. So many Libertarians Stateside have:

    1. been welcomed into conservative online forums, and political groups

    2. become a disruptive force, and alienated everyone

    3. either been booted out, or left in a huff, blaming everyone but themselves

    4. started up some nasty website, to bag their previous hosts for their own shortcomings. clownposse,org comes to mind.

    When you say ‘Libertarians support individualism’, that’s true. You left out the important fact that the individual they support is themselves.

    *Game licenses were necessary to get the R-license program up and running. You don’t think a Labor government like the one we have in NSW is just going to let anyone hunt in state forests, do you? They love red tape and registration, of course there would have to be a licensing program. But this brings me once again to my central point- your personality defects.

    The R-licensing program involved compromises, David. Compromises, to get what is best for hunters. But you can’t compromise. You can’t suborn your will in situations where compromise is necessary to achieve a beneficial outcome, for a group. Libertarians elsewhere have the same problem, I’ve seen it countless times. Your history of disruption, your record of moving from group to group, your current effort of setting up a ‘gunowners blog’ which is only intended to bag other gunowners, is not unique. It happens every time. Libs don’t have the numbers to accomplish anything so they move from group to group, alienating each group in turn. They as ‘individuals’ can never be wrong, it’s always someone else’s fault. I make the confident prediction that those you are currently involved with- in this LDP group- will find out the same thing themselves. Cheers, A

  12. David Leyonhjelm says:

    “Friedman was a monetarist. Reagan was a supply sider. End of story.”

    If you say so. Ignorance is bliss. Or perhaps that should be bigotry.

    “So many Libertarians Stateside have ….”

    Now there’s an objective observation. I’ll warrant there’s a lot of bigots in Wahroonga too, based on that logic.

    “your personality defects”

    I think I’ve met you once in my life. You know nothing about my personality apart from what you’ve been told by other bigots.

    “I make the confident prediction ….”

    And I make the equally confident prediction that in years to come you’ll still be acting like a bigot. And unlike me you’ll never make a difference. I expect your personality is the problem.

  13. Andrew — libertarianism isn’t about selfishness but about non-violence. I’m sorry that you got the wrong impression.

    Libertarians don’t just support their own individual rights. That is what special interest groups do. I have been a public advocate for libertarianism for several years now. I argued for less university subsidies while I was a student. I have argued for shooters rights before I was a shooter. I’ve argued for smokers rights while I don’t smoke. I argue for gay rights, though I’m not gay. The list goes on. You can tell what sort of policies I would like not by looking at me, but by looking at the policies. This is true for most libertarians. Feel free to ask around at the Australian Libertarian Society blog —

    Libertarians and shooters are natural allies. I would have thought that having non-shooters support shooters on moral grounds was helpful.

    As an aside, Milton Friedman was indeed one of the many influences on the Raegan administration and the “neo-liberal” movement more generally. The labels “monetarist” and “supply-sider” can hide more meaning than it gives. The two groups often overlapped. For example, I have considerable sympathies with both groups, while also calling myself an Austrian economists and a fan of the Chicago school and New Institutional Economics and Evolutionary Economics and the Public Choice School. Agreeing with one doesn’t necessarily imply disagreement with other groups.

    Friedman and Raegan both believed in the Laffer curve (though of course that idea was around long before Arthur Laffer). All sensible economists believe in the Laffer Curve… the debate is simply about which side of the curve we are on. In Australia, Sinclair Davidson has argued we are on the wrong side, though I have offered some brief counter arguments (both articles in tax book “taxploitation” published by CIS).

  14. ‘….if you say so…’

    That wasn’t me talking. That was Dinesh D’Souza, Reagan’s biographer. Are you saying you dispute his take, on that?

    ‘…now there’s an objective observation….’

    An observation, confirmed by your behaviour. There’s countless precedents for what you’ve done, with this website. When Libs move in to a collective endeavour, their eloquence and passion first inspires others. Then their selfishness and inability to operate in a team alienates everyone. Then they set up a rump group, try to take over, but are voted out by the majority. At that point they refuse any self-examination, blame everyone else, and set up something new, usually accompanied by a nasty website or publication bagging out the previous group. You’re in that fourth stage now.

    ‘….you know nothing about my personality apart from what you’ve been told….’

    I’ve been told plenty, but I’ve kept my own counsel thus far. This website is all the confirmation I need. What kind of person would set up a website with the sole aim of insulting other gunowners? What you are doing is just plain wrong, and the only result will be in alienating even more of the gunowning fraternity.

    If that’s possible.

    ‘….unlike me you’ll never make a difference….’

    I’ll make a difference. But unlike you, the difference will be of benefit to others, not myself.

  15. David Leyonhjelm says:

    Spear carriers:

    Those minor players who lack the talent to take centre stage themselves but nonetheless feel entitled to offer ill-informed and unqualified commentary on those who do.

    They have a tendency to trip over their spears, with unfortunate consequences for their nether regions.

    They NEVER make a difference. To others or themselves.

  16. He!

    Trust you, to rewrite a dictionary definition, the way *you* want it.

  17. Thanks, John. I’ll visit the website soon. But I’ve been interested in Libertarianism for nearly thirty years, still have some issues of the Australian Libertarian magazine ‘Free Market’ (?) from the 70s and a bookshelf of Rand, Bovard, Frumm, WF Buckley and the like. The theory’s good but the practice is too often perverted into self-worship, for my liking. Cheers, A

  18. Andrew, I would be fascinated to learn more about the practice of libertarianism. David Friedman has written a bit about anarchist medievil Iceland and there were definitely libertarian elements of 19th century America and 20th century Hong Kong… but most of history has been the story of state power, not individual freedom. Somalia is an interesting contemporary story but that’s a bit hard to assess now.

    Also, I don’t see the evidence that individualists or libertarians or more libertarian countries suffer from perverted self-worship. The US (and specifically the non-left) has very high levels of private philanthropy. Or perhaps you just mean that libertarians are arrogant. I have no evidence either way, but I note that this doesn’t impact on the truth or otherwise of libertarian philosophy.

    Indeed, there is some evidence that a free market encourages more positive social interaction because a reputation is relatively more important in a free world. Certainly, non-market economies don’t generally have a good record on promoting civil society and strong communities.

    I would suggest that it is government solutions that generally don’t live up to the glossy brochure. The government can get some things right, but freedom generally does a better job and it has the added benefit of letting you (and me) be free.

  19. I think you have been unfairly harsh on Dave. I appreciate that your verbal sparing is unlikely to encourage you to give the benefit of the doubt — but I don’t think his political activities have been driven by selfishness or unwillingness to work in groups. He is working in a group now and making sacrifices for what he believes.

    Dave is a libertarian so it makes sense for him to switch from the Shooters party to the Liberal Democratic Party. And quite frankly I think the existence of the LDP is a positive for shooters in Australia and I can’t see why some shooters are hostile to us.

  20. John, in answer to your second-from-last post: how long have you been a Libertarian? As far back as the Espiritu Santo affair, in the 1970s?

    Which case I always find indicative, of the problem mentioned above- the inability of Libs, to work with others towards a common benefit. In the Espiritu case, Aussie Libertarians even tried to set up their own country; which ended up in recriminations and disharmony – like with the Shooters Party involvement, albeit that disaster was thankfully without the blood, shed by a handful of Vanuatuans.

  21. In answer to your last post, perhaps I was harsh, but not unfairly. It is truly tragic that Libertarianism has so many worthwhile principles, yet its devotees accomplish so little, politically. Who doesn’t want more less red tape, less government, more freedom, more personal responsibility? How hard a sell could that be, to the voting public? But all the other lead in the saddlebags- open borders, no drug laws, no morality (none of which I recall in the theory of Objectivism, even though its founder fell a little short in some of those areas) make it an impossible product to market. What parents would want a free-for-all, on drug laws? None. What citizen would want open borders, with no restrictions on immigration, and the host culture being overwhelmed by others simply because those others have greater numbers and are lower down on the economic ladder? The core policies are good but the tacked-on nuttiness makes it indefensible and unsaleable. But most of its practioners don’t mind that, because there’s a feeling of superiority generated by holding Libertarian views- even though that superiority never extends as far as results at the ballot box. The best way forward for anyone who wants to see Libertarian principles established into the body politic is to work with others, in concert- but that also doesn’t work (as we saw with TSP) because of the superiority factor. Libertarianism is a real Catch-22, in that way.

  22. Andrew, when I was talking about the practice of libertarianism I meant libertarian principles put into practice in a country.

    I was born in the 70s so I don’t remember anything from it. If you have a link to some more info on that Vanuatu issue I would be interested just out of curiousity. My family has had various economic interests in Vanuatu before so it’s doubly interesting for me.

    I can’t really follow your final post. You seem to disagree with various areas of libertarianism but your understanding of (1) the libertarian position; and (2) the nuances of the debate seems very low. That’s fine. I’m not trying to convince you & I accept that most people will disagree with me. But even if you belief in enforcing your morals on others or public ownership of my blood stream we still have a common cause on shooting. In a fight were you have few allies I can’t see the value in attacking us.

    As for why libertarianism doesn’t work politically — you seem to answer that yourself. People want to be free themselves but, like you, they also want to impose their morality on others. It’s much easier to sell government action than government inaction and the metaphysical, deontellogical and utilitarian arguments required to properly understand the philosophy of freedom aren’t of interest to the average punter.

    Some libertarians have followed your advice and joined the Libs. I don’t think it has been successful because major parties follow opinion polls. To win the battle of ideas you need to fight for your ideas and the Libs don’t do that. They are the highest taxing highest spending government in our history. Compare their stated principles with their stated policies. Chalk & cheese.

    Setting up a small libertarian party has nothing to do with a feeling of superiority. I obviously think my ideas are right or I wouldn’t believe in them — but that is equally true of anybody who holds an opinion. I can’t understand what value you gain from continuing to be rude about libertarians.

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