Volume 21, Number 1 Fall 2000
Doug Burn, Editor
Land Owners Are Not Servants
Former MP to Address Proportional Representation
Record Turnout for ISIL Conference
Leader’s Report Sam Apelbaum
Chairman’s Report George Dance
Who’s Next? You Choose
Browne Ties Buchanan In Presidential Poll
call Bob Fowler and members of the Ontario
Property and Environmental Rights Alliance ‘stewards’ of the land.
A steward is, according to Webster’s dictionary, “an officer or employee
of a household charged with general administration of its affairs” or
Ontario and other governments began assigning the honorific to farmers in their environmental legislation but because the government doesn’t pay farmers for being stewards, the landowners are really slaves to government policies.
founder of O.P.E.R.A., used this semantic distinction to introduce his address
to the Party’s June 8 dinner meeting on Ottawa’s “Species At Risk Act”
(SARA) which was introduced in the House of Commons on April 11, and the
dangers it poses to our property rights.
traced the development of environmental legislation from the 1970s to the
present showing how “unease over the global environment is being used by
governments to further state control.” Progressive Conservative governments
in Ontario and Ottawa prepared the ground for SARA, which tips the sales of
justice against landowners.
noted that confiscatory land rules are a ‘no lose’ propositions for
governments because the costs fall on farmers who have no property rights in
our Charter of Rights and far fewer votes than the majority of citizens living
in cities. Fowler urged the 20 attendees and the party to campaign for
property rights because the land use powers of governments can be as readily
applied to suburban lawns as farm fields.
copy of John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government was presented to Fowler. Locke, the
17th Century political philosopher and a principle architect of
libertarianism wrote: “Men unite into societies, that they may have the
united strength of the whole society to secure and defend their properties.”
Over 200 libertarians from Canada, the U.S. and around the world attended the 20th Annual conference of the International Society for Individual Liberty, held this year at the University of Western Ontario (UWO) in London Ontario from July 23 to 28.
"Making the 21st Century the Century of Liberty" was a busy 4-day conference featuring 23 speakers and two panels in four days. University of Western Ontario grad student Jeff McInnis kicked off the conference with his “Dream, Dare, Do,” presentation which included a slide presentation on his adventure sailing the Northwest Passage in an 18 foot Hobie catamaran.
of Waterloo professor Jan Narveson spoke on "Foundations of Liberty: the
Basic Moral Contract."
Canadian speakers included Karen Selick (How Human Rights Laws Violate
Individual Rights); Robert Metz (20 Years of Media Madness) with an impressive
collection of video clips featuring the Freedom Party; Gayle Remish, our
candidate in London (Taking Back Control and Responsibility for Your Child's
Education); Terence Corcoran of the National Post (Junk Science and the
Media); syndicated columnist George Jonas (International Courts: Al Capone
Judging Jack the Ripper); and marihuana entrepreneur Mark Emery (Using
Capitalistic Civil Disobedience to End the Worldwide Prohibition of Cannabis).
Conference attendee, Jim MacIntosh, offers the following highlights of the event
of Terry Corcoran's examples was a report in the National Post that
non-smokers had more sex than smokers. It
reported that smokers only had sex, on average, six times per week (!) while
non-smokers averaged twelve (yes, 12) times per week!!
What the story did not report was that the subjects were all involved
in a fertility clinic and were trying desperately to have a baby.
Emery was probably the most animated and enthusiastic speaker.
And well he should be; he is making a few million dollars each year
from his "Capitalistic Civil Disobedience," most of which he uses to
promote libertarian projects. He
has been arrested ten times, convicted on 23 charges related to selling and
promoting marihuana, and had his assets seized four times. His latest project
is www.pottv.net. His next
project is to run candidates in every riding (at $1,000 deposit each) for the
Howell, the Libertarian candidate for U.S Senate in
Massachusetts gave a stirring campaign speech.
Her opposition is 38 year veteran Ted Kennedy, "… the Prime
Architect of today's Big Government." She hammered home the message that
Big Government Programs don't work, make things worse, and divert money and
energy from positive and productive uses.
Her motto is "small government is beautiful" and pledged to
vote "… small government. Every
issue. Every time. No exceptions.
of the things that impressed me most were the novel (to me) ideas presented by
several of the speakers. Stefan Blankertz from the University of Bonn in
Germany (Tribal Anarchy: an Old Model for a New Stateless Society) explained
how many societies maintained harmony without any government.
Their successful anarchy was based on kinship, or family; everyone is
related to everyone else in the tribe. Few
people will commit aggression against a relative, but when it happens, other
relatives will quickly come to the defence of the victim. When two members of
the tribe had a dispute, they chose a wise relative to judge their case.
These "judges" had no power to enforce their settlements
aside from their reputation for fairness and the support of the tribe.
They understood the need for equal rights which led them to support
property rights; those that did not would not be asked to settle many
may be an example of a tribal society. Michael
Van Notten and Jim Davidson (Building Roads in Somalia) have been working with
several of the tribes in this "country" since the end of the civil
war. Their company is planning
with one tribe on the coast to build a seaport, and with several other tribes
to build roads from the port to major cities and to neighbouring Ethiopia.
They won't be able to collect tolls on the roads through the desert, but
expect to make money in the mountains, where it is much harder to bypass the
economist Guido Hülsmann spoke on Secession and Stateless Military Defense.
He suggested that Guerilla warfare could be more successful if it was
based on property rights of both friend and foe.
unity of principle would be a good substitute for unity of command and allow
many disconnected groups to achieve success. Presentations were scheduled to
complete at 4:45 PM each day, but frequently went later because of the
interest and Q&A sessions after each speaker.
From 5:00 to 6:00 PM each speaker had a "lounge" and was
available for further discussions in smaller groups.
And of course there were many other discussions over excellent meals in
the Delaware Hall cafeteria.
20th Annual World Conference of ISIL is in Dax, France, July 1-5, 2001.
It will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Frederick Bastiat's birth. A
tour of southern France July 5-8, 2001 is also available. See www.bastiat.net/en/
to Mary Lou Gutscher for organizing a hugely successful conference and to
Shirley Yamada (former member of the Ontario Libertarian Party now resident in
Costa Rica) who helped make the
conference run smoothly.
Lou Gutscher writes: The conference was an attendance record breaker and
attendees rated this the best conference overall and especially the speakers
and the organizers of events. The conference showcased a dozen Canadian
speakers as well as libertarian legends John Hospers, Barbara Branden and
to 40 volunteers helped organize the conference. The survey of attendees rated
the customer service team, 4.5 out of possible 5.0 for their making everyone's
experience a pleasure. A barbecue is being held in September to thank the
organizers and supporters.
included a talent show and a balladeer. There was an outstanding banquet and
dance in beautiful Great Hall at Somerville House. A silent auction raised
almost $10,000, including $1000 for a 10-minute shoulder and neck massage from
was a post-conference tour to Niagara Falls including dinner at the Skylon
tower, a ride on the Maid of the Mist, a theatre performance at Niagara on the
Lake, Barbara Branden’s commentary on the making of "The Passion of Ayn
Rand" movie, plus dinner at the CN Tower.
For more events and projects in the works, contact Mary Lou Gutscher at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 416-250-5543.
party is in better shape now than it has been in years. But, though our
enthusiasm, participation and party finances are improved, our further
progress continues to be slow.
primary difficulty lies in public expectations of political parties. It is
difficult to generate interest and commitment if electoral success is the
primary measure of our party. It is whimsy to believe any libertarian
political party has any hope of winning an election, or, for that matter, even
a solitary riding, in today’s Ontario.
Unfortunately, far too many of our sympathizers, sharing the public
despair for our electoral prospects, no longer contribute much time, money and
effort to further the libertarian cause through our party. We need to change
how our party is viewed if we are to move ahead.
need to get the attention of our sympathizers and the general public by making
it apparent that our party has more reason for being than a narrow concern
with winning elections in Ontario. To
this end your party executive and I are currently working on creating a
defining and inspiring statement for our party
advocate a statement that will consist of our party vision, our purpose and
our core values. I would like it
to be succinct and readily understood. It
should be clearly apparent we are seeking the advancement of humanity, whether
or not we get instant agreement that individual liberty is a prerequisite for
a statement will allow us to quickly disarm those who automatically categorize
libertarians as uncaring self-centred individuals.
It will also afford us the opportunity of introducing what we stand for
to the uninitiated without having to launch into a lengthy explanation of
libertarianism. The creation of
this statement may appear a trite exercise to some, but a powerful statement
will allow us to operate from elevated moral ground. The power of the words we
speak is not to be underestimated.
By the time you receive the next issue of this Bulletin I expect we will have completed this endeavour. In the meantime, if you have any ideas you wish to share about this, let me know.
Rereading Ayn Rand (see my last column) has got me thinking again about some
of the ideas that she discussed.
One of the most controversial was reflected in the title of her book on
ethics, *The Virtue of Selfishness* (Signet 1964): her championing of
selfishness and her attacks on altruism.
It is sometimes charged that she redefined those words her own way;
that may be the case, but is not the point.
Rand saw herself as engaged in a battle not of semantics but of ideas,
and she battled the idea she called "altruism," not the word itself.
define "altruism" as "selfless devotion to the welfare of
others." Rand opposed that
not so much as behavior, but as a moral principle:
The less selfish an act, the more virtuous; serving others is moral,
while serving oneself cannot be. Or,
as she put it logically though extremely, "service to others is the only
justification of [a person's] existence, and ... self-sacrifice is his highest
moral duty, virtue, and value." (34)
may be born selfish, but altruism's roots go almost as deep. Controlling
natural selfishness has always been seen as needed in socializing or
"taming" humans. Children
are taught from early on to obey and to share.
(Often children who do not are beaten; and while we consider it wrong
to assault another human, all but a few would say that such discipline is
necessary and even good).
In history, too, altruism goes far back. Primitive man lived in tribes engaged in continuous struggle, first with wild animals and then with other human tribes. Tribes' survival and propagation depended on how well individual interests were repressed and replaced with loyalty to the tribal interest. Konrad Lorenz, in *On Aggression* (Methuen 1966), explains well how the altruistic virtues (loyalty, solidarity, fraternity, even friendship and love) evolved due to the facts of intertribal warfare.
have made great material advances since then.
But, it has often been said, our moral progress was much slower. Religion took over the principle of altruism intact,
inventing gods as the "others" (along with their priests) to be
served. Christianity urged man
away from self-love, labeled concern with the body and its appetites as
sinful, denounced wealth accumulation, and preached
In modern philosophy and politics, altruism was checked by new principles of autonomy and rights. But it remained fundamental to ethics. The influential philosopher Immanuel Kant, for example, taught that moral action had to contain no motives of self-interest whatever. No act was moral if one hoped to get the slightest benefit from it, even if only the satisfaction of acting morally!
disagreed. Since Epicurus, a few
philosophers had denied any conflict between self-interest and morality,
arguing that right action was really in one's own best interests.
Adam Smith showed that self-interest, operating through the
"win-win" formula of exchange, was a powerful force for good.
But Rand's criticisms went deeper.
attacked the principle of altruism itself, as unjust, misleading, and
dangerous. Unjust because justice
requires that humans experience the consequences of their actions;
if I am responsible for what I do, I should receive due praise or blame,
and benefit or loss, from doing it. Misleading,
because it deflected attention
from the main question of ethics - How should we act? - to a side issue:
Whom should our actions benefit?
And dangerous, because it could be used to justify otherwise clearly
politics (where the "others" are "society" and government
as its alleged representative) fully supports that last fear.
Today, for example, the principle of altruism is invoked not just
against harmful acts of selfishness but also those (like not sharing) that do
not cause real harm, and to justify actions (like forced taking of wealth for
redistribution) that does. When
the victims object, the accusation of selfishness is used again to belittle or
dismiss their claims.
this did, Rand claimed, was place society "*outside* the moral law, as its
embodiment or source or exclusive interpreter" - which "meant that
the rulers of society were outside the moral law." (92)
This last idea is often held (implicitly or not) by those in and around
government - it is clearly one that libertarians oppose - and so far as the
principle of altruism supports it, that principle too is one for them to
Ideas can be fought only by better ideas, moral principles only by better moral principles. Which leads directly back to Rand's central question of ethics: How should we act? Her answer - the theory of ethics with which that she replaced altruism - deserves a close look.
speakers and issues would you like to hear at our dinner meetings this fall?
the past year we’ve heard from groups in support of Home Schooling and
Property Rights and those opposed to Health Fascists and Socialized Medicine.
In September (See Front Page) Dr. Bruce Halliday will talk about Proportional
Representation and what’s wrong with parliament.
just now lining up speakers for our October and November meetings (December is
our Christmas Party). Here are a few suggestions:
Censorship. The Electronic Frontier Canada organization is fighting
government control of the Internet. Interested?
of TV choice. The CRTC and Bell Canada want to force Canada’s one million
satellite dish owners to turn in their dishes and switch to Bell ExpressVu.
Would you like to hear the Satellite Communications Association of Canada tell
about its fight in the courts to preserve our freedom of TV choice?
War On Drugs. The public is ready to decriminalize marijuana use and end the
war on drugs but the major political parties are stalling. Care to hear what
the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) has to say?
phone, fax or e-mail your preferences now. Then watch our web site to find out
which speakers and issues we choose for our upcoming dinner meetings.
In case you’ve forgotten, here are the dates and places for the next four meetings:
Sep. Dinner Meeting, Queen’s Hotel, Stratford 12 Oct. Dinner Meeting
Oct. Annual General Meeting, Location To Be Announced
Nov. Dinner Meeting, China Buffet King, Mississauga
Dec. Dinner Meeting, Christmas Party, Location To Be Announced
a well respected polling organization reported in early August that Harry
Browne, presidential candidate for the (U.S.) Libertarian Party had tied with
Pat Buchanan, the Reform Party candidate in the race for the White House. Each
received 1.6% of popular support. Ralph Nader, the Green party candidate is in
third place with 4.0% behind the Republican and Democratic Party candidates.
who won 500,000 votes on the LP ticket in 1996, is garnering significantly more
media attention this time out and the Party is spending three times as much
money as in 1996 and running a record 2,000 candidates for local and state
out Harry Browne’s Journal, the candidate’s weekly personal account of his
whirlwind campaign of media interviews (up to 10 a day) and meetings with
supporters at http://www.harrybrowne2000.com/.
We can learn a lot from Browne’s articulation of libertarian principles and policies and his deft handling of difficult questions. A surprising number of his media interviewers say they support the party and many will vote Libertarian in November.
|© Copyright 1977-2000, Ontario Libertarian Party.||
Last updated on September 2, 2000.