A must read.
Please could you introduce yourself and how you became Director of the Libertarian Alliance?
I joined the Libertarian Alliance in December 1979. Just before the death of its founder, Chris Tame, from cancer in 2006, I became Director. I don’t regard myself as a natural leader. However, I am the most prolific and the most prominent libertarian in England, and Chris had come, in his final years, to despise almost everyone else round him. It was the case that either I should follow him, or he would dissolve the organisation.
What is the difference, if any, between a liberal and a libertarian?
Until about 1910, in both England and America, a liberal could be defined as someone who believed in limited government under the rule of law, and who opposed state regulation of interactions between consenting adults. Since then, the word has been applied to various kinds of statists – some of them rather totalitarian. One day, it may come back to us. But there really is no point in sharing a word with people like Nick Clegg and Hillary Clinton. For this reason, we grabbed the word libertarian back in the 1960s. It had been coined by, and was first attached to, leftist anarchists in the 19th century. However, they did little with it after about 1917, and it was almost bona vacantia when we took it up. More…