The Independent Libertarian Network opens its doors

The Independent Libertarian Network, officially registered with the Electoral Commission last month, is now open to membership. This new libertarian political party has been created to encourage individuals right across the libertarian spectrum to become active in their communities and spread the message of liberty as they see it.

Libertarianism is a broad-church, and this is demonstrated by the hours of debate that take place online between, for example, Minarchists and Anarcho-Capitalists. Regrettably, this can often lead to what appears publicly as hostile exchanges of opinion which frequently degenerate into name-calling.

As someone who has engaged with the public on a political level for over seventeen years, I can say with experience behind me that if we are to sell the ideas of liberty to our neighbours, friends and family, the negative aspects within the movement as illustrated above really need to stop.

Yes, debate is good. It helps develop the ideas in one’s own mind – and it is a particularly valuable tool for people new to the ideas of liberty. However, the negativity does nothing to encourage newbies on board, particularly if those newbies upon posting something in a comments section or forum are then subjected to abuse over how libertarian they are.

The formation of the Independent Libertarian Network is, I believe, a positive step towards building relationship amongst freedom-loving individuals. It is my hope that it becomes a supportive community that recognises we are all travelling in the same direction, but that some of us may wish to halt that journey sooner that others. Given time, some may recommence their travels and adopt more absolute views on freedom; others may not.

To get to the point – I want the Independent Libertarian movement to be a constructive one; constructive in building relationships, constructive in our language; constructive in spreading ideas; constructive in implementing those ideas.

It is far too easy to be destructive. It is easy (and one could say it’s a habit) for us to say that something is wrong and focus upon that, rather than identifying what is right and promoting that instead. It is easy to say that what someone is saying is rubbish and focus on that, rather than identifying the positive in a message and promoting that instead.

I’ve fallen foul of this in the past – I’m not by any means perfect. I’ve become frustrated by colleagues around me and lost my cool, and what does this achieve? Nothing but ill-feeling and a reluctance on the part of others to work with you.
So, I encourage freedom-loving individuals to get involved with the Independent Libertarian movement. You have several options:

  • You can support the Network as a whole, without joining the party by making a donation of money, your time or your expertise.
  • You can become a Friend of the organisation. From just £10 a year you will be supporting the development of the Network.
  • You can become a Member. From just £20 a year you’ll be able to become an Independent Libertarian spokesperson in your own right, with the opportunity if you so choose to stand for election in your area as an Independent Libertarian Network candidate.
  • You can support Independent Libertarian activists directly, by supporting their campaigns.

It is important for me to emphasis, for clarity, that the Independent Libertarian Network is unlike other political parties. There is no hierarchical leadership structure. I am the Founder and owner of the Network, that is to say, of the organisation – and I deal with the business of the organisation; but I don’t, nor ever will I lead libertarians.

You are the owner of yourself; of your thoughts and your activity. You have the power to influence others around, or if you haven’t the time, to support those Independent Libertarians who are attempting to do so. Time, money, expertise and services are all things you can offer to the movement and its activists.

So please consider getting involved in what I hope will develop as a positive, active and successful libertarian force across England, Wales and Scotland.

  11 comments for “The Independent Libertarian Network opens its doors

  1. James Rigby
    Aug 22, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    ” it’s ” doors!

    I am libertarian in all things, except grammar.

  2. Aug 22, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Hi Gavin, thank you for taking the time to inform LH readers about your project.

    • Aug 23, 2012 at 7:43 am

      No problem :) I’m open to questions from anyone about it too.

  3. Aug 22, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    “Libertarianism is a broad-church, and this is demonstrated by the hours of debate that take place online between, for example, Minarchists and Anarcho-Capitalists. Regrettably, this can often lead to what appears publicly as hostile exchanges of opinion which frequently degenerate into name-calling.

    As someone who has engaged with the public on a political level for over seventeen years, I can say with experience behind me that if we are to sell the ideas of liberty to our neighbours, friends and family, the negative aspects within the movement as illustrated above really need to stop.”

    Gavin, if you can’t post an article promoting your project without having a tangential pop at other libertarians having a perfectly civil debate…? :-\

    • Aug 22, 2012 at 8:34 pm

      RWH. Gavin submitted the article with no title or links. I added the link, not because the debate was negative but because it is an example of a debate between Minarchists and Anarchists on this website.

      Actually, I forget the last time I saw debate of that kind that turned sour. In fact, I’m not sure I have experienced one, though Gavin is not the first person to suggest they happen.

      • Aug 23, 2012 at 7:55 am

        Then my bad, but that section reads like it’s an attack on that particular debate rather than a general commmentary. “the negative aspects within the movement as illustrated above” – it reads like it means that the link is to an example of a negative debate!

        Sorry for the knee-jerk.

    • Aug 23, 2012 at 8:12 am

      Hi RWH. It wasn’t my intention to offend anyone and as Simon says, I didn’t link to the video (which is interesting btw). As I point out in the article, debate is healthy. And I think we both agree that civility is too when embarking upon debate, otherwise the nature and value of that debate is undermined.

      Any critique in my post are based on my own observations, and I’m critical as a friend. Indeed, the post also demonstrates that I’m critical of myself for, on occasions, losing my cool. Only by recognising what we’re doing wrong can we improve.

      My objective is simple – how do we get more people on board with the ideas of liberty?

      We have a great message which, I think, we should be shouting about. As individual libertarians we can promote our specific views on this policy area or that, and/or we can promote the general direction (the train journey analogy). With the latter option we are offering the public a set of ideas and principles, rather than a specific, and giving them the freedom to choose a) whether or not they want to take the journey in the first place, and b) once embarked and seeing the sights along the way and maybe speaking with others about specifics, how far they wish to travel.

      Libertarianism has a whole load of challenges to overcome if it is to win its way into people’s heart and minds. It is regarded as ‘not caring’ and ‘selfish’ in the negative sense. It is regarded as isolationist and not conducive to team-working. Indeed, freedom itself as a concept has been undermined by decades of welfarism, and many politicians I’ve worked with hold the view that though they trust people with the vote, they don’t trust them enough to help themselves and others in a more voluntary, less coercive society.

      For libertarianism to succeed, we need to first introduce it to people on a regular basis. We then need to demonstrate that all the negative comments about how society will fall if people adopt libertarianism are in fact rubbish. We don’t do this by shouting how unjust the system is, but by emphasing – through our own conduct, the ideas and in practice if successfully elected to councils (as an example) – that libertarianism is in fact a positive, constructive, rational and fair way of doing business and living one’s life.

      I’ve said it before – this will require work, discipline and commitment. To achieve any semblance of success won’t come easy. The Independent Libertarian Network has been created to provide libertarians with an option to become active in the community. I’ll work, with others, to create an organisation that will be of benefit to libertarians. Whether or not people choose to get involved is up to them.

      If you have any further comments or questions RWH, please don’t hesitate to post or get in touch via the party website. Thanks :)

      • Aug 23, 2012 at 11:27 am

        Hi Gavin,

        I think it’s the combination of the link and the “as illustrated above” that changes the meaning, if you lose the “as illustrated above” it goes back to being abstract commentary. Needless to say I feel like a bit of an arse…

        I’m glad to see that you’re making progress with the Network, and I think you’ve got the right idea by minimising the Electoral Commission straightjacket. Interestingly Geert Wilders has taken this approach in the Netherlands, also refusing national subsidy, and it is working for him.* On the other hand, I think you have to realise that you have created a brand and it will be a success/failure based on the behaviour (and policies!) of the people who are associated with it. In other words, directly controlling people is best avoided, but kicking people out if they start to abuse “the commons” you’ve created might become necessary at some point. I personally favour a franchise model, where the centre provides certain standard services (signage, etc), but I guess this will or won’t develop organically as required.

        No disagreement about the need to be civil.

        * He is not a genuine libertarian I know.

        • Aug 24, 2012 at 9:30 am

          RWH

          The Network is a brand that people can sign up to (that is just one thing they get for their subscription or donation) and Members who are happy to become public faces of the organisation, i.e. put their face to their name in a locality, thus becoming accountable, will be able to speak in their own right as an Independent Libertarian.

          You are right that there may be incidences in the future where a Member becomes a liability to the brand and that is something that I will have to deal with, but that’s something I’ll give more consideration later on. Within the constitution it states that if a member bring the organisation’s reputation into disrepute that it has the right to revoke membership.

          It may seem harsh or unjust to some people, but one of my interests is to ensure the brand has a good reputation that will encourage more people to join, and that members, supporters and activists are not tarnished with the bad behaviour of others.

          As I say, we’ll play it by ear. Who knows, it may never be a problem ;)

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